Respectable you

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

I went to work on Monday, March 16th. About 2 o’clock that afternoon my manager called to say it’s happening; pack up your laptop and go home. In the span of about a minute I became an instant remote employee along with many other people. In the scheme of things, home is a very, very fortunate place to be during a pandemic, no question, but working from home still carries potential for some serious struggle. Overnight people went from the luxurious ability to send everyone in the household off for their day before heading off to an environment nicely set up for work, to sending everyone as far away in the house as safely feasible before heading over to a desk made out of a pile of boxes and attempting to get something done before someone had a need.
Chris Port, the COO of a Dell Technologies business, captured the situation very accurately in a June 7th Forbes Article on home-bound employees: “It is time we recognize the difference between working from home and being at home during a crisis trying to work.”
Did anyone else just breathe a sigh of relief reading that? While employee engagement and productivity are fundamental imperatives for businesses, the third imperative has to be figuring out how to help employees get the job done as well as humanly possible, given the circumstances being what they are. I felt such instant relief reading that helpful distinction between working from home and being sent home during a crisis to try to work from home -- and I’m not even homeschooling kids or competing with anyone for prime workspace! But the fact of the matter is, life is not normal and everything has been thrown out of whack.
Of course, everyone worries about what would happen to our operation if we remote workers all just kicked back and relaxed. But I’m also worried about what I’m guessing is far more likely to be going on out there:  a lot of self-critical intolerance of any perceived weakness or lesser performance coming out of us.
Naturally, being a wellness person, I always then instruct myself to chase that criticism with compassion. But I’ve noticed something about compassion. While it helps and I do feel better, it doesn’t quite get the job done: there is always something still unsettled in me which compassion alone doesn’t quite reach.
But I got to the bottom of the compassion limitation this past weekend when I picked up on a whisper of pity mixed in. Ahh. There it is. Pity doesn’t quiet anything. I tried what seemed like pity’s opposite: respect. What I found was after drumming up some honest regard for how hard I’m trying and how hard this is – no matter that I’ve got it pretty good compared to others -- my disquiet subsided. And then I felt like trying harder. With a little respect for what I’m going through, my drive to keep at it was restocked.
What about you? Does something different come out of you when you give yourself some respect for what you are managing and feeling?