A Brief Update, Given the Circumstances

A lot has happened in the past few weeks with the coronavirus crisis. So I wanted to take a minute to share a quick update on my side of things.

Like many of you, I have no plans to leave the apartment.

Scariness aside, it is truly amazing how quickly things change. Just one week ago I was at work, hoping that my job would let me work from home! While things didn’t seem that bad yet, I personally didn’t feel comfortable being on public transit anymore.

Fast-forward seven days. Schools and shows are cancelled. Restaurants and bars can only serve take-out. Toilet paper is trending on Twitter because nobody can find it. And everyone’s being urged to stay home, while experts warn that things are on track to get worse.

Needless to say, it’s been a stressful and confusing seven days.

But it’s also a bizarre learning experience. For one, the magnitude of this health crisis is not something I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime. I turn on the news with baited breath, wondering what the numbers will be for that day. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone whose families have been affected by infection.

It is also astounding to see how parts of the government spring into action (or don’t) in times of crisis. I have such a newfound appreciation for orgs who work in the disaster preparedness and infectious disease realms, because this work is chaos and utterly necessary.

But while the government gets a lot of the attention, it’s been interesting to see the magnifying glass on both companies and nonprofits. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the flexibility some orgs have extended to their workforce. I’m especially grateful to my own org, for not making us choose between our health and our jobs.

On the flip side, it’s disturbing to hear of employers who have done far less for their workers. These are orgs who have forced their staff to come into work unnecessarily, or refuse to communicate any emergency preparedness plans at all. It’s true what they say: disasters can bring out the worst in us.

p.s If you or someone you know is experiencing this, check out this call to action put out by Alison over at Ask A Manager.

And let’s not forget the spotlight this has put on companies in the travel industry. As of last Monday, the cruise I regretted booking was set to leave from NYC in April. There was no way I was getting my money back, because the CEO assured us it was still on. In fact, he was so confident that he booked a cruise with his family for May. To Europe.

I’ll say it again. It is amazing how much can change in 7 days.

Like many of you, I will be doing my best to lay low, stay indoors, and stay sane. Stay safe everyone, remain calm, practice self-care, and lend a helping hand to others if you can safely do so.

And above all, let’s keep watching.

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