Balancing schoolwork and having a regular schedule is incredibly challenging, and going through a pandemic does not make it any easier. But I never imagined being called a hero for working at a supermarket. At first it felt good but over time it got tiring to hear. I didn’t realize how important working in the supermarket was until this pandemic came about, and the world didn’t realize it either.
Work is the most horrific part of my day. The crippling fear of contracting coronavirus and bringing it back home to my family haunts me. Even with all the protections implemented in the work environment, one unsanitary slip up can affect me and the people that I live with. My once semi-peaceful workplace was now a war zone. Everyone snatching the last few items on shelfs like savages, forgetting the other people in need. Everyone yelling at each other to move away from them while they stack their shopping carts to the ceiling. It’s like watching the world end slowly.
I understand the reason why being called a hero feels so great, but the feeling wears out eventually. I no longer want to be called one, because the payment does not equal the praise. As the days go by going to work becomes a greater risk. Society puts major pressure on essential workers to continue their everyday duties. I can not lie this outlook has made me see my job to be bigger than what I thought it was before, but with a greater risk should come greater pay. All essential workers who risk their lives everyday during this pandemic should receive hazard pay. If there is so much pressure to continue my everyday routines for the benefits of society then why not up our pay?
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful to still have a job considering 6.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment, but the conditions aren’t completely safe. I am given one mask for the entire week and two sets of gloves for the same week. This isn’t enough to keep me or my fellow employees safe, yet we still work because food has to put on the table. I don’t want to be called a hero because quite frankly I no longer feel like one. Many people do heroic acts willingly for others, but I only go to work to be a hero for my family.
Now that America deems me as an essential worker the sudden praise is a bit overwhelming. I rather be a regular paid employee than a hero. My health would be less at risk and I’d rather go unnoticed.