I penned the following words for my colleagues here at University18, and am putting out a version for everyone out there, working from home — the #WorkFromHomeWarriors
I hope these words find you and your loved ones well.
It’s been quite a challenging couple of months, and in all the faceless statistics and numbers that we see everyday in the papers, its become hard to keep in mind that behind those numbers are people losing their dads and moms, sons, wives, husbands , children.. every day, every hour. Covid-19 takes its victims, and leaves behind a void in people’s lives. Ironically, the lockdown that saves lives also takes its own share in collateral damage — people, caught in the wrong place and the wrong time, without the resources to survive the battering even a small pause in their lives and livelihoods is giving them. Millions across the world are already jobless, and people are struggling in the face of this challenge, this war declared on the entire human race by a small, invisible but powerful enemy we call Covid-19.
The human, economic, and social loss this world collectively faces shall take its toll and it’d be years before we are back to a sense of ‘normalcy’ . Normalcy for most of us probably might mean being able to shake hands with a friend when we meet, or to be able to return to office, order food delivery or maybe buy a friend a birthday gift, and this perhaps maybe around the corner for most of us, but for quite a few, across the World, the word normalcy won’t have the same meaning anymore. A year of joblessness, or a loved one lost — it is not something you can undo.
As mankind and humanity (i use the two separately as they don’t necessarily exist together, even though they should) try and deal with this unprecedented attack on our way of life, we’re finding comfort and safety in defaulting back to the basics — shedding all unnecessary excursions, spending time with loved ones and focusing on what matters — health, fitness, nutrition, education and keeping the fires of the world economy burning, the wheels turning. And in that, we find our unlikely heroes — A farmer who still goes out to the mandi, an e-commerce runner, a nurse who shows up everyday, a pharmacist keeping his shop open 24x7, or an educator who logs onto his or her app so the kids at home or the college student can catch a glimpse of their classmates online and find comfort knowing, that in the midst of all this, some things can still be counted upon — like homework! (as my son and daughter both discovered recently).
Our 10+ years as University18, pioneering Online Education in India and across the World are dwarfed by the enormity of the task we face today — ensuring that Institutions across the World have access to a platform and the technology they require to see to it that their students, whether they’re school going children, young adults or professionals looking to re-skill themselves, are well served, and use this time constructively, coming out better prepared to face a uncertain career or year ahead, while also maintaining however much they can of the elusive ‘normalcy’ we all so desire today.
Yes, it’s been a decade and more, and upon reflection, I feel that we’ve been like an army, training everyday, challenging ourselves, preparing for this day, much like a platoon that prepares everyday, going through the paces, pushing themselves harder, making what seemed like unnecessary sacrifices, so that when the war does come, they’re ready, and at the frontlines. Make no mistake, we’re not in this alone. Startups and Internet/Tech giants alike are doing their best to get the tech out there, ensuring that our educators and students have the tools they need. Also, know that it’s not about the money, we’re all probably doing most of what we do in these times without expectation of financial gain. Instead, it is about showing the Virus that Humanity won’t stop. That we won’t cower down and hide. We’ll Win. As Humans.
I know quite a few of you are working twice as hard and twice as long, to try and meet the deadlines and targets we have imposed on ourselves. For some, the stress of handling life in lock-down, and this accelerated pace of work may be getting to be too much. If that is the case, reach out to a colleague, a friend within the company. Let us know, ask for help if you need it. We’re here.
But, if you find yourself questioning the cause, or the reasons why we’re trying to do what we’re doing, or asking if you’re being sufficiently rewarded for your efforts, pause, and rethink your role. Not everyone is built for the Army, or to defend the way of life. And it is a waste of a life, one that is spent working for a cause you don’t believe in, or putting out work you can’t be proud of. I surely wouldn’t recommend it.
I can see the World change and I also see the way the world works change. I intend to ensure that as we step into this next decade as University18, we take that change with us, embracing it, building upon it.
For hopefully, it’ll teach us all to be a little less self contained and a little braver. A little more Human.