Yes, that is an impossible question to answer on many levels. All any of us can think about is ‘when this is over..’ ‘once I can get back to normal…’ ‘if I can go to….’ We are all living in a surreal state of suspended animation where even the simplest task – domestic or work-related – requires planning thought and modification.
However, we have to remember that nothing lasts for ever and in due course - maybe even quite soon for some - things will gradually return to how they were or at least a recognisable state. I strongly suspect that there will be some permanent shifts. Commuting daily to an office can finally be acknowledged for what it is; a fundamental waste of many people’s time. The need for endless meetings is clearly far smaller than we had all previously thought. I have found that the Pluralists Club works better in some aspects (by no means all) online than offline and that members are really enjoying working in different ways. I said a few weeks ago that this could be an opportunity to rethink how we work and as time goes on, I feel that ever more strongly.
It is noticeable that there seem to be two ways in which people have reacted to the lockdown: some are taking the chance to catch up on boxsets, books, hang out with whatever family they have got at home and generally enjoy some undoubtedly well-earned down time. Others are furiously trying to maintain their routine, get fit and find tasks to do, despite the unhelpful closure of rubbish tips, builders’ merchants and other businesses generally.
I want to talk about a third group who are looking at ways to make permanent changes to their lives and are using this hiatus to develop the skills, networks and ideas required to make those changes happen. The first step on a Pluralist future is to identify what one wants to do and then research how to make it happen. If that sounds simple, don’t be deceived; it’s a slow and time-consuming task which can be hard to do justice to whilst also holding down a full time job. The lockdown is a perfect opportunity to give ourselves the focus we need to set out a feasible plan.
Current members of the Pluralists Club are already collaborating on a couple of projects and I have no doubt that many more will follow. I am talking to new people seeking guidance and support every day and am delighted to find so many people looking at their future working life in a different way. If ever John Adams’ quote rang true it is now, ‘every problem is an opportunity in disguise’ so grasp that nettle, get your game face on and invest all the time you suddenly have in your future.