What did you do During the Quarantine?

Business has experienced a significant upheaval in 2020. Small and large businesses are struggling, if not failing, at an alarming rate. Unemployment is rising. I have seen a significant “quieting” in my business. Still, there has been a recent increase in potential opportunities.

Interviewers might ask what have you been doing during this slowing of business. I have seen several funny approaches describing going to excess with food, alcohol, television consumption, and largess. From a strategic perspective, this “slowing” is an opportunity to grow individually, and to help make a difference.

Alexis Perrotta, in “The Idealist,” approaches this time with three approaches. I am struck by the article because we should be approaching business and life this way before, during, and after this quarantine. The three are: growing in personal knowledge, personal reflection with growth, and community support.

Under personal knowledge, Alexis asks what have you been reading? If an interviewer asks, one should explain and “draw a picture” of learning and applying (applying is my thought) new knowledge. I know I have expanded my harmonica playing. YouTube has helped my study, though they have recently added more advertisements (grumble, grumble). I actually invested in a workshop by Ben Hewlett. Major accomplishment since I admit to being frugal. I have noticed an expansion in music appreciation. Perhaps one day I will perform with a live band here in town.

Alexis’ second and third approaches include: (2) Personal Reflection with Growth and (3) Community Support. For the past eight years, I have been a volunteer mediator with Scott County Small Claims Court. Till quarantine, this required my travel to Davenport, and investing several hours at least once per month.

The pandemic brought the live mediations to a screeching halt. With technology (thanks to software called GoToMeeting) we now have mediations via telephone, laptop, I-pad, or desktop computers. I have used such applications before but not in this context.

Now, the mediator would not only be asked to mediate disagreements but to be versatile in the computerized meeting software. I attended training and was cautioned, “there will be glitches,” code for who knows what might happen technologically, and be prepared if something goes awry.

I have been through six mediations using the GoToMeeting approach. One of my early sessions is when the derecho hit our area. Now that was a rather large glitch. One of the parties lost their internet. Calmly, I called the staff at the Scott County Court as I watched the storm roll in from my dining room table.

I appreciate the time savings (travel and wait time at the courthouse) and have a 33% settlement rate on mediations which is a little low, yet somehow personally satisfying that the court did save time.

So, how have you invested your time? I’m feeling good about my time investment.

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