COVID-19- My experiences during the pandemic
Covid has exposed how fragile our existence on earth can be. London went from being a fully active city to be completely deserted. We went from being frowned upon for working at home to us all permanently work at home for the best part of a year. Who would have imagined?
The virus sent my mind pondering on my mortality. I thought about the people who died and those who lost their jobs due to this invisible invasive enemy called Co-vid.
At the beginning of 2020, nobody could have predicted how our lives would have changed as a result of Covid
Covid exodus work-wise
Well, I was placed on furlough at the end of March 2020.
Furlough meant many things to many people; to me, it made me feel inadequate and helpless. In my mind, I should have been out there keeping things going, but I was told to stand down. With a family, debt, and responsibilities, my mind took me to the worst-case scenario: What if my employers asked me never to come back. I went into crisis planning to establish how long I will keep paying my bills before my world comes falling. In my calculations, I had seven months. Phew, a great time to bounce back, but what if the economy doesn’t bounce back and the virus is still causing havoc in our lives.
After pondering this with my wife and speaking to my career coach (Lola Bejide), it was agreed that I would start looking for a new job. New job in a pandemic? Was my reaction an overkill, possibly, but if I lost my job, who would support my family? Nobody. So at that moment, it was decided that I will start applying for other roles.
The days, weeks and months at home
My furlough routine was intense; I woke up at 7 am, went for a run, had breakfast and then revised until 8 pm. I utilised my forced time off to the most extreme extent. It was as if I refocused my energy from anxiety about my immediate future to intensely revising and applying for jobs.
After a month of furlough, I was called back to work in April/ May 2020, and this was a massive sigh of relief. My wife and I had saved some money, so we decided to change all the flooring in our house. We had some savings from a holiday we planned but had to cancel due to Co-vid.
As time passed, I found it challenging to stay concentrated whilst working. My daughter needed my attention, and at the time, I was distracted by the mysterious nature of the virus, my ever demanding job and my upcoming RICS interview in June 2020.
What changed in you during Covid
My wife said the most loving thing to me during this period. She said if we lost everything due to the economic downturn, we would still have each other. Those words meant everything to me, and it allowed me to see that my total value can be found within my wife and child. Co-vid exposed that families can be together over a sustained period and still be happy. I am grateful that this unfortunate pandemic allowed me to spend most of my time with my family, time that I would never have spent or even imagined I would.
I became a chartered surveyor during the pandemic and did all of this within the confines of my home. I was perplexed at how so much value can be added to my life without me leaving my house.
During my job searches, I happened to get an interview with an amazing development company. I interviewed with a shirt, tie, jacket and shorts. This interview was undertaken in the confines of my bedroom. A few days after the interview, I was offered the job, and I was so confused as to how all this can happen without me leaving my home.
Within the first lockdown, I had become a chartered surveyor, got a new job (Senior Development Manager) and last, but not least, was given a fantastic gift to spend valuable time with my family.
I had been pondering how I could be more creative, at least In thought and ideas. So I decided to start a blog in August 2020, which you are reading today. This pandemic brought a dormant desire to express my views creatively and encourage others to do the same. That was the birth of A’lake Dreaming to the world.
What was the game-changer during Covid
My faith in God made a big difference in allowing me to stay level headed and not make rash decisions. A big game-changer was some friends, and I started up prayer sessions that focused on praying for God to comfort a hurting world during this pandemic.
These prayers took away my worries and concerns and rested them firmly in the hands of God. The sessions were and still is therapy for us, considering that research suggests that the impact of a prolonged disengagement of social interaction with others could severely impact our mental well-being.
I had clear objectives, and without those objectives, I could not imagine what my brain would have done to me if I was idle and not working towards anything.
I connected with so many amazing people digitally, people that I usually wouldn’t meet. The digital world should not be taken for granted, as I have built up excellent personal and professional relationships during this pandemic, and I am sure you can do the same.
The greatest gift
I am grateful to God that many people I know caught the virus but did not lose their lives. Many friends lost their jobs but were able to regain employment. We struggled and could not meet with each other, but we learned how to be creative on how we connected.
With great disappointment, I think it helps us focus on what matters. My greatest gift is my family and spending much time with them is the greatest gifts that this pandemic presented.
There are two gifts given to me during this pandemic that I will share on 15th April 2021.
Focus (Follow one course of action until success). There is a time to ponder, rest, cry and reflect, but there are times that you have to focus. When things get tough for me, I tend to focus on what is essential and try to ignore everything else. For me, it was my family, becoming a qualified surveyor, running, connecting with people digitally, blogging and getting a new job.
Get digital- I am now living in a world where I have not met my line manager or colleagues physically, yet I am leading massive regeneration projects in a new firm. Thinking backwards, this is mind-blowing to think that all of this value can be added without leaving my house. Don’t be a dinosaur; make sure you get with the digital programme.
Be resourceful: Finally, when I told an uncle of mine how this pandemic has been for, he said that “you made the best of what was a negative set of circumstances”. Perhaps you should ponder on how you respond to adverse events.
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