April 15, 2020 4:00 am Published by

Episode 52:

Mahtab Rezai is a leader, user research specialist, user experience consultant, and a mentor. She has over 20 years of experience collaborating with teams and clients to research, design, refine, and optimize complex transactional user experiences. Mahtab also has over a decade of experience building, leading, and mentoring multi-disciplinary teams and organizations in collaborating to solve complex user experience challenges.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Sue and Mahtab’s experiences with social distancing
  • How the Coronavirus pandemic has affected their lives at home
  • The impact the Coronavirus has had on the family unit
  • How to prepare yourself to deal with family members who are at-risk
  • Why the global pandemic is a priceless moment to get everyone to become one
  • How feedback from the media is playing a role in the way we experience the pandemic


Dealing with Change in the Coronavirus Pandemic

Mahtab Rezai is one of my best friends in the whole world. She is one of the wisest, most exceptional, smart, disciplined, and loving human beings that I know, and she is pretty darned funny too. We have an amazing relationship, so we thought it would be a great idea to get together for a casual conversation and just riff. The world is a little crazy now to say the least, and there is a lot to unpack when it comes to how we are dealing with it. Mahtab and I talk about our experiences with social distancing and now, our experiences with shelter-in-place amidst this global pandemic.

What are the Takeaways From Your Experience?

Being at home in front of the screen all the time is different for different people. For some, the shelter-in-place ordinances have been a blessing in disguise. It enables them to spend more time with their families and their pets every day. They get to relinquish time that previously went to the daily commute and get more stuff done. But for others, it has been a disruptive and obtrusive experience. There shared workspace is actually pretty difficult to share and a looming sense of uncertainty creates an overwhelming tension that sometimes makes it difficult to co-exist. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from these circumstances, so whether your experience has been good or bad so far, you have something to gain from it.


Though many don’t share the same fears about the Coronavirus, it is our collective responsibility to slow the spread and do our part to bring back a sense of normalcy. But where do we put up those barriers? Where do we draw the line? In Mahtab’s culture, the nuclear family does not exist. Her parents are essentially part of the same household and they do everything as a family. But it is difficult to understand the social distancing and shelter-in-place ordinances when you have to make difficult decisions that affect your loved ones. Does it mean stay home and go to the grocery store once a week? Or does it mean cut contact with family members outside of your household to protect them? There are so many unanswered questions and it is difficult to predict where things are headed. But sometimes sitting down for a video chat with one of your close friends is the best way to release the tension.

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