“When I grow up I’m going to be an essential worker,” said my son with such profoundness that it stopped me in my tracks.
For a long time, he has said that he wants to be a chef when he is a grown-up. Ironic coming from a small person who largely avoids new foods at dinner time but also accurate given he thinks I am his short-order cook.
Watch: How you’re homeschooling your kids, according to your star sign.
Our parenting is of the ‘turn the news off when he’s in the room’ sentiment.
We reason that for as long as we can protect him from Donald Trump and all of the other frightful things on television then we will do so. He knows about the virus and we often check in with him to see if he has any questions or if there is anything on his mind about it.
He understands it is because of the “sickness” he has not been allowed to go to school and it is why I am bathing him in hand sanitiser. He is counting the weeks to his birthday and calculates the probability of restrictions being eased so that he can have a ninja-themed birthday party.
Ninjas, you see, cannot get the virus.
But how ‘essential worker’ came to his vocabulary is a mystery and so this sage declaration was a surprise.
Though it should be said that it did come out of the mouth of a recruiter’s son.
We know that it is our essential workers who have truly kept society afloat whilst the rest of the world is adrift at sea. Our medical professionals always deserves praise, and in recent times (and probably because of homeschooling), we have come to realise the enormous workload our teachers carry and the colossal responsibilities they bear.
I suspect end-of-year teacher gifts are going to be more than coffee cups filled with Ferrero Rocher come this December.
But with all of this talk of essential workers, I think we’ve forgotten about the ‘non-essential’ workers. And really, by definition, who is essential and non-essential? And can you imagine being labelled non-essential? What impact could that have on your psyche?
For many people, the current situation is less than ideal and for many candidates I have spoken to in recent weeks, there is a collective sense of anger and fear.
I have had candidates share with me their vulnerabilities, and there is a privilege in this. So to those who have lost jobs because of the virus, and to those of you who have not been able to find a job because of the circumstances you have found yourself in, this is what I want you to know:
It is not your fault.
Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.
I have spent years talking to, interviewing, and working with candidates who have been terminated, made redundant, been retrenched.