Lunch with Lindsay: Health and the Workforce, Race in New England, and Pandemic Vacations

Yesterday I caught you up to speed with my life in Lunch with Lindsay: Schools During a Pandemic and Allyship During a Movement. Today I am continuing to discuss what else has been on my mind so I am sharing with you my most recent video above on health in the workforce, race in New England, and vacations in the pandemic.

For this latest video, my former coworker and friend Sumana joined the chat with Becky and me. We exchanged our differing perspectives on disclosing health and personal issues in the workplace. When is honesty the best policy? How transparent is transparent enough? To what extent do you share pertinent details in disclosure? What details do you consider to be pertinent?

It is funny to watch the video of our dialogue about this because you can see and hear how we each take different approaches to disclosing these parts of ourselves. Everyone shared honest and valid opinions.

To me, this conversation was a microcosm of what is happening across the US and around the world. As the COVID-19 pandemic grows, the virus is compelling people to share more about their lives. Whether or not someone has Coronavirus, we all should be altering our behavior to some degree—especially if we have health concerns other than COVID-19.

This pandemic is impacting how much employees share about their health, family circumstances, and personal responsibilities outside of work. Also as more people work from home now, what does it mean to separate home life from work life? What does it mean to establish professional boundaries? What does professional even mean?

While we’re at it, could we talk about the ways in which the term professionalism is loaded with so much hierarchy?

As employers across the country are coming out with their statements of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging, what does that mean in real terms for employees that are debating how much to disclose about their health and personal situation?

Who has the luxury to still appear “professional” during this pandemic and beyond?

If there is a couple with children, which partner likely will end up having to care for the child while speaking on a video call for work? If a single woman lives with her elderly mother and baby, how does that living arrangement shape the professional and personal responsibilities she prioritizes throughout the day?

Hierarchy and disparity kept coming up in our discussions of race in New England. Now that we have more time to watch videos on the Internet, we finally caught up to the 2018 episode of Saturday Night Live where Adam Driver’s character attends a Neo-Confederate meeting.

Rather than describe the clip for you, I will give you a few minutes to watch it yourself.

Sumana, Becky, and I were laughing about how this video highlights key issues of disparity in New England. Although this video made fun of Vermont’s very White and homogeneous culture and Boston’s racism, we all felt like the video was applicable to all of New England.

I have lived in Massachusetts for 11 years. Since I moved here, it has been evident how proud residents are that this state was the first to legalize same-sex marriage, the first to provide near-universal health coverage, and the 2019 No. 1 rank for prekindergarten through twelfth grade education.

If you read The Boston Globe articles I just referenced, you would be convinced that this is the mecca of progress. However, even The Boston Globe also has covered great disparities in this state. The newspaper has a series called The Great Divide: Race, Class, and Opportunity in Our Schools.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 6347163783_d001a2a94f_o.jpg
Photo from Flickr

That is the funny thing about having lived in Greater Boston 11 years now. I consistently meet people who identify as progressive and want to uphold values associated with that mindset. At the same time, if I were to examine their workplaces, hobbies, leisure activities, and networks—their professional and social circles demonstrate the New England homogeneity as the SNL skit illuminates.

We discussed several other topics (if you want to hear about pandemic vacations, watch the video), but that portion of our conversation stood out the most to me. I noticed these disparities since my first year in Boston. When I raised them with Massachusetts residents and New Englanders in general, they consistently refuted those points; however, in light of Black Lives Matter, it is evident that these points can no longer be refuted. There is a disconnect between what New England says it is and what it actually is.

Where do you live? What does your part of the world say it is? What is it actually? What actions can you take to make your part of the world better?

One thought on “Lunch with Lindsay: Health and the Workforce, Race in New England, and Pandemic Vacations

  1. Pingback: Proving Your Pain | Unfiltered Snapshot

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