Week 6: Safer at Home or Work

Posted on April 20, 2020

Panoramic picture of a lake in Corsica surrounded by Mountains

Right Now w/ Joey Garcia (LinkedIn / Twitter)

What I’m Doing – Thinking about how I planned a whole wedding and now I get a whole other year to keep planning. yay? 

What I’m Binging – Kendra Davis recently introduced me to Taskmaster which is available for free on youtube!

What I’m Cooking/Baking – I have finally made my first sourdough bread. Super easy with the right recipe and Irish-accent; full disclosure: I used a stand mixer and dutch oven.

What I’m listening to  – Catching on Pop Culture Happy from NPR because I’ve been able to catch up A LOT of pop culture recently, you cool cats and kittens.

It is week six since California ordered all non-essential businesses to suspend operations. Turns out all of Public Works is essential in Torrance and we have at least another four weeks to go (May 15).  

Our organization was not set up to work from home before the quarantine (rather resistant) and was in the middle of recovering from a ransomware attack that wiped months worth of work. I literally had email for two days before we were told we were implementing split A/B shifts and working from home. Most of my work could have been done from home if I had VPN access, but security got a little intense after the ransomware attack and the city wasn’t as generous with access anymore. It’s been wild seeing so many coworkers discover Google Suite and Microsoft Teams for the first time but I’ve refined my teaching skills over the past couple weeks, so that’s nice.

The first week and half was a whirlwind and staff was talking about the overreaction of the state government and typical mistrust of new media sources. Then we had one of our field-personnel test positive for COVID-19 at work, and we sent fourteen of our field guys home to self-quarantine. You bet enhanced “personnel safety guidelines” went into full effect real quick and people weren’t making light of it after that.  Cubicles have been marked off, offices closed, everyone wearing masks (though not always worn), minimized congregation, and the air smells like Lysol.

It’s been a hell of an adjustment these past couple weeks but we’ve settled into a strange normal-ness. Things are starting to become routine in this new world, in that I am used to policy changes on a weekly or sometimes daily basis. I finally transitioned a bunch of projects online that should have been remote to begin with and I know that most of my community projects have been postponed or cancelled. Great thing about having a lot of your community events straight up cancelled is that I have had time to do some long-range planning. Next year will be our year! I promise! In the mean time, I still have to deliver water (reports) and pick up trash (contracts).

Week 6 is the first week back since questionable public protests against stay-at-home orders and hearing the discussion between coworkers about the “right-to-work” is driving me insane. I know all the conspiracies theories. This easily stems from fear/stress and difficulty of communicating new information daily. It just breaks my heart that we’re not talking about protecting the people most affected. I stay out of the ludicrous discussions to preserve my sanity but I swear, if I have to hear “I just want a haircut” one more damn time…

The few people left in the office are generally practicing safe behaviors, which is nice since I have family members who are at risk and we are taking this seriously. I still show up even though I’m not really sure why anymore. But I know that being furloughed will not feel nice [Ellie & Jill Take on COVID-19: Insensitive Bosses]. Grateful for the work I can do now knowing my friends and family are waiting on unemployment checks. Not so grateful for the 20% city-wide budget cut recommended by Finance.

Positive Notes:  

  • I have meaningful work
  • Have been consistently meditating daily (download Balance app)
  • A/B split work shifts & 9/80 schedules
  • Baked my first sourdough
  • Am somehow much less stressed and much more stressed at the same time
  • My 2021 summer vacation is gonna be boss, probably
  • Finally got a Cultural Victory in Civilization: VI

Four more weeks to go (at least)


Meet me in Corsica, 2021.

A collage of four images showing the beauty of the island of Corsica

Joey Garcia is a Senior Administrative Analyst for the City of Torrance and current ELGL Boardmember

(LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram / Email)

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