Changes I Hope Remain After COVID-19

As a generally anxious person as well as a progressive person, there are a lot of things I believed way before COVID-19 appeared on the scene. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, I am happy that other people are coming around to my point of view on several topics. My prayer is that these pivots in actions and beliefs are not temporary responses to a global emergency but fundamental changes that last as long as the economic effects of a multinational pandemic.

What changes exactly?

Well, seeing as to how this virus has caused ripples and waves in different domains of life, I will categorize my hopes: professional, educational, political, hygienic, and social changes.

Professional

  • Working remotely. We were all told it couldn’t be done for workplace morale or logistical reasons yet here we are. It makes work more accessible to those who need to be at home due to disabilities, family matters, and transportation access. Beyond that, I have seen an increase in productivity when unimportant meetings are reduced, workplace distractions are removed (albeit replaced by WFH distractions like streaming sites), and people are allowed control over their own time where importance is placed on completing a task, not on the hours of completion (cheers to the night owls). Working remotely also allows us to drop the masks: no nit-picky rules about dress code when you can only see me from the waist up and a lot less code-switching and general emotional labor, especially from people of color, allowing me to do my job and worry less about how you think I look while doing it. I’m not saying positions need to be 100% remote but I love HubSpot’s model of trusting their employees to know themselves, their hours, and their work style best. It’s not a mistake that it’s named a best place to work year after year.

Educational

  • As a first-generation, low-income student, I’ve experienced for decades the inequalities of education and access. From using recycled cardboard for a poster presentation project to missing events because I couldn’t afford to get to them all while living in a toxic home environment and visiting my sick mother on the weekends, I’m well aware of how something that seems like a simple assignment becomes a mountainous task when you bring it home. Professors and teachers are being forced to be aware of the disadvantages certain students face while students on higher socioeconomic rungs enjoy being told that their achievements buoyed by expendable finances, connections, and stability are earned only through their talent and hard work. Teachers are being ‘enlightened’ as to why requiring a scanner, subscription-based software, or an access code only ever used 3 times are implicit methods of stratifying students by wallet, not by work ethic. As with all the other non-essentials cut out during quarantine, I hope all the non-essential ways that students are assigned work, evaluated, and elevated are done away with. As with wanting workplaces to place more trust in their employees to do the work they best they know how for themselves, I would like all educators to prioritize judging their school of fish by their ability to swim. Because if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will go its whole life thinking it's stupid.

Political

  • Bernie 2020. A man who many saw as ‘too radical’ became the leader behind a campaign that called for exactly what people are currently seeking: accessible healthcare, paid sick leave, regulated private sector, living wages, environmental justice, and more. I’ve had friends debate me on why military spending on the Iraq war alone costing every American taxpayer $8000 is necessary but any form of socialism, despite the comparatively low cost to taxpayers, both immediately and in the long-run, is ludicrous. It’s funny to watch how those who yelled at people with no shoes to ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ are now feeling the burn of hot-and infected-gravel under their toes because they didn’t realize just how thin their own leather was. I am a part of r/LeopardsAteMyFace, a subreddit where people post anecdotes from people who are “suffering consequences from something they voted for or supported or wanted to impose on other people.” During this time, the social media posts throughout the internet of people complaining about the very same things they called Senator Sanders outrageous for trying to solve serve as entertainment for those of us who have been calling for these types of measures all along.

Hygienic

  • Wash your hands often. Please Google how to properly wash your hands; it’s not a quick rinse of the water at the tap like some people think it is. What’s worse is the hoards of people not washing their hands at all. My college peers and I would often comment on how many people leave the bathroom stalls without washing their hands with no shame. Even making eye contact with you, perhaps with a smile, on their way out. If you don’t wash your hands when you use the bathroom when else do you plan on washing them? You had one job! And ya blew it. Hand washing should increase in frequency than the rhythm of our digestive system but make sure you do it for real: with soap, 20 seconds (sing the song), and get all those nooks and crannies.

Social

  • Be sure you are truly prepared to raise a child. Us childfree folks are having a grand ole time right now (although I do wish I had a fur baby). I’ve always questioned people’s misguided intentions behind having a child, or several. Now that they’re all “stuck” in the house 24/7 with their little angels, I’m seeing a lot of parents start to question their own intentions 9 months before each of their cherubs came into the world. I’m not saying don’t have kids; I leave that choice up to every individual to make. I’m just saying why bring someone into the world that you’re not ready to accept except on your terms? Whether those terms be that they get handed off to a sitter or school most of the day, they’re cis and heterosexual, they have no disabilities or illness, or they spend the entirety of their lives trying to please you as you live out your dead dreams through them regardless of what they may have truly wanted for their own lives and happiness?

There’s a popular Medium article circulating about why we shouldn’t forget how this Great Pause affected us as companies try to lure us into false normalcy. I also urge you not to forget how this period has been for you, not as an act of resistance to capitalism’s revival, but as an embrace of your own renovation into the person you’ve been under all the noise.

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Product manager | Leading with empathy.

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