Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Pandemic and Working from Home

     I keep thinking to myself that I need to document this time, especially since it's one that will most likely show up in all of the history books.  How we deal with a virus that has reached nearly every corner of the world (or at least the ones easily connected by airlines), it's amazing what can happen in just a few short months.
     I know it's a terrible thing that so many people are dying.  I know that so many more will still die before this whole thing is over.  People are panicking, buying up everything they can in case they are trapped inside for weeks or even months.  I had thought about that sort of thing in the back of my mind when it first started showing up in other parts of the world, although like many of the other pandemics that have occurred, the USA has been largely spared.
     Of course, no one thought it would reach as far as it did, and many of us were just thinking from time to time, what would we do?  But I don't think any of us took it seriously (except some random preppers anyway!)
     As for me, if anyone actually reads this, I was somewhat taking it seriously.  I've always tried to be prepared for a cold and the eventual quarantine inside of my home.  Heck, after I lost my job just one month shy of a year ago, I self-quarantined.  I didn't have money coming in and I got one bad cold after another.  Before long I'd dropped back on nearly all of my spending and had started a routine for myself.

     So, in a way, last year's joblessness was a preparation for this.

     One day I cleaned up my desk, made enough room to work on painting and posting items on my website (which I need to work on again during this time probably) and then scheduled a routine.  Get up, have breakfast, do a few chores, then go to "work" for about four or so hours a day, painting, doing other things and just overall making sure to keep "working".
     I also suffered from a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety and had a lot of moments of loneliness even when I knew I had people in my life who could come over and I could talk to.  But I did make it, and I pushed through.

     Now I'm working from home, quarantined from work until the end of March.  I set up my desk much like I did before (although now I have two computers, so painting is on hold for the time being).  But it's a lot like it was before.  Take a break from time to time, get lunch, read, and keep an eye on the queue and answering calls.
      A week ago they started murmurs about whether we would have to work from home.  I'd already started hearing talk about it so I started buying things for it in preparation.  Then they mentioned closing down schools...and by Friday we knew we'd have to set up to work.
     The weekend went by after that and the stores emptied out, people were emptying them out.  Toilet paper and towels were gone, food was gone, milk, eggs, bread and meats were gone.  Then the restaurants started shutting down all but take out and delivery.  People who worked for those restaurants got laid off.  Other stores started shutting down, not allowed to keep pushing forward, then the Governor started shutting down libraries, waterparks, museums, and anywhere else that a bunch of people could go to.  He stopped us from voting yesterday, pushing it off until June.
     A few smaller stores plug along, still open, not knowing what else to do.  People who vend at conventions are having online sales in hopes they can make ends meet.  Everything is shut down and the gas is cheap and the roads are empty.
     And even though, as I said, I know this is a terrible thing to be certain, it's also rather good in some ways.

     Pollution has gone waaaaay down.  Critters are returning to areas that have been chased out so long ago that people are surprised to see them there.  People are starting to do things for one another.  The government is actually thinking about doing stuff for the people instead of the businesses.  It's actually rather amazing.

     And yet, we still have to deal with being stuck inside our homes.  We have to worry about catching and spreading the virus.  I still worry about my Mom a whole lot because I'm not sure she's taking it very seriously since she doesn't like the news and has never been very up on world events.
     But, little bit by little bit, I think this might be a blessing for our planet.  I know, it's terrible who this virus might affect by the end, and sure, I could definitely be one of them by the time this is all over.

     I think, though, that I'm prepared.  Mentally I've always thought that I don't want to contribute to the world going up in flames.  I'd much rather not be part of the problem but the solution, even if I'm not entirely sure how I could be part of it.

     So, as I work from home waiting for that next phone call or that next email from someone who I more worried about things that aren't the worldwide pandemic, I'll sit here and be glad that the world is still moving on without us.  The trees are still getting ready to bloom, the rains are coming to make the grass green again, and the birds and other animals are enjoying their time outside where they haven't been able to be in decades.  And I'm actually okay with that.
     And if things get worse before they get better, then I'll continue keeping on because even with all of this because panicking never helped anyone.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Focus on Me - pt. 3 - Low Self-Esteem

     Maybe this entry would be better fit as a "mental health" entry as opposed to a focus on me...but then again I kind of just want to whine for a few minutes while I'm waiting on this book to print out for my brother.  What he doesn't get is that yes, I found the PDF of this out of print book he wanted, but's NOT easy to print out, not when my printer keeps calling for more toner (which it doesn't need) and also just decides to fall asleep halfway through because it doesn't feel like it or something?
     But that's not what I'm here to complain about, what I am whining about is how things are going at my job.  Training was sort of rough because there was a lot of information to focus on, but after a few weeks of stressing out about it I'm slowly growing accustomed to the crazy stuff.  Then they gave me an opportunity to change time periods and I didn't realize they were limiting this time period to only two people.  That's fine, but I barely sit near that person, and when they re-arranged our seats I'm almost completely alone and feel little to no teamwork now.
     Everyone keeps saying how I'm rocking the calls... Well, I have no distractions, no one to talk to, and have no need to do anything but take calls.  Of course, I'm going to take more.  None of my other teammates barely say a word to me and I feel somewhat like I'd abandoned them to go to a different time so I feel bad about that and don't even really bother.
     Then there's the fact that I've started to notice some of the people who aren't doing as well as me keep getting to focus on other projects.  They're even getting time set aside to work...on what, I have no idea.  No one tells me.  I was starting to look forward to having a project myself but come to find out it's only on a quarterly basis I guess...?  Everyone around me leaves for hours at a time, but because I'm seated near a bunch of supervisors I also feel like maybe I've been singled out...but I'm afraid to read my books when I'm bored too because I'm worried about what they think.

So I've been just a huge bundle of nerves lately.

Focus on My Career - pt. 7 - Anxiety and Job Offers

     Anxiety can be a real bitch.  You don't know when it's going to hit you or for what reason.  I know I've actually suffered from it for a very long time but never had a name to it.  Does that make it better maybe?  I'm not sure.  I'm not sure if addressing it head-on or letting it run its course is the better option.  I've read a little bit recently about facing it and dealing with it as it hits you so that you can remind yourself that whatever that immediate danger your body and brain are trying to warn you about, most of the time it's not actual danger at all.
     I think the earliest attack came around fifth or sixth grade, so I was probably 8-10, it was winter time and we were all bundled up at recess (because back then they still sent us out in the cold and snow!) and I remember wanting to avoid everyone, so went out into the middle of the field, plopped myself down, huddled with my hood over my head and stared at the snow.  Or was it actually summer, and I was looking at flowers?  I honestly don't recall for sure, but I remember not wanting to deal with anyone.  It took a teacher coming over to me to haul me to my feet and take me back inside.
     Spending a lot of time in the secretary's office, with a "stomach ache" was another favorite pastime.
     Another was being JUST stubborn enough that I wasn't allowed to go out to recess and stuck in the library during lunchtime.  Just me and the librarian, browsing books and looking outside and just being happy.
     After researching anxiety in children over the years I can definitely see myself in almost all of the different clues that are now accepted as anxiety.  But no one knew what that was, I was made fun of, I was more sensitive to all of that, I clung to adults who could give me solid answers and didn't judge, didn't give me trouble, and in this age, they would have gotten me into counseling.  Not as if I didn't try to do it myself, but I was only allowed to go about once a month, and after elementary school, there wasn't anyone to go too.