Account Manager MSE, Dasha Charkashyna, Ft. Myers, FL, USA

Darya Charkashyna

“We all have bad days, but as long as the trend is upwards, I’m satisfied. I strive for intellectual, emotional, psychological, spiritual, interpersonal, physical, and professional growth on a daily basis and have pointers and routines to get me there.”

Can you give us a bit of background on who you are, where you come from and what your goals are?

“I am a 24 year old, white, bisexual, cis-gendered woman. I was born in Eastern Europe and immigrated to the United States with my family when I was 5 years old. My entire family except my mom and dad are still back there, so I unfortunately don’t get to see them much. But we do video chat. I lived in California until I was 22, and I’ve been living in Florida for the past, well almost 2 years. My mom and dad still live in California, and I’m proud to say that once I graduated college I became 100% financially independent from my parents support. (Even my phone plan and Netflix y’all!)

My overarching goal is to try to be a better me than I was the week or month before. We all have bad days, but as long as the trend is upwards, I’m satisfied. I strive for intellectual, emotional, psychological, spiritual, interpersonal, physical, and professional growth on a daily basis and have pointers and routines to get me there. As of now, I would like to (as we nerds say) “level up” enough of those skills, experience, and leadership ability to eventually lead a non-profit”

Where exactly are you living right now? Is this where you permanently reside or is it a temporary living situation due to the pandemic? 

“I am living in Fort Myers, Florida! My city is on the west coast of Florida, so the opposite coast of where Miami is located. It was a permanent residence turned temporary, as I was supposed to move to Austin, Texas this month to take a new position within my existing company. My lease is up in the middle of July, and it’s unclear how much longer I will have to stay in Florida, and whether my apartment complex will let me do a month-to-month lease. I am currently in a year-to-year lease.”

Dasha’s work from home setup

What has your community been doing to fight the rate of transmission? Is this how you think the situation is best handled? 

“My apartment complex suspended maintenance order requests that were non-critical (i.e. not related to electricity, water, gas, etc concerns). They were supposed to suspend them until the situation blew over, however they recently showed up to fulfill mine, so I took all the necessary precautions and post-cleaning to ensure things were safe. In terms of any issues with rent, they have given us recommendations for resources with the state of Florida, and have made payment plans available to those who are struggling. I am fortunate in that I have not had to take advantage of those resources.

My city and county waited for direction from the governor and president before taking social distancing measures. The thing that most affected me personally was closing the state parks and beaches, as I love the outdoors, but honestly they were not closed for very long; I’d say two weeks in my city/county. Many parks reopened last Wednesday 4/22, due to a county vote. Before the closure there were just social distancing signs with guidance, but there was no monitoring from authorities. I think state parks (including beaches) should have been closed sooner, and stayed closed. We have a huge elderly population in my county and neighboring counties, and it worries me that leadership is not taking this disease seriously given their “slow to close and quick to open response”.

The state of Florida has been slow to react in comparison to some other states, which is why we saw a huge uptick in cases in Miami-Dade county, and basically all areas where spring breakers went on vacation. But it is not just the young spring breakers (let’s not blame everything on the millennials, shall we?). Many Florida homes are vacation homes or permanent family homes and many of those people have beach access or a boat, so many families were out on their boats, docking, dropping anchor well within a few feet of each other. It took nationwide media outcry and the president to extend social distancing the entire month of April for the state of Florida to finally do something and close beaches. To give individual areas credit- some counties did start closing beaches and other parks on their own, as the state initially left things up to the counties. As you can tell from my tone, I do not think this was handled very well. I think a more proactive approach should have been taken.”

What has been your daily routine so far during the pandemic?

“I have been working from home Monday through Friday from around 8am to 5pm. Oftentimes I work later than 5pm, as my desk is in the dining room area, so it’s just so easy to hear a noise from an incoming email and jump on the laptop to answer a client. For context, I work as an account manager. Every morning I make my same black tea, listen to NPR, make breakfast, and get started with the day, as I did before. Some days that routine does not actually get completed until lunch, in case I wake up too close to my first morning meeting, but that’s alright. The beauty of working from home is that my radio, stove, and fridge are all within “social distancing distance” of me. I have implemented a daily at-home workout routine that I do outside around my apartment complex, or at home in the cool of my apartment (Florida humidity can be brutal!). Also, I’ve had the great fortune of having an awesome friend with whom I have been virtually working out every Tuesday and Saturday. I have also been watching TV shows with my friends. Some of us have a standing Friday evening catch up and Netflix Party sesh and some of us take a more spontaneous approach to scheduling. 

Overall, one of my new year’s resolutions is to do one new thing every day. That could be a new TV show episode, a new workout, or a new documentary from which I learned something new.”

Dasha’s makeshift virtual rave setup via TV/zoom call, with friends on a laptop 

What have you been doing to keep your spirits up on a day-to-day basis?

“I also said this earlier, but I have the incredible blessing of knowing some amazing friends. On average, I video chat with 3-5 friends a week, via either a TV show we watch together or just to catch up. One cool thing that my friends and I have done is tune into a virtual rave festival via livestream, that has been a major boost to my mood. I have also been catching up with my grandparents and my dad on a weekly basis to stay connected with family. Working out has been very motivational, as in “if I can conquer this pushup set then I can conquer this pandemic!” I have also been continuing to attend therapy on a weekly basis, but via telehealth now. I find therapy to be incredible for personal development and overall just very soothing and centering. Speaking of soothing and centering, I have been finding time to journal on a daily basis which has been keeping my spirits up in that I can release all my thoughts onto paper, and either reflect or let them go and move forward.”

Has this travel ban/quarantine situation impacted any important plans you had laid out for the near future?

“Yes, indeed! I touched on this earlier, but I was supposed to move to Austin, Texas this month. Now my transfer has been postponed indefinitely and we have no new timelines just yet. But, I have been fortunate (I say this again, but truly I am so grateful), in that I have a lot of support from management.”

Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration for everyone going through this together?

“Your friends care more about you than you know! And on the flip side, if there is someone in your life that you know is toxic, now is the time to cut the negative influences so you can come out of this period fully committed to living the positive life you deserve. Doing so leaves more room for time with those amazing friends that I talked about earlier 🙂 .”

Dasha’s at-home workout setup

Anything else you’d like to share?

“In the above responses, I do speak from a position of not only economic but also racial privilege: I am a white woman who works in a white-collar role that has not been greatly affected by the pandemic. So I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally think that we always have a choice in mindset. Even one positive thought a day can impact your well-being!”

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