This edition of my Heavy Metal blog is about, what else … the coronavirus. Surprise!
I'm sure Heavy Metal is not alone in feeling a sense of anxiety. Who will get COVID-19? Who will die? How widespread will the economic damage become — and how many people will lose their jobs?
Heavy Metal has been thinking about the pandemic and talking it through with my two college-age kids, work colleagues and longtime sources in the plastics industry. We came to this conclusion: Fear is taking over. Fear of the unknown.
Yes, we all have to take precautions of washing our hands, not touching our faces and avoiding big crowds. But conquering fear and anxiety about what could happen, about how terrible it could get? That's not so easy.
Still, we've got to try, for our own mental health. In these strange times, try to think about living one day at a time. When the sun comes up tomorrow, focus on that day, and then do it again. It's the projecting that can cause fear and even a mild sense of panic.
Heavy Metal sees some parallels to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. All Americans went to bed that night wondering what would happen next. The sense of fear took months to finally ease. COVID-19 is similar: Something really bad and unprecedented has happened and we have trouble processing it.
The only way forward is to live your life. Look at each day you're alive as a gift and focus just on that day. That's Heavy Metal's advice, even for normal times.
This applies to people as individuals. Of course, businesses must do projections and forecasts. Manufacturers need to figure out different scenarios and prepare for the worst of this Black Swan event of 2020. Every company is doing that.
Certainly, there are major disruptions. Most of the people who can work at home will work at home. We'll all follow the CDC guidelines.
And layoffs are a real possibility, but Heavy Metal has always taken this stance: There's nothing you, as an employee, can do about it. Most of the time it's about a financial decision — money — and nothing personal. The same with COVID-19. All you can do is work hard and do the best job you can every day.
We've all seen movies where society fights some kind of evil mass outbreak. Night of the Living Dead is one of Heavy Metal's all-time favorites. But now that it's real, Heavy Metal is binge-watching Outlander instead of The Walking Dead.