Column, Rutland Young Professionals

A young professional’s perspective on her ‘new normal’

By Brooke Rubright

I am sure that by now you are sick and tired of hearing about how the pandemic has affected everyone’s lives. Surely, your life has changed, too.

Personally, the horrific virus struck mid-way through my junior year at Castleton University. I was sitting in my Intro to Sociology class when the email was sent out to all faculty, staff and students. We were to pack up our bags and head home, for how long we had no idea.

Brooke Rubright and her dogs stop on their walk along a Vermont lake overlook.

I spent the next year and a half taking classes online — “Zoom University” some may say.

I graduated in my grandparents’ living room, surrounded by my loving family while wearing my cap and gown as we watched my picture and degree credentials appear on the screen.

I had already accepted an outreach coordinator position locally. In my role, I was tasked with promoting Rutland County as the best place to live, work, play, and grow a business. A typical day would include a scenic drive down Route 7, meetings with fellow colleagues promoting the betterment of Rutland County, a quick bite to eat from one of the local eateries, more brainstorming about how to share this wonderful place we call home, concluded by another scenic drive back up Route 7. Life was great. I was lucky and found a role doing something I love, in the place that I love. It was the best of both worlds.

Then things started looking up as far as the pandemic was going. People were out and about. Activities being planned. There were talks of the mask mandates going away. Wrong. Things took a deep dive for the worst, especially here in Vermont, where record cases per day were being reported. I couldn’t take it. The pandemic was surrounding me, and I needed an escape. Something different.

I applied for a remote position. One where I could still be doing what I love (creating) while being in the comfort of my own home — away from the pandemic in a sense.

Now, I am sure you are thinking, what kind of social life will a 22-year-old have when she lost the last two years of her college experience and is now living, working, and sleeping in one house? I was worried, too.

I am now writing with the perspective of being a remote worker for over five months. I live more than 450 miles away from, and have never stepped foot in, the city where I work. A typical day consists of me walking my Bernese mountain dog along the shores of one of Vermont’s many lakes, hopping on a Zoom call with co-workers both based out of the office in Baltimore, Maryland, but also from the comfort from their own homes (in some cases on the other side of the world), grabbing a quick bite to eat from one of the local eateries, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing around my backyard, hopping back on my computer for more Zoom calls, attending a virtual networking session for employees, and then heading back outside to squeeze in another walk before sunset.

The Covid-19 pandemic pushed us to work remotely but now employees and employers are discovering the benefits. I have the job of my dreams, collaborating with industry leaders and producing content to be published in renowned magazines all from the comfort of my home here in the Green Mountain State, the place I love and cherish. I grew up here, and I had no intentions of leaving. Now I never have to.

Brooke Rubright is a Rutland Young Professionals member who serves as marketing assistant – content creator for the Dominion Group of Companies of Baltimore, Maryland. She is a 2021 graduate of Castleton University and currently resides in Salisbury, Vermont.

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