What we are learning about strategies to cope with loss of work

At Edgeryders, we set out to build a cluster of mutual support between people in our network during the corona crisis. The first step is to share experiences of coping with work in a very detailed way. We have about 10 ongoing discussions (see #covid19), 2+ community calls weekly, and hundreds of chatty comments and cat videos. The outcomes are:

  • Learn how others are dealing with the sudden changes in their lives
  • Get inspiration for new things to do and stay optimistic
  • Clear asks for help and projects are matched with contributors and mentors who can offer support.

If even the first point checks out, we could be succeeding, because this.is.one.of.those.times.

When work is brought to a halt, no one is lying on their back and waiting ex: for helicopter money, social security benefits. ‘We cannot rely on any help now’, says @DanicaLacarac whose own personal challenges don’t stop her from wondering how to help others… or @iriedawta telling us ‘I lost all my payslips due to the corona virus. I’m lucky enough to have a security network around me that I don’t have to care for rent. Overall I’m really anxious about the future. I will need to find another occupation’.
Have you noticed that while everyone should be slowing down, it seems like many of us are pushing ourselves to do more, learn more, and get ahead of the curve? It must be exhausting, so:

people, take three deep breaths in!

Now, how are we actually coping?

1. Personal learning plans.

@Matteo’s words are similar to what I have read elsewhere online:

I wrote a daily routine and I’m trying to stick with it, plus I made a plan with projects and things that I want to do in the next six weeks, after doing this I felt really good, self-discipline helps me usually.

Knowing @jasen_lakic little, I am not surprised that his strategy is to accelerate, keep on networking, and even teach himself how to code (designing board games is at a stall right now):

2. Build new kinds of businesses.

@alessandro_mambelli in Yerevan & @Yannick and Jasen in Brussels definitely think alike, if you ask me :slight_smile:

we could investigate this opportunity to look for something else we could also do. Should we? And not just to “diversify business”, I really just wish this won’t be yet another wasted global crisis. But where to start?

In Brussels we have two major facebook groups (in Fr/ Nl languages) and already we see people propose cooperative structures to coordinate a corona relief fund with 1000eur/member from all their 2500 members. I’m curious if the way to build anew is to build from scratch?

3. Build connective platforms.

The many technically skilled people in Edgeryders are trying out things for social good - @mstn attempt to set up local apps for easing access to food stores in the neighborhood; @matthias and @trythis participating in the German gov’s hacking event which birthed over 1000 working prototypes. @Yassine’s initiative in Tunisia is early days: the visitors of the site are people who seek answers to their questions or who need logistical help, as being volunteers we can even give food for those who cannot afford to buy or who cannot transport themselves.

4. Ask about the ways to go on the digital curve (especially from teachers and community workers).

If you’re in a rigid environment like universities, you have to find your way. We, the system, were not prepared for this challenge and had to design short-, medium- and long-term strategies right from last week,

writes @Jirka_Kocian. @Amelia similarly spoke about chaos. Community foundations in Romania have opened up about the difficulty of moving their programs online and stay true to their constituencies during the crisis, including with cashflow support. Kudos to you @Andreea @Alex_Stef @RuxandraNitu! Personally, I find this approach much more honest than what we see in other orgs: pretending that they know how to webinars since forever (sic!)

5. Turn expertise and passion into leadership.

@Alberto writes about the wonderful experience of caring for the office and co-workers at The Reef:

Many people appreciate going to the office, where they can socialize with colleagues and work from a space that is physically and mentally separated from the home and the family. But there is no reason to dive into traffic: you can get the same things in a remote work-ready facility five minutes walking from your door. No more commuting!

Others like @Hugi are helping translate (literally and metaphorically) situations from their own environment - why Sweden is behaving differently than the rest of the world.


What am I missing?
We are not talking a lot (or not here) about being a parent in this lockdown, but I’m pretty sure in so far as heroes go, parents are up there. Very funny twitter thread #ParentingInAPandemic! We are also not talking about burnout of remote workers. There are already interesting articles about that, and I would want to see what’s under. Anyone want to co-curate with me a series on this?

This was my personal summary about what we are learning from #covid19 loss of work.

How are you coping?

Leave a comment below with your experience, or read more about the initiative and take your pick here: https://work.edgeryders.eu/ !

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Here are some more great conversations to dive in!

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Hello @noemi, missed both calles this week and last week, but getting back in some rythme again now.

Will try to share here a bit how it went through my head the last three weeks.

So i have a business called Fermenthings, a space dedicated to everything fermented that changed it’s concept 9 months ago from a shop to a more versatile space, after my associate left. In the last 9 months i build it up again with a peak in activity the last 2-3 months. On the program where quasi full workshops every week, a brunch every week for around 40 people, catering gigs for European commision, flemish governement and steps towards investing in a production facility and test kitchen.

March would have been the first big month with a possibility of 100% payment, and it was looking as i could have been hiring maybe in the next two to four months.

But then Corona struck and 95% of my activity just stopped in a fraction of a second. It took me about two weeks just to digest this complete stop of a vehicle i was pushing for the last couple of months, hoping that it would gain speed and traction.

Last week i decided to pick up the activity step by step by offering confinement packs with the products from the shop, this to keep me busy and to be able to do two things:

  1. pay my loan back
  2. pay rent (even if i hope CPAS could do a gesture)
  3. Offer products from other producers that also see their business go to a complete stop

It worked, in the last two weeks i sold around 96 packs and have been able to order from different local producers and at least give the stock a good turnover again.

But i still feel a frustration, one that is that i don’t know what to do, because i don’t know when and how things will be get going again. Do i just sit it out, and polish the edges of what i was doing, do i start producing my own stuff (a project that i wanted to start at the end of the year) , do i rethink my business? Many questions, and many of those that i think a lot of small projects are feeling at the moment.

And all of this is just on a personal level, i’m haunted with questions on how this whole crisis can or can’t be a vector in sociatal change. I’m a hopefull person, but my mind is wondering between light and dark places all the time, because all this is new, fresh and not yet graspable. My hope is to find more rest in my head in the next couple of days/ week to be able to tackle the big challenges over the small ones.

Yeah i’m loving that idea, i hope Yolan will go through with the idea.

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I think you moved pretty fast in recalibrating your stock, well done. Hoping you can take stock of your ability to troubleshoot, it’s so impressive!

With respect to food production and new models, my hope is that this crisis will make people be more aware of how they consume and the source of their food, because there’s also the hidden link between what’s happening - the destruction of natural habitats and the monocultures created in the agricultural and industrial production (this is @winnieponcelet’s thinking).
I see an opportunity for people like you and now me and Winnie and others who want to build businesses localising quality sources of food and services.

Others who are running physical events for making a living or activism - how are you coping?
Are you waiting for things to come back to a new ‘normal’ or are you changing strategy? @emsone @shravan @Yosser @hugi @BaobabUrbain @filomena @Franta (XR) …?

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Cooperative food production could be an interesting avenue - we have urban community gardens, but we could also make cooperative fermentation? This is something I would actually get involved in, over the next years… Was inspired by this:

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Hello all - I’m Sally from the UK. I work at a University so.times.since.lock down have been busy due to.move of teaching, learning and assessment online and the associated training to get everyone up to speed. I’ve always had an interest in food sovereignty and a radar for available land but it seems that here in the UK at least there has been a resurgence of the wartime ‘dig for victory’ attitude. I see this as a good thing but not if it leads.to the perpetuation of the kinds of inequalities that already exist Many urban dwellers have no access to a garden and this is one problem highlighted by this challenge that 'd like to explore how we can address.

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Hey Noemi, i’m in a loop discussing with other brussels based producers on how to share logistics and sales for “non-essential” food (meaning transformed products) , do you want to be put into it?

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Hi @seh_notts you are the second person in our community calls and coping series who tells us they are looking somehow in this direction - of buying land, or be outside of the city. @iriedawta mentioned the same a few weeks back.

I had promised you the closest thing to a directory of community places - we built this list last year as we were researching for The Reef (co-living and co-working project in Brussels). Maybe some resources there would be interesting for you?

Among others, @felix.wolfsteller is living in an intentional community in rural Germany, if you want to ask him more.
I also wrote about this initiative outside of Berlin a few years back - they own land together but do not actually live there permanently:

Reminder about the call at 12:00 today :slight_smile: http://bit.ly/coronawork

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Also another flyer if anyone feels like sharing/inviting others. Thank you @dennis for the lovely image - have been wanting to find good use for it :slight_smile:


Perhaps it could be good to have some materials as a point of departure for the discussion/focus of the next call?

“Productivity, or the lack of it, has become the individual metric of choice for coping with the international econo-pathological clusterfuck of the Corona Crisis. How should we self-optimize when we’re suddenly having to meet our deadlines with our roommates, kids, and inner critics screaming in the background? If we’re lucky enough to be able to shelter in place and we’re not using that time to launch podcasts and personal projects and life-hack our way to some cargo-cult pastiche of normality, are we somehow letting the side down?”

I found this: https://www.wired.com/story/question-productivity-coronavirus

Maybe others have more articles that you have come across?

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Not to scare you too much… I find this read heartbreaking, but also strangely comforting because of the connection with probably so many others out there:

‘„I, like hundreds of other chefs across the city and thousands around the country, are now staring down the question of what our restaurants, our careers, our lives, might look like if we can even get them back.
I don’t know whom to follow or what to think. Everyone says: “You should do to-go! You should sell gift cards! You should offer delivery! You need a social media presence! You should pivot to groceries!’

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And no quick or easy answers for any of it. None of us know what the world is going to be line a year from now.