In December 2019, China experienced an outbreak of a new virus in the same class as SARS. Within a matter of months this virus has infected every country on earth, and projections indicate that hundreds of thousands are going to die in the best case scenario. Within the past two weeks, life in America has been completely changed. I’m sure you know all of this already as anyone that’s over the age of 15 is being bombarded with minute by minute news. I just wanted to take a moment, and write a post now that I have time to get one out.
finally fully remote
Since I started with my current employer I’ve wanted to be fully remote. Due to some arbitrary rule about me needing to be on-site three days a week that hasn’t ever come into full fruition, until this moment. I’m eight days into fully remote, and in these eight days I’ve achieved more than I have over the past two months working in office. I’ve saved $200 in parking and lunch fees; I’ve decreased my caffeine intake by several hundred milligrams a day; I’m even sleeping better. However, that means little due to some corporate decisions that have exponentially increased the stress regarding the future of my family.
I took a few hours yesterday, and finally took care of a big chunk of the cleaning I wanted to get done in my home office, and set up a more permanent working area for my work system beside my daily driver. Now if only I could figure out a way to use the same keyboard, and toggle between the two systems it would be perfect. I’ve also been focusing on learning more react native as I’m working on building a couple of apps which I’d love to see in a native format instead of the standard web apps I’ve built for the past decade.
The hardest adjustment has been getting my children, and significant other to understand that when I’m in my office, I am to be left alone. I send a text notifying of meetings with the hope that distractions will be bountiful to keep the children quiet – this works 50% of the time. The normal distractions are no more significant than normal, albeit I’ve spent a bit more time on twitter because, well, that seems to be the only real-time feed of current information around this crisis coming directly from front-line workers and scientists.
I think the biggest thing with working remote is laying out a clear routine. Sure, I spend just as much time in my office at home as I did with my commute to the corp office, but I cut my work off at 17:00. I use the nex two hours daily to focus on my side projects. I have noticed that I’m not getting up as often as I should, so not taking breaks (not uncommon for me normally), and I’m forgetting to eat. Perhaps it’s the sheer level of stress this entire situation has everyone under right now, and I’m just not as quick to pick up the healthy, distractive habits as others.
As of an hour ago, Washington state is officially under a shelter-in-place order. This means you can be charged with a gross misdemeanor, and held liable for up to $1,000 in fines, and a year in jail. Now my hope is they truly enforce this. What I’ve seen over the past days is people are simply not taking this seriously, and may not until someone they love, or themselves, is directly affected by this virus. I’m not sure if it’s escapism, avoidance of grief, or the good ol American sense of rebellion, but people need to stay home. Period. We’re in this for the long haul, and many people have lost their jobs. If you’re one of those affected by job loss you have no reason to be driving around, burning fuel and spending money right now. Take your ass home, and stay there.
While I’m expected to still work 40 hours a week for the health of the company, I’m taking this opportunity to catch up on chores, do a very thorough spring cleaning, get a dump load ready, fill the garden with seedlings, and try to finally get some solid commits put into these side projects I’ve had running for months. Right now is a great opportunity for everyone to learn something new. Hell, get to know those you care about better than you ever have. The mortality rate of this illness is absolutely terrifying, and we will all be impacted both economically and physically by this. The psychological trauma is going to change us as a society. We need to make the best of this situation.
That being said, I do intend on monetizing one of the apps I’m working on. I’d love for it to grow into a business at some point, though we’ll see how the initial versions work out. A lot of people would say with the economy crashing, it’s a terrible idea to start up right now. I say fuck that. By the time this exits beta, the swell will be building, and I hope to ride that next wave up so never again will the wellbeing of my family be compromised by the control of some CEO that wouldn’t recognize me on the street.
A lot of this experience has been a brutal emotional roller coaster. I’m witnessing a lot of people deal with grief for their first time. I’m (un)fortunate enough to have experienced witnessing my family die off as I grew up from a young age, so I’m all too familiar with these emotions. It doesn’t change the fact that the uncertainty of this situation is terrifying, gut wrenching, and surreal. The best thing about this is we will get through this, and never be the same. Hopefully for the better.
My hope is that American society finally sees where the federal government places their priorities, and votes for representatives that will serve the people. I hope that we as a society will replace the value we place in money into intelligence. I hope we come out of this being more conscientious about those around us, and how our actions have a ripple effect. We have this great opportunity, right now, to reset the status quo, and create a real future for America. No more of this bullshit red vs blue fighting, partisan politics that all end in zero sum. I may be delusional though. I wish I had a happy ending to this story, but as of right now, we’re still in the middle of it. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Hold those that matter to you close, but only after washing your goddamn hands. Thanks for reading.