Tag Archives: covid-19

Actually, Let’s Write About The Pandemic

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I’ve been dreading that we’ll see an onslaught of “Pandemic tales” in the realm of books. Fictions with familiar plagues, quick books offering useless advice, and so on. I’m obviously and worried we’d see too many people jumping on the plague train.

I’d now like to take that back.

First, I want to take that back in that my assumptions were very negative. There are doubtlessly many people who will write about the Pandemic for good reasons. I focused too much on the negative reasons people might write on it, which was out of line.

My second reason is that I’ve come to realize that we need to look at the Pandemic in fiction, advice books, and memoirs. We need this so we can process the experience.

The Pandemic is overwhelming. Even those of us thinking we’re handling it are not functioning at 100%. Even after the Pandemic, we’ll need to understand our experience and that of others. The written word is a way to do that.

Fiction lets us understand experiences from a safe distance and even a different perspective.

Nonfiction lets us analyze and evaluate data and analysis.

Memoirs let us step into the place of another and see their experience.

Each written work is a gateway into another way to see what we went through.

Writing is a way for us to handle, understand, and share what we’ve gone through. Sure there will be bad work, exploitative work, and so on – but isn’t that happening anyway? I shouldn’t judge the Pandemic by the standards of what goes on anyway.

However, there’s a second reason I realized we should be fine with “Pandemic writing.” Some of us who write may need to write it. We want to get out our feelings, or our inspirations, or record our experiences. We as writers may need to write these books that will come.

Our muse is going to drive us to write these books, so why not? Hell, I’m even considering one at this point (from my unique approach, of course).

So, I take back anything I said about “oh, gods, not an onslaught of Pandemic books.” Writing is how we deal with, learn, understand, and experience things. The Pandemic is appropriate material.

(Besides, we can criticize lousy or opportunistic work no matter how it came to be.)

Steven Savage

How Much Time Did You Lose In The Pandemic?

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

As my regular readers are aware, I’ve speculated on how the Pandemic has slowed down my projects and my life.  That got me asking something – is there a way to calculate how much time is lost due to the pandemic?  Of course I had to try.  

Let’s go through my thought processes – it might help you as well.

So first, I decided to calculate time lost in hours.  Because I’m that over-organized and like fine detail.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The calculations below already account for how different needs interfere with each other. In other words, this is real loss due to stress/time/etc. not just available time shifting around.

First, I went to my projects.  I track my projects pretty closely, and I found I’ve functioned at 80-90% efficiency for about a year.  A few quick calculations and I found that my overall projects – from writing to home improvement – got delayed or took extra time.  That was about 5 hours a week, to my surprise – disconnected from everything else.

Secondly, I went to regular chores such as shopping and so on.  No longer could I or my GF randomly run to the store.  We also had to preplan a lot of work, engage in other safety procedures, and so on.  This one was shocking as we found this added another two hours of time a week.

(Sometimes online shopping takes longer as you just can’t grab stuff you realize you need or do it on the way home from work).

Finally, seeing now and then I notice we’d just crash more than usual.  That was intermittent, but usually turned out to be about four hours a week.

Note this also didn’t worry about saving time due to not commuting.  That was not as big as I thought – only about three hours a week.  Car pooling saved me more time than realized because I could just sit and work on stuff.

So all together I realized I’m losing eight hours a week in the pandemic from stress, from things taking longer, from not being able to double-up on chores.  In one year I’ll have lost over 400 hours – this is due to things taking longer, extra unexpected tasks, stress, and schedule changes.

It really does feel like I  need a two month vacation.

So anyway there’s an invite to you – how much time have you lost?

Steven Savage

Steve’s Work From Home Findings: Those Who Can’t WFH Deserve More

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

So I’d like to sit down and discuss what I’ve learned about Work From Home over the last few months. I am of the firm belief that more people can work from home, should work from home, and there are great benefits. I think we need to shift our businesses to more work from home. But this brings up my first finding: those who can’t Work From Home deserve a lot more.

A LOT.

This isn’t just about people in essential jobs deserve to be paid more. This isn’t just about these jobs require a lot of skills. This is that those in these hands-on, be-on-premises jobs, deserve more PERIOD.

They deserve to be paid more – and most of us are pretty underpaid as is. This is pretty much a given. But let’s look at what essential people face;

  • They have to travel to a job, disrupting their life and schedule.
  • They have to deal with all the problems of being tied to a location, which as we’ve seen has challenges.
  • Work tied to a location often has inconvenient schedules, where many of us get standard weekday work.

And consider what many “on-site people” have to do. These are skilled jobs:

  • They have to deal with people person-to-person. If you have ever seen a cashier, stocker, etc. deal with an irate or curious or lost customer, that is serious knowledge and emotional labor being deployed.
  • They have to deal with physical infrastructure: traveling in an area, dealing with physical inventory, installing computer components, etc. There is physical, mental, and skilled labor here.
  • Dealing with physical infrastructure often has risks: chemicals, heavy equipment, disease exposure, etc. Doing that right, being safe requires work – and compensation.

These people deserve more money and of course proper benefits. But they also deserve more.

They deserve respect. We’ve just found that those who can’t work from home are people we often depend on, and they deserve to be respected. They do not deserve to be abused by angry customers, or people that won’t observe health advice, and so on.

They deserve a career. We need so many people who can’t WFH and they deserve to have a life, with a career. Not just because they do work, but they’re DAMN GOOD at what they do, so let’s make sure they have a path. Some do have a career, of course.

They deserve support. Medical care on site. Health services. Meal services. Anything that helps them do their jobs dealing with US the annoying public.

This applies to people from store stockers and baristas to doctors and nurses. We rely on these people to be intimately involved in our lives and help us out. They deserve a lot more.

And if this makes you realize your doctor and the barista who has your coffee are similar, good. Because that doctor who deals with your hypochondria and that barista who remembers your order and gives you a kind word, are both supporting you. Keep that in mind.

Now, my future writing is going mostly go to us who can work from home. But keep in mind those that can’t deserve MORE.

Steven Savage