For the vast majority of workers around the world, the concept of work has taken an unexpected turn in recent days. Working on the front lines, teleworking, unemployment, re-evaluation of the business model, having to close shop, starting a business, changing careers, returning to work, volunteering; these are, among many others, all turnarounds that are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, it's not easy for many workers and businesses as they see their daily lives and landmarks turned upside down, having to rethink their approach not only to adapt to the crisis but also to better bounce back once it has passed.
Because we are all living this historical moment at the same time, but at different rhythms, we decided to bring together quirky and touching slices of workers' lives and to share them with you. As physically distant as we are, our closeness takes on a new meaning. Here are a few stories to show that smiles are emerging from this quite confusing spring. Let's share a smile!
One kid, an apocalyptic haircut, 200 000 cake sprinkles and an unexpected naked appearance
I had been worried that I wouldn’t work for the next 6 months and would solely be taking care of my 3 kids. In the first week home, the little one chopped off her hair with scissors and dumped a bottle of 200 000 000 multicoloured cake sprinkles all over our bedroom. A few days later, I get a phone call. I got a contract; a great opportunity related to COVID-19. We plan a video conference with the whole crew for the next day. A few minutes before the meeting, I give the little one her bath, leaving her in her bathrobe because, you know, why not. I lock myself up in the office to not be disturbed, making sure her older sisters take care of her. We’re halfway through the video conference, and the door opens. The little one is back, butt naked in the middle of the camera frame. I hurried to close the camera and mute the microphone. I think nobody saw what happened.
- Catherine, Producer, Hudson
That spontaneous kiss
I went to give my boyfriend a kiss while he was working with his headphones on. It took me a few seconds to realize that he was in a video conference and that everyone saw me. Luckily I was dressed :)
- Élisabeth, Project Manager for the City of Westmount's Urban Planning Department, Bromont
Volunteering on the front line
Good Shepherd is a homeless Shelter in Toronto that serves over 1,000 meals per day to homeless, marginalized people and others in need. I've been volunteering there every Sunday morning since November and got to realize how many people benefit from the meal service. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 crisis, they had to shut down their meal services to keep everyone safe. However, this puts people in need in an unfortunate situation, as this is often their only meal of the day. The shelter asked people for food donations such as bottled water, juices, granola bars, deli meat, bread etc. to make over 700 bagged lunch that they distribute every day.
When I learned about the situation, I obviously wanted to help. I asked my friends if they would like to join me to carry a few boxes of bottled water and granola bars. My friend Paget decided to bring this to another level. She reached out to her friends to know who wanted to help. We raised $500 in not even 24h - my tiny car was LOADED with goods to bring to the shelter. As of April 4th, we collected 1700$ in donations from people from my friend’s network, which helped us buy everything needed to help for the bagged lunches. In times of crisis, it's essential to stay safe and healthy. We also have to keep in mind that some people are suffering a lot from all the closures. Being able to help makes a difference and makes everything a little better!
- Laurence, Senior account executive at BIMM, Toronto
The risk of passion
Being retired, my 69-year-old father volunteered for 2 years in a long-term care and housing centre. He then discovered a passion for it and decided that he wanted to help and went back to school to become a personal care attendant (PAB). He graduated in December 2020. Little did he know that him entering the health system would start during a world pandemic. Knowing that he is 69 years old and more at risk, he stills works full time and believes it is his duty to help people! He loves his job and I think he makes the world a better place by having such a human approach with the patients. He also makes them draw rainbows. How cute.
Underwear is the new workwear
A TI trainer insisted that I open my camera like the other colleagues on Zoom, while I'm still in my underwear. I'm enjoying all the benefits of teleworking, you know.
- Caroline, University Coordinator
Service at its best
I'm a hairdresser-owner, and this situation caught me off guard. I quickly decided to prepare a take-out hair colouring kit for each client who wants it. To make their life easier, I put their hair colour, an applicator brush and a short procedure in a bag. At a predetermined time and day, they pass by the hair salon and I drop the kit in their car trunk, my disinfectant not too far away. My clients love that service. This is how I support my clientele during this crisis. It makes us creative!
- Catherine, Hair salon owner, Granby
The embalmed animal lover
This quarantine brings us much closer to our colleagues than I would have liked. I was fortunate enough to learn that my colleague had a collection of embalmed animals in his living room. He is particularly proud of his collection of snakes in glass containers. Zoom meetings are great (eye twitching).
- Valerie, Montreal
The last drop makes the cup run over
I must say, I enjoyed slow-living for the first week. By the second week, however, I began to find the time quite long. I started sleeping very poorly and waking up several times a night. Even the nights were kind of too long. But I understood that I was really OVER IT when I dreamt that I was bored and that I found the time quite long. WANDERING in a DREAM. Story of how my life became so dull.
- Anabelle, Project Manager, Montreal
The observer observed
Working from home has its perks. Every time I look up, my dog is staring at me and I can't help but laugh.
- Stacey, Marketing team at Splitit
I entered my Zoom meeting with the team without realizing that I was still in my pyjamas. Everyone was laughing!
- Marie-Claude, Sorel
After working from home for eight months in my previous job, I was looking forward to joining a new team and working in the office, on-site, with the gang. On my first day, the government announced the general confinement for all Quebeckers. I'm definitely the recruit who's spent the least time at the office in the history of ergonofis. A total of 5 hours, just enough the time to get briefed and pack my new computer.
- Guillaume, React Native Developper at ergonofis, Montreal
Smelly business hit the fan
My desk is in my bedroom and, due to a lack of space, my cat’s litter box is not far away. I was on a video conference with my colleagues and supervisors. During the call, my cat decided to do his business. Result: a pleasant smell went up to my nose. My face tensed in disgust. Aw, the joys of teleworking!
- Béatrice, Help line agent at Optima Global Health, Montreal
If you happen to have stories you'd like to share, please send them over and we'll be happy to add them. You can fill out the form here.