Freelancing in 2020: Business as Unusual

Photo Credit: Ekaterina Bolovtsova/Pexels

I'm a freelance writer, so "business as usual" means phone calls, sweat pants, no-bra day every day, and not seeing people at work. And that was great before the COVID-19 crisis struck.

I used to draw my creative energies from playdates at the park, quick conversations while picking up the kid from school, dinners with friends, and shopping sessions in the middle of a workday. Too bad I didn't know back then what an important role these little things played for me.

The coronavirus pandemic popped my perfect bubble. Social distancing made me realize I was more of a social animal than I'd thought.

The Dark Part of Social Distancing

Isolation made me rethink my social habits. It may be because we in Italy were among the first to experience the death tolls, the daily 6:00 press conferences, and the lockdown. We didn't have time to learn to cope with change.

Everyone became the enemy, the invisible threat that could kill your grandparents, sick mother, or cancer-survivor auntie. That's harder to live with than the danger of the virus.

My first reaction was to isolate from everyone who wasn't family. Because my job allowed me to stay inside, I didn't leave the house for more than two months. My husband handled grocery shopping and took short walks up and down the street with the little one after dark; my social interactions amounted to a couple of calls a week with my clients, video calls with my family, and video-call happy hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

Building Bridges with the Rest of the World

But staring at a screen wasn't enough. Conversations became flat and focused on the news. I felt relieved the first time we were allowed to see friends face-to-face and talk about celebrities and the weather. It made me understand that I needed more in-person interactions, not only in my personal life but also in a professional environment.

I started applying to local jobs. I'm not even qualified for most of them, but I hope to be accepted for an interview just to meet people. I also bought a couple of fancy dresses and some new shoes for the occasion. I guess I'll start dressing up to work from the kitchen table.

I don't want an office job. I'm doing it only for face-to-face interaction. And I can't wait for that magic call that will give me the chance to grab a moment of "office as usual."

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