JULY 20, 2020
Nooo… this isn’t a post about the current trauma surrounding the Boy Scouts of America. Consider it a.. segue to present the idea of relying more on yourself in meeting the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic, given it seems leadership in general is missing, and the chaotic confusion that abounds. This part will be a short intro to the other parts to follow where I will report on my own plan to prepare for this thing getting worse on the nation. Maybe it will stimulate your own thoughts on a small measure of self-preservation for you and your loved ones. Oh.. don’t worry.. this isn’t a prepper/survivalist end-of-the-world, zombie apocalypse lesson.
I was in Boy Scouts for many years while a youngster, from Cub Scouts through Explorers. While the value of that organization to our future culture is currently in question, Scouting’s past mantra has nonetheless been a good set of moral guidelines that has lasted the test of time. Their universal motto has never lost it’s effect…. Be Prepared. We need to heed that more than ever right about now.
For the purpose of this discussion let’s separate out the daily media, the babble from the White House, political lamentations on the current Covid chaos, it’s origins, blaming… let’s focus only on one thing here.. managing the stress and staying safe and trying to survive in this environment.
In The Beginning… (Well, Sort Of…) –
Early in this pandemic lifecycle and before the (initial) shutdown I could easily perceive around me and from reporting by the media that the confusion on how to handle the virus inside and outside the workplace and in social settings in general was itself pandemic pandemonium. Being a security guard vendered out to a county agency I sort of serve two masters. At the time I was witnessing the complications of employers trying to communicate accurate information about the virus to protect their employees while also keeping to the business at hand. One would think (at the time) that information conveyed to my local county office employees by their own “headquarters” would be fairly accurate and reliable. But quickly it was very apparent reliable information from up the chain was not forthcoming. My own company management had absolutely nothing to convey to guards in the field (and still doesn’t)… and, information flowing from the county department heads seemed to shed some responsibility to the local offices. In other words… employees, as well as myself since I was part of their environment, were simply afraid of catching this thing and we were looking for mitigation guidelines… leadership from somewhere. Now, this isn’t to cast aspersions on county or company management because this was and is all completely new to them as well. This has been new to everyone. We can have fire drills, power outage drills, earthquake drills, tornado and hurricane drills, bomb threat drills, even active shooter drills. Pandemic drills were never even imagined.
What I did to.. “assist” in a kind of moral way… was putting on my human hat and reinforce to those staff folks in a quandary where I could that this virus can cause severe illness or death and in the absence of knowledgeable, credible information… YOU MUST WATCH OUT FOR YOURSELF (AND FAMILY)… job comes second. Each person must decide for themselves the risk of exposure in what they do, their age and health as a risk factor consideration. Pushing papers, tending to customers, is secondary if you feel you are at risk. Paying the rent or mortgage on time at home is secondary as it was certainly obvious to me that those payments would be universally delayed or deferred down the line as this was a national emergency. Many utility companies quickly jumped onboard with deferring shutoffs for non-pay and/or to expanded payment schedules. Human lives, not the work mission, is more important. Food IS important so any available money should go there before anything else. Fortunately for the situation here the state shutdown went into affect shortly after… and I stayed in my vehicle for 8 hours a day and the office was locked up with most staff working from home, and cases/customers by appointment only to enter. When your world has suddenly changed and appearing to be falling apart rapidly I did what I could to provide a measure of focus and balance to those needing a little confidence to get through the day.
The Here And Now –
All that It seems light years away even though we went through all that only a few months ago, and a lot has happened in the country. I find myself thinking again about those words I shared with some of those employees, only on a far more personal level… watch out for number one. National leadership is non-existent, local leadership is just blundering along with confusing guidance from our long respected health institutions surrendering to a measure of political whims over actual science, all deep inside the political divide that has separated this country since Trump started. The only progress in all this pandemic since January has been.. wearing a mask and social distancing. The science has not caught up yet to save us, but the politics sure is profound; mask wearing defines who you are politically. In the meantime people are dying… and those of us still living are wondering how we, and our loved ones, can survive all this. Stress galore for everyone.
In Part 2 I will share my own list of stress levels and how that becomes the incentive for putting together my own preparedness plan.
.*** PROCEED TO PART 2 (It’s Coming) ***