It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a wild ride! But now that we’ve slowed down a little bit for the holidays, it’s a good time to take a breath and realize that it wasn’t all bad! In fact, this mess of a year has taught many of us some valuable lessons. Members of our EBI team have learned a lot. You might even see yourself in some of their stories.
“Embrace the chaos.” – our boss, Rick Kurland, said that to us circa 2015. This has been my motto since day one of the pandemic. Transitioning to working from home was a challenge, transitioning to working from home while also taking care of a toddler?
Pure chaos… and I’ve loved every minute of it.
They say, “Home is where the Heart is”, and if that’s true then surely Home Office is where the Heart is most comfortable. I’ve learned that when need be, I am able to work anywhere. Cross-legged on the couch? Check. Bundled up in bed? Check. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to put roots down at a desk. The year 2020 looks a lot different than 2019, but despite all the craziness I cling to these two furry blessings. I read somewhere that “self-care is putting your face on a very soft cat” and I concur that the extra time spent at home with my kittens has been the best way to care for myself this year.
Prior to the pandemic I never fully understood the value of making time for one’s self. Previously I had over an hour of time alone on my commute to and from work. I had an office where I could close the door and avoid interruption with ease. I took those moments of time for granted and never realized how important they were for my day-to-day psyche. The ability to simply take a breath and think through an issue or a goal.
Now that we’re settling into a rhythm, I always work to build this in along with exercise. A hike in the woods or even a walk around the block provides an important moment for reflection and sometimes just a pause in an otherwise chaotic time. It can be near impossible some days with our hectic schedules, but I’m a big believer that you cannot help or support others without first taking care of yourself.
In the past year, I have learned how well I dealt with change, from working in office, to fully remote, a house full of kids, to my niece having to learn virtual school and work beside me.
I’ve also learned how much my three-year-old nephew really watches me and mimics me; he now walks around with his play laptop and says he is working just like me, with his play coffee cup in hand.
It was said the 2010s was the age of perpetual crisis. “The changes we’ve undergone, both wonderful and terrible, are astonishing,” said writer, historian, and activist, Rebecca Solnit in 2016. Well, I cannot help but wonder how Rebecca will describe the start of the 2020s.
As for me, I’m not even sure how I’ll describe it one day, but for now, it has made me live by a mantra my dad – a retired Marine Corps Veteran – who passed away unexpectedly back in August instilled in me, “Improvise. Adapt. And Overcome.” Much of this year my family has improvised in ways we never gave thought to, especially with two elementary-aged kids and virtual learning since March. I used to schedule meetings at work around other work-related activities and priorities whereas now I schedule them around dance, music, gym classes, and the boys’ lunches. After a couple of months of managing schedules much more efficiently, I adapted rather well, and the boys did too.
This has been such a challenging year for all of us when it comes to trying to work through all of our “new normals.” Having so much more time at home, I had time to evaluate my future, and with the support of my human and fur baby family, I made the decision to leave a job I’d been at for nearly two decades. In interviewing with EBI, I always felt like I was speaking with friends and family; we are truly lucky to have to “go to work” every day with people we all share such an amazing connection with.
The ability to have faith in yourself and to trust your gut is the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year and I look forward to seeing what we can all accomplish in 2021!
If 2020 has taught me anything it is to appreciate the little things in life!
Such as the laughter of loved ones, going on a walk for some fresh air or simply enjoying a cup of hot chocolate on movie night.
Before COVID-19, my focus was always on the next…the next collaboration, the next report, the next travel date, the next school day, with a brief moment of gratitude for the present. The chaos of 2020 has reminded me to appreciate the now; the energy that comes from working with EBI teammates to generate ideas, the warmth of seeing that look of pride and achievement in a coworkers’ eyes, the relief of being able to see and talk to my family from across the country, and the pure joy of laughing out loud as my youngest makes up a joke that I don’t understand.
I am thankful for this lesson, as it has allowed me to connect with the people in my life, both personally and professionally.
I have learned over this last year to be more empathetic.
Things changed quickly for most people with how we do our jobs, where we do our jobs, and whether we would be able to keep our jobs. Everyone has dealt with extra stress, whether it is a fear of the virus, the fear of potential financial insecurities for themselves and/or loved ones, and struggling with doing their jobs under new circumstances.
With all of this in mind, and feeling some of the same things myself, I have become more empathetic toward another person’s possible circumstances.
While working from home I have learned to be flexible and multitask!
From giving attention to my dog who thinks it’s playtime, to becoming a pro at muting the phone at the perfect time so callers don’t hear the chaos going on outside my window.
This year I have learned that I can work from home and I find it more relaxing than being in the office. I am not as tense; I am able to concentrate more. I do not have to go out in the pouring rain or cold weather. I still get up at the same time and prepare for work the same as before. I am saving money because I do not go to Starbucks as much anymore!
The cat lays in his basket on my desk and watches me work or watches the birds outside the window. I pull the dog’s beds in and they sleep or play near me, but do not bother me. At lunchtime, we play outside or go for a walk. I really enjoy that lunchtime walk!
When COVID-19 first hit and I was sent home to work I didn’t like it at all. I preferred my workstation at the office because I was used to it and it helped me to separate work from home.
However, once I adapted to my new environment, I began to appreciate no longer having to drive 25 miles each way in rush hour traffic and other things related to “having” to go to the office each day. I’ve even learned to have a little fun with my backgrounds for the remote video meetings. I had a summer backdrop, a “running with the turkeys” for Thanksgiving, and have now switched to a big Christmas tree.
I have always been a patient person. But in this last year I have become more patient and understanding. I see that things will happen when they should and not exactly when you want them too.
I have also learned to push myself harder. And since no travel time back and forth to work, I appreciate that extra time as well.
2020 has been quite the year! We hope these stories from our team made you laugh, made you smile, and helped you find something to be thankful for during this holiday season.
Like all things in life, this difficult year shall pass and greater things are still to come. Cheers to 2021. All of us at EBI are ready! Are you?
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.