Is outside fixed yet?

My three-year-old asked me this weekend, “Is outside fixed yet?”

Being in the heart of New York City during the coronavirus crisis has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Let’s hope.)

I live in that famous, shrinking neighborhood sometimes slyly referred to as ‘Littler Italy’.  We’re on the block between America’s oldest pizzeria, and the church in the baptism scene of The Godfather.  In normal times, it’s a perfect New York City neighborhood with a sparkling street life, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, a lifetime of energy, and everything that comes with living in ‘The City That Never Sleeps.’

And now, it’s all shut down.

Streets are empty even at 6 pm on a Friday.  The playgrounds have been closed and locked.  The restaurants and bars are shuttered.  The basketball hoops have been removed from the courts, and even the soccer field near our house is padlocked closed.

So for my three-year-old, and for all of us, we’re waiting for “outside” to be fixed.

And, I suppose, inside too.

Everybody at Ladders here in New York knows people who have gotten sick with the virus.  Many of us know dozens.  Even some of our colleagues here at Ladders have fallen ill, and, thankfully, recovered.  Sadly, there have been fatalities among our friends, family and loved ones.  

There’s a somber pall in the air over Manhattan.

But in addition to the sorrow, these have been times that remind us of our blessings.

Nowadays, every night is family dinner night.  Old friends, distant cousins, long lost colleagues, all appear on our laptop screens and phones as if summoned like genies from a lamp.  We’re working from home, sure, and the non-stop hours on video calls are particularly draining.  And, yet, this forced lull has allowed us to put work in its proper place — important, yes, but not the purpose of life.

And the fact that this virus mercifully spares our youngest is our biggest consolation.  Among all the plagues in history, this passing over of our children is uncommon, and something for which we are deeply, deeply thankful.

While this crisis is changing our outsides, what opportunity does it offer to change our insides?  To use this time to become a better version of {firstname}?  Who do you want to be after this crisis passes, and is it different than who you were before?

I was interviewing someone for a job here at Ladders the other day, via video call, and he said “I don’t think we’re going to forget what we learned during this time.  I don’t think it’s all just going to go away.”

I think he’s right.

It will mean changes in the superficial things in our lives – more video meetings, a new appreciation for the difference between hours worked and results produced, and perhaps a freer work lifestyle that’s less focused on sitting in a modern American office building.  

And more importantly, perhaps it will mean changes in the purpose of our lives: why we work, and how well we appreciate what we’re working for.  Maybe the slower pace of life in Spring 2020 allows us to rediscover what we’d been missing without family dinners, playing cards with the kids, or just having some time to ourselves.  And maybe the feeling of park grass between our toes, or a day at the beach, or a night spent with friends at a barbeque become even more precious now that we have lost them for these few, dire months.

Walking in Soho on an April afternoon in the time of corona is bizarre.  In one of America’s densest, busiest, most famous neighborhoods, the retail stores are boarded up, and the loudest sound on the street at 3 p.m. is birds chirping.  If you try to capture how strange this moment in our lives feels — if you try to take a picture of Soho sleeping in the middle of the day, or make a video of New York City stopped — you find it’s hopeless.  How do you take a picture of what’s missing?  How do you show on video what isn’t there?

Perhaps, say the authorities, we have reached the peak, and better days are ahead, even if slow in coming.  

The pizzeria on our block — did I mention it’s America’s oldest and best? — has re-opened after closing down for two weeks.  And even if that means they’re doing “takeout only” from the large window by the hostess stand, it’s a more welcome sign of this Spring than the first robin.

We will all make it through these days, together.  As a country, as a nation, we have never been kinder, or cleverer, or braver, or quicker to respond to help.  I hope we find a medal to pin on the uniforms of those bravest medical workers who went to work in the face of death every day through this crisis.  They’ve shown the courage that veterans always show when fighting for our country.

Disagreements do exist, as they should in a free country, but at least we are able to voice our many opinions out loud, without fear, and with the knowledge that eventually, America gets it right.

Our team here at Ladders is doing our best to make your forced stay at home productive, informative, and useful.  

The staff at Ladders News has been doing superb work to bring you insights and information on the most relevant COVID-19 information for your career, and the insights on what it means to live and work in this time of crisis. Judging by the record traffic to our articles, you’re finding their work useful.

We have increased our staff so that job postings are screened and published to the site even more rapidly than previously. We want to ensure that those Ladders members looking for new opportunities get the full benefit of $100K+ jobs gathered all in one place, with the lower end roles filtered out. That way, you can focus your time on more productive job search activities.

And we’ve improved our resume tools, including our automated resume reviewer, our professional resume writing partnership, and our resume templates and examples.

It’s a trying time, and we’re trying our best to help you the way we always have helped you get ahead in your career: with data, with information, with empathy, and with humor.

All of us at Ladders, from the bottom of our hearts, are rooting for you.

Stay safe, stay healthy.