In December I wrote an article called How not be a shut-in, because I believe, if you’re someone that works from home, ensuring that you have dedicated time each week to get out the house and socialize is crucial for your overall well-being. Well, just a few short months later, everyone all over the globe is finding that their health and well-being relies upon being a shut-in! How quickly things can change!
I won’t pretend to have a prescription for doing this correctly, or even optimally. I know I’m finding myself coping with new levels of stress and exhaustion, and have to pay close attention to how I’m feeling daily and adjust accordingly. What I’d like to share here though, are some practices that can help you remain calm and have some degree of normalcy, even in these highly unusual times.
During the great recession of 2007-2009, I was laid off from my job. I was 29 years old, living in Los Angeles, unhappily married, immersed in my first yoga teacher training, and working full time as a program coordinator for a literacy non-profit. At that time, I saw being laid off as a gift. Here’s why, and some invaluable lessons I learned along the way.
I was at a backyard party at my neighbor’s house the other night, enjoying a freshly made gooey chocolatey s’more (yummmm), when I overheard one of the guests say she works from home and feels like a recluse. Her words exactly: “I’m a shut-in.”
Of course my interest was piqued and I butted into the conversation immediately, “Did you say you work from home? So do I!” Because, well, I love talking about my job and all the tricks of the trade when it comes to working remotely.
She replied, “Oh, so you know what I mean then? Being isolated from humanity for days on end?”
I had one of those days recently when I wasn’t feeling my best, and didn’t behave in a way that I’m proud of. To put it more bluntly, I felt like shit and acted like an asshole.
In my haste to resolve an issue with a customer’s account, I did a minimal amount of research, jumped to a conclusion, and pointed fingers in the wrong direction. In fact, no finger pointing was necessary as all was being handled as it should. Had I took the time to dig a tiny bit deeper, I would have discovered that a resolution was in progress. Instead, I chose to believe the inaccurate picture I painted in my head, and made a fool of myself with one of my colleagues by suggesting that they hadn’t followed through with the customer.
A few months ago, I threw my hat into the ring to attend the annual Support Driven Leadership Summit, eager to embrace any opportunities my company presents to hone my leadership skills, especially if I get to learn from other experts in the field. The summit brought together leaders in the tech world’s customer support industry for a 2.5 day conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with jam-packed days of networking, engaging talks, panels, case studies, and breakout sessions.
Of course there is much value to be gained from the knowledge shared in talks and panels, to learn from folks in your field who are dealing with similar challenges and may have ideas and solutions you haven’t yet thought of. However, that’s not really where it comes alive for me. For me, it’s all about those intimate face-to-face discussions with peers and colleagues, either prompted by speakers or spontaneously from being in a social environment together. That’s where the magic happens.