I hesitated to use the title COVID-19. I didn’t want people to come here looking for information in regards to the coronavirus. Honestly though, if online search engines direct coronavirus searches here then it’s an entirely different problem. I wanted to take a moment and talk about how COVID-19 has personally changed my life.
Like most Seattle Tech workers, I am working from home from advisory from Public Health Officials, if possible. The email went out late the night of Wednesday, March 4. Of course I didn’t see it until I was already in the office on Thursday morning. Fortunately, my team was slated to move that week and we had to be out of the office by Thursday afternoon. With Seattle just starting to be labeled the “epicenter” of the scare, many people had decided to pack their belongings earlier in the week and were already working from home.
The day I got the email, my 6 am bus was much more empty than usual. And there were about 40 people total in my entire 24-story building – I guess they hadn’t yet seen the email either. The 40 people I reference doesn’t include hourly employees, like our contract workers manning security, the front desk, and cleaning staff. It also didn’t include the construction workers working on the building next door, nor the bus driver who got me to and from work that day. Only those persons whose positions could be done from home, were not in the building that day.
Only for those who can…
My wife is one of those persons who can not perform her work from home. As a physical therapist at a local hospital, it’s impossible to do a job with patients at home. First, our cats would go out their mind with all the people coming in and out. And secondly, like they’d just use ambulances and stretchers to transport hospital patients – no. Plus, if I am going to work from our one bedroom apartment, think about crowded it would make it. In all seriousness, …..
On Friday, March 6, I stayed at home to work while my wife went into the hospital. That Saturday, we decided to spend our money in ways to support other individuals who also do not have an option to work from home such as restaurant and tasting room servers. We took advantage of the local fear of the virus in public places. We ventured out and supported our local community members, mainly in the form of tips; heading to the International District because of rumors people were being wrongly discriminated against because of their race and the origin of the virus. Many of these workers appreciated that we showed up and took correct precautions for them and us.
This isn’t to downplay the seriousness of what is happening in the world. This COVID-19 dashboard shows how many people have been infected and have tragically passed away from this virus. We didn’t simply challenge fate and dive head first into ground zero. Sure, the weekend before we went to a brewery in Kirkland, known around the Seattle area as ground zero, and have been taking public transportation to the International District and for Jordan, to and from work, but it isn’t as if we were licking bus poles, shaking hands, and kissing babies.
My wife and I come from a healthcare background and follow standard virus and CDC recommended precautions. We really have become germaphobes since starting in healthcare and are sticklers for washing our hands. The CDC has posted on the best ways for prevention which mainly involves avoiding sick people, proper hand washing, stopping touching your face, and staying home if you are sick. You know, the same precautions they recommend every cold and flu season. Take my advice if you want, I am an RN, stay home if you are immunocompromised, elderly, or at a higher risk. Otherwise, just follow the CDC and medical professionals advice.
I’ve decided to heed the advice of my employer and work from home for the rest of March. My wife works an odd schedule and doesn’t work every day, so the two of us home so much together may present some what of a challenge. I figure I will use this as a trial run to see how things will go if and when I decide to become a digital/nomadic entrepreneur. Yesterday was the first day we both were home and it went pretty smoothly. I forced myself to sleep in until 0700, made breakfast, worked out, and cleaned up a little. Oh, I even accomplished some real work. Pretty productive.
I’m selfishly hoping to turn this massive misfortunate pandemic into my catalyst to help kickstart me into my goals. Not that I am planning on leaving my company, but being a digital nomad has piqued our interest. I’ve never worked from home, this will be a great way to test of the waters; to see if it is something I like, or even want to do. I’m be turning a negative into a positive, even if just for selfish reasons.
Like many, we believe the eradication of this virus will happen soon; and become a thing of the past. Many have already suffered and I fear more will before it does get better. How has this pandemic changed your life? Have measures been placed on you, forcing you to change your lifestyle or daily routine? Please let us know and keep us posted on how you are also changing this into a positive.