The Pandemic Diaries is a weekly reflection penned by individual Justine PETERSEN staff members in the style of journaling, chronicling the daily reality of working from home in the wake of Covid-19. This week’s diary entry is written by Chonda Aiello, Small Business Services Manager at Justine PETERSEN.
Triple P Ripple: According to U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator, Jovita Carranza, lenders across the country have “processed more than 14 years’ worth of loans in less than 14 days.” A huge feat!
The amount of work required for implementing the Paycheck Protection Program Loan product, the program meant to assist business owners with maintaining their payroll during what is the most widely felt pandemic of my time, surprised me in ways that I hadn’t considered initially.
That first day of the program starts pretty much like every other with JP’s Senior Staff devising ways for us to continue to work remotely through these times. My daily check-in call while sitting in my home office sparks the flame that would soon, unbeknownst to me, become a wildfire with my supervisor’s words of ‘drop everything and focus on this program’. The next call was a virtual meeting with all departments as everyone was needed to get through it all.
Taking a tag-team approach with sending out innumerous e-mails; making phone calls to give out the information/applications and reaching out to partners and contacts to try and reach those in need.. Round one of the program comes in with a roar! It reminds me of the few television shows that offer a glimpse of trading on Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange…with subtle differences, like me being the only one in the room and only having only 1 cell phone, but I digress.
There are e-mails galore, text messages and phone calls non-stop! I need to empty my inbox at least 3 times in the first week and a half that was round one. Who knows how many times others had to empty theirs. Working 12-13 hour days 7 days a week to get through it all from my home office. I’m not alone, however. For this all hands are on deck and needed. The ones reaching out and setting the pace. The ones receiving the calls and e-mails and fielding them throughout the process. The ones sending the information through to the SBA (and retrieving the information on the back side of the transactions).The ones preparing and analyzing documents, and gathering documents and making sure the timelines are met and making sure things are in order. The ones making sure that the businesses receive their funds. The ones making sure that the business owners are sending what they need even post-closing and funding. Buried beneath the digital tidal wave from the program, we all work through it and figure it out as we go. There is so much going on behind the scenes that I’m sure we may all never know, but it is definitely an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of process which is wondrous to be a part of.
So when my teenager asks why I am working on a Saturday, I help him understand as best I can. I remind him that there are so many people that are unable to go to work or pay their bills right now. I am fortunate enough to be able to do just that with support to make sure I eat and bathe, and take breaks so I don’t burn out or even to make sure that the place in which I am immersed is safe and secure and clean. More importantly, my working more than usual right now means that some other people will be able to keep their businesses going and their employees paid so those people can provide for their families. So if giving it my all means I’m helping in some small way, so be it.
Hats off to those out there helping where they can. We may not be on the front line, but we are saving assets and life styles. Behind the computer screen or through the phone lines, figuring it out as we go. Doing what we can to help businesses as we have always done, and supporting one another. We’re all in this together!