‘This is an opportunity for us to sow good Quaker seeds for a sustainable way of working.’

Trading places: Roland Carn on Friends in business post-lockdown

‘We’re deepening our listening skills in different ways, and at different depths.’ | Photo: Allie / Unsplash.

I’ve survived many traumas in my life, including dramatic culture shocks. I’ve noticed that I recover from trauma in stages. There’s the first paralysing shock of the sudden change – a house fire, the death of a loved one, a change of career – or, in the case of the Covid-19 lockdown, isolation. Then sense and feeling return and pain hits hard. For many Quaker traders, their business – their livelihood – has gone, and employees find themselves without a job. It’s time to grieve for what’s been lost or left behind, but also to celebrate what’s good and enduring. Getting used to a new situation is a time to rethink, adjust and make new contacts, while cherishing the old ones. Friends helped to board up my house after the fire; we joined a grieving group after the death of our son; in lockdown Meetings go online. Nimble businesspeople find a new market, redeploy their talents and resources, and reinvent themselves. The last stage is the exciting one. I recognise I’m living in a new situation. I begin to look ahead and be proactive. 

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