Back to the Old Normal
/ Author: CLAC Staff
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Back to the Old Normal

What are some CLAC members missing the most during the pandemic? Each other

My name is Cheryl. I am a Local 306 member and direct support worker (DSW) in Manitoba supporting vulnerable adults in their workplace. It is my job to be there to help others navigate through life, to assist them, if they need, to deal with whatever circumstance comes their way.

Though that hasn’t changed with the onset of this pandemic, a few things have. The first thing to change was the number of people at work. My workplace usually has over 100 staff. We had to reduce to a maximum of 50, which was a huge adjustment.

Our bustling work atmosphere became quiet and calm. That change of atmosphere, paired with new health protocols such as regular disinfecting of work surfaces and social distancing, was rather unsettling at first.

When we started using masks, which didn’t begin right away due to supply issues, I felt my anxiety rise. Somehow, the sight of masks was a reminder of lurking danger. Yet, I was surprised by how fast our new protocols and procedures have become normal.

The term new normal has been used so often in recent weeks that I feel it’s becoming tedious. Still, it works for me to describe my pandemic work experience.

Life was turned upside down about two months ago, but I’ve adjusted. It’s OK.

My anxiety has abated and life goes on, except for one thing. Now, I am missing my coworkers.

There are so many who can’t be with us. I’m missing the jokes we’d share, the conversations—all the interactions that made work so interesting.

I am glad for the ones I can still see, but I’m missing the others. We do what we can to keep in touch, but saying “hi” once in a while is not a replacement for working side by side.

My coworkers express similar sentiments. They would like to return to work, to be productive again, but it’s not an option open to them right now. Hopefully it will soon be safe for us to go back to our old normal.

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