My days of social isolation feel familiar

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” ~ George Santayana

Day ten of social isolation, I woke up this morning in a daze after a short night of sleep. My inbox was surprisingly quieter than usual. At the top of my unread emails, I discovered that my new client is unable to pay my invoice because they shut down their company. Instantly I was hit with a touch of deja vu; everything seemed familiar. As I made a pot of coffee, I looked out the window to meditate before writing in my bullet journal.

Why am I not freaking out right now?

All of a sudden, I am standing in my first apartment, looking at my younger self in 2009. In the aftermath of the 2008 market crash, 75% of my co-workers were let go without many job opportunities to pay the rent. Throughout 2009, I worked an impressive five weeks total. Weeks would go by where I thought I was doomed to be unemployed forever, or take out a big loan to go back to school (with no guarantee I would find work afterwards).

Life got better after those trying times. My mind buried those memories, loaded them on a jump drive and tossed into the drawer of random items. I hit a low that served no purpose to remember until today. I wished I kept an active journal as I do today if I did, I would be able to compile a list of things to avoid. Fortunately, my younger self was more active on Facebook, and I was able to collect the following lessons that may be helpful to those that may be nervous, scared, or going to a dark place they haven’t encountered before:

Boxing after work

1. Even with social isolation, you need to prioritize your health

I have been a member of Contenders Boxing Studio since 2007. During my extended period of unemployment in 2009, Contenders became my only means for social interaction and entertainment. Everywhere I look, many gyms and clubs are hosting online classes to keep their members in shape.

There are only so many hours in the day I could sit at my desk, in my home office, before I start bouncing off the walls. Before the pandemic, I was already working from home, where I would log 60 to 70 hours per week. Fortunately, every day at 5:30 pm, I get to sweat in my living room, along with my friends.

2. Don’t be afraid to call a friend when you are hurting

Let’s face it, most of us are hurting right now, but that doesn’t mean we should suffer in silence. As time goes on, we will adjust to the new normal, and it is vital to maintain our sanity. There is only so much Netflix binging and screen time before your mind will begin to wander. Reach out, even if you feel calm, you may discover that you are helping someone who is hoping for companionship.

3. Get ahead of the masses, don’t become financially dependent on others

As we approach the end of the month, many are wondering how they will pay their rent or mortgage. Unfortunately, the government may not be prepared to handle the exponentially higher volume of calls by the millions seeking benefits. The vague definitions of recipients, many benefit seekers, may find themselves jumping through hoops.

Researching alternative ways to make money would be a great way to minimize the risk of increasing consumer debt. On Reddit, there is a subreddit called BeerMoney that provides opportunities to earn money while self-isolating. As the job markets become competitive, networking is becoming more effective than applying on job boards. Book virtual lunches or coffees, learn what is available while working from home.

Although some may find it unfair to compare the market crash of 2008 to the current pandemic; however, since I am actively participating in self-isolation, I am seeing similar limitations as I did eleven years ago. We will overcome this, take care of yourself and be ready to adapt to changes.

As we continue to develop Afterwork Financial, we are continuously meeting with individuals and providing financial resources to help them during this transition period. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me directly:

Rafael Reis

Product Owner