It All Came to a Halt

Rotational schedule
Covid emergency alert
NYC curfew alert
NYC curfew alert 2

March 20, 2020. My work and social life were never the same again after this date. I was nearing the end of a two-year job as a paralegal at a law firm in NYC⁠—all the while applying to attend law school in Fall 2020⁠—when Governor Cuomo announced at a press conference that all nonessential workers in New York were to remain quarantined at home. Under the state's guidance, most office workers, including paralegals, were classified as nonessential workers. Prior to the governor's announcement, my office had implemented a short-lived rotational schedule, in which workers were split into teams and assigned to work in-person at the office on a certain day(s) of the week. The firm predicted a fully in-person return to the office by midsummer when the rotational schedule was set to end.

The governor's announcement caught my team off guard. We had dialed-in to the weekly team meeting on Friday, March 20 just as the governor announced all of New York City was to quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We were set to affirm the rotational schedule when a co-worker interrupted the meeting with the news. The meeting came to a halt as we were all receiving news alerts on our phones with the announcement. Shortly thereafter came the decision: we were to work remotely from home until further notice. The rotational schedule was no more.

From March 20 onward, I had remained at my Brooklyn home working remotely till my last day at the firm before attending law school in the fall. I had never worked remotely from home before the pandemic. Two years ago, when I started my job, remote work was a privilege extended only to senior paralegals and firm partners. For close to two years, I had taken the NYC subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan at the 8 AM rush hour to arrive at the office building before my 9 AM start time. But by the end of my time at the firm, I had not taken a subway train for nearly six months, nor had I seen any of my co-workers since then.