To My Co-Workers in 2020

07 Jun 2020

The past few months we’ve endured together have not been pretty.

We’ve had to change our style of working, how we meet, how we talk to each other.

I want you to know a few things, my co-worker, my intrepid companion in a sea of Zoom calls and Slack messages.

I don’t mind when your child wanders onto the Zoom call and asks you how to turn on the television so that they can watch Frozen II.

Your family is the most important thing in the world. I am your co-worker - you will remember me (hopefully fondly) in ten years. We may be friends.

But I am an ephemeral part of your life.

I am glad to have met you, to be sure. But I know my place in your life, and I am content with it.

Your relationship with those who are truly important to you is what matters to me.

I want you to know, dear co-worker, that I do not mind when you step away to change a diaper, or to talk to your kid, partner, or parent.

I don’t mind when your dog barks or your cat knocks a glass of water off of your desk.

I don’t mind when your significant other walks behind you in between loads of laundry.

I don’t mind when your humanity shows through the veneer of professionalism. As a matter of fact, I greatly prefer it.

The greatest gift we’ve been given in this terrible and stressful time is each other.

My co-worker,

I talk to you now more than I talk to anyone except Amanda, my partner.

In many ways, work has saved me in 2020. The last four months have been extremely challenging for me, mentally.

The most dangerous form of Davis is when he doesn’t have something to do. That’s when the doubts and fears can creep in. That’s what I’m endlessly trying to avoid.

When I code, sing, paint, play board games, learn a new language, or write, I am desperately outrunning the voices in my head that say “You aren’t good enough.”

I am enjoying myself during hobby time, sure, but more importantly, I am keeping myself from drifting into the abyss.

The pandemic has been a terrible curse that’s spread across the world and stolen untold time from everyone. We have all had to modify our life’s trajectory to accomodate an unforeseen global event. There are very few positives that have come from such a terrible event.

But one of them, my friend, is that I have seen you at home, in your element. I have met your children and pets and spouses. I have talked to you about my stress and anxieties about the world. And you have told me how you feel.

In the midst of a sea of grievances and tragedy, I have gotten to know you - not the sterilized facade that we all wear into the office.

Thank you for that.

To my co-workers who are people of color,

I cannot imagine having lived my whole life worried about going outside. You have dealt with it for your entire life.

I have struggled with articulating my thoughts because I am well aware that I am a white dude.

I will say that I want you to know that you have an ally in me. Black lives matter. Your lives matter.

I am aware that you’re feeling all of the sorrow, outrage, and horror that I am, multiplied exponentially and in a much more real way that I will never understand. I know that you’ve been struck with a double-whammy of a global pandemic and then a recorded lynching of one of your community.

I want you to know that I appreciate you and I wish I could hide or patch up the ugliness of American culture that is bubbling up to the top.

To my colleagues,

We’ve made it half-way through one of the worst years we will (hopefully) ever experience.

Thank you for doing it with me, however involuntarily, and let’s hope the next six months have more to offer us.