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The Comfort Zone

Nook Schoenfeld • December 2020Editor's Note • December 10, 2020

As our first and only Thanksgiving of the Covid year has passed, I realized that the absence of friends and relatives at our dinner table was just another bummer to add to the list of things Mother Nature has given us this year to take us out of our comfort zones.

Besides the usual feast, I quite enjoy the candor, storytelling and laughs that made me comfortable at the afternoon table. Having all the friends at the table usually leads to filling your plate a second time, which of course takes you out of your physical comfort zone. Then the fight is on for the most comfy seat to fall back in and watch the football game through the comfort of your closed eyelids. Until the pie comes out, of course.

Nook, working from the comfort of his home

‡‡         Out of Our Comfort Zone

This last year brought our whole industry out of its comfort zone. There’s a whole slew of folks who would just love to get back to coiling cable, cleaning lighting lenses, painting road cases and all those mundane tasks that shop crews can almost do with their eyes closed. Those jobs may have been tough on the knees, but they brought comfort to your soul. Yes, those Ground Hog days were the livelihood of many in our biz. You worked hard in the trenches and enjoyed an afternoon barbecue or an after-work beverage at the local. You were comforted in work and play by your colleagues. It’s not comforting that we didn’t see these folks every day for the most part in 2020.

I’d like to give a shout out to the road crews and corporate show work force that have started new careers that are in no way comfortable, as most have steep learning curves. I hope they find some comfort in their paycheck, but not enough to want to stay there when our biz comes roaring back. The one thing I do hear from a lot of these people is how easy their new job is compared to their old 16-hour workdays. They are in unchartered territory with new positions in new fields. But the longer they stay in those positions, the more comfortable they may become.

But that’s not for everyone. I spoke to my friend running a crew at an Amazon warehouse the other day. He just entered his sixth month of employment as a civilian, outside of the road force. I asked him if he was comfortable. His reply was simple. “I am living comfortably with this job. But it is not emotionally comforting. I could be pumping gas at a Costco and not feel any less stimulated. You know when I’m gonna be comfortable again? When I get back on a tour bus.”

‡‡         Finding Your Own Comfort Zone

With so many from our work force having to find alternative means of employment, I wonder if this will lead to a more permanent life choice. Heck, with Covid looming, I’ve bypassed my daily trips to the office in favor of working out of a comfy chair in my basement. I may never get used to it. For those new to steady employment in one location, the prospect of having weekends off may have become addictive. Voluntarily signing up for weekend work and being paid for it may be a new comfort to some.

The true irony of the year 2020 is that, despite everyone having the year off from travel, we still couldn’t attend every wedding, kid’s ballgame or piano recital anyway. But the thought of attending such events looms as a possibility that was never there before.

What will happen when we’re all vaccinated and every band in the world wants to hit the road? Will you feel you’ve become too comfortable with your new life, or will you look for the longest world tour with the most comfortable buses?

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