City by city, state by state, country after country--we see stay-at-home mandates coming into effect as governments are working towards containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
While a lot of us in the non-essential businesses are sheltering at home, there are many more who continue working on the frontline because what they do is essential to keeping us safe; keeping us alive.
At a time when we are all facing the risk of contracting the coronavirus-- and the possibility of suffering from the severe COVID-19 pneumonia and worse, death--I think deeply about these frontline workers' COURAGE to show up day after day, coming in contact with hundreds of others that may carry and pass along the virus.
The police, paramedics, doctors and nurses--they all know that their jobs are essential to the continuity of societal operations. Even though they are trained to handle crises, the coronavirus crisis is overwhelming. Doctors and hospitals are in “battlefield medicine,” making desperate pleads for masks, respirators for patients and other key equipment.
But ask the cashers, stockroom workers, cleaning crew of retail stores and markets--they are just now realizing that they are a new class of emergency workers. They go to work everyday to pack, shelve and "sell food and other household staples to a country in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic." They are essential workers just like the police, paramedics, doctors and nurses, as reported in the article "When Stocking Grocery Shelves Turns Dangerous" by The New York Times.
"How do you feel about coming to work?" I asked a number of supermarket cashiers and stockroom workers standing 6 feet apart.
A number of them simply feel the weight of life on their shoulders. They need to put food on the table not only for their young kids but also elderly parents. Liz, a cashier and a single mom, feels vulnerable. She suffers from Type 1 diabetes and works two jobs. Every day she comes to work. She feels stressed out about being exposed to coronavirus and being bed-bound. Worse, she worries about passing the virus to her elderly parents who live with her to take care of her kids. People, like Liz, face the risk of COVID-19 because the alternative is to go hungry. Liz is keeping her family fed and alive. That is courage.
Then there are others who feel a sense of duty. "Worried? Of course, but I'm doing my job," said Elijah as he restocked the empty shelves in the produce section with packages of salad. "These days customers come out here to get away from their houses, to buy food to feed their families. If I can help them find the things they need, they always leave with a smile. That makes me happy." As we were chatting, I asked if they had broccoli crowns. Elijah grinned, "let me look in the back." People, like Elijah, face the risk of COVID-19 because they are a part of the workforce that keeps us fed and alive. That is courage.
There is my mom. She is among the most vulnerable population in an assisted living facility. I haven't been able to see her for weeks, but we chat on the phone every day. We talk honestly about the crisis, how her life has changed at the facility, the increasing number of cases, parents with young kids, drugs that offer the hope of a cure, and--deep in our hearts: how we feel. And everyday, she speaks with a strong, calming voice, "all these shall pass." That is courage.
Here we are at Jivox. Nowhere are our lives as threatened by the coronavirus as the essential workers, or the old and compromised. But we share the same responsibility to keep our community safe. Early March, our CEO asked everyone in six offices across four continents to work from home. Being a collaborative culture at Jivox, it seemed hard at first -- even though the infrastructure already exists, supporting our global operations. We adapt.
Jivox Virtual Meetings in Different Parts of the World
During these critical moments, we also have the responsibility to keep our platform running and productivity high. Our team and platform are essential to the continuity of customers’ digital marketing campaign operations, and campaign continuity is one less burden they have to shoulder amid the uncertainties. Because our platform automates and scales personalized creative variations, we give brand customers the agility they need to change messaging in just hours or days, from promotion to crisis-response. We stand strong for our customers, helping them stay agile while conserving money and resources.
Courage is things we do, choices we make each day, and not being afraid of what's to come.
I see courage among all of us.