Liam joined the Petrofac graduate scheme in 2012 and is now a Senior Project Engineer for EPS West, based in Aberdeen. He feels lucky to have a job at all at the moment, let alone one he likes, as friends’ businesses start to struggle. It shows how fragile life can be, he says…
What’s the most positive thing that has come out of your lockdown experience: for you personally, for your local community, for your working life?
It certainly makes you appreciate much more the smaller things in life. I’m working from home with my fiancée and our dog – of the three of us I think the dog’s getting the most out of the situation! People are a lot friendlier now, look out for each other more – it’s brought the best out of people. We have an elderly neighbour who texts us if there’s anything she needs and we get it for her.
I spend most of my day on Microsoft Teams. Communications are clearer, faster. It’s taken away some of that ‘I’ll get back to you tomorrow’ response in meetings, now decisions are made straight away as we have access to information there and then at our computers. I’m sharing screens online with my offshore teams which I’ve never done before. This experience has given me a much better insight into their world.
Is there anything you unexpectedly miss from pre-lockdown life? And anything you thought you’d miss but actually don’t at all?
I miss the face-to-face interaction with friends and family – but that’s no surprise. I don’t miss the commute – used to be an hour and a half from home outside Dundee, it’s been good not to have that.
What one lesson/change will you take from this experience that will change you as a person – and change the way you think about and do your work?
I’ve personally made a lot of effort to support local businesses, to help those not getting a wage. I have friends with small businesses and they’re struggling – it shows how fragile things can be. I’m lucky to be in a job, and one I like – other people are not so lucky.
Have you felt supported by your colleagues and by your local community? How have you supported others?
On Thursday nights everyone’s out clapping for our health workers in the NHS, it’s a real communal occasion. And we chat over the wall to our neighbours in a way we never really did before, there’s a general goodwill factor around. At work we start and end each day with a contract meeting; it’s a good way to keep in touch on a personal as well as a professional level.
What personal qualities have you found most helpful in getting through these times – and helping others do the same? How will you use those qualities more in your job from now on?
My partner’s a teacher in a secondary school, and I’ve been able to help her transition to an online environment. I’m quite a driven person, and I’ve made sure I have routine and structure – hopefully that rubs off on others.
What’s inspired you most over the last few weeks – one piece of music, one book or film, or one person perhaps?
I’m inspired by the selflessness of key workers, risking their lives to keep us safe. My friend’s mother is a care worker and she caught Covid-19, so I know the danger they put themselves in for our sake. Captain Tom (a 100-year-old war veteran in the UK who raised millions for National Health Service charities by walking lengths of his garden) has been an inspiration. Post Covid-19, I hope we see this positive, feel-good side of people continue.
“I’ve personally made a lot of effort to support local businesses, to help those not getting a wage. I have friends with small businesses and they’re struggling – it shows how fragile things can be.”
WORDS RICHARD LOMAX
PUBLISHED MAY 2020