Coronavirus, the Lockdown and Life

“May you live in interesting times”

As I sit and write these words in April 2020 much if not all of the world is under some for of lockdown as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. As friends and family began getting the terrible news of furloughs and layoffs I was feeling pretty good about my circumstances, just a few months ago I left my long held job to take a help desk position with a medium sized elder care community and begin my journey to what I hoped would eventually be a cybersecurity position.

As the pandemic raged on and new information about how it is transmitted and who is effected the most was coming to light I was still fortunate enough to not only be going to work every morning but working with a population that was deeply effected by the current climate. Working among this high risk group of people was both incredibly rewarding and challenging. On one end of the spectrum(amazing end) we became the only outside interaction some of these residents were having, this small short interaction made their days and became more important than the job at hand. On the other hand we were now becoming the possible vector for the coronavirus to spread from room to room as went about our day. The business was determined to continued on pretty much business as usual all while many of us employees had been seeing the news about how well coronavirus was spreading in nursing homes across the country were starting to worry ourselves that we may be putting the residents at risk.

Then one Monday morning we were informed that a resident had tested positive for Covid-19 the previous week. Now campus was incredibly on edge, residents and employees alike, why the delay in notifying everyone? What new measures are being implemented? The leadership appeared to be caught off guard and again determined to “continue business as usual” per an email from the CEO.

The End Comes

Photo of Isolation Notice on room door. Image © 2020 Bret Friedrich

Two days after we were informed of the positive individual on campus I was assigned a work order for a unit that was under Isolation Precautions(Photo above is the door and warnings). At this time I figured no one from my department was aware and I noted the work order that the unit was in Isolation and was unable to perform the work order. This set off a chain of events that to this moment in time I have still yet been able to wrap my head around. I was called by the department lead coordinator informing me I had to perform the ticket, I explained my position that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, there is already a positive case of Covid on campus and regardless of those two facts the room is clearly marked as an isolation unit and for the health of other residents, my family and myself I was not comfortable entering that room. I should note at this point no PPE or training on this situation had been offered. Again, not thinking anything much of this I continued on my day to my next ticket.

Again my phone rings, this time I am being summoned to a sit down with my boss. Now, I am starting to get nervous that my safety and concerns of safety for myself and others may not be as high a priority for my new employer. I go into my boss’s office who wastes no time informing me that I could could perform the ticket or I could leave campus, I again tried to explain my concerns to which my boss replied that he would just go take the damn sign down. At this point I think I said something along the line he was just being silly now. He asked for my badge and told me to get off campus.

My trip through the HR process went no better and as soon as they sent me back to boss I was immediately terminated.

Life can be a funny thing, I went from the high of a new job putting me on the path to my dream to joining tens of millions of Americans sitting at home wondering what the next step is. I have heard many people utter the quote above this post wishing for fun or adventure but maybe we have it backwards and its the stability of the uninteresting times we seek.

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