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Silver Linings: Creating Special Moments Leads to Good Days and Great Community

Emily Tracy  Follow

Editor’s Note: It’s been a long eight months. Remote work fatigue is REAL, winter is coming, and we’re all starting to feel a little stir crazy. As much as we’re all very eager and anxious to get back to the office, to get back to ‘normal,’ the light is not nearly at the tunnel. So while we wait for that light, we’ve decided to launch a series of content that looks at the glass half-full. A series of articles by Prosekians that aim to provide our readers with moments of hope, happiness and optimism. And, as we approach the holiday season, we want to spread some cheer through sharing these personal experiences and stories. Our very own Senior Vice President Emily Tracy kicks off the series with a story about finding the silver linings within fleeting moments. Enjoy!

It’s been 245 days since we all started working remotely. It’s feeling like a new normal, right?

In the beginning, there were many unknows around the virus, but I think we all felt confident and comfortable in our ability to work from home. The novelty wore off quickly. Confidence and comfort turned into a feeling of dread and anxiety. We were all impacted by the idea that we would be working from home indefinitely. But as I reflect on the last eight months, I need to focus on the silver linings to get me through the days and weeks that remain ahead. Yes, the days can be long and draining. Yes, the days can be filled with anxiety and despair. But I’ve also found so many moments to laugh and smile. To surround myself with friends and family and to have found a work community that lifts me up.

The Spring of 2020 was one of the most difficult times of my life. I felt abandoned by the world. Schools closed. Home with two toddlers while balancing work felt like a never-ending battle I was destined to lose. We couldn’t lean on extended family for childcare for fear that we’d pass along the virus. We relocated our family out of Brooklyn, our beloved home for the last six years, and I felt so isolated and alone. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I absorbed so many of my own emotions and my families’ emotions, I ended up breaking down on one of our First 15s* when sharing how my schedule had changed. My routine had collapsed.

As much as my day-to-day had changed all the way around, there were constants. There were regular client calls and internal huddles. And emails. Never-ending emails. But our team meetings had changed. They turned from not just listing out account updates, but also having emotional check-ins and humor breaks. And that’s not all. Nearly every single day from March through June, Mark Kollar, a Partner at Prosek, called me. Just to say hi. Just to make me laugh. The days were feeling less dark and lonely. He helped me see the sunshine again. We could talk about agenda items, solve client problems and joke around about how my kids were driving me nuts. It was a safe place. 

Without the challenges of 2020, I’m not sure Mark and I would have grown as close as we have. There are so many advantages to working together in-person. The collaboration. The humanity. The jokes. But working from home has also presented so many wonderful moments, too. Moments of grace and kindness and sarcasm. Moments where we can let our guards down and share our raw emotions. With life literally happening in the backgrounds of our Zoom calls, we can be more open and honest with each other. Something that an office can strip away.

Prosek has created a true community. So that even in times that are hard, even in times of a global pandemic, financial downturn and social justice crisis, we can come together to find hope and friendship. We can call to check in and just to say hi and make someone’s day. We can send a note of encouragement and inspire them that they’re on the right track. We can make someone laugh when they feel down. We can make them feel ok for not feeling ok. These small moments create great days. They can create great experiences and they can create silver linings of hope in so much uncertainty.   

*First 15s were established in the first couple of months of quarantine to gather small, intimate groups to stay connected and engaged and talk about how Covid-19 was impacting their work, family and home life.

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