Hi. My name is John. And I’m a COVID Longhauler.
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If you missed the first part of this series, well, that’s fine with me, but you might want to read it for a little background. I’ve even made this a hyperlink so you don’t have to do any searching around, because, hey, I’m just that nice of a guy.
But hey, it’s your world. If you don’t want to read it, fine: Here’s a summary. Us Longhaulers hate the question “How ya doing?” because we’re generally doing pretty crappy, but we don’t know if you really want to hear all about it. So we’d rather hear, “I got you, bro,” because, dude, we really, really need caring people in our lives right now, people who are willing to get down in the trenches and stay there and help us navigate what is a pretty scary situation.
Without further ado…
Things Longhaulers Hate to Hear No. 2: “How about we meet at 3 p.m.?”
The culture at my previous job was, to say the least, toxic. Managers were allowed to talk nasty about other managers to whomever they happened to have as a captive audience, and they were supported in their immaturity by their higher-ups. And my God, how they loved to meet. Everything was a meeting. If you didn’t have at least three meetings on your calendar every day, you should be looking for another job because you weren’t a part of the action. My all-time record in my time there was eight. Eight. Meetings. In. One. Day.
Now, meetings are a fact of life for higher-ups. But when I say this place ran on meetings, it ran on meetings for everyone. All the people who actually did the marketing and communications work (those who actually generated content) had so little time to actually do the marketing and communications work because they were in so many meetings. And when some crazy radical (Hi there!) brought up the fact that this should probably change in the best interest of, ya know, the customer, guess what happened? They scheduled a meeting with about 10 “stakeholders” to discuss it!
Alas, I have landed in a place with far fewer meetings and I am much more sane these days.
But occasionally there is a need to meet. Ever since I started my COVID journey, I have hated to hear, “How about 3 p.m.” or anything close to that time frame. Why? Well, if you’re a Longhauler, you probably know: We don’t do too well later in the day, especially if we’ve been getting some stuff done earlier in the day. For me, by 2 or 3 p.m., if I haven’t had some major rest, my brain is starting to get all foggy; it begins right around my eyes. I don’t know if anyone can relate to this, but it feels like my eyes become sunken. And I Just. Can’t. Think.
I work as a Creative Person. It’s not easy to be creative when your eyes are falling back into your brain.
So when someone wants to plan a meeting or an interview with me for 3 p.m. or later, I dread it and try to find a way around it.
Things Longhaulers Would Rather Hear, No. 2: “How about we talk about this tomorrow?”
If you work with a Longhauler or supervise a Longhauler, now is the time to show your empathy. Yes, business matters. Yes, the bottom line matters. But if you valued your Longhauler before he or she became a Longhauler, you’ll proceed gently. Your co-worker is trying to get better. She’s not making this up. She doesn’t want to run out of energy and get all brain-foggy. She’d trade her symptoms for any workload you could possibly put on her.
She just… can’t.
So be flexible. Work with your Longhauler co-worker. Find a meeting time that fits best in her Hopefully Temporary New Normal. And if she has to cancel or reschedule late, try to understand.
By being flexible and understanding, you’re helping promote her return to wellness. And that’s what we all want more than anything right now, to not feel like this, to be who we were, to get back to being the awesome employees we know we can be.
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