There wasn’t any fanfare, no balloons and no banging of cymbals — much like when I left EO Media Group a little more than a year ago.

I recently returned to work on a part-time basis. While I enjoyed my time at home, I was pretty excited to get back into the newsroom.

However, I learned that returning to a job in the midst of a pandemic is much the same as leaving one. Because of limits on gatherings, when I and a handful of my co-workers lost our jobs last March, there wasn’t a big farewell party.

And when I returned to the newsroom four weeks ago, there were no welcoming handshakes or good morning greetings. With fewer employees working for the company and many still working remotely, it was like walking into a ghost town. I let myself into the building (it’s a good thing I still had the key from the last time I substituted for the records editor), headed back to my old desk area and spent the entire day by myself.

I’ve learned a lot in this past year — first and foremost, about the transitory nature of life, especially during a pandemic.

On March 23, 2020, I came to work one morning to find a small card with the company logo, my name and the signature of the owner sitting on my desk. The stay-home order issued by Gov. Kate Brown directed Oregon citizens to basically hunker down unless it was absolutely necessary to be out and about. However, driving by Walmart, one would never suspect anything was different.

The card indicated that as a member of the news media, my job was considered an essential service — was is the key. Two days later, I was notified (along with 47 employees across the company), that because of pandemic-related revenue losses, 18% of the workforce received pink slips.

I have a question: Why are they called pink slips? Yeah, yeah, I know, because the piece of paper is pink, but why? Maybe it’s the same rationale behind the premise of using soothing pastel colors for patient seclusion rooms in mental health facilities. Pastel pinks or yellows are said to provide a more calming effect.

But I digress — the first lesson I learned relates to the pitfalls of nesting. Oh, and I’m a nester — ask my husband or any of my friends who have traveled with me. As soon as we arrive at our destination, I start unpacking and arranging the room to my liking.

And I did the same when I arrived at EO Media Group 14 years prior. As I was packing up my belongings, I quickly recognized that, unlike a weekend stay at a hotel, it was going to take more than a couple of hours to clear out my desk area.

While I like to personalize my space, I’m not “moving in” as I return to the newsroom. Currently, my desk area includes a rock I painted, a photo, a couple of my favorite pens and a well-stocked snack cabinet. Hopefully my nesting behavior doesn’t go much beyond that — stay tuned.

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Tammy Malgesini recently returned to the Hermiston Herald as a community writer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two German shepherds, as well as entertaining herself with random musings.

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