We’re Jumping the Gun

I’m sure everyone feels the same way when I say this has been the longest couple of months, and I know for many it has felt even longer due to the financial, mental, and emotional strain it’s put on your family. There is no doubt the consequences of this outbreak will be felt for years to come, but I hope it serves as a wake up call for everyone. I know it has me. I am very blessed that I have not been severely impacted by the viral outbreak, and at worst it’s been a minor inconvenience for us. Every position where I work is remote work capable, and our business has hummed along without any interuptions…thankfully. For those of you who are no as fortunate as some, you have been in my thoughts and prayers during this time, and I hope your suffering has been very minimal.

Currently, there are a number of states who are trying to reopen and get things back to “normal”, but it seems the ones who want to get their states running again are not clearly thinking things through. I see governors beginning to worry about their political career if they do not get things back to normal, and to get the citizens of their states back to work. Personally, I see this as political suicide on their part. Opening up too early will risk a resurgence in the viral pandemic, and could force us back into exile for a longer period of time. I understand the need and worry for people to reestablish a steady stream of income, but at what cost and what if it actually causes a worse financial outcome? Is it really worth it? Temporary legislation to ease the fiscal burden would be more responsible, albeit probably more expensive for all levels of state and federal governments. I’m going to sit back and watch how this mess plays out.

What’s the worst that could happen?

This is often a question asked in risk management events. When performing risk management, you have to evaluate the probability and impact of a named event, and your mitigating steps depend on the levels identified. Typically, those levels are low, moderate, and high. As one would expect, high events require some form of mitigation or elimination of the risk. So where does a COVID-19 resurgence fall within this category? Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing exactly because I’m not a medical professional or an epidemiologist, but based on what professionals in those fields are saying, we can probably expect a moderate to high probability and impact. Government leaders may think the risk is worth it by phasing in a restart of their organizations, but I’m not so sure it’s going to go well.

I understand the need and desire to get things moving, and governments can put a variety of mitigating techniques in, but here is where I see things going wrong. You can implement a number of strategies to help control the situation, but there’s one variable that you really can’t control…people. In almost any situation, human beings will be your weakest link in any well laid out plan. We are defiant creatures of habit, and given the opportunity we will revert back to what makes us feel safe and happy. For some it’s enjoying the closeness of friends, others it going to a restaurant, and for some it’s partying like it’s 1999 (thanks Prince). Needless to say, we are our own worst enemy, and we will be the cause of our undoing. Sit back and watch. It’ll happen.

So what do we do?

Well, if you’re ordered back to work and you have to provide for your family, or you have a job that is essential to the safe operation of the country, then you have no choice. However, you do have options to help protect yourself. Continue the practice of social distancing, wear protective gear when you’re going to be near people, avoid crowds or similar germ sharing events, and be extremely diligent about hand washing. You can’t completely eliminate your risk, but you can lower the probability by taking a few steps.

If you’re fortunate enough to not be required to go into a public setting or office, then I would encourage you to continue to stay home and avoid interactions as much as possible. Don’t go out to eat, don’t accumulate in large crowds, avoid the stores as much as possible, and just continue what you’re doing. It’s obviously working so far! We don’t really know when the end of this madness will come, but we can do our best to not get caught in its trap.

My Plan

As you know from my previous writings I have a daughter with special needs, and she has a number of medical conditions that we have to be mindful of. Personally, we can’t risk her contracting the COVID-19 virus because she is already compromised, and I fear only the worst for her. We have not been given any definitive answer on when we will return to work, but I’m going to talk to my manager about extended telework for a longer amount of time. We have all proven it can be done and can be done effective, efficiently, and without any impacts to productivity. There’s no reason why exceptions can’t be made for me and you as well.

I wish all of you the best and I hope and pray you have not been impacted by this disaster too much. If anything, I hope you have found some blessings by being at home with family, and taking the time to slow down and not be on the go all the time. I know I certainly have taken time to reflect, and focus on what’s more important to me and my family.

Get naked, stay naked.

Alexis

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