2020. There was a time when this inspired hope for what is ahead. It seems like a lifetime ago when “2020” conjured thoughts of clearer vision and strategy. When I now think of 2020,
I instead think of uncertainty, isolation, and pressing pause on most of life’s regular activities and initiatives.
2020 was also a time to challenge conventional norms and forms of work in ways we had not before. HR leaders have been at the forefront ensuring our workforce remains safe all while supporting business operations. During a time when others looked to us to for answers no one really knew, we learned to guide despite the ever changing federal, state, and/or local guidance. For those of us in multiple geographical areas, this was particularly exhausting.
To this we can add COVID screening, FFCRA administration, ARPA, PPP, needing extra energy to remain empathetic to those coming to us with their concerns (and many times complaints), recruiting challenges, bogus unemployment claims, and our regular day to day HR responsibilities. We found ways to accommodate all of this in order to serve others. As an HR Department of One, it was also a lonely and sometimes frustrating time.
Personally, it wasn’t until last year that I understood the value of extended networks. 2020 provided opportunities to connect with folks with whom I would not have been able to connect before. At first, Zoom was my best friend. I was able to meet and commiserate with others in a more intentional way. I sought and accepted many more meetings than I normally would just for the connection. To this day, I am perplexed on why I didn’t do this before. The novelty of Zoom eventually became too much in addition to all the other stressors during this time.
I became overextended as I attempted to help others through my work, through this blog, through accepting direct meeting requests, and through the Board on which I serve for our local ATD Chapter. Slowly, there was little I could give. And to bring things full circle on all things 2020, my husband and I both had COVID just before the holidays and just before Open Enrollment.
This is when I knew I had to press pause on this blog. This was a difficult decision since I consider this a passion project. Sharing with other HR professionals, especially those in smaller organizations generally brings a lot of joy. However, the extended pause caused more of a freeze or a “not responding” system. I had to make a choice just like when a computer program freezes: to wait until it responds or restart again.
It took me a while but here I am rebooting. The healthiest thing I did for my work, family, and personal responsibilities was to realize it’s okay to take a break. In order to live out my philosophy of “Get There with You”, I had to reframe and reset, and have a good understanding of where I myself stand.
2020 taught me that we can collectively overcome many difficulties. It also taught me that refocusing and being kind to ourselves is an essential component of effective leadership.
And so I begin again with a hard reset and much potential for great opportunities ahead!