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Mining People Magazine

by Debra McCown

Staff Writer/Field Reporter


Finding the Positive in 2020

Mining people have always had an above average

level of optimism, the confidence to take calculated

risks, and a faith in technology as a tool.....


hey say hindsight is 20/20, and looking back over the year 2020 – what a year. If this year

were an ice cream flavor, it would taste like winter highway slush. If it were a scented candle,

it would smell like a field of burning porta-potties. If it were a pinata, it would be full of angry

hornets. And not just any hornets – murder hornets.

That’s how Internet memes have interpreted this year, and it’s certainly been an interesting one.

For many people, 2020 has been a long lesson in gratitude, patience, learning, and improvisation.

But all things considered, 2020 could’ve been worse. There haven’t been any large, apocalyptic

occurrences. The volcano under Yellowstone hasn’t blown up in a super-eruption, an earthquake

hasn’t turned the California coast into a series of islands, East Coast population centers haven’t

been overtaken by hordes of zombies, and no one has started World War III.

So, overall? Maybe not such a bad year. We can deal with a toilet paper shortage and a little bit of

extra hand-washing that we probably should’ve been doing anyway.

I think what’s got a lot of people down this year is that, for many, it’s been a slow drag of monotony

and boredom. Stuck inside trying to avoid the virus, they’ve become frustrated by the hundreds of

ways that a pandemic can impact their lives.

Their favorite restaurants are closed. Work, school, and worship schedules are out of whack.

They can’t visit grandma. It’s annoying to have to wear a mask. Working from home is a constant

balancing act – and a stream of online meetings and teleconferences full of painful awkwardness as

people who are used to meeting in the office learn to use technology for the first time.

All of these things are true to some degree even for those of us who’ve been working throughout,

and for those who live in states that didn’t completely shut down.

Meanwhile, it’s been an interesting political season, with the country’s ideological divisions

heightened by the time people have had to spend on social media, beating the drum for their

candidates – and the seemingly apocalyptic fears held by each side if the other were to win.

Well, the election is over (thank goodness), and the political signs set up like battle lines have finally

come down from most neighborhood front yards. People seem to have calmed down a little, and

maybe got some of their sanity back. There is, so far, no apocalypse.

And those who were out protesting in droves over summer: With cool weather setting in for the

Northern cities that were rioting hotspots, we’re suddenly not hearing so much about violence in

the streets; the general state of unrest that grew amid pandemic-related frustrations and political

anxieties seems to have cooled as well.

There seems to be some level of acceptance now that there’s a pandemic, that all the petty

annoyances that come with it are going to be around for a while, and that regardless of who is

sworn to the White House next month, the country will continue to move forward – albeit with social


In the mining industry, like in every other industry, events have been changed, postponed, canceled,

rescheduled, reconfigured, and rescheduled again. Conferences have taken to Zoom, and trade-

show booths have been set up in experimental, virtual form. It’s a little different, but humans are