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Essential Workers | The Coronavirus Diaries

essential workers

After the U.S government told their citizens to engage in social distancing, many workers in bars, restaurants, and theaters found themselves out of job, or saw their hours severely cut. Grocery store workers, construction crews, warehouses, and truckers found themselves in demand. In a matter of days, we called these employees essential workers. Due to this classification, they were able to keep their job, gain more hours, and even get a bonus.

As for me, I am an essential worker. Today’s entry is about my experience working during this pandemic, my feelings about non-essential work, and what I hope to see after this pandemic ends.

Why I’m Part Of The Essential Workers

If you visited my About page, or my Twitter account, you know my day-job is in the Technology field. I work in a data center for a major company. My job is to repair the servers which break due to some type of hardware failure. My employer’s various services run on many servers. If many of them fail, the website could suffer downtime and the company would lose quite a bit of money.

Due to the physical nature of my job, I can’t do this job remotely. While other departments at my employer are working from home because they are Software Engineers or Site Reliability Engineers, I can’t. Replacing a defective hard drives requires a pair of hands. Swapping out a malfunctioning 100GbE fiber optic in a network switch requires a pair of hands.

My Experience So Far

For one, I got paperwork stating I’m part of the essential workers so if I’m stopped by the cops I can make it to work.

Next, I’m enjoying the light traffic. Morning and evening rush hour traffic flows without issue. It would take me anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes to get to work in the morning, but now it takes me about 25 to 30 minutes. My evening commute is very quick too.

As for my daily tasks, I am busier because more customers are using the website/service. So just like the other essential workers, we’re doing our best to keep everything going. Thus, some days I come home tired and just sit on my couch and watch YouTube for an hour.

My Family Contains Other Essential Workers

I’m not the only person in my family to get paperwork to go to work. My mom is a CNA and works in a nursing home, so she got one. My brother works for a cable company, and he got essential workers’ paperwork.

They are both working without much issue. My mom has her temperature taken before the start of her shift to make sure she’s not running a fever. If so, she has to go home.

Regarding my brother, his workload also increased due to the pandemic because he has to record more shows and upload them. More churches want the station’s services since they can’t hold in-person service anymore.

My Feelings About Non-Essential Work

The following with make some people angry or offend them, but these are my true feelings. We have many jobs in the world that are not needed.

The Entertainment Industry is a non-essential job. I’m glad to see people move away from admiring, sometimes worshiping, celebrities. The only people I feel bad for that are out of work are the people behind the scenes. Thus, the editors, production crew, sound personnel, people like that.

Next, seeing Sales or Marketing jobs being cut doesn’t sadden me. These jobs’ focus is selling items to customers, or persuade them to buy something. I don’t care for advertisements and it would be nice to see less of them.

Finally, we’re seeing we do not need huge school institutions. Yes, teaching is essential, but not pooling kids or young adults together in one building for hours. The at-home school options kids and college students are currently using shows many can learn from home. As I get older and view the schooling options in place, I find them too rigid. We don’t give kids and teens the ability to learn on their own, or explore topics.

Conclusion

I believe after the nationwide and state lock downs are lifted, we’ll see a change regarding work. Companies can’t deny working-from-home or tele-commuting is impossible. We have, at the time of this post’s publication, almost 2 months of data showing it is. Some employees I spoke with said it only took them one to two days to get back to working once they brought their devices home.

Another positive I believe will come from this pandemic is a national sick leave system. We see now that we must be able to pay employees who are sick so they can stay at home and not infect others. If that means increasing our taxes a little, I would be for it.

Finally, I think having the spotlight on those working “unglamorous” or physically-intensive jobs is overdue. The public around the world sees the individuals that keep our cities clean, maintain our power grid, delivered our food, transport goods across the county, and helps us when we’re sick. Not only do they see them, they show their gratitude by saying thank you or giving them thank you notes, and much more. I hope in the future more children choose to be a fireman or a trucker or a grocery store employee instead of a celebrity or sports star.


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