This week at work, we had some changes in leadership, including our CEO and other high-level executives. As a result in a departmental meeting, this talk of what will happen to remote working under our new leadership began circulating. It seems to be ever present in people’s minds. Our leader mentioned that our old CEO hated remote work and would have rather we all be back in the office. Our new CEO didn’t even live in the same city as the region he was representing, so there was talk that he may be more flexible at keeping remote work in place. I sat in the meeting, wondering to myself, “Why is this even a point of discussion three years into a global pandemic?”
The amount of gaslighting going on these days by Corporate America is insane. We are anchoring results against the pre-pandemic world. We talk about going back into the office as “getting back to the way things were”. It makes me want to scream, “What have you witnessed in the past three years that makes you think that ANYTHING or ANYONE is the same as before the start of the pandemic?” There is no getting back to the way things were. Like it or not, we are all forever changed as a result of living through this moment in history.
Across the globe, we watched over 6 million of our fellow humans die from this disease. A lot of us are either experiencing or bearing witness to the devastating health effects of long COVID as a result of having had this and actually survived. I was fortunate enough not to lose a close family member or friend during this time, but I know plenty of people who did. For those of us with children, it was an exhausting daily task of calculating the risk of whether or not to take your child out into the world, deciding to put them in daycare, etc. because even though there was a global pandemic, we were still expected to show up and do our jobs. At my company, and my ex-husband’s company, we operated completely remotely for over a year and guess what? Those companies did not significantly suffer having a remote workforce.
For me personally, the pandemic shifted a lot of my own personal values. Pre-pandemic, I was overly concerned with my own career track. I had often felt “behind” at progressing up the corporate ladder and was overextending myself to try to make strides to get promoted, etc. Now? I could honestly give a shit less about the “corporate ladder”. It’s all bullshit. I am no longer interested in participating in capitalism the way I once did before. Now I am interested in doing a good job for my own personal integrity and also I want flexibility to attend my daughter’s events, pick her up early to do something to go make memories, or not be exhausted at the end of the day that I don’t have the energy or inclination to pursue some of my own hobbies and interests. I learned a very emotional yet important lesson during this time: you do not know when your time is up. I want to savor the moments, both individually and with my because I will never get that time. My dad used to talk about making memories with us, and his words echo on repeat in my head.
I am waiting for employers to catch up and finally realize this is the new workplace. Workers globally no longer care about sacrificing their mental health and time with family and friends to help the company earn ridiculous profits. As for me, I will be sure to take time to make memories with my kiddo.