I’m a single woman, 34, and I feel like, with more people getting vaccinated, I may soon have to decide whether I’m returning to my same job in the same old way. I’ve already heard of employers in big firms telling people they can choose whether to work from home or return to their desks.
For me, having experienced the fears of getting very ill from COVID-19, not being able to see my parents and grandmother in person, and struggling with learning all the technology to work virtually, I’m now having second thoughts about going back to “normal” regarding my job.
I’m vaccinated (awaiting my second shot as soon as possible), so I can now visit my family and be with the friends who are also soon going to be double-vaccinated.
Working from home, I don’t have to board public transit with others who may be unvaccinated, or get in elevators with people who’ll stop distancing or wearing masks in crowds, or be in a roomful of people who like to gossip up close.
Thinking about this is making me feel stressed again. I like my job but I’ve learned to do it even better from home. The only distractions are the ones I choose, such as staying in touch with my closest friends and a past boyfriend whom I’d missed.
But there’s salary at risk. If the boss wants everyone back, it’s uncertain how s/he’ll respond to my saying, No thanks.
I know the employees who had an office social life, including lunches, five o’clock drinks (and office affairs), will go back.
But I’m unsure what to do. I need my income to cover my rent and expenses. Though I liked a number of my co-workers, I’ve never counted wholly on my workplace for my social life, and I feel most comfortable and secure in my home office.
What do you advise?
My Post-Pandemic Puzzle
You’re operating on over-think which is adding to your confusion. Yes, it’s understandable, because there may be widespread calls to return to the office soon after public health officials can declare that we’ve reached herd immunity through the numbers of people fully vaccinated in your larger geographical area.
But there are logical steps in your evaluation that you need to consider. Remember, this is a relationship column so it needs to be clear to both of us whether this is about your relationship to your work and your future in this field.
OR, if it’s really about your relationship to yourself and your need to live comfortably with this major choice.
Concerns about financial needs if working from home should be discussed with an accountant and bank advisor. (Consider creating your own home-based freelance company if that serves your personal requirements better, but you’ll check out start-up costs).
Yet, your needs for emotional comfort became more apparent through pandemic restrictions on in-person contact with close relatives and friends.
If you choose to return to the office-based job and related routines, you’d likely adjust soon enough, because you have these other support people.
But will you feel happy and secure enough to be positive and productive there again? The last thing you want to do is go back only to then drop out or get depressed.
Think it through on the basis of understanding yourself, your actual financial needs, your long-term goals and needs in the work force, and what lifestyle factors you believe you can successfully handle.
FEEDBACK Regarding a young couple’s need to experience their own relationship journey (June 25):
Reader – “While it's nice that the aunt’s concerned about the nephew's potential reaction to a breakup, I agree with you that breakups are important life experiences. I’d suggest that the parents not offer much in the way of unsolicited advice, only note that distance can put a strain on a relationship and he should be prepared that feelings can change, perhaps even his own feelings. If the parents have stories of their own to relate to him, that could be helpful. They should also say that he can come to them if he needs support in any way.”
Reader #2 – “I’d tell the aunt to “butt out.” They’re young adults who’ve already shown responsible behaviour. If she keeps up an intrusive interest, her nephew could soon be telling her just that.
“It’s these “life lessons” that prepare people for future events.”
Tip of the day:
Assess your personal/emotional/financial needs now, before deciding whether to return to an office-based job, or stay home-based if possible.