We made it to the end of 2020! What a wild year it it has been. See my message for you during this unique holiday period following an incredibly challenging year for all of us.
See my message for the 2020 holiday season…
As we prepare to wrap up the very strange and challenging year of 2020, there is much to consider. This year will go down in the history books as some of the toughest times any of us have faced in our lifetimes.
Foremost, of course, there was SARS-CoV-2, otherwise known as COVID-19 or coronavirus. This global pandemic accomplished something we have never experienced in our lives – it brought the entirety of world commerce to a halt as countries around the world struggled with mass infections, overloaded hospitals and deaths.
National Disaster #1 – COVID-19
I’m afraid, for a variety of reasons, the U.S. did not fare particularly well. As of today, 18.3 million Americans contracted COVID-19…a stunning number. And sadly, some 323,000 of them died as a result of this deadly pandemic.
I remember very well how frightened many of us became in the early days of February and March, when information was so confusing. As states issued stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, we all wondered – what’s going to happen next? How are we going to stay safe? How can we protect our loved ones and ourselves? How are we going to make a living?
From Idle to Essential
Slowly, we began to adjust…slowing the infection by wearing masks and socially distancing from each other. Commerce began to adjust. Many in tech were deemed essential workers…and their employers were deemed as providing essential services.
Then it began to emerge that as people were forced to stay sheltered in their homes, they discovered their home networks, home offices, and their entertainment systems were not optimized for continual use by everyone in the home. And just like that, we saw new opportunities abound for many, if not most, in our industry.
National Disaster #2 – A Rapid Descension into Economic Recession
Still, the pandemic forced the next national disaster as well – an absolutely stunning, lightning fast collapse of the economy. An already struggling middle class – many of whom were living fairly well, but on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis – suddenly found themselves out of work and unable to make mortgage or rent payments…bringing them eye-to-eye with financial ruin.
Finding other work was virtually impossible, as the entire country was in the same situation.
National Disaster #3 – Social Unrest
Also this year, a shocking slow-motion murder of George Floyd by a police officer was the final straw for many Americans that drew mass protests around the U.S….and the world. Social unrest between citizens, the police, extremists on the right, and extremists on the left felt like a volatile formula set to explode at any moment.
Here too, the way ahead was not clear. A reality made even clearer by the complexity of the issues of race, systemic racism, law & order, and justice.
National Disaster #4 – A Heated, Unfriendly Presidential Election
OK, so national disaster may be a bit of an overstatement, but lastly, as if all this wasn’t enough, 2020 was an election year. And this time we had a rather raucous presidential election process. Election years are always dicey for business, as campaigning can be tiresome and political messaging can often result in making citizens worry about the future. Worried citizens tend to not spend…but all of these disasters combined to complicate all of this anyway.
Still, as concerning as the election process may have been, we saw a level of participation in the political process by the citizenry that reached historic levels. It is always better to have an active and engaged voter than a disenfranchised one.
A Silver Lining?
Yet despite all of these challenges – which were occurring simultaneously with at times maddeningly swirling interactions and perplexities – we have come through it. We have found a new path. And while the country is certainly not out of the woods yet – I believe I can see some silver linings in this situation.
For me, it is hard not to feel…lucky. I’ll talk more about this later, but let’s just say that Strata-gee had a thrilling – if at times scary – year. An amazingly successful year. A year that, at times, went beyond that which I deserved…but am immensely grateful to have had.
Yet We Must Not Forget This…
Still, we face a holiday season where many of us will have empty places at the table. And even though this is often for a greater good, it is something that I can not even hint of to my most significant other without stimulating an eruption of tears. We may have survived the isolation…but it hasn’t been without pain.
For the majority of us, that empty spot at our holiday tables is only temporarily vacated. But for some of us, way too many of us, that spot is empty…forever.
So if you are in the former group, be thankful and appreciative for what you have, no matter how otherwise challenging the year was. Feel good to have come through such disruptive challenges and even if there is yet ground to be made up…you are on your way.
And might I respectfully suggest that you maybe take a moment sometime over the holidays…to offer some private thoughts or prayers in memory of those in the latter group.
I know I will be…
Happy Holidays and THANK YOU ALL for a truly great and remarkable year for Strata-gee!