"This repeated insistence that we should be “making the most” of a pandemic feels like the perfect reaction for our time and our generation. We live in a capitalistic system that sells us the fantasy that hard work and tenacity alone can bring you success and fulfilment; more than ever before our work and home lives blend into one another without clear boundaries and anything can be monetised – even in times of chaos and uncertainty. Why wouldn’t we think work would be the answer to all our corona woes. But let’s be clear – this isn’t the wild period between Christmas and New Year when days all roll into one and your blood is 80 per cent gravy, that stretch could indeed be a good time to start thinking about that side project.

What we're going through right now is different. This is a global health pandemic where thousands of people’s lives are at risk and the global economy is teetering on the brink. The UK is on lockdown, you’re only allowed to leave your house once a day. Our way of life has completely changed into something we’ve never experienced before. I’m not sure more podcasts and more side projects are currently the answer to what we’re all experiencing right now.

... Work, along with our output and productivity, has become fetishised. We have become measured by what we produce over who we are. It’s gone so far that when we’re faced with a global pandemic and quarantine, all we can think of is what we should be creating and how we can be more productive with our time. ... now there is the added pressure of becoming a “mumpreneur”, of starting a side hustle and building up a new brand alongside learning how to keep a small person alive, and keeping your sanity and relationships intact.

... If you’re at home with a career/business on hold, assuming the unexpected role or carer or teacher and you haven’t got a clue what’s going on, please don’t add pressure onto yourself to keep working, to keep doing, to keep sharing – not everything is a content opportunity. Do the next thing well, or just do the next thing and the next thing and then have a lie down. Sit with yourself, your thoughts, sieve through your feelings and slowly work out what your next move is."

"I’ve bought into and embodied the hustle culture for the past eight years. I’ve worked evenings and weekends to build up a business from scratch. I’ve always found ways out of tricky cash-flow and work situations, and it feels very weird to not have anything to do work-wise. However, rather than rushing to put out content or pivot Riposte in a meaningless way, just to be seen to be doing something, it feels like there needs to be some time to adjust, time for reflection, a chance to catch a breath, to re-evaluate how life could be different after this, how our businesses and work lives could be different. This is one of the things that makes me feel excited and positive for the future of Riposte, that we have the chance to thoughtfully assess where we’re at, how we do things and how we want things to be in the future.

Will things go back to the way they were when this is over? I don’t know. Will we all hop straight back on flights, dive back into old work patterns and refuse to learn any lessons? I really hope not. What I do hope is that over the coming weeks we allow ourselves the opportunity to reassess our relationship with work. To find a way to define ourselves away from what we do for a living, because we are all more than our output."

A chance to catch a breath”: Danielle P…