I’ve been working from home since Monday, thanks to the coronavirus. Like many workplaces, we switched to remote working to be on the safe side.
I’m fortunate to work in the software industry — it is still functioning, and thanks to my home Internet connection I can do every aspect of my job from home. I don’t enjoy working from home, but it keeps the paychecks rolling in. Not everyone is so fortunate. I spoke with my boss this morning. He has a close relative who works as a server in a restaurant. So does her boyfriend. Neither of them is working now and the rent will soon come due.
That’s not to say my job is protected against what may come. The product we make is a Web site and mobile app that everyday people use. Their daily consumption of our product directly drives our revenue. It remains to be seen whether the current world conditions change our users’ behavior and have a negative effect on our bottom line. I’m sure we can tolerate some loss for some while, but at some point declining revenue would affect the company’s ability to employ everyone.
My wife works in retail and it is a matter of days, we’re sure, before her store closes. If we tighten our belts we will be okay.
In this crazy era where it’s hard to know which news sources to trust, I hear widely differing projections on how long this will last. I’m choosing not to believe any of them. I’ll just take this day to day. Yet I’m mindful that this could go on for a long while and, if it does, it will have deep and far-reaching impacts.
I’m focusing on two things: first, living as normal of a life as possible; and second, maintaining my composure.
There’s stress in working from home, in finding the grocery store perpetually out of ground beef and toilet paper, in not being able to go out on a date with my wife. (We had theater tickets for Saturday; the production closed thanks to the virus.) These are all little stresses, but they do add up. Fortunately, so far these little stresses have come with little benefits. We’re having more dinners together as a family, we’re spending less on food because we’re not eating out, and I’ve got an hour back in each weekday because I’m not commuting. So I’m just trying to remain open to what each day brings and enjoy what I can in it.
There’s also stress in worrying about the future. I’m attached to a vision of my family’s future that, if the worst projections come true, will change unpredictably. I’m trying to suspend that attachment and be open to new and unexpected outcomes. Hopefully that’ll let me sleep at night.