Different boatsand storms
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - May 30, 2020 - 12:00am

The first week of the lockdown, most business people I know said the same thing. “We should reassure our people that we have their backs and we will take care of them.” In the second week of the lockdown, some business people realize that their cash position was not healthy. No sales. No income. How would they sustain the salaries of their people? Today, some businesses are shutting down. Some temporary until things improve, while others permanently.

Company cost-cutting measures have begun, retrenchment is happening, and things will not be easy.

COVID-19 has claimed many lives. The argument of whether businesses should open, or the lockdown continue is a classic argument of lives vs. livelihoods.

But not exactly. Every significant economic downturn has shown us the model that there will be a spike in depression, mental health issues, suicides, and even crimes. What a perfect storm! The truth is that there will be many that would not be infected by the coronavirus, but the havoc it has brought may break their spirit. They may have preserved their health, but their hopes, dreams, and strength may be lost. I have never seen anything like this, putting a halt and a sudden stop to the world economy and draining the country's resources on a global scale like what we are currently experiencing.

Marketing guru Martin Lindstrom says: “Psychologists argue that the most stressful situations we encounter in life are divorce, the death of someone we love, and moving from one home to another. Well, now they can add a fourth experience to the statistics: the coronavirus. Today’s experts agree. The pandemic will have a profound, long-lasting impact on us.”

This is why we have to be intentional in the way we think, say, and behave. We need to be strong. And we need to have faith while facing the brutal realities brought about by this destructive virus.

I always hear people say, “We are in the same boat.” It is not this simple. Others may say, "We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.” Your ship can be shipwrecked, and mine is not or vice versa. For some, this is a desperate crisis. For others, the loneliness they face and the anxieties they harbor in their hearts is excruciating. For some, a period of peace, rest time, vacation. For others, torture. Some are concerned about missing their favorite spa, coffee, or chocolate while others are worried about having enough rice for the weekend, and that is if the noodles and sardines will last for a few more days. Some are in their “home office.” Others are looking through trash to survive. Some want to murder those who break the quarantine. Others need to break the quarantine to stand in line at the banks, marketplaces, grocery stores. A few, to escape.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during these times. Others wonder where God is in all of these. Others say, “We will emerge stronger after all this settles down,” while others expect the worse is yet to come. It has been said that “We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are entirely different. And each one will emerge, in his or her own way, from that storm. Some with a tan from their pool. Others with scars on their souls.”

We are on different ships looking to survive, but we should navigate our route with respect, empathy, and social solidarity. Different boats, different storms. Make a firm determination to be strong, so we can lend our strength to those who need it. Offer help and encouragement. These are needed the most in these uncertain times. And may we never lose the faith and seek the One who can calm the storms of our lives.

(Connect with Francis Kong in www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 DZFE-FM 'The Master's Touch,' the classical music station.)

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