COVID-19 Staff Stories

Amber Bartlett

I used to like numbers, they were so certain, so logical, so straight-forward and factual. I loved math; there was always an answer, numbers don’t lie.  Then COVID-19 hit and now I hate numbers. I hate what they represent. I hate the new uncertainty around the numbers, I hate tracking the numbers and I hate hearing numbers on the television.  What happened to the certainty and logic behind numbers? What happened to numbers supporting facts? I keep hearing and reading numbers but no one seems to know the answer to the equation and the math behind when this will be over.

I learned a new number last week.  Two. Two is where my grandma is on the waiting list to get into a long-term residence that has lost eighteen people.  Two is the number that represents the difference between me most likely having or not having a grandma at this moment in time. Two is my new favourite number because I adore my grandma. She’s funny and kind and she used to make me a lemon meringue pie every time I came home from university.  I’m so grateful she’s doing well and is in a safe place. At the same time, however, my heart breaks for my hometown, and for one of my best friends who lost her grandma to this pandemic and for the other families who have been affected.

Five, five is another number.  Five is the current number of weeks we’ve been working from home, staying safe and doing our part to stop the spread.  Five weeks of figuring it out. Figuring out how to work from home but stay connected. Five weeks of zoom meetings, so many zoom meetings! Five weeks of people accidently forgetting to mute their mic or talking over people because we’ve all forgotten how to use telephones during the era of texting. Five weeks of trying to find ways to connect with your team, your clients, your friends. But soon it will be six and the week after seven. I don’t know when the number will stop increasing. It’s exhausting, and I think we’re all feeling it. Scrap that, I KNOW we’re all feeling it.

That being said, we’ve been fortunate these past five weeks at Delvinia, in a lot of ways.  We’ve been supported by the executives and have regular updates on how we’re doing as a business day-to-day.  We’ve had great conversations with clients about what they are seeing and doing and how we can support them.  We have researchers reaching out and having open conversations about struggles and workarounds and what we can all be doing as a team, a market research industry team, to stay busy, to stay informed and to stay employed.  We’re in a fortunate spot many of us, both at Delvinia and industry-wide.  The world still needs research, so we’re all finding ways to support that in regards to both COVID-19 and more everyday data. Most importantly, I know when this is all over, we’ll take care of those that didn’t weather the storm as well.  One of the upsides of being a small industry, we’ve got each other’s backs.

I like to think that when this is all over, I’ll fall back in love with numbers. I believe they will find their way back into my heart and will make sense again. I certainly hope they do, I work in research because I love numbers!

I look forward to that day when the numbers make sense again and they represent positive moments in our lives. When the numbers represent economic growth, decreased unemployment, security. When they represent a friend’s 40th birthday, or the number of beers I consumed on the local patio, or the number of minutes I spent playing with a friend’s kid.  I look forward to the day that numbers once again represent the mundane day-to-days we all use to take for granted. And with positive numbers I hope come positive outlooks and a kinder, nicer world. I want a nicer, kinder world!

But until that day happens, I’ll remember to count the little things, like one awesome husband or my 30 second commute to work. I’ll also remain grateful for the big things like the safety of my friends and family because that’s all I can do. That’s all each of us can do.

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