Looking for the Silver Linings

The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges and tragedies we’ve never experienced before. As the LR Knost quote we have posted in the CORE office says, “Life is amazing. And then it’s awful… And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”

There’s no doubt that these times have been truly awful for many people. However, there are also countless examples of individuals stepping up, helping their communities, and making the most out of difficult situations.

At CORE, we’re striving to stay positive, support each other, and support our community. For example—as we’ve worked remotely—we’ve had weekly video chats that are purely social, to make up for the serendipitous moments of connection and laughter that happen in the office. And each team member has received “food bonuses” that they can use to order carryout or delivery from local restaurants.

As we move through the spring season, there are both rainy and cloudy days along with moments of light and the promise of new beginnings. Here are some ways our team members have been looking for those beautiful moments during this challenging time:

“The workdays have been full of Zoom, WebEx and Teams meetings at the home office. After work, I’ve kept busy doing things like mulching; tending to tomato, eggplant, and bell peppers started from heirloom seeds; grilling out; painting the walls, and deep cleaning.”
- Annette Basham, Project Manager

    “We make sure to get up and out of the house regularly (walks around our neighborhood and nearby parks have been frequent). My wife and I have also used our extra time at home to watch online tutorials, read more, and try something creative with our children at least once a week (music, LEGO building and painting have been favorites). We’ve got regularly scheduled online chats with coworkers, friends and families, and regularly scheduled games, as well. We miss seeing everyone in person, but we are making lemonade with lemons!”
    - Michael Bennett, Project Manager

    “Being isolated at home for the past two months has been both challenging and rewarding. On the positive side, I am meeting so many more of my neighbors as everyone seems to be taking evening walks. I have had conversations from several feet away with neighbors I had never spoken with before. When not out walking, I have been reading more, cooking more, and tackling chores I never seem to have the time for. I am extremely gratefully that CORE has all the tools in place in order to efficiently and effectively work remotely, but look forward to life getting back to normal, whatever that new normal might be.”- Susan Drattlo, Executive Assistant

      “Before the pandemic, my daily routine included a stop at a coffee shop. I would frequent Calvin Fletcher’s, Coat Check, the Foundry, Henry’s on East, or Starbucks on Mass Ave. To provide a little normality to my day, I started grinding my own coffee at home and making daily coffee with my French press. A completely new positive part of my days working from home is watching the beauty of nature unfold in my yard. Living in the city, I didn’t expect to see so much nature from my dining room-turned-home office windows. But over the last two and a half months, I watched the leaves grow on my trees, the birds eat from the bird feeders, and the community cats chase each other and play. It has been an enjoyable distraction.”
      - Jason Larrison, Senior Project Manager

        “History reflects many seemingly insurmountable challenges humankind has faced over thousands of years. Since moving to a technologically creative species, we have never been better equipped to manage through such challenge, so we should be grateful for learning and perspective. Our minds and communal activity help humankind survive and thrive. That means working together, showing compassion and patience, contributing our best efforts, and living with a harmonious intent. At CORE, we’re proud to be deemed essential workers, not for vanity’s sake, but because it allows us to continue to serve and be a small part of the greater picture of moving forward. Regardless of how we rebound, our CORE team will continue to play a vital role ensuring that the path ahead is well planned and the future is as bright as we can craft it.”
        - Joshua Scism, Senior Project Manager

          “Dealing with the COVID changes has meant many adjustments to accommodate our new normal. At home, the first adjustment we had to make was fitting everyone in the house, with me working out of the garage, our second grader attending Zoom School, and my wife working from a dining room office. We installed a stoplight light so I would know when it was safe for me to enter the house! We go on short golf cart rides around the neighborhood, plant flowers, and tend to our lawn. We check in regularly with our family and friends while also taking some time to do special things together, just the three of us. For example, we grill and deliver meals to people we know who are alone. With all the adjustments we have made, the results have been positive. ‘The ship sails daily,’ which means we adjust to the waters accordingly.”
          - Phil Strack, Construction Coordinator

            “Working from home has continued up here in Northwestern Indiana, but on a positive note, we have more face-to-face conversations on the computer screen. What would have been a conference call is now a Zoom meeting, so we’re seeing everyone more often and purposefully planning social meetings with work and family. It helps to see the smiling faces as we go through this together.”
            - Lynne Usdowski, Graduate Architect & Marketing Coordinator

            “While this pandemic threw everyone for a loop, I’ve seen the incredible ability of people to adapt. The pandemic started when I was attending college this past semester. On the first day of online classes—when most of the online classes were starting across the country—the technology crashed, but we eventually found the right platform to use for the rest of the semester. We also had to adapt in our physical studio, turning spontaneous feedback into online meetings that allow for a more guided conversation. These examples relate to the broader picture of the situation. We, as a society, are able to adapt to the new conditions presented to us to continue to be productive. While there is a certain authenticity to being in classroom and office settings, creating an at-home workspace has been a fun experiment. And another positive is that my commute to and from the ‘office’ is almost instantaneous!”
            - Andrea Wesson, Project Coordinator

              At the Kunce household, we have realized the rooms in our house are not as “private” as we once thought. Since we are a household of two architects, discussions of home renovations continue and continue (and continue), including more talk of an outdoor patio to expand our living space. My daughter and I put in a garden for the first time in several years, and yardwork is a family affair. Daily walks and many nights on our front porch have led to great family bonding time. At CORE, it feels like we never missed a beat. The tools were in place and the culture to support a “work from anywhere” mentality is solid.

              Most importantly, I’m grateful to our colleagues for approaching this crisis with a positive and flexible approach. That spirit of resilience is critical for moving forward.

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