COVID-19 in Washington DC

Coronavirus in Washington DC

by: An Electrical Trades-person

What does “Essential” mean to you?

To me, “essential” was not necessarily a word that I would ever use to describe myself as. I know that there is a lot of importance to my job. But to “claim” the word essential, I feel that this word can only be claimed by healthcare professionals. I am too humble to claim any title, other than my name and my profession. I’m an Electrical Test Tech! – although many people may not know what I do. But that’s OK!

Are you an “essential” employee?

Electrical Test Tech’s are considered essential. If Construction falls under essential, you can assume that all tradespeople are essential. But I like to think a little deeper. The job tasks that I perform, are partially in line with a power company. Do you consider electricity, essential? Most, if not all of us, can’t function without power. So if you like having your lights on, then you can say I’m essential.

The cashier at the gas station, or convenience store, or grocery store; Are they essential? Absolutely! Just because you may look at a specific task, or job, as “beneath you” or “not a real career”, these people provide important facets to our lives. They are a means to transfer goods to the people. While I see a lot of references to these workers as “they’re not really essential”, it usually comes from a bad place within the person stating it. A lot of stressors have been added to people, a major one being money.

Is construction “essential”?

It depends. Construction is such a generic category of work. On a small scale, its like saying that you are a doctor. Are you a foot doctor? Eye doctor? Women’s doctor? Vein doctor? Brain doctor? This doctor? That doctor? There are so many specializations of doctors, that doctor turns into a category.

So back to construction; Are you building a health care facility? Or are you building an office space that will be leased out as an underwater basket weaving school? The government has left the governors in charge of defining what essential work is. Obviously building any type of health care facility is essential. Are you a service tradesman that needs to make repairs at some federal, 3 letter entity? That could be considered essential too.

A question to ask could be, “Does the mission need my services?”. Most of you then ask, “what mission?”. The mission can be, anything that supports any federal government or any healthcare facility, or even anything you want it to represent. Do you provide clean, treated water to facilities? Provide electricity? Provide emergency home repairs? The list is endless, as you can identify many “needs” in order to dictate something to be essential.

What about “non-essential” personnel?

The world continues to spin, and the days continue to pass, some people are really feeling the effects of being shut down. Some people have found ways to continue to work, via remote options. Others have been forced to sit home and collect unemployment. And before you think that people don’t have to do anything to collect money, most people are only making a fraction of their normal pay. To put things in perspective, try living off of 33% of your base salary, excluding amenities.

Talk about stressful!

What about these small businesses?

I can tell you that we may not come out of this pandemic with the same stores and businesses that we went into it with. This has been absolutely crushing to say the least. Many businesses, that applied for the small business relief, well, the funds dried up before they could receive them. How does that happen?!

Larger businesses, that were collecting millions of dollars, managed to get relief before the actual small businesses. And these small business owners are not millionaires. They didn’t deserve this pandemic. They aren’t “alright”. They are still trying to pay their bills with $0 income.

Can you imagine having to refund money that was collected to reserve a location for a party? So you aren’t able to pay your bills, and you have to refund thousands of dollars? These are real problems! Have some sympathy.

Use the comments! How are you getting through these tough times?

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