With emergencies come lessons, and we all learned many when it came to Hurricane Sandy. One very vital one I learned was the importance of being connected to not only your loved ones but also those you spend a majority of your week days with: your coworkers and workplace peers.
I’d once not been a fan of getting too close to coworkers. I’d been burned before, when the line between friend and peer were crossed, causing me to build a wall. ‘They don’t need to know my business outside of work, whether it’s personal or even where I live,’ I’d think.
But, in recent years, I’d began to let the wall down. I love my fam at Black Enterprise, from digital to events to broadcast to the magazine. And when Sandy came along, many of my coworkers and I rallied together not only to ensure one another’s well-being but to get our work done, and that couldn’t have been possible without being connected. We all had eachother’s g-mail addresses and cell phone numbers, and were able to stay in touch throughout the storm.
For some professionals, being connected to coworkers is not ideal, since they might feel, “Well, we work together. I see these people every day. Enough already.” Some don’t fraternize or get to know the people they work with and some don’t even have emergency contact information beyond what was given to HR when they were hired. Sandy taught us that the hermit approach might not be a good one, and that in cases of disaster, a coworker may be your only ally.
How did I know whether our Manhattan office would be closed or whether my manager was okay? Via text messages and e-mails. How was I able to get work done— even in the midst of power outages and other mishaps? Via my savvy peers at BE.
So, I’d challenge anybody who might have been the loner of the office– Ms. Annie Anti-Social—to reach out to at least one of your coworkers today. Create a buddy system for emergencies, giving them at least your cell phone number, personal email address, and maybe the number to a close family member or friend. You never know — it could be a matter of life or death.
I thank all my coworkers and others for making Sandy that much less of a disaster for me.
Did your coworkers play a role in helping you during Hurricane Sandy? Have they ever played a role in helping you in emergencies or other unfortunate events in your life? #Soundoff and hit me up on Twitter @JPHazelwood.