April 14th, 2021

Palin Russia

Yeah the Cat was Cool, and he never said a mumbling word

I worked out of town today, in the next city over, about 30 miles from here. I was told that it was going to be a day from hell, at least in terms of the volume of work, and that turned out to be the case. But aside from that, it wasn't that difficult of a day. One thing I did notice was how everyone in that office seemed to be under a lot of stress. Some people who have worked there for years and who seemed to have their shit together most days, seemed to be on edge and seemed to be hating their jobs. My friend Wendy, who has the same management position as me, and who I've known since I moved to BC from Saskatchewan, when we both had different jobs, notices it too. We had a good long chat over lunch, and she told me sad tales of some people in her office who have lost their temper with subordinates. She herself has been feeling down because of confrontations with co-workers. As she put it, "the joy has gone out of the job."

She mentioned how this was a common problem in many other offices in the region, but it made me feel good when she described the office I manage as "the happiest". She asked that she was thinking about asking for a transfer to our office and whether I would support it. I told her that of course I would. Some of the people I work with wouldn't be happy about this, because while Wendy is a sweet person, her work ethic has declined in recent years, and that tends to make more work for her co-workers. She also has a reputation for being high-maintenance for her support staff. But for me, the kindness she has always shown to me trumps all of that. It's not my decision whether or not this happens, it's up to our head office, but if she goes ahead with this, I will do what I can to help her.

The point of all of this is that I wonder how the pandemic has affected people's stress levels, and what ripples it will have on people's lives. Do they carry the stress home with them? Will the stress decrease when the world goes back to normal, or will this all leave some kind of permanent emotional scarring on a lot of people?

I keep thinking that the pandemic has created some kind of figurative time bomb, and that some dire consequence is just waiting to happen. Perhaps it is an economic one - maybe rampant inflation or rising interests will be the result of politicians trying to spend their way out of the problem. Maybe it will be an emotional one - maybe depression and anxiety will be the next pandemic. Maybe children will mimic and inherit the stresses they see in their parents. Or maybe the opposite will happen and people will just become kinder and more resilient. That would be nice.

I remember how, after I had graduated from law school, there seemed to be a mindset that people needed to be toughened up. Senior lawyers seemed to be mean bastards who saw criticism and angry outbursts as the best means to teach things. Sports coaches seemed to think that this was also the way to get the most out of their athletes, with fear motivation. Then, over time, people seemed to get smarter and realize that this was a shitty way to motivate people. Maybe people realized that it didn't motivate them, and when they got the chance, they would be nicer to those who they were mentoring. Now I fear that the pendulum may be shifting back in the other direction. I hope I'm wrong about that.

In other news, on the way home I picked up some Taco Bell for Seth which he loves (we don't have Taco Bell in our city). My tree guy had come and gone and two dead trees in the back yard were removed. It was one more thing off of my "to do" list before moving and his bill was only 75% of what he had quoted me. Getting all this stuff done around the house kind of makes me wish that I was staying here.

The weather had finally warmed up and it was a beautiful night to go for a walk in the neighbourhood. I took my camera along just for the hell of it, not really expecting to see much exciting. I didn't see anything too unusual, but behind the cut are some pictures. I love this time of year when the days are long and the sun is still up at 8:00 p.m. Here's some of what I saw:

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Tomorrow and Friday I am working from home, or more accurately, attending a virtual conference from home. It will be a nice break leading into the weekend. I hope you had a good day today and I hope your week is going well.