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I SEE THE LIGHT

Coming out of the tunnel and into greatness

BY STEVE KNOX

I’ve now seen it, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As I sat down at my computer and started writing this column, I felt like I was driving a car with no steering wheel. There I was, trying to pen a positive piece with no real positivity to apply— suffering from what’s been called ‘COVID fatigue.’ I was losing interest in things I once enjoyed: my work, my hobbies, everything. Thank goodness I had my family to go home to. We held each other together through all of this.

Before writing this draft, I had but a jumble of words on a page. They didn’t really go anywhere, until I returned from vacation just in time for the province of New Brunswick to lift its emergency orders. I told my kids the kids news—they were overjoyed, as was I. If there were ever a cure for COVID fatigue, it is that combination: vacation, and the lifting of an emergency order.

Today, my outlook is starkly different than that of just a month ago. I’m managing two shops, both of which have been running around 60 to 70 percent capacity for more than a year. My staff all want to be busy again—there’s excitement in the air. Offices are asking employees to come back and continue normal work in the office. Commuters will soon rush to their cars, ready to get stuck in rush hour traffic. This is primetime; the only thing that would produce a better outcome would be a few good snowstorms. I guess we’ll have to wait for those, though.

Through the events of the pandemic, I have learned what the dead-cost is to run each collision centre. I found the threshold where we either eat or starve. With all the reductions in revenue, I’ve had to cinch the shop’s belts a few notches in terms of spending. I only wish I could cinch my own in—COVID has been great for stress eating.

However, with the end of New Brunswick’s emergency order, it’s all been good news. It’s time for the depression to end. Our shops are leaner, our wits are sharper, and, on a more personal note, I bought a bike and put my first 14 kilometres on it yesterday. We are ready to continue from where we left off. Maybe even some place better. Let’s get out there and find what’s making the light at the end of the tunnel!

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