Someone asked me the other day, “How are you?” My answer was, “Busy. A different kind of busy, but busy.”
Our sales force has been working “virtually” for decades. So, what is a new experience for many wasn’t new for me. A pre-pandemic “normal” week for me, consisted of multiple meetings - external, internal and industry events. I would venture to guess that 95% of the meetings were in person. Some weeks were heavier than others. Some days were longer than others. Before, time between and after meetings were spent reviewing, recapping and planning. This time was also spent returning phone calls, walking/driving to my next meeting, and finding sustenance. There were days that I would take BART into The City for morning meetings, go back to my virtual office and then head out to the South Bay for an industry event. While all the accounts in my portfolio were all based in the San Francisco Bay Area, they had branches New York City, Dallas, London, Amsterdam. So, when I wasn’t conducting business in the Bay Area, I was traveling to and from my customers’ other offices. And then, Covid. Fast forward to today. These days my weekly meetings have at least doubled. They are back to back to back. Now that there is no commute, I’m at my desk for most of the workday. I never thought I’d say it, but I miss my commute. I miss taking BART into The City. While on the train, I could review notes, do email, read a book, stare out the window, and ruminate. I miss driving and listening to the radio. I miss being alone. It took me a few weeks in the early part of the pandemic to learn to create a commute. It sounds funny, but I have had to block time on my calendar to simply get up from my desk to stretch my legs, rest my eyes, have some food, or take a bio break. I also block time if I need to focus on preparation for a customer presentation or work on an internal project. As with most companies, we have the ability to check each other’s calendars and schedule appointments. There have been days where I had three scheduled meetings and by the end of the day I had two or three more added to my day. On top of my work life at United, I do manage to have a full personal life as well: dance classes, side hustle, my family, self-care and self-preservation. Dance and board meetings are now also video conferences. For the last two years there were usually three of us at home full time - my husband, son and myself. I had a daughter away at university and another daughter sometimes home. The latter is a Senior in high school so she was mostly home to eat, sleep, and do laundry. Now, with the pandemic, my daughters are both distance learning from home. My son and older daughter work outside of the home, so they get out regularly. While my kids are all young adults and my husband is mostly self-sufficient, my role as Mom, Wife and COO of the household expanded again. I cook more. I plan more. We clean more. We do more laundry. We’re together a lot. We have learned to co-exist as adults with revamped roles. We’re fortunate in that we all have our own space to tuck away in to escape each other’s company. The ability to close my office door has been a Godsend. Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely enjoying having all the pieces of my heart under one roof…less for me to worry about, physically. Worrying, though, about everyone’s mental and spiritual well-being is another story for another entry. I miss being alone. I miss being with people that are not in my Social Bubble. I miss seeing my team in real life. I miss flying. All this said, this pandemic has provided a forced pause to focus on the things in my life that have remained constant and essential. It has given me the opportunity to let go some of the things that are nice but not necessary. I feel like I’ve been given a chance to enjoy my nuclear family like it was before the kids had their drivers licenses. That part has been really nice. Community immunity will be here soon enough and everyone will be busy doing their own things again. So. How am I? Busy. A different kind of busy. And I’m thankful for it.
Charmaine Baclig joined United Airlines in 1990 in Los Angeles, California. During her 31 years with United, she has held multiple positions in Sales working in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2020, she transitioned to a Sales Manager for Regional Agencies managing large regional agency relationships. Charmaine manages customers in California, Utah, Colorado, and Texas.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. Charmaine resides with her family in Union City. When not flying the Friendly Skies, Charmaine spends her time as a wife, mom to three, entrepreneur, crafts maven, school booster, and philanthropist.