American lab assistant and essential worker.
3rd May 2020
This has been hell. It feels like we are forgotten. The government wants to fight amongst themselves while we are dealing with confusion, constant stress, declining mental health, financial instability. As a lab assistant I work in a large pharmaceutical lab, and although I had imagined I worked with smart people, there are nearly 1500 employees and only about a third of them seem to be working from home. Only about 1 in 4 people wear the recommended masks and almost no one follows social distancing. Coming into a work environment like that makes me feel terrified and anxious.
I live in #Wisconsin while my children live in Tennessee. Tennessee has decided to open and their cases am have increased. I have begged for my children to come up to me, but the father is beyond stressed and he is unable to make sound decisions at this time. The pain and fear of knowing how serious this situation is but having no one to help me ‘rescue’ my children from a state that is so indifferent to this has been weighing me down. My mother is a postal worker who has not been provided PPE so I sewed her some masks. My sister has a heart condition and is an essential worker. We all just sit and worry about who will be the one to get Covid-19. Every day as an essential worker feels like a work release program. We work and we are forced back into our homes. Not only do we live with fear, we now live with this feeling that a job we might not care about is the only thing we’re allowed to do. And these jobs barely pay us enough to survive on our own. So what does that say about our worth? We are essential but we are not protected. We are essential but We are not compensated appropriately. We are essential until we are not helping them make money and then we are discarded.
It takes a toll on our mental health. We are not thrilled we are essential workers. We are still risking our health and not standing up against it because we are afraid of starving. We are afraid of eviction.
This country has become a very scary place to live in. Our response to this pandemic has been abysmal. Thousands have died and we all assume it will get much worse because government officials are too proud to be wrong, too stubborn to look at evidence conflicting with their opinions, too greedy to offer any significant help to those of us who are on the lowest rungs of their totem pole. It’s disgusting and we’re angry.
But no one listens to our anger and fears. The people haven’t been heard in a long time. My only hope is eventually we may be able to change things. Our system isn’t working. I hope for the best, but expect the worst.