sky, tree and rainbow

Towards a more inclusive post-COVID world

I’ve been reflecting a bit on how much of a disaster the Coronavirus has been to every single one of us. We are all affected but at different levels. Some have faced the ultimate loss, their life. Others have lost their jobs and livelihoods – the list goes on. It’s gotten to a point where I hardly check the news or the numbers on COVID-19 since it makes me sad.

At the same time, perhaps we can take some positives out of it, at least one. Here’s a thought on how I hope the world will become a more inclusive place, regardless of where you come from or the color of your skin. Let me start with a personal anecdote.

Last year, I was selected as a speaker for WordCamp US. I was so excited and did all I could to get on to the WCUS stage, which has been graced by so many of my heroes. I then got the news that my US Visa has been rejected. I was not totally devastated, and had my hope. I then informed the WCUS organizers, telling them of the unfortunate incident. I also informed them of my willingness to give the same talk remotely. Jason Bahl – a colleague from the GatsbyWPThemes project was offered to take up my place since my talk was about Gatsby. After some productive discussions, it was decided that we were both speaking on the topic I had applied for – him on stage and myself via a pre-recorded session. The talk was well-received, and it made me happy.

Fast forward to 2020 and speaking remotely is the norm for WordCamps and other conferences – including WCEU 2020. This is giving access to so many new speakers, who are given opportunities to talk regardless of their location and background – thereby giving new voices to the ecosystem.

Companies are turning fully remote and offering job opportunities to folks around the world. You do not need a United States Visa or pay expensive San Francisco rent if you want to work at a Silicon Valley Startup. This is where meritocracy can apply – the most qualified person is given the job, regardless of where they live.

To be clear, it should not have taken a global pandemic for organizations to realize this. A few companies were distributed/remote even when they started up, including Automattic and Basecamp. Perhaps other tech startups could have followed suit instead of being pushed by the virus to go fully remote.

The point I want to make is: perhaps there are ways we can take the most negative situation and find something positive out of it. Like learning to see the silver lining on the massive dark clouds.

This is something I try to realize in life, like taking a rejection or failure as something to grow from – a lesson to be learned or feedback to be implemented.

Link to our WCUS 2019 talk recording – Using WordPress With Static Site Generators.