Wuhan, The End of the World as We Know It, and You

I don’t know about you, but my social media is blowing up with the latest on the coronavirus… you know, the one that is believed to have originated in Wuhan and has since begun to spread globally. It’s not awesome, for sure, and the word “pandemic” doesn’t mean what people believe it does because movies aren’t real life, but the truth is that we’re in this together and we’ll get through it together.

Wall Street has started to respond to the Wuhan coronavirus, and man, are the markets behaving about 100 times more irrationally than my social media feed. This is bad for us, as Writers For Money, but it’s not the End of All Things. You can, and will, survive this plague that’s upon us. Or, maybe you won’t, but at least you won’t have to worry about any more deadlines, so there’s that.

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Straight talk here. I’ve been speaking to some Very Smart Science Guys I happen to know (some of which are ladies) and they tell me that while having the Wuhan-flavored virus is not going to be the most fun you ever have with your pants both on and off, but the odds are good you’ll be ok. Most cases are expected to be fairly mild and last about two weeks. 

If you end up with a bad case or complications, it could take six weeks to recover. That’s the bad news, I guess. But the odds of your getting the worst kind of infection, largely because you never go outside or interact with humans in person, are low. Very low, in fact.

Still, people are losing their shit at alarming rates, so the odds that this thing will affect your daily life are very high. Your clients may close unexpectedly. You may see slow payment turnaround. You may not be able to get a foot in the door at Bob’s Clown Parts, Inc. for the time being. So I hope you’ve got your trusty supply of beans and rice thoroughly stockpiled.

If not, we’ll wait. Go ahead and take care of that. 

Ripples in the Economy

Again, you may not even get sick, so try to think about this whole Wuhan thing rationally. It’s the freakypants who are going to start causing the bigger problems as this thing spreads. You know how a lot of people don’t bother to get a flu vaccination because they suck they don’t think they’ll contract it? Well, your odds are about on par for coronavirus, my sources say. 

The panic, though. OMG the panic will be the thing that really causes big problems. We’re just starting to come out of winter, the housing market and other large economic engines are waking back up and when people are too afraid to leave their homes, well, that’s not great in a capitalist system. Money has to go in for money to come back out. That’s the way it works.

So, when people stop going to the market to buy groceries, when they’re not buying gas, when they stop spending on those little luxuries in life like Easter candy, it will get ugly. The businesses you service, large and small, will do one of two things: they’ll contract hard in the hopes of preserving capital or they’ll start spending like mad with the goal of gaining more market share from those companies that have clamped the money hole shut.

You will still be needed. But you may have to work a little harder to find the people who need you so you can ride these ripples out.

Landing More and Better Jobs

Full disclosure: I, too, am looking for additional leads right now. I’m not about to be caught with my pants down when there are so many economic signs saying that the winds are going to shift again. But just because we could, theoretically, be each other’s competition doesn’t mean I don’t want to help you. If you’re worth your salt, you deserve a chance to keep on.

So, today, right now, go and do these things:

  • Brush up your writer’s resume. Update it to include any training you’ve done, any sort of interesting projects you’ve worked on, and anything and everything that you want to do more of. Show that you know the Oxford comma is back. Demonstrate your sales skills by using your resume as a selling tool.
  • Write a good cover letter. I don’t mean that you should write any cover letter. Write a good one. Write one you’re proud of. Make sure you showcase the skills the job you want requires. I usually have a few versions for different kinds of writing jobs. Same goes for the resume, frankly. Make ‘em match.
  • Stop resting on your laurels. Look, nobody likes a laurel-rester. Sure, your business may run on referrals and has for years and years (same, genderless sibling). Right now you can’t count on that. Go poke around the bushes, see what you can scare out. There are ads all over, you can sign up for a variety of platforms to meet new clients and, frankly, you could bug the people in your networks for work. Keep going until your stable is full of fresh meat.

Look, Wuhan virus ain’t nothing to fuck with, but it’s also not as intense as the Wu Tang Clan, so I think you’re going to be ok. Just stay the course, don’t panic, and encourage people to continue to spend money on your services. It’s not like they won’t need clients now AND later.