Lessons from the Pandemic

By Lloyd Graff

I spent several hours working at the Graff-Pinkert office today for the first time since last April. 

I am beginning the process of coming out of my fear induced hibernation, three weeks after my first COVID-19 vaccine shot. The statistics say I have 80% immunity after one Moderna vaccine hit. I sort of trust the number, but not enough to do without the mask, which is my constant annoyance when I leave my home. 

I hate the COVID necessitated hibernation. At my age, with a heart attack and heart surgery in my past, I am still COVID’s emotional captive. I know I am vulnerable, even if only one in 200 of those who catch the illness die of it. 

I have learned from my COVID home prison sentence. I’ve learned that I can happily do without many of the appointments I thought were necessary. 

I can officially forget about going to the barber. I used to be a customer at a little suburban shop run by a woman who seemed to find me irritating because I came by irregularly and liked Saturday morning appointments. She cut my hair in 14 minutes, so I was easily sandwiched in, but she told me she had no appointments one too many times, so I decided to try the barbers at a local Meijer supermarket. They were okay, but I have learned that I can successfully cut my own hair and shave my neck without any barber. The pandemic teaches us what we can do without.

I have also learned that I can live without visiting the dentist every three months for a cleaning. It was more about cleaning out my bank account than a necessity. Semi-annually or yearly will do quite fine from now on. 


Lloyd Graff in the Graff-Pinkert shop

My relationship with my work has changed over the past year. I have found that it is unnecessary for me to be at my office much of the time, and I am happy to not be there every day. But working at home I almost never turn off my work channel. There is always another email, another blog, another call to make. 

When I go to work physically I am much more likely to walk around, to connect with people in the plant, to ask questions. Working from home is more iPad-based, less face-to-face connection. I get the news and the numbers, but I miss the vibe. I am more distant, and it has to be noticed.

I find that the longer I am away, the harder it is to come in. COVID-19 is the rationale, but the reality is that I could mask up if I really wanted to go in. I cannot put a financial value on this, but I know it is real. 

Last year was a down year financially for our machinery business. Everybody in the company made less money than in 2019. Two full-time employees were let go. 

This year appears to have much more activity from all over the world, yet COVID-19 limits our willingness to travel and inhibits our customers’ travel. This hampers our ability to close deals. We have to trust other people to inspect machines without us. Our network is extensive, but it does not make up for physical movement completely. 

What have I learned?

I have learned that I love the business and I never want to quit unless my health forces me to do it. I have learned that I don’t have to be at the office a lot but I cannot be a phantom. I have learned that it helps to physically travel to close deals.

I believe that the worst of the pandemic is now behind us. Now is the time to really push to harvest the good times coming. 

Risa and I are taking our second Moderna shot in a few days. After waiting two weeks for maximum immunity, we are going to take off in a plane to California to see family. 


Are you going to be vaccinated?

Will you make changes in your lifestyle after getting vaccinated?

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6 thoughts on “Lessons from the Pandemic

  1. Craig St John

    Of course I’ll get the vaccine, already had my first dose of Moderna. It’s amazing that some are planning NOT to get vaccinated.
    I agree with Lloyd, business has gone on just fine with remote workers but the lack of face to face time with staff and with customers is damaging.
    Pre-Covid I traveled all the time – big deals and big problems are best handled in person. I miss that time with customers and can’t wait to get back on the road.
    Our staff are keeping up with everything but so many little things are discussed and resolved during conversations in the hallway or as sidebars during a meeting to discuss another topic. These things are lost when everyone is working from home.
    Now we just need our inept state governments to step up the pace of vaccinations!

  2. Jim Hanna

    Lloyd, I’m up in your age range and my wife and I are looking forward to getting vaccinated as soon as possible. We are on the waiting list in our health district, so it should be soon. I volunteer in our public schools, so once a day I am around a lot of kids. Fortunately, they are all wearing masks, as am I, and taking reasonable precautions. Once our immunity gets built I’m sure we will be getting out more and doing some traveling. However, we will continue wearing masks out in public if for no other reason to encourage others who have not been vaccinated to continue doing so until the health experts (and not the politicians) tell us it is safe to do without. Do take care as you enjoy your regained ability to travel.

  3. lance manyan

    Nope. I am in the group that has a 99.7% recovery rate. There simply isn’t enough data on the vaccine yet and quite frankly if the last year has taught me anything is not to trust ANYTHING that comes out of Washington. I feel sorry for the folks that live in such fear. I haven’t missed a day in the office through this entire cycle. No one in our organization or their families have contracted it. It appears that far more damage has been done to this nation and its people by the lockdown than would ever have occurred without it.

  4. Randy Bahr

    I am not a beta test site for a hurried vaccine, neither is my wife. We are also in the high recovery group and our exposure risk is low due to the nature of our business. If I were older and had other health risks I would likely get the vaccine. Right now I feel it is way more important to vaccinate the most vulnerable first.

  5. wayne spencer

    I am on the 2nd week after second shot. I am going to be careful wear a mask avoid large crowds. Looking forward going to the grocery store after ordering on line since last March. Stopped for a coke at the store for the first time in almost a year today. Live in North Carolina and have entertained myself watching Andy Griffith, old game shows, History channel and National Geographic channel. Retired so it has been a long year.

  6. Kim

    I will patiently wait for my turn and then cash in – my employer has offered a bonus to each employee upon completion of the second dose. Three have already earned it, though I’m sure several more could be eligible. (I’d have to start smoking or moonlighting at a hospital to qualify; I’m too “young” and healthy to qualify now.) It is also hard to get an appointment in Los Angles. I’m grateful my 80-yr-old father got his second dose and my 76-yr-old mother finally was able to get her first. I would really like to finally be able to travel again to see family further away.


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