Voices: Going Back To Work After Covid

(Fwrd Axis) — My name is Liat, and I currently live in San Francisco. I was born and raised in Kiryat Ata, a small town in Israel, also known as the startup nation, but I became a Tel Aviv girl at heart when I was recruited to the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces. Over the years, I got a formal education, completed a variety of certifications, and gained experience as an entrepreneur and a business consultant. I enjoy my life through playlists of songs and Israeli cult movies from the ’60s and ’70s. Food is my biggest hobby, and I love to cook and explore new flavors from cultures around the world. An unexpected opportunity several years ago led me to immigrate to the US, and my life changed completely.

When Covid-19 broke out, I was in San Francisco. I had to recalculate the course of my business and personal life without a safety net. In addition to the global chaos, my family needed my help, so I paused my life to return to Israel. Throughout this time, I continually wished for these perils to pass so I could get back to my routine. At the same time, I valued the opportunity to spend time with family and support them. My help was much needed and appreciated.

Fortunately, when I returned to the Bay Area, I found a new apartment and secured a new job, essentially a fresh start. I didn’t know at the time the extent to which this experience would affect my life. To my surprise, the city had transformed itself and become virtually dysfunctional. I was amazed to see the emptiness of the streets filled with homeless people. Most of the stores on Market street, one of the city’s main streets, were closed, and the ones that were open had extremely limited hours due to a lack of staff. The liberal city has weakened and is barely on its feet. Something has changed, and maybe it’s more than just a global pandemic.

Entrepreneurs from all over the world come here to try their luck and raise money. San Francisco ranks as the top city for venture capital investment. It’s where entrepreneurs come to learn how to network, build a sustainable tech business, and form business relationships. This is the place where dreams come true for nerds. This relatively small city hosts concerts, offers amazing theatrical events, an assortment of museums, the ballet, cultural events, business events, conferences, festivals, street fairs, parties, sports events, you name it, and it’s known as the place to come to absorb knowledge and cultural experience.

San Francisco used to lead the reviews as the most expensive city in the world to live in. The cost of living was extremely high, and educational costs were unrealistically elevated for those with kids. During the last two years, many people left the city, and the reasons are many, but it’s likely the cost of living was a consideration. Currently, tech companies are facing difficulties bringing people back, and the city looks pale and lifeless. I am saddened by this, but at the same time, it sparks an interest in me to create change.

La Cuisine Café, 1145 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Choosing a Workplace

Amir Taichman, the founder and CEO of UnitySCM, reached out to me through a FB post, and I was inspired by the platform he and Barak Cohen, the CTO, built. These two founders invented a novel way to collect and consume data in the form of a SaaS product. What impressed me most was that they raised the first capital just as Covid-19 broke out, more than a year before the supply chain crisis became the primary topic in every media channel. In addition, I had met relatively few who shared my viewpoint that the root of the problem was data-based. So I was excited to join a team that is one of the first to develop a solution to the core problem in the industry.

I was ready to go back to working with people after a long absence from the corporate world. I didn’t know at the time the extent to which living through the Covid-19 period would affect my life. It took me a while to embrace the concept of fully remote work because I wanted to talk to people. I missed communicating with people in person, especially the brief encounters or water cooler conversations in the kitchen or the hallway. Yet, going back to work after a long absence is much more than just communicating with people. It’s challenging to be spontaneous and brainstorm with my colleagues whenever I like if it’s not a scheduled meeting on my calendar. Yes, software engineers love using Slack, but unfortunately, sharing thoughts on a thread is not even close to brainstorming in person. The magic that happens when people talk is priceless. The energy, flow, and insights are part of the creative process, and we lose a significant part of it as a result of social distancing. What if we can’t go back to how we used to work, and these changes are here to stay? There are things that exist on the inside, and we may not be aware of them. Many of us become pessimistic and have a gloomy outlook. We open the newspaper and say, “well, another disaster.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. I know I woke up. I woke up a different person. Something in me had changed.


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