Counting back through my calendar it looks like today marked 16 weeks since I last worked on site. I was there a little longer than some to assist with last minute requirements to enable others to work from home. With people starting to return to work in England (but not in Wales), how have I fared so far?
The simple answer to this question is; pretty well.
I've been lucky to work in a field where I have been required the whole way through and haven't been put on furlough (the same did not apply for my partner though). I was also lucky that the role I now have can be done from anywhere and, in-fact, my workload has greatly increased due to the new requirement of having to manage so many devices and authentication in different ways from our staff and clients all over the country.
I can't deny that there have been some truly shit weeks in terms of workload. Expectations are high, delivery windows are tight and the stress of getting it right has been oh so real. However, it has been one hell of an experience and has had one serious learning curve in some places.
While I'm not the manager of my team, and I would never want to be - I prefer to actually work. I don't think it's wrong for me to say that I am so proud of the work that we have achieved. Not only that, but the projects that are still on-going to improve the services for so many users. They rely on us to be able to get their job done and for the most part, we haven't missed a beat. Sure, there have been some "oooh fuck" moments where things haven't gone to plan but nothing that we haven't been able to solve.
Again, some luck (and sacrifice) has been involved here. Living in the wilds of Wales where cases have been low - thing's dont seem to have been so bad. The population density here is ~ 45-50 per square km. Compare this to somewhere like Cardiff which is in excess ~ 2500 per square km. Once you take London in to consideration that has far in excess of 10,000 per square km... you get the picture.
The place is beautiful with some truly fantastic scenery right on my doorstep. This was from one of my runs, barely 5 miles away.
This doesn't come without sacrifices. Salary for one. While I'm paid well for the area I live in, I'm about £20k under the industry average for my role. On the flip side, going somewhere that offered me that comes with a higher costs of living so I guess it evens out in the end... kind of.
Along with the salary issue is the access to services. For day to day things that many people take for granted, like restaurants or cinemas - that's just not available here. The closest cinema is a little over 30 miles away. Sure, this place has pubs and small restaurants but it's just not the sort of thing you frequent.
Having this complete lack of services is something I have become completely used to and I also think it has helped during this time where restrictions have been in place. I despise calling it a "lock down" because that is far from what it has been. We've been able to go out to exercise once a day and be outside. Other countries have been in "lock down" - not able to go out or even leave their buildings without passes of some kind. Ours has been a restriction.
As I was saying. I'm used to not going out or doing things every single minute of every single day. It's just not the way I'm wired either. Spending time with people is utterly exhausting for me. If you've heard of the Myers-Briggs typing you'll already understand where I'm going here. If not, have a read. But I am VERY MUCH an INFJ-A, or "The Advocate". It's actually quite scary how spot on that is for me. While you change slightly over the years as you get older, it's still incredibly accurate.
I'm not sure where I was even going with this anymore... I got lost in a mind dump.
Being away from people, isolating in some ways - I've barely skipped a beat. I work alone in an office apart from occasional visits from colleagues, so working at home on my own has been no different. I keep very few "friends" as most people just use you - that's not friendship. I like to keep to myself, run through the wilds and ride my bike. I'm happy being on my own with my thoughts. After over 11 years, my partner gets me and we have each other's company all day every day. She's not the same, she needs people more than me so used to go out on occasion.
Sometimes people ask me if I ever get lonely. Sure, it gets a little lonely but all it takes is an hour talking to someone before I want to retreat back and be left alone again for weeks!
That's more than enough waffle for one day. Simply, I'm doing good and could happily continue this life for the forseeable future.
Many others are not so lucky and I do truly feel sorry for them. Once things open back up a little - maybe look for a simpler, slower life. Just keep in mind it really isn't for everyone.