There are the Covid 19 side effects we’ve been hearing about since the early days of this pandemic – shortage of PPE and ventilators, high rates of death, especially amongst the elderly, the economic downturn, and then there are the side effects we’re just starting to hear more about….
Impact on Our Relationships
Week 13, Week 14, Week 15, as the pandemic lasts and lasts, many find themselves with time to think about their lives in ways that that there often isn’t time for. 24/7 time to wonder about (and ruminate about) your closest relationships. Because the flip side of social isolation is togetherness with your nearest and dearest. And thinking about whether this really is the person you want to spend 24/7 with.
Is it “The Big YES”: gratitude for the time to spend with the one you love, and appreciation for the opportunity to have this time for the two of you.
Or, is it “Get Me Out of Here” – the realization that the more time you are forced to spend together, the more you realize that this is not the life you want, or the person you want to spend it with.
As we look at countries that are ahead of us in dealing with this pandemic, one of the unexpected side effects has been the rate of dissolution of relationships. Separation and divorce rates are skyrocketing in China, in Italy, and we’re already hearing the same in Canada. As someone who works with assisting people in the process of Separation and Divorce, my experience has mirrored what I’ve read about around the world. Several weeks of quiet as we all adjusted to our new normal, followed by an influx of calls as people realize that this “new normal” is not a short term adjustment of how we live, but really is the NEW NORMAL. There is no question that for many, the imposed reality of this much togetherness is forcing the issue of “What do I want in my future, and whom do I want to spend it with?”
Impact on Our Businesses
There’s lots in the news about the impact of Covid on big business, and on store front retail. But for many CAWEE members, those are not our businesses. We’re more likely to be solo entrepreneurs, professionals, consultants.
What impact has Covid had on our businesses, and, more importantly, on our business plans, and the way we envision the future of our businesses. We have all experienced stress and worry – that’s a given. But there’s been a flip side. Many of us have revamped the way that we work in ways that we might never had had the courage to experiment with, if it weren’t for Covid. Looking at this group, I wonder how many had really contemplated virtual work before? Who knew about Zoom? And how many of us would have ever anticipated that we could convert face to face business interactions into successful remote work relationships?
The Unequal Impact on Women’s Lives
As women, each and every one of us has become aware of the unequal impact that Covid has had on the lives of women. The businesses that have experienced the most significant economic impact of this pandemic all employ a disproportionate number of women – Services Industries such as Hospitality, Retail, and Tourism. Many of these jobs will be gone for a long time to come. Others employed in professions, or entrepreneurs and the self-employed are still employed, but now find themselves working from home. And with no schools open, no day cares open, we’re balancing providing childcare, home schooling our children, with the pressures of learning to do our jobs remotely. And for many, there is no immediate end in sight to this juggling.
For those of us of “a certain age”, it is reminiscent of one of the side effects of the Women’s Movement of the 60’ and 70’s – the determination to succeed professionally as equals to the men in our lives, meant that we carried 2 full time jobs: the responsibility for home and family as before, and the new full time employment that we wanted and yearned for. And, I say this with the recognition that over the past 50 years, there have been many changes in the ways that most families operate. Dads and Husbands carry a much more equal role in the family, and in the home. But women often still earn less than men. If childcare doesn’t exist in the same way, schools and camp are not open to provide 6 hours of childcare per day, the reality is that more women will be forced to leave the workforce as it will not make economic sense for the higher wage earner to stay home. We are already seeing an exacerbation of pre-existing inequalities between men and women.
Side Effects of Covid – 19: Where are the Positives?
Crises often have surprising side effects as we learn to manage them. Whether it’s in revisiting our relationships, our businesses, or how we figure out the next stage of our roles as women in this crazy pandemic world, this can be:
For many of us at Cawee, this may be a time to remember that we formed our businesses ourselves, often as we were experiencing, or coming out of a crisis. This pandemic may be the universal crisis that creates a new way for life, happiness and success.