A Cheap Lesson Contra "Burn It to the Ground"

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Business writer Alison Green writes in Slate that "Working From Home Is Making a Lot of People Miserable." It is interesting to consider all of the good things about having to go to an office that so many people have learned on their own hides because governments forced them to try to work from home wholesale. (This in no way excuses such tyrannical behavior.)

Here's just one of seven things the Ask a Manager columnist gleaned from readers -- and it's from someone who was working from home before the "lockdowns":

Image by Tito Texidor III, via Unsplash, license.
It was great when I was working from home and my kids were in day care/camp. Now I have a kindergartner and a second grader who are 100% online and it's no fun. For anyone involved. They don't understand "important" and will pester me while on the phone. Meltdowns, loud noises, all normal kid stuff but it makes it really hard for me to work. I'm tech support and tutor, while managing a small remote team and responding to clients. I'm working odd hours to catch up, taking calls and meetings through Teams on my phone. I'm frustrated and short with my kids. I feel like I don't get a break. I'm "on" from the moment the kids wake up until they go to bed, then I have to play catch up.

Basically, it feels like I'm failing everyone. I'm dropping balls at work and I'm not the patient, helpful mom I want to be. When all this is over, I will need a serious vacation to decompress.
My kids are back in school, but this sounds very familiar, including the part about needing a vacation. Which sucks, because I would bet lots of people will have lost all kinds of momentum or will have lots of catching up to do. I have and I do.

If there is a positive learning to be gleaned from the lockdowns -- besides the value of rule of law -- it might be that idle fantasy can be a dangerous thing. There is a saying to the effect of, "Watch out: You may get what you wish for."

This has just happened to millions of office workers and during a time of great discontent -- a time when such ideas as defunding the police get actual traction, rather than the ridicule they deserve. (What about this crazy idea: Police that don't abuse their power...)

Burning down all our offices, we now know -- without actually having done so -- wouldn't be a bright idea.

Perhaps we should think twice before we burn anything else down.

-- CAV

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