July 2020

Dear CSE Colleagues,

Carissa Gilman, CSE President

I was talking to a colleague over email the other day, and he said something I’m sure many of us can relate to. “I seem to be spending all day on Zoom calls, which is the perfect recipe for putting in 12-14 hour days since you can’t get any work done unless you get started at 5am and shut down about 8pm, after the Zoom calls are over.” It’s such a universal experience these days that people are sharing memes about no longer having a 9-5, but instead having a “when I open my eyes to when I close my eyes.”

Workloads have increased significantly for some of us, either because the pandemic has created more work, or because layoffs resulting from the economic downturn mean there are fewer hands on deck. Many are performing this higher volume of work while simultaneously facing the possibility of job loss, furloughs, or salary and benefits reductions.

With everyone working from home, the lines between work and personal time have become murky. Yet we also must devote time to family, running a household, volunteer commitments, pets, personal care, and more, all with the specter of a deadly virus, civil unrest, and political discord hanging over our heads. It’s a pace that is unsustainable, and it spells one thing: burnout.

The word “burnout” has been thrown around a lot in my city recently for an entirely different reason—the escalating problem of illegal street racing. But no matter which one you are referring to, the end result is the same. You’re spinning your wheels but going nowhere.

The fact that we all seem to be in the same boat is at once disheartening but reassuring. And every day I see acts of kindness that make everything seem less bleak. I see more empathy being expressed, more allowances being made for each other, more camaraderie as we face this new world together. We’ll be exploring this idea of burnout and silver linings in our next Virtual Happy Hour, so keep an eye out for more details on that.

My only real advice during these challenging times is to drink plenty of water, take a walk at least once a day, schedule a time to give uninterrupted attention to your loved ones, and don’t accidentally fall asleep with your hand on your laptop touchpad.

Oh, and read a good book! I recently finished American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI. Morgan Sorenson is leading our discussion for the CSE Book Club on Goodreads, and we’re just getting started, so you have plenty of time to join the conversation.

The Book Club is one of the offerings of the Professional Development Committee, which is looking for volunteers. The committee houses many ongoing and new initiatives, and would love for you to join in providing professional development opportunities for CSE members. In addition to the Book Club, some of the current initiatives include the CSE Podcast, the Certificate Program, and more. Reach out to the committee Co-Chairs, Carolyn deCourt and Karen Stanwood with any interest.

We are also still seeking a Co-Chair to join Julie Hinds in leading the Membership Committee. This committee oversees our strategy for recruiting and retaining members, which is especially crucial right now. Leading a committee is a great way to network and build your skillset, so if you’re looking to get more involved with CSE, I hope you’ll consider this role. Just reach out to me via email if you’re interested.

We have some exciting programming and education announcements coming soon, all thanks to our hard-working committees. I want to send my thanks to everyone who contributes their scarce time to bring such value to our organization.

Welcome to the Newest Members of CSE!

Kristen Brunskill
Joerg Heber
Sonya Nardony
Deborah Troendle-Scott