A year ago, I posted a reflection on working from home during the first year of the pandemic. A lot has happened in the second year.
Back then, I was waiting for my turn to get the COVID vaccine. I got it in April.
Then in the summer I changed jobs. I guess that makes me part of the Great Resignation, though I didn’t realize it at the time.
The whole experience went so smoothly it was almost surreal. One day I slid my old work laptop into a FedEx box and shipped it back to my previous employer. A couple of days later I received an identical FedEx box containing a new laptop from my new employer.
Meeting and working with my new colleagues remotely has gone really well too.
Last week, on March 4, I attended my first in-person meeting with my new team. It was great to finally meet them all face-to-face. I even flew to San Francisco for the occasion.
It was exactly two years after my final pre-pandemic day in the office at my old job.
I’m hoping these two events, two years apart, book-end the pandemic. It does seem to be easing. The peak of the omicron wave is behind us. Case rates and hospitalization rates have come down dramatically. Mask mandates are being lifted.
But like many, I’m still nervous. Will cases spike again as masks come off? Will there be another variant? I’ve heard that people who survive an earthquake are often scared to re-enter buildings long after the quake has ended. I think I know how they feel.
So I won’t be putting away my masks just yet. I doubt I’ll ever get on a plane or a bus without one. (I’m sure we’re all going to be discovering old masks folded up inside coat pockets, backpacks and purses for years to come.)
With COVID receding, we’re starting to RTO – return to office – but I expect to continue working from home at least half time for the foreseeable future.
This time last year, the vaccines were just starting to roll out and I was feeling hopeful. I’m still in awe of the science that allowed us to produce multiple vaccines in just over a year.
But I’m gobsmacked that about one third of people here in the US are still not fully vaccinated, and about a quarter are apparently hard-core vaccine refusers. In the beginning, I tried to be understanding. Some people were nervous about the new mRNA vaccines. Others couldn’t afford to take time off work. Some in the Black community have a justified mistrust of the medical profession due to historical and on-going mistreatment. As the pandemic dragged on, I lost patience. Today, after billions of doses given worldwide with negligible numbers of serious side effects, I think the choice by anyone in the US who is not immunocompromised to not get vaccinated is reckless and selfish.
The US should also be shipping more doses to Africa and other places where supply is still low.
In my post last year, I expressed hope that COVID would teach us that we need to work better together to take care of each other and our planet.
Sadly, that hasn’t happened. From the virulent partisan divisions in America and elsewhere over vaccine and mask mandates to Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, it seems like we’ve learned nothing at all. We’re even backsliding.
As the COVID disaster recedes we’re confronted once again with the possibility of nuclear disaster in Europe.
What the hell is wrong with us?