Working in a blizzard

The first big blizzard of the season has hit the east coast, and it means very different things to folks in various lines of work. Right now I’m stuck in Manhattan (a great place to be stuck!), and here are some of the impressions that sank in as the snow piled higher and deeper:

  • If you’re a small storefront business owner or work for one, this is no fun at all. As I walked across 48th Street yesterday and passed a variety of pizza shops and restaurants, I realized that these businesses are affected profoundly by the blizzard. Those hoping to catch waves of holiday tourists stopping by for a quick bite to eat may have been very disappointed and suffered lower receipts.
  • For anyone who helps to keep physical plants going, a blizzard means hard work. Last night I passed by over a dozen workers moving snow the old fashioned way, with shovels and backbone.
  • For the cast and crew of La Cage Aux Folles (and others on Broadway), it meant the show must go on! And so last night those in the smallish audience — my cousins Judy and Aaron and I included — were treated to a first-rate performance as the snow piled up outside.
  • Waitstaff at the hotel diner where I had a late night snack had to deal with thoughtless guests who traipsed through to the connection to the hotel without ordering a thing, dragging the snow in with them and making the floor slippery and dangerous. I guess the blizzard rendered the 20 or so more feet they could’ve walked to the hotel’s main entrance too difficult to navigate.
  • If your job involves working with information and can be done remotely, you’re probably in luck. Laptops, the Internet, and cell phones have enabled telecommuters and road warriors to do their jobs from just about anywhere.
  • When I talked to my friend Vin who works for Con Edison in New York, all his plans were up in the air because of what the blizzard might mean for those who work to keep the lights on in the city.
  • Customer service reps in any business related to travel, in person and on the phone, were having their patience tried as they dealt with frustrated travelers. Late yesterday evening, the woman at the reception desk at my hotel said her shift had been crazy and was not ending anytime soon.
  • This morning, some will get paid even if they can’t make it to work. Others will lose a day’s pay if they can’t make it in or their place of employment is closed. “Snow days” are great for some, but surely not all.
  • If you’re a TV meteorologist or weather reporter, this is it! Talking about 70 degree days with a touch of clouds probably gets a little dull, but a big ol’ blizzard is a blast.

Just a few snippets about working in a blizzard in the Naked City…

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