One of the phrases that has bothered me the most over the past year is, “We are all in the same boat.”
The more I have heard it and the more I think about who I know… oh (censored) no we are not.
While we are all in the same storm, our boats are very, very different.
How the storm of 2020 unfolded (I am thinking about COVID 19, politics, social justice and the economy) has been very different for people.
As will the “recovery” of 2021-2022 be. More on that later.
This past year through today…
I know of many recruiters (corporate, search and consulting) have been very busy at their companies, firms. I know recruiters who have not worked in a year.
I know of many CEO’s whose companies have done very well the past year. I know CEO’s who have used their homes and assets to secure loans to cover payroll and they are hanging by a thread. I know CEO’s who have lost everything.
I have friends who have transitioned to work from home without skipping a beat. Others were in already toxic situations and being home made it worse.
Some friends have had promotions while others have had both partners go through furloughs and/or layoffs.
Some have been able to take vacations and others rely on a social safety net to get through the week.
Women, People of Color, hourly and frontline essential workers have generally been the most impacted.
And many parents who have become teacher, principal, counselor, nurse and social worker.
COVID 19… so many friends in varying situations from as best we know not having had it, to the sniffles, to the flu, to an ER visit, to a ventilator. While I have not lost someone very close to me, a number in a personal and professional network have. And then there are the long haulers.
Those who have been the most isolated: elderly and singles.
Social justice… while I think it would be obvious to say are not all in the same boat, for some it is not so obvious. The color of our skin, orientation, income, geography, education and so many more. Some of my friends who have a very similar background have had very different experiences if they live near Lake Street in Wayzata or Lake Street in the Longfellow neighborhood. “Food desert” is a common phrase for some and still unknown to others.
Politics… I don’t want to go there.
Whatever our situation, there is no way we can say we are all in the same boat. Our vessels are very different.
Some have (figuratively) a “Baller” of a yacht and have barely felt the wind, rain and waves. Some a functional boat to get around. Others have a canoe that is patched, leaking but still floating. There are those on shore who are living in a tent trying to stay out of the storm, trying to survive another day. Another month. This season.
So, when I hear people say “we are all in the same boat”... I get frustrated. I get angry.
I want them to open their eyes.
And that gets me to this…
How we “recover”, how we find a new “normal” in 2021-2022 will also depend on what “boat” we have. Our situations, outcomes will not be the same. For some, things will start as they were. Maybe better than before. Others will have lost their boat. Their credit report will be impacted. Livelihoods lost.
My hope… my prayer is that we can look to each other with grace, a helping hand and some understanding.
That kind words can be shared.
“How can I help” and “What can I do” be common phrases.
Our minds can be open to other’s opinions, thoughts and circumstances and rather than reply with a “Yeah, but…” we consider what we are hearing.
We think about another’s situation, their history not as we believe it to be but as they are experiencing it.
That we judge less.
We listen more.
Grace… I hope, we need to find more of it.
Is the storm “over”?
For some, yes.
For others, no.
For many… there is a lot of cleanup.
There is a lot of work to do.
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