Top Ten Things Learned Throughout WFH

Coming off of a weekend where my wife and I spent her entire birthday weekend logging 20 hours in two days at two different baseball parks in Licking County watching/coaching nine baseball games, (my youngest won a 4-game tournament and my oldest dropped a grand slam, and 6 RBIs in one inning), I decided this week’s post needed to include a little humor, because that alone probably veers more towards insanity in the court of popular opinion.

So I referred back to a few ideas I started jotting down at the very beginning of this mess. A list of the things I either learned immediately working from home or realized I may have been taking for granted. Caution: these should be taken lightly. Hopefully, that goes without saying in the laundry closet by now.  Nonetheless, I’m sure many of you can relate to the majority of items that made the final cut.

10. Teachers (and all daycare and summer camp professionals) are one of the most underappreciated, and potentially underpaid, labor forces in the country.  I’m also keenly aware now that my sons’ teachers most likely hated (or maybe still hate) both of them in school, and lied to us at every parent-teacher conference we had since August when they said, “Johnny is just a joy to have in class.”  Regardless of the countless lies to make us feel better, teachers are still way underappreciated.

9. No matter how hard I try, virtual meeting etiquette continues to be an area for improvement for me.  It was even strongly suggested I attend a couple of WFH etiquette webinars early on.  You all know by now where I’m working from, so stop acting so surprised when you can see my drying hockey jerseys still hanging in the background from three months ago.  And while we’re on it, why does everyone take their virtual background so seriously?!  I personally love my Las Vegas backdrop on Zoom, why do some people think that is so unprofessional?  You should be more concerned that my name on your screen says “JayYouDee.”

9(b). Sharing your screen during a conference call is a HUGE risk.  Mountable cameras really are a good investment, but have you ever seen American Pie?

8. The kitchen is a terrible place to work…I cannot be within five steps of the refrigerator or I do nothing but eat all day.  Physical activity is an absolute requirement, and it must be done before the kids get out of bed, or it’s not happening.  Also, do not underestimate the need to see daylight during the workday.

8(b). Drew Carey’s male models on Price is Right are really messing with my lunchtime routine, when did that start?  (Side note: Soap Operas might be the worst acting of all time…or so I’ve heard.)

7. Our firm actually has a lot of personality!  We’ve put out a significant amount of thought leadership during the pandemic, put on numerous webinars, hosted a gazillion conference calls, and in my particular group (fun fact: I moonlight as a Senior Manager in our State & Local Tax practice), we’ve still managed to find a way to have fun.  My favorite in SALT was the inaugural White Elephant Lunch Team Meeting.  Each of us had lunch delivered to a pre-assigned person in the group at a particular time prior to the start of one weekly meeting.  And when mine showed up from my favorite local Italian spot with two cans of Seventh Son Brewing Co. beer, I was ecstatic!  Your next question doesn’t need to be asked…I drank them both during our meeting.

6. While we’re on the topic, craving a happy hour right now does not mean I have a larger issue going on, but the fact that I don’t rely on weekday morning Bloody Mary’s anymore could be a sign.  Every one of you knows how difficult this lack of social interaction is becoming on me.  I’ve reached out to several of you already to check your pulse on when we’ll be sitting on a patio again, particularly before the summer is over.

5. Jigsaw puzzles are an amazing family-oriented activity, we’ve played a lot of Scrabble, and I am damn good at building legos…and I don’t mean the ones that come with instructions.  If you text me, I’ll send you a pic of the baseball stadium and basketball arena I put together using leftovers pieces from the kids’ other larger Lego construction projects.

4. Mark it down, Fortnite will be the death of our children’s intellectual future as a nation, and it is not allowed in our house.  I know some people will feel differently about this, you’re entitled to your own opinion.  No judgment will be passed on your justification for it, I promise.

3. I’m pretty brutal at technology, people older than me are really bad, and there are some people that we work with daily that I cannot believe are even able to turn their computers on without the help of IT.  Say what you want, but we all know people like that.  A huge thank you to the GBQ IT Team!  I know you’re all buried, and I’ve needed you a handful of times the last couple of months, and you came to the rescue.

2. I love my kids, but I need their butts to be back in school next month more than anything in the world.  What are the chances that is going to happen?  At the same time, while my wife says I can’t joke about burying the kids in the backyard when they start acting up or causing a disruption while I’m on a conference call, I remind them how fast I dug that 4-foot hole for the basketball hoop in the driveway with the post-hole digger.

1. Last, but certainly not least, and this is going to sound familiar, unfortunate, yet obviously cliché, –  we’re all in this together.  And by all, click on this well written and honest article, and you’ll see that most everyone is consumed with the same general lack of when-does-normal-come-back emotional distress right now.  I’m with you, I know that I can relate all the way down to the juice!

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