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Writer, editor, researcher, recovering professor & journalist, lover of words, dogs, stationers, coffee, chocolate, and cheese.

A flurry of news coverage followed the publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September jobs report, which found that 865,000 women left the labor force from August to September. In contrast, 216,000 men left the workforce during the same timeframe.

Adding to the alarm, analysis of the BLS data by the National Women’s Law Center noted that of those 865,000 women who exited the work force, 324,000 were Latinas and 58,000 were Black women. Further, of the nearly 22.2 million jobs lost in the U.S. in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only half have returned.


The trouble with the return-to-work conversation is that many of us aren’t “returning to work.”

We never left. Work never stopped.

Bringing work home with us took on new meaning in 2020, as work lives blended (or collided) with the lives of our families. The lines between work and home blurred, faded, and required refocusing — sometimes daily, with the added stress among a multitude of stressors of not knowing how long it would last.

So, no, work didn’t stop.

And organizations didn’t fall apart because large segments of their workforces began to work from home. In fact, company culture…

Two Sunday mornings every month I ride the NYC subway down to the southern tip of Manhattan to my volunteer job at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

I sat on the train this past Sunday with a heavy heart, having awoken to the news of yet another mass shooting that had taken place overnight in Ohio following the same earlier in Texas — both within 24 hours.

I had earphones in, listening to music, but as we pulled out of the stop at Times Square, I noticed a few people around me suddenly sit up from the usual hunched-over-the-phone posture…

It began during the holidays — Amazon’s courting of the residents of my Queens, New York neighborhood.

The goldenrod and black color scheme of the conspicuously oversize (8 x 10) postcard wedged into my mailbox was unmistakably Amazon’s.

“Amazon is investing in Long Island City,” the banner read, with an image of the Queensboro Bridge, which locals call the 59th Street Bridge.

Built in 1909, the iconic Beaux-Arts span arcs elegantly over the East River, connecting Queens to Manhattan. It’s popularly known as the backdrop of the epic Spider-Man movie battle scene (Spidey versus the villainous Green Goblin).

Standing in…

No problem
I totally get you
You’re doing a great job
I’m so glad you’re back
That’s a shame
Bless her heart
No. You’re not annoying me
Good for her
I agree
No worries
So great to see you
No, I haven’t heard from him
Everyone’s cool with it
I’m really looking forward to it
No one thinks you’re a douche
Thanks so much
Everything’s in good shape
Thanks for calling

On letting go

I dreaded the first Thanksgiving without my mom so much so that I impulsively ditched the annual extended family ritual and ran away to Europe to visit my friend, Grace (who coincidentally shared my mom’s first name). I dragged my 16-year-old daughter along with me, never-mind that she was simultaneously experiencing the thrill ride of first love and abject grief over the loss of her grandmother, with whom she had been quite close. I was in no shape at the time to help her with either and she wasn't eager to leave the country or her first boyfriend…

Lorrie Lykins

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