Fragile World: Shattered By COVID-19

fragile jobs covid-19 illustration
Stay home or be terminated!

My Time Machine Didn’t Work

Back in 2018, when I started at Online Republic, I wrote my resignation letter. I dated it 18 months from the start date.

This was so that I could feel as if I had already resigned. I wanted to detach myself from the job’s seductive pull.

I wanted to feel like the job didn’t own me.

A good stable job makes you fragile. It teaches you, week after week, to relax, to let your guard down, to forget that you need to make ends meet. When the salary hits the account, muscles relax, shoulders drop, a smile appears on your face. The worst thing is, you don’t even notice it after a while.

You take it for granted.

Today, after fighting for a few short weeks against the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry, Online Republic let me go, along with some of my colleagues.

We are all in various states right now.

  • Some grieve because they worry about what’ll happen with their work visa status.
  • Some worry that they’ll lose their house, or that the landlord will kick them out.
  • Some may even feel that sting of rejection, of the company deeming them “nonessential”.

But as we know, nature doesn’t care. COVID-19 doesn’t care.

We are a small group of fairly successful & lucky people, in one of the best countries in the world. We became casualties of an irrational force of nature. We didn’t die. We didn’t become disabled.

We lost our jobs.

Anti-Fragile Vengeance

It sucks to forget the lessons learned from Nassim Taleb’s writing.

Travel has always been a bit of a “seat-of-the-pants” industry = very fragile, not even robust.

I want to say “I’m sorry” to the people who founded the company. While it’s still alive, it clearly wasn’t prepared. The founders took the risks and built the company up. They left it to us to make it even better. And we couldn’t.

We weren’t prepared.

New Zealand – the world – was not prepared. It all may not be the same after COVID-19. At least not for a while.

So What?

I talked to my younger brother, who is a Professional Host/Caster/Analyst for various RainbowSix Siege leagues in the ANZ region. He is a freelancer, hopping from gig to gig.

He said that while it wasn’t pleasant to have to think about where the money would come from every month, it was also good to be on his toes. It allowed him to be more adaptive and agile. (We just disagreed on how much his savings rate should be to be truly (antifr)agile.)

I’m not going to pretend that losing a job doesn’t affect me. I’m not going to make it look like my colleagues don’t need help and support.

Over the next 30 days, no one in New Zealand will be hiring as we go into lockdown.

Am I prepared to live on the street, if it comes to this? I’m afraid my “resignation letter” method won’t help here 😅

But I know for a fact that there are:

  • some options to work remotely,
  • companies experiencing growth in these weird times,
  • organisations fighting COVID-19 who need smart people,
  • government help, if it comes (or if it applies).

You may be reading this and nodding your head because you lost your job too. If that’s so, send me a message – I’ll do my best to help you get through this, if only with advice.

If you’re reading this, and you still have a job, but you are worried about stability yourself, you’re probably too late. I have no advice for you. Becoming anti-fragile takes time. Brace yourself.

If you’re reading this and you appear to be anti-fragile or at least robust, I want to applaud you. Teach everyone you know about how they can do it too (just don’t annoy them too much).

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