behind the lines

(if my thoughts about this time see a bit disjointed, hang with me, I have a plan for all of these)

It’s strange. During this time we have front lines. We have essentials. We have WFH. We have furloughed. We have unemployed.

I’m one of the unemployed.

This isn’t hard for me to say, so why is it hard to understand for so many.

“but you were a director”, “but your venue is a shelter now”, “but who will be there when you open back up”, “but other peers are still there”, “but”, “but”, “but”.

When people first hear of the layoffs, or put 2 and 2 together, their first response is “well, you’ll go back when they open Portland back up, right”. Wrong. The doors of a venue don’t open up, without missing a beat, once the state officials give the “ok” to have large events. Those events aren’t there to have.

Not right away.

Where a venue like the one I was working at might have seen 10 or more events on a busy week, they now are grasping to hold on to 10 events during the busy months ahead (way ahead). My team of 15 is now a team of 2 and it’s not my team anymore. I’m having a hard time with that thought, but I don’t have a hard time grasping it. My hard time is around the idea of is this necessary? Science says it is, I’ll go with that, but is it really? I don’t know, I haven’t landed on what I truly believe. Or if I have, I’m having trouble saying it out loud for fear of persecution.

Harsh word, I know. But right now, you’re either wrong or your wrong, so it’s hard to really say anything at all about it. Just follow the rules.

This time has allowed me an interesting perspective. I’m not losing sleep over the stress that comes with being in charge of a venue right now. Trust me, sleep is lost. I’ve lost track of the amount of nightmares and bad dreams I’ve had that wake me up in the middle of the night, heart racing, thoughts chasing after the racing heart. But aside from that, I can just watch from afar. Listening, learning, categorizing.


I miss it, but I don’t. Does that make sense? I miss being at the helm of something people are looking for but I’m also comfortable with not being in charge of what might be a misstep.

Is this sense of calm something I was looking for? Is it something I want long term? I’ve added it to my list of what I don’t miss about my job. You see, I have a list of what I loved and what I didn’t love (honestly, it’s more like what I bragged about vs. what I hated – but that doesn’t sound super logical, does it?). I don’t think I was ever calm in my last job. Content with the vision of what it could be but not content with the never ending path along the way.

Disclaimer: I’m writing this after being home for over 10 weeks. I think we all think we have this clear vision of what it is we didn’t love about our last job when we haven’t been doing it for that long. I’d most likely jump at the chance to get right back into it, and do a great job with it, just in case a future employer is reading this. After all, while not calm, it always brought me great satisfaction.

But as of right now, I’m enjoying not having to worry about a call at 5am when one of my team members couldn’t make it in for their 5:30am shift, or a call about the fire alarm going off during a very important session for a client on a Sunday morning.

Would I trade those for not having to worry about finding employment by August 1? Probably.

But for now, let’s hang out on the bright side and enjoy the peace that comes from behind the lines.

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