To be honest, at first, I thought LinkedIn wouldn’t be the ideal platform to write an article about my thoughts regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. However, after reconsidering, posting in the biggest professional social network, makes absolutely sense for us to think about what should be our social and professional restrictions and behaviours, as professionals, colleagues, team members or managers with our daily working entourage.
With the risk of becoming a bit egocentric, I will for obvious reasons write about my own experience, wanting you to share your opinions.
I never hid from my former employers that I am a kidney patient with a rare disease. However this has never been for me an excuse to benefit from any kind of privileges. In some occasions I even thought of not saying anything risking to be seen differently from my “healthy” colleagues. And probably because of this posture, I was lucky enough to have some incredible work experiences in several countries, all of them fulfilled with the most amazing colleagues and managers.
However, with the arrival of this virus, which I like to affectionately call “the bug”, I’ve been feeling everyday more put apart, as for sure, many other people, that we think are “healthy”, forcing us to totally change our lives. And this for sure is the main reason that made me write this article on LinkedIn. Call it a “yell of rage” if you want.
Because of a weak immune system, I belong to a group of risk and it is extremely easy for me to get any kind of virus. You’ll ask me about the annual flu. There is a vaccination. And the other virus we get when travelling to some countries? Well, I cannot take those vaccines, so I can simply not travel to them. As simple as that. How about COVID-19…. You know the answer right. We are all waiting for a vaccine. Until then, we have to protect ourselves and this is the main point I want to approach.
Coronavirus is already known to be an asymptomatic virus. This means we can walk by infected people and none of us know about it. While someone healthy and asymptomatic can be infected without knowing, this same person can easily spread the bug to someone more vulnerable as I am. Wearing a mask is uncomfortable. Yes it is! It’s painful. Sure, it is! It might protect the others more than the person who’s wearing it. Scientifically proven. And?? Isn’t it reason enough to wear one? If you wear one, you’ll be protecting me. And if I do, I’ll protect you. Sounds pretty dumb to understand, no?
I might be very stubborn, but can someone explain me why since early March, living in a country where barely no one wears a face mask, am I forced to stay at home without the possibility of looking for a job, go for a walk, go to the supermarket, travel abroad to visit my family as any healthier persons would do? And my wife has to do the exact same to reduce to a minimum the probability of bringing the virus home. And this because for too many people wearing a mask is uncomfortable… In the country I’m living, vulnerable people are seen as economically unable by many politicians. Aren’t we able to work? Don’t we pay taxes (if you let us)? It is truly sad to see such selfish behaviours in some countries.
Finally, managers, CEOs, team leaders, be a bit less money-centrics and understand that vulnerable people can bring a huge value to your company, even if you could just consider their life experience, the social impact and the positiveness they can provide to your team motivation. Increase the possibility for them to work remotely since the very beginning of the contract, even including the job interviews themselves. Be bold and different from the masses.
I leave you with this humorous illustration, hoping this will change your mind about wearing a face mask.