I’ve been writing in my journal since my family and I decided to go into lockdown (and before the UK Government implemented the nationwide lockdown rules).
That was 108 days ago and during that time we’ve seen something like 65,000 excess deaths, a swathe of familiar brands have gone into administration and as of the end of last month, something like 9.3m people were on furlough in the UK and put there by over 1m individual employers and an international study has found over 40% of the UK population’s mental health may be at risk.
There is no doubt we are living through a life changing event, one that some will thrive through but which, for others, could be devastating.
I work with early stage ventures and their founders on a daily basis. Almost always one event away from failure at any time the pandemic has forced huge stress on these startups and the people that run them — many of whom have never been through crisis before.
One of the things that doesn’t get talked about enough (and even when it does I find it gets romanticised way too much) is how lonely it is in that drivers seat.
How abso fucking lutely hard it is to have to make decisions about who gets paid first, who might need to be furloughed — or worse, made redundant — which suppliers you may have to default on, how to put pressure on your debtors to pay you when you know they’re going through the same pain, or maybe worse, calls from investors asking what’s going on and what your recovery plans are when even the government doesn’t have a clue.
All the while trying to maintain a positive facade, to be a leader in a time of crisis, and to navigate all the questions and forms and applications just to keep things going.
And that’s before we even talk about the home situation, maybe you’re on your own, unable to see anyone you love or your partner has been laid off and you need to be there for them too or you’ve got young kids and are basically figuring out how to home school on top of everything else.