I just spent a week doing things I never thought I'd do.
After laying off all my employees (and myself), I filed for unemployment. It didn't take long, and it didn't feel good. It was a reminder of just how fast everything can change. Last week, we had a humming restaurant. This week, all the lights are off, and all of us are sheltering in our respective places.
I also made the tough decision for our restaurant not to remain open for take-out and delivery, despite the government calling it an "essential service." The decision was based on two realities. First: I couldn't ethically make it work in my mind to tell my staff to work during a pandemic so that others could stay home as instructed. We have diabetics on staff, staff members with ailing parents or children, staff that have pulmonary issues. As essential as brunch can seem, it's not worth spreading a disease that kills people. I'm still not certain why the government considers to-go grub essential.
Second: my restaurant just doesn't have the infrastructure in place to give staff enough hours to survive that kind of pivot. Only .05% of our sales come from take-out. If I thought I could have done something to make ends meet, I would have. But I just couldn't pay staff what they would have needed to make it through this strange time anyway.
So after turning off every light, all the heat, and emptying our fridges at the restaurant, I then proceeded to try home schooling my kids. It hasn't been effective yet. I've just been too distracted, mentally beating myself up for my decisions, wondering if they're the right ones or not. I've been spinning my wheels all week, moving quickly, but not actually getting much done. I've been worried about my staff, worried about my restaurant, and worried about my family's financial future, as well as their health as this virus spreads.
Basically having the same worries as every other person on the planet right now.
Reader, if anything gives me solace, it's this: everyone's world is upside-down right now. Not just mine, not just yours. We're all facing problems we've never faced before. There isn't a right move, and we won't know what will come of everything until it's "over," at some undetermined time in the future. The only thing that's certain?
Beating ourselves up isn't helping anybody.
So today I focused on enjoying the kids. We built a snowman. I made hot chocolate. They colored. We sang songs. I got in a pillow fight. We built a tent. We then proceeded to destroy the snowman, because it just felt good to destroy something.
But at least it wasn't ourselves. So I count today as a win. Internal bullying and self destruction have come to an end. Finding the best in the uncertainty starts NOW.
See you next Monday. -Em