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For The Good Life

Remote Work and Learning

As a software professional, my work has mostly been done remotely for many years. I’ve had a daily routine that really didn’t change when this pandemic hit. But as I talk to people, I am definitely in the minority. So many people were in the habit of commuting to an office as their “hub.” My hub has been my house for about 5 years.

As many are saying, companies have invested to properly outfit the tech to get their employees productive at home. This new reality is going to be a paradigm shift for just about any business that is office-centered. I think what we’ll see is a 50/50 model, where employees work from home half the week. This shift will likely change the commercial real estate requirements, but maybe not for another year until the new norm is played out. Of course, there are side benefits like lower emissions, less accidents, better quality of life.

The same pattern goes for e-learning. The school paradigm was designed in the industrial era when kids needed to be occupied outside the home for 7-8 hours. There’s never been a better opportunity to change the school paradigm. My thought is 33/33/33. About 33% of the week in a classroom. 33% collaborating out of the classroom (or sports) and 33% at home. Not only will this help the child learn in a modern fashion, it will help with overcrowded schools. There is a enormous opportunity to teach kids self-discipline. A routine that they need to be accountable for themselves 33% of the time. This pattern will develop organizational and time management skills, which is one key area a lot of kids lack.

I’ve felt the benefits of working remote and being responsible for a productive routine and it’s helped me immensely. I believe we can drive a long-term positive outcome from this Government-mandated quarantine.

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For The Good Life

The Monster of all Tradeoffs

I hesitated to write about this publicly. I’m not one to publish my opinions about current events, political issues or fake news. Usually, I stick to music and after reading this you might agree.

What’s happened since January is a once-in-a-generation event. It’s so monumental, we probably won’t be able to get proper perspective for another year or so. When the news was announced that there was an “executive order” to close down most of America, I had an extremely bad feeling. I didn’t fear the virus at all, frankly. I feared having to start from zero again – for the 3rd time (dot-com bubble, financial crisis).

I’ve been working with a software startup for about a year now. We are just starting to see some light at the end of the launch tunnel. Now, the light is very dim. Our staffing division was chopped in half, pretty much overnight. My wife was put on furlough and needs to collect unemployment. There is a chance (hopefully small) that our income goes to $0 in June.

My son who went through fire trying to get a winning season at his high school had an excellent chance at his final baseball season. Now – it’s history and we’ll never know. Four years of preparation, elbow surgery, thousands of dollars for travel baseball and hundreds of games. Even though we enjoyed those times (other than the broken elbow), the hope was leading up to this final season of his senior year in high school. He has paid a large toll to “save lives” and I’m sure he hasn’t fully grasped that yet.

I get it, we need to distance and slow the curve, but I think we went too far. People’s businesses and perhaps their futures have been burned to the ground by an executive order. No vote. Just a bunch of “smart” people telling our politicians what to do. Did we save lives? Yes, for sure. However, the mortality rate for humans is still at 100%.

I believe we could have taken precautions without destroying the economy, families and our government. This bailout is 3x the size of 2009, but it’s worse because we’ve derailed several industries that were perfectly fine. We’ve artificially created a depression that might take another decade to recover – who really knows.

People are so scared of this virus, that there is an enormous amount of irrational behavior going on. Behaviors that may never change. My grandma used to sweep the front porch every day until the day she died. She did that out of habit from the effects of the dust bowl in 1930. 60 years later. People will probably wear masks for decades. Some people will be afraid to shake hands forever.

By taking such drastic measures to slow the spread, certain types of people will be changed forever. Was that all absolutely necessary? No one I know has (or had) the virus. Of all my family, friends and neighbors, I’ve heard of one person who got it – and he’s recovered. Lockdown, mission accomplished? What happens when it starts spreading again next Fall?