The New Abnormal
With a nod to one of the best albums to come out this year, it’s hard to believe we have been living amidst a pandemic for roughly six months. We are now in September, we have been navigating shelter in place orders, economic turmoil, health scares, climate change and endless tragedy in the media.
Although we have been living during traumatic times, life goes on as we learn to adapt. To say we are living in History is an understatement, and we may not know the full significance of these times for years to come. The positive here is that these new set of challenges offer opportunities for us to grow, to give back to our communities, and to help our planet heal. To do the best we can. We all have a role to play in the betterment of humanity. Being intentional can go a long way, both for our personal development and for those around us. I have outlined ways to bring intention to our professional network, personal network, and our environment.
Whether you are on the job hunt, adapting to working from home for the first time, working socially-distant in an office, or on the frontlines as an essential worker – there is no denying that there have been inevitable adjustments made. It has been great to see how companies get creative with virtual events to boost team morale. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- You can never be overly communicative. When you don’t communicate often and clearly, you leave room for misinterpretation. This goes for everything, however, is especially important during this time when we do not have as much face to face interaction. Need clarification? Ask for it! But remember to give people time to respond, and know that everyone is trying their best.
- Be kind with those you work with, with vendors you collaborate with, with hiring managers and recruiters you partner with, etc. Work-life balance may be more of a struggle this year, being cognizant of this can go a long way.
- Share resources and tips that have helped you. Recently saw a job opening? Pass it on to someone else you know is looking. Completed an online free course that added value to your resume? Share the link. Found a helpful app or program that keeps you organized an on track? You get the idea.
This is going to look different for everyone. Can be applied to your family, friends, local community, really anyone you interact with outside of work. We all have something to offer those in our community, here are some ideas:
- The first obvious one to is monetary assistance, if you are in a place where you can afford to give. You can do it directly by providing meals to those who have lost their jobs and providing cold water to unhoused community members during this heat wave. You can also donate indirectly to different local charities that will redistribute the funds for you. Platforms like GoFundMe are also helpful in finding cases that are important to your values.
- There are plenty of other ways to support your community that does not cost money! If it is time you can offer, there are programs that have been helping immunocompromised folks with grocery shopping and running errands. There is also a huge need for childcare assistance as parents must return to work and not all schools have opened, or some families have chosen to not send their children back to in-person school for safety reasons.
- Offering your professional gifts to your personal community can also go a long way. If you have experience in hiring or in recruiting, you can offer resume advice or mock interviews to those looking. Share market insight that you have learned. Connect colleagues that are in the same field, offer to proofread cover letters. The possibilities are endless.
- Get artsy! You’d be surprised at the many benefits of art therapy. Set up a socially distant paint night, coloring contest, virtual concert, take an online dance class with a friend. These activities bring people closer together during a time where we all can feel lonely.
Though not everyone works in the EHS field, everyone does have a responsibility to contribute to the health and safety of our environment.
- Be hyper aware of where you travel, even if it is local. Make sure to continue to wash your hands, wear a mask in public. See some trash? Pick it up! Leave each place you visit cleaner than when you got there.
- Speaking of masks, you may have seen some news articles about the consequences of littering the disposable protective masks and how they can harm wildlife. Please do not litter! And when disposing these masks safely, cut off the elastic earloops.
- If you are able, now is a great time to consider sustainable alternatives when it comes to shopping. Everyone has a chance to decrease their carbon footprint. Many brick and mortar sustainable shops have closed, but there are also many small businesses that operate online that offer hand-made goods that have been ethically sourced, or second-hand clothing that can go to a new home rather than landfill. Sustainability looks differently for everyone, do your research and find what works for you!
I have mentioned it several times and will say it again, these are just some ideas to help you be your best self and live life intentionally. If even just one of these points resonated with you, then my job here is done. We don’t know how much longer we will be living this New Abnormal, but hopefully we all have lessons we can bring to the future to continue to honor and respect our planet.