What it’s like to be essential worker

When I think of essential workers, I don’t think of people such as myself. I think of the first responders, people working in hospitals, and working in the grocery stores. These are the people we depend on.

In my job I work with people who are developmentally disabled, many of whom like routine and schedule. This pandemic has caused many changes in the community. Through my job I have seen the changes affect people up close and personal. 

Though I support the businesses and think it is important that we limit the spread of COVID, the changes which are occurring consistently are affecting the ability for me to do my job effectively.

The individuals I have the privilege to serve are not able to do normal things such as go to the library, eat out, walk the mall and other things that are taken for granted on a daily basis. 

Due to some of the businesses being closed, the individuals I work with are not needing me as much, which has caused my hours to slowly decrease. 

I did not think having less hours would affect me too much, but I won’t lie, it’s been harder than I thought. 

Even though I know I am lucky to still be able to work at all, working during the pandemic can be kind of scary.

Even though the company I work for has provided masks, I am still scared that I will catch the virus. There are still many people in the community out and about even if it may be for good reason. 

I have been to stores where people are just there to look around and spend time outside of the house, and while I know that they don’t mean anything by it, they are still putting people at risk.

Working provides consistency that is extremely valuable to me, and without it, I have felt out of the loop and even lost.

Working has provided me with many opportunities, but it has also cost me a lot recently. It has made me lose out on precious time with family during the last month. 

Though I know I have missed out on much, I know there will be more time lost. I am extremely thankful that during these scary and unprecedented times we have people who are there to support us and that we have advanced enough that we can continue life with some semblance of normalcy.

Working during the COVID-19 pandemic is scary and sacrificial. I am grateful to all essential workers for the risk they take on a daily basis. I’m grateful for their sacrifice to take care of the communities they work in. 

With the support of the community I know we can push through the worst of this. For the sake of everybody, but especially those who work in essential services, from one essential worker to everyone else, follow the safety guidelines provided by the CDC and World Health Organization.