I know this quarantine has been particularly bad for the extroverts out there, but I’m more of an introvert, so it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been for me. I can at least get out and go to the grocery store. I do miss the LGBT events that happen regularly in Burlington, but honestly, when I had to go alone, I was never fully comfortable at those things. So being a homebody isn’t the worst thing right now. However, with that being said, working from home is getting more and more difficult, especially having to document my day hourly. I never worked this hard at the museum. Yes, I do my job, and I mostly do it well, but my work is either feast or famine. I either have work that needs doing or I don’t, and when I don’t, I find other things to pass the time in my office (usually reading Facebook or news sites) or I go talk to my coworkers. If I documented everything I did when at the museum, there would be a lot of empty time on my work log.
On the news last night, one of the local news reporters said that while our “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order was set to expire on the 15th, it would undoubtedly get extended, thus even longer working at home. We had staff meetings Tuesday and Wednesday, and basically all they could tell us was that they don’t know anything. There are tentative plans on what we will do to phase in going back to work, but they don’t have the slightest idea what that timeframe will be. Even when we go back to work at the museum, we may not be able to open to the public for a couple of months. The largest museums in Vermont announced that they would not open at all this summer. They aren’t for sure when they will open back up. We are possibly in the same boat.
In the five phases of opening back up, Phase 1 is what we are doing now, which is a few essential people go into the office, but most are working completely from home. Phase 5, the final stage, is for when things return to normal, if that’s even possible. It surely isn’t possible until they have a vaccine, and who knows when that will happen. No matter what people in the government keep saying, vaccines take a long time to develop.
Honestly though, with no visitors allowed in the museum, how long will they justify continuing to employ us. We were told that the university’s provost has commented on what great work the museum is doing to keep a virtual presence during this time, so hopefully, that’s good news for us. The last time the university faced an economic downturn (the 2008 recession), the university did a 10 percent reduction, and we’ve been told to get ready for that. If they do a 10 percent cut across the board in employees and budgets, then I’m not sure where we will stand.
There’s just a lot of unanswered questions and a whole lot of speculation. Who knows what the future holds. To be continued…