Adaptability wins… I can’t think of a better way to put it. In a world where we have seen massive, sweeping changes that affects everyone on the planet, those who are more adaptable are going to win in the end.
I acknowledge the fact that I was fortunate that my job was not affected by COVID in a big way. I do work from home full time now, and do every meeting over ZOOM. I no longer travel for business, and I don’t see that coming back to the previous level either. I can see going to a few conferences a year, and maybe one or two very large client opportunities annually for presentations, but that’s it. The business world is now used to digital handshakes instead of the in-person ones. We “get comfortable” with one another in an entirely new format, but a far more cost effective one.
The first month of being at home all day took some getting used to. I was inefficient; I felt like I had all day to do stuff, so I would take literally all day to get things done. I felt out of sorts, as I was quite used to going to the office every single day. I felt alone, not having the implied “company” of all of my co-workers to see every day. I wandered around, feeling lost at times. I watched TV when I should have been working. I tried working in the living room instead of my home office. It was a little weird to say the least.
But then I started to realize what a blessing this was. I could start my day earlier, or later, depending on what I wanted to get accomplished. I started working out in the early morning, avoiding the hot sun of the summer later in the day. I loved it, and so did my wife. We went to the park near our house and ran the small hills, did sprints in the grass, and many other “adaptive” types of training. I was in better shape after a month of that than I was after a year in the gym. I was still starting my day by 8:00AM, which is perfectly fine. Some days I would start work early, and be done by 1:00PM. Other days I would work on a house project and not start my day job until later in the day. Since I have clients all over the country, my timelines for things are flexible in many cases. Slowly, I started to adapt…
It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. I adapted. I rolled with what the world handed to me, and I restructured my lifestyle accordingly. If I had gotten fired or furloughed from my job, I would have found another job. This was similar, the circumstances changed and I needed to adjust somethings in my microcosm of the world.
Now, I LOVE my lifestyle. I can’t believe it took a pandemic for me to realize some of the benefits of this lifestyle. I sleep in when I want (not often though), I go to the gym regularly or train outside, and I spend early hours of the day writing and creating content. I break up my work day into two sections of the day: late morning and early afternoon. I can do my day job in about five hours a day, so two 2.5 hour blocks of time are adequate for me to keep up with things and not have a drop in productivity. I used to waste a lot of time being in the office, visiting my co-workers and going to lunch for an hour a day. Now, I focus and burn through everything I need to do in a much shorter time frame. This gives me way more time to do the other things I want to do as well. I am working on the road tomorrow, as a family member needs my assistance with something. I would have needed to fill out a vacation request before, now I just arrange my schedule accordingly. I make the same money, have far less stress, work less hours, have more free time and flexibility, and can work from anywhere. It is the life I have been dreaming about!
Will this pandemic last forever? No, of course not. It has a lifecycle just like most things like this do. But it seems clear to me that:
A. The world has learned (not by choice) that remote work is here to stay
B. I am personally am much happier with the current set up versus how things were before.
C. If the boss decides I need to be back in the office five days a week, I am probably updating my resume and looking for a new (remote-based) job.
I have adapted to this life now, and I have learned the advantages. I do not want to go back to the way things were, I want to continue to flourish in the way things are. If things drastically change, I will figure out how to mold and adapt to that new normal. There is no reason to backtrack, only move forward.
Not everyone has the same story and feelings about this that I do. I don’t have kids that are underfoot all day long, so working from home does not include also being a teacher between ZOOM meetings. That was by choice, a while ago. No kids for me, thanks. I’d like to retire early, and I want to do whatever the Hell I want right now. My wife and I are on the same page with this, and it was a discussion hashed out on date #2.
The world is changing faster than ever, and if you find yourself in a job or career that is on its way out, you’d better start making changes RIGHT NOW. As great as the gig economy is for people who want to drive for Uber or deliver for Instacart, this is going away. Once autonomous vehicles really take hold, almost all of those jobs are going to go away. This includes cab drivers, truck drivers, and even local Amazon deliveries. This is a large swath of our society that relies on these type of jobs as a primary or secondary means of income, and it is going to be gone in five years or so. There has already been a lot of jobs lost to automation of other kinds, and soo this should come as no shock. But plenty of people will still be caught off guard when it does. In this case, you need to be proactive, not just adaptable.
Regardless of what your personal circumstances are, you need to always be looking ahead and try to prepare for what’s coming. When something does catch you by surprise, do your best to adapt and thrive. Many won’t; some will, enough to get by. Be one of the rare few that finds ways to improve in the new normal, whatever that may hold for us all. ADAPT.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.