Much ink has been spilled about the pandemic. I have referenced the pandemic, but I haven’t spent too much time actually talking about the pandemic as such. I thought this might be my opportunity to talk about some of the things I’ve observed during this most strange time of our lives.
“My job was made illegal.” I find this quote rather ironic. I see this over and over again across social media by workers who were displaced by pandemic business closures. Many have moved on to other jobs and many women have opted to stay home to save on child care costs. Indeed, child care has been severely damaging to women’s careers. However, this perception that one day the government came along and made someone’s job illegal is definitely a lasting feeling that is affecting our present job market.
The phrase isn’t quite correct. Businesses closed because, for the first time in living memory, much of the service economy shut down. Massive layoffs and furloughs followed. Suddenly, people were thrown into a world where the world was dangerous, and their jobs simply didn’t exist. There was no end date on when their jobs might open back up. For many service workers, this meant finding other ways to make money and survive. Obviously, extended unemployment benefits were helpful to ease the pain for people. If anyone needed motivation to make a career change, go back to school, or make a major life change, this was the moment. We underestimate how traumatic this was for people. One day, we were all working away at different jobs and for many, suddenly their job just no longer existed. There was no warning and very little sympathy from people. A whole way of life suddenly ended. We are still recovering from this.
Work From Home and Essential Workers
Obviously, for essential workers, the pandemic was different. From grocery workers to doctors, there were massive overnight adjustments. As we finally donned masks, front-line workers were responsible for enforcing a whole raft of new regulations. They are the people who put the little sticky circles on the floor to get people to social distance in stores. They had to ask customers to pull up their masks (or at least put them on) and they had to continue working and providing these essential services while constantly adjusting to the new normal. While others waited nervously at home, hoping the outside world would be safe again, essential workers put themselves at risk. Many died due…