Into The Light

Into The Light

ASCA's Kevin Gilbride examines the sum total of the COVID-19 experience and comes to a surprising conclusion.

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May 15, 2020

I’ve been working from my home office for what is possibly the tenth week in a row when frustration hits.

It really is a culmination of things. My kids are tired of doing schoolwork away from the classroom and their friends. I’m tired of not having the usual flexibility in life that I now realize I took for granted.  I miss my coworkers.  I miss meeting up in person with ASCA members and our industry partners.  I think we are all just trying to make sense of these anxious and longing feelings right now. 

I recognize this is not a healthy mindset. So, I took in a breath of Spring-tinged air deep into my lungs to clear my head and check my feelings.

In 25 years as a professional I have never been home for this long. Since shelter at home I have logged some real family time that doesn’t include running from practice to practice or airport to airport.  I have had long talks about all kinds of subjects with my 9-, 12-, and 14-year-old, and we’ve connected like no other time in recent memory.  Likewise, my wife Annmarie and I have had more real conversations in the past two months than we have in years.  As a family we have connected in ways we never have before. Frankly, it doesn’t take much deep reflection to fully realize how thankful I am for all of this.

From a work perspective, we have all learned some new lessons, including embracing the technology we have otherwise ignored for years.  For example, I have had Microsoft Teams on my computer for a couple of years, and prior to this Spring I never used it.  Now, I have Microsoft Teams meetings, Skype meetings and Zoom meetings.  New challenges create new opportunities. It’s great to see people across town and across the country right from my home office.  I certainly hope I continue to utilize these tools as things return to normal. I don’t believe I’m alone in feeling thankful for the experiences and newfound comfort level I now have with tools I have ignored in the past.

Likewise, many of us learned our teams are effective working from home, and this is a great tool for the future. For example, how many times in the past was an employee forced to take a day off because a child was at home sick?  In the future we can simply allow them a work at home rather than burn a sick or personal day?  It’s just another realization in a long line of revelations we can be thankful for as we begin to emerge from COVID-19’s shadow and into the light of a new day.      

I recommend taking a moment to check your feelings. Set aside the anxiety, dread, confusion and malaise of the last eight to ten week and examine how the sum total of this recent experience has not only enriched your personal and professional lives, but made you a stronger and better person.

Now, this is something I think we can all be thankful for.

Kevin Gilbride is the Executive Director of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association. You can reach him at kgilbride@ascaonline.org