Back to work – sort of.
Today was the first day working remotely since Thursday, so I think of it as my first ‘real’ day of working from home. It’s such a bizarre dynamic for me. Most of my job relates to performances, and they have all been canceled or postponed until at least mid-summer. I am certainly not complaining about a steady paycheck and great benefits during this crisis. Still, it would be nice to feel like I am actually doing something constructive to make the world a better place. Instead, I think I may become the world champion at Candy Crush.
I supervise four full-time employees, so I reached out to all of them personally today to talk on the phone. My focus was not to ask about work, but to make sure they were all doing well and were coping as best they can with the current situation. It was nice to have more personal, human conversations with them instead of approaching them like a boss checking in on their work. More than ever, we need to be supportive and empathetic with each other. The most important thing now is for people to take care of themselves and their families. Work is secondary to that and I made that clear to them all.
Sadly, that does not seem to be the belief of my employer. Since we started working remotely, we have received nothing except ‘work’ emails from the leadership. Not a single communication that feels personal or that expresses any concern about our welfare. It makes me feel like a mindless cog in a big emotionless machine – totally expendable and utterly unimportant. How hard is it to take five minutes to craft a short message that says something like, “Hey, I care about you and hope that you are doing well. Take care of yourself!”
I choose today, however, not to give any more of my emotional bandwidth to that situation. I cannot change them, and they have proven how they truly feel about us. All I can do is focus on doing the work I am paid to do and doing it as effectively as possible while working remotely. And more important than that, keeping “work” in a proper perspective.
Yes, I am being paid and I need to do my job. But that does not mean that I am prioritizing work at all. I do what I need to do, but my priority right now is my own well-being and the well-being of my friends and family. I choose to give my energy to people who feed my soul, not those who drain me dry.
I am taking voice lessons this semester, and my teacher and I had our first virtual lesson today. It worked remarkably well! She sent a recording of warm-ups to me in advance along with some sheet music for a song we will start to work on next week. We did a Skype call and had a very successful lesson. Hooray! Singing made me feel happy and almost like a ‘normal’ Monday since we kept the lesson at my same weekly time.
During the day, several friends called or texted just to check on me to see how I’m doing.
All in all, it was a good day in the land of sparkling isolation. As my dear friend Theresa writes in her latest post Diary of a Cockeyed Optimist – it’s ok to feel ok! Just because the world seems to be falling apart does not mean that we all have to be grim and sad and angry and depressed all the time. We are human and it is just fine to have a day where you feel pretty good, even with all that’s going on.
Today was a good day.