The so-called “new normal” (in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic) is hotly-debated among people all over the world. Naturally, people have varying visions of how we should recover and recuperate. Still, the main sentiment that runs through all these opposing ideologies is that we have to move forward in some way or another. Merrill Chandler shares what he believes the new normal should be post-COVID-19. We might be staggered at the various ways of which the world can change after we somehow mitigated the pandemic, but we’ve got to roll with those punches. The new normal has to be one where we collectively move forward into a future with more outreach, kindness, compassion, and safety.
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Forget The “New Normal”
We’re going to be discussing every aspect of the new normal. Will there even be a new normal? And how do we address this fresh “normality” in our lives…both individually and with our collective response to this onslaught of a recession?
The Power Of This Pandemic
As all of you know, there has been a ton of unfamiliar events happening around the world, which is triggering both positive and negative experiences when it comes to the “new normal.” First of all, I’d like to update you with some of the information that we’ve been giving out to you multiple times within these past few weeks. Discussing this important topic will help us understand the real power of this pandemic, and prepare for the next domino that is likely to fall in this recession…which will impact us even further! Just recently, 3.2 million people have filed for unemployment…adding to the 33 million that started to rise since the shutdown officially began. That is a significant number of people! The peak was in the last period of March, where seven million claims were made. Ever since then, it has been slightly declining.
Even though it remains a gargantuan number, there are less and less every week. For example, back in February before the pandemic started, there were about 200,000 people filing for unemployment every week. Now, that may sound like a massive group of people…but in reality it is pretty low. Since the economy was more robust back then, it was common for people to enter that statistic but then quickly escape it due to the fact that it was rather easy to find new employment opportunities. But now…we find ourselves in a problem. The average unemployment rate is significantly over 15%. That is basically Depression Era numbers! 25% was the biggest unemployment rate in our nation’s history—but there were also fewer people in the United States back then.
And when we dive deeper into these simple statistics, and examine them on a personal level…we realize that there are several millions of families that have been drastically affected by this virus. Back when the Great Depression hit, it took us decades to move on from that 25% rate. This is why it’s important for us to pay attention to how that number grows or shrinks. But don’t worry, we will continue to report the monthly number to you so that you are accurately up-to-date with what is going on.We are all responsible for creating an effect on the world around us #GetFundable Click To Tweet
A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute found that roughly 50% more people that have filed claims in this four-week work period qualify for benefits. That means 50% of those people are not being represented as unemployed because the process was too formidable, or they got stymied by the sheer amount of time it takes. Remember, the system was designed to process thousands of people per-week…not 3-7 million! So not only is the system showing its tolerance for how much it can handle…but this study reveals that half of those people could receive benefits if they went through with the entire process.
But the problem here, that a lot of people might not realize, is that the 50% isn’t being counted. This means that we aren’t actually at 15% over the usually unemployment rate, but actually much higher. If everyone was taken into account…we’d probably be sitting at around 23% instead. This is wildly significant, since the economy is not being moved forward at all. And that’s not all…in the last weeks before the pandemic lockdown, states around the country started to spend less, knowing what was to come.
This is a major factor in our new normal! People started withdrawing, contracting, not going out or traveling as much, and spending way less money. In many states—while the lockdown orders are still legally in place—the enforcement orders are still there. Economic data shows that there are businesses, workers, and consumers that are already going back to the old, ‘normal’ routines. This means that there are people whose businesses are technically starting to reopen even though there are still shelter-in-place-orders.
As Fundable As Possible
This brings us to another effect of the pandemic—a lot of suspicious rumors. Even here in Utah, there have been riots and rallies at the Capitol building. Many individuals think that this is a “FAKO Virus” to use our credit score parlance, or that it’s just a conspiratorial ruse. I tend to not pay attention to these types of things. My main focus is—since the country is shutting down—to help my clients remain fundable in these trying times. The conspiracies lean a little too far into political ideologies for my comfort. My only duty here is to make sure that no matter what is going on with the world, you are as fundable as possible.
There is the common, ultra-conservative saying that we’re all being tricked in some way or another…so in response, they say things like, “Be free! It’s not as bad as we all think!” But there will be points in time where we don’t exactly know all of the facts! At our Capitol, there were almost 2,000 people…gathered together with no masks, no social-distancing, nothing. Many of them even carried signs that read, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Everybody was saying that it’s not necessary in any way. I personally consider myself a hermit, since I live in my own space and work in my own space. This means that—in times like these—I’m going to look out for and support my loved ones within my own space in life. I don’t like to weigh in on the political issues or conspiracies surrounding the pandemic. It’s definitely not my jam.
The numbers of cases in Utah are also declining, since we’ve already experienced our first spike. But exactly two weeks after these rallies and protests…we are going through yet another spike. Now, I’m not brining this up to say one thing or another about the people who have gathered. What I am trying to say is that our actions (no matter what they are) will always create an effect, and we’re all responsible for that. If we got a spike in cases here, that means the downtrend is now temporary. And that downtrend simply meant that the new normal requires us to be deliberate. My home overlooks the Salt Lake Valley…so the street right outside my house is very popular for biking and jogging since there is a beautiful view! It’s called the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, and it is in fact amazing. It’s the reason why I love living here!
But with the constant view of this trail, I’ve noticed that people will still travel by my house with their masks on, even if they’re with their partner, friends, etc. The new normal is even though there are businesses that continue to reopen, people have their own, varying degrees of support. The two ends of this spectrum are the people rioting to end the mask mandate vs. the people who are social distancing to the extreme. This reminds me of a story that I’d like to share with you. One of my good friends, who was one of our first team members at Lexington Law in 1992, came down with Covid. His symptoms were so drastic…they reached the pneumonia category.
Thankfully, he was later cured! After about ten days, he was cleared of all contagion. When I was recently talking to him, he told me that the response to the bubonic plague back in the Middle Ages still rings true today. There are the people who come up with conspiracies in an attempt to maintain their “freedom,” and then there are the people who—even though they are alone in their car—still wear a mask because they are afraid to even breathe the air. This just shows us that, throughout history, there will always be a massive range of responses to whatever situation we find ourselves in! The saddening part is the fact that the level of response that seems to be lacking is the help, compassion, and kindness that everyone needs right now. People who have contracted the virus are treated very poorly. Where there’s not a huge response is the level of compassion and kindness that are being displayed to people who may have been part of the contagion, that have been infected and are recovering or even have recovered.The new normal better include more kindness, more compassion, more outreach, and more safety #GetFundable Click To Tweet
Whether you have been infected, are recovering, or have already recovered, it is likely that many people will push you away…treating you like you have the air-equivalent of leprosy. I’m not instructing you to go out onto the streets and let everyone breathe on you. But there should still be a level of respect, empathy, and humanity shown to each other. If the new normal doesn’t involve more love, compassion, and support…what’s the point? We have to pivot hard to find the opportunities that will get us through this.
Here at Get Fundable…we often discuss your ‘Y’…why is your true meaning in life for what you spend your time and energy on. Whatever your ‘Y’ or you purpose may be…it should include spreading love and happiness throughout the world. A lack of moral or ethical standards will render your ‘Y’ to be useless. This may be the main lesson that we have to learn throughout this entire pandemic!
For example, you can easily socially distance yourself from people without alienating the people who have in fact contracted Covid. You don’t even have to antagonize the people who believe differently than you…even though that is also a common theme throughout human history. We have two radically different groups of people—all co-mingling for the same purpose. So what is the new normal? The truth is that no government reopening is going to make people feel safe. In those states, Covid may continue to traipse along like this. When it comes to this pandemic…be wise, be harmless, and be kind.
Healthy, Wealthy, And Wise
There were signs of a contraction before the states drew down hard lines and rules because people don’t want to be harmed by whatever they believe about an idea—specifically a world-wide virus like this one. Most people just want to take care of themselves and live their own life. We obviously want to protect ourselves and our loved ones…but when does protecting ourselves turn into being rude or dismissive to those who are in different situations than you? For example, if you have a job but someone else lost theirs due to the pandemic, it doesn’t make them any less vital than you are!
Every month, I have one-on-one meetings with each of my team members. During one of these most recent meetings, one of my team members was describing how she had this specific type of survivor guilt. She’s in her twenties, and while she was able to maintain her job…she has many friends who have either been laid off, haven’t been hired back, have been furloughed, or have to still pay full college tuition for online classes with little-to-no resources or social interaction. They’re also part of the group that can’t even qualify for unemployment because they have zero-hour schedules or haven’t been formally laid off…so they’re miserable! While they’re having a horrible time, she remains part of an organization that knows how to pivot, that is literally the gatekeeper to funding and to the growth of opportunity for all of these small businesses.
She said, “I love what I’m doing, and I love what is happening with our company. But at the same time, they’re all hurting…and I can’t do anything to help.” This is why I call it survivor guilt. For example, if four people are involved in a car accident…and three of them die but you survive…you’ll feel terrible about it for years, if not forever. You’ll think to yourself, “Why me? Why did I get to survive when they didn’t?” Even though you can’t take it upon yourself to completely fix their problems…you can still open your heart to show them that you are there to support and empathize with them! You are still several ways to take care of your loved ones to your highest capability—even if it is simply showing them the basic, unconditional level of love and kindness.
Again, we are at a 15% unemployment rate…with 50% of those people not even being officially registered. This will never be a good situation for our country. And no, there is no way for us as individuals to mend our nation’s unemployment problem. But the least we can do is make the “new normal” a welcoming environment where we all make an effort to show kindness, compassion, outreach, love, and opportunities. Don’t shun people just because they have been infected. Make a conscious effort not to judge what you fear. Yes, you can be afraid…we all are! But don’t let yourself antagonize people because of that fear. That is what the new normal should include…trying to make sure that everyone feels loved, welcomed, healthy, and happy in these stressful times!
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