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COVID-19 learning & connection opportunities: week of March 30, 2020

The Sense of Purpose…

Posted on March 23, 2020


Sense of Purpose

Today’s buzz was hastily put together by Zach Ratkai, connect on LinkedIn or follow on Twitter

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What I am Watching: Sneaking in an old Seinfeld re-run when I can

What I am Reading: My Twitter feed again…

What I am Listening To: St. Paul and the Broken Bones

I debated whether or not to bag my duty for this Morning Buzz or not, based on what is happening in the world today. I have been working most of this Sunday afternoon, preparing for the week ahead at the City of Pasco, Washington, in the epicenter of the viral crisis and while our city has been planning for a couple weeks, it seems that there is never enough preparation as things seem to change hourly for us.

I, and my coworkers at the City have not been sent home. Many of us are working long hours in City Hall, with multiple emails, phone calls, and texts being sent after hours. I no longer know what a normal schedule is, except for standing meetings with our Continuity of Operations (COOP) team. Anything beyond that is at the will of our meetings and the changing news coming out of the Capitol nd from the Health Department.

We have not been sent home. We are not working with our dogs, spouses, or kids. Netflix is not on in the background. I will admit, I have felt consternation about my friends being able to work like this. Our long hours, new roles, and new tasks are being done to ensure that our staff can work from home if needed- all in the name of sustaining our work to the public.

While this is all daunting, and there is much uncertainty to us, there is a different feel around City Hall. I felt it working for a city in Colorado during the 2013 flooding, and the memories came rushing back recently. Disasters can turn a community and organization upside down, but there is also a unified sense of mission that bonds staff together and gives meaning to the work.

Reading gurus of management, business, and personal growth, everyone talks about having a common mission. While many in our profession look to serving the community as a prime mission, often that mission gets lost in our day-to-day work, the emails we answer, the deadlines for Council meetings. While a disaster can strike in any capacity, it shakes us up, unites us to a new sense of purpose.

While the days are long, the uncertainty strong, and the fact that we all do not know what government will look like after this all subsides– we can relish this new sense of purpose to form deeper team bonds, refresh our reasons for working in local government, and renew are sense of purpose in the community.

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