Generation X – Lawyers in Lockdown continued…
Jane Bowden, Partner in our Real Estate department describes her experiences working from home as a Generation X.
Generation X, not just the 1970’s punk band fronted by Billy Idol, but the term applied to those of us born between the mid 60’s and 1980.
We grew up and formed our world outlook during the 70’s (strikes, power cuts, the end of free school milk) and the 80’s (the continuation of the Cold War, potential nuclear war and HIV as potent threats). During our working lives we’ve survived the early 90’s recession and 15% bank interest rates, the 10 years of austerity post the 2008 crash and now they throw Covid-19 at us just as we were starting to think we were making sense of life.
Although with a “Rebel Yell”* because I don’t really want to admit it, I am now a middle-aged woman. I’ve had the “White Wedding”* (well Ivory actually) and I am the very proud mother of two gorgeous and spirited young women who will do great things with their lives. I try to live by the motto: “If something is bothering you ask yourself whether it is within your power to change it. If it is, then do it, if it’s not, then stop worrying about it, it is a waste of your time and energy!” In the new “normal” world of Covid-19 that’s not so easy. The trouble is no-one seems to be able to do anything about it and it came like a bolt from the blue.
Adjusting to working life at home hasn’t been too difficult for me on a personal level; pre-Covid I was already doing it once or twice a week to help balance work and family life; cut down on commute times and to be able to focus for a sustained period if drafting contracts or reports, despite a few of my clients regularly asking me how I’d enjoyed the afternoon’s episode of “Loose Women” or “Ready Steady Cook”! But the dynamic at home is different now because all four of us are there all the time and my “work at home Wednesday” sanctuary and quiet is not what it was.
My husband is a teacher and is supporting the children of other key workers by going in to school, as well as providing online learning resources. My hope is that one benefit of the lockdown will be that teachers will be appreciated once again as many people without a teacher in the family struggle to “home educate” their own children. My eldest daughter’s first year at Uni has been disrupted and, having flown the nest in September has, like many others, been “forced” to become a “homing pigeon” and has lost some of that new found extra sense of independence in a stroke. Daughter number 2 is desperately missing her mates and her sporting activities. My weekly food bills have gone through the roof and a subscription to Netflix has become an “essential”! Whilst “children” of course, are highly resilient, I do feel desperately sorry for all the children and young adults for whom this must be a particularly strange and worrying time.
Having work to do, whilst so many around me do not, is a powerful motivator. I have realised that my work is more important to me than I might have acknowledged to myself. My dreams of retirement (albeit someway off) may need refining and redefining, certainly more thought and planning is required. Most of all I am missing live sport: will I see Liverpool FC top the tree for the first time in 30 years? Will Wales avoid the wooden spoon in the 6 Nations? Will I actually get to see Day 4 of the West Indies test at Lords? (tickets in the ballot for the first time ever!). The Olympics are postponed, Wimbledon is off and Sussex U15 Girls Cricket matches are suspended until further notice. I know in the grand scheme of things this is a trivial irrelevance, but sport has always been a very important part of my life and aside from seeing family, friends, colleagues and clients in person once again is what I am most looking forward to in the post-Covid world.
Generation X are a strong and resourceful generation and we will come through this by sharing our experiences with each other and supporting each other. I have found that I am not quite as bad at using technology as I thought…small things as they say. In the meantime I’ve had to give up “Dancing with Myself”* and join in the family kitchen disco on Saturday nights instead!
* Generation X/Billy Idol singles all available to view on YouTube if you fancy some seriously dodgy music videos from the days before MTV
The content of this webpage is for information only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice. PDT Solicitors LLP accepts no responsibility for the content of any third party website to which this webpage refers.