On Wednesday, November 4, 2020 I woke up just like any other day. Opened up my Slack, Zoom and Outlook and began my media monitoring. But, something didn’t feel right. A searing headache started that I couldn’t shake with any amount of water or Advil. “I’m just being paranoid,” I thought to myself. “I can’t get COVID. I’m so safe.”

Well, I thought wrong. After two negative tests, I tested positive and suddenly a feeling of doom came over me. How did this happen? Did I spread this? How bad is it going to get? How will I work? Will I let my team down? 

I quickly jumped to the occasion and communicated with my teams what was going on. I learned several valuable lessons about myself and my Double Forte teams during the two week period I thought would last a lifetime. As the weeks go on, I think it’s important to share what I learned being the only person in the company to have caught the virus, hopefully ever.

My team is here to support meIt’s incredibly easy to feel alone when working from home. We no longer see each other face-to-face and one-to-one meetings can get lost in the shuffle when work picks up. Based on our company values centered around support, I knew my Double Forte team would be there for me. Catching the virus does have an almost embarrassing connotation, so I was a nervous wreck knowing I had to share I caught it. I sweated bullets drafting the email letting the staff know that, “I caught the virus that shall not be named.” But, when I hit send, I received an outpouring of support and well wishes. A sense of relief came over me when I knew my team had my back and would help me in any way I needed.

Over communicate – This might seem like a no brainer, right? Well, when you have a searing headache, fever, chills and type A attitude, it’s really hard to let go and admit you don’t feel well enough to work. I admit, it was incredibly hard for me to pass the buck on projects and truly let my team know I needed them. Finally I gave in and laid out projects that needed attention, and from there I knew we wouldn’t let our clients down.

It’s okay to not be okay – I really thought I could handle the virus without a problem… “A few days off and I’ll be back in action,” I thought to myself. Well, as you can imagine, this was not the case. I pushed myself and got back to work after taking five days off. I over-hydrated, had Advil by my side and pushed through. I thought I was letting my team down by taking more time off. The truth is I was letting them down by not being my best self and logging on without my full potential there. It was hard to recognize I still wasn’t better and the headaches were drastically affecting my work. Which takes me to my next lesson….

PAUSE! After being back a week and still not feeling very well, I got a call from my manager. She and my team had my best interest at heart and wanted me to take some more time off to fully recover and heal from the past two weeks of ups and downs. At first, I was taken aback. A little mad at myself, thinking I’d dropped the ball on projects and screwed up. That wasn’t true. I hadn’t sat and fully rested or even really processed that I had COVID-19. I didn’t want it to get in the way of my life but that’s not realistic with the way it aggressively attacks your body. I finally let my guard down and allowed myself to heal. I’m forever grateful to the Double Forte team for recognizing I needed a little extra time, being there for me when I needed support and taking on projects for me while I rested. I’m proud to be a part of a team that fully supports and wants what’s best for its employees.

By Miranda Carpenello