Mixed Emotions

By: Marianna Boyce

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For now, the thought weighing heavily on my mind is staying healthy. It’s not a selfish thought. We’re all working diligently to fight this invisible enemy. Other than the obvious—overall good hygiene, washing hands, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or bend of our elbow—the bottom-line answer to this situation is to simply stay home.

But what if your place of employment remains open for business? What then?

It was a sobering thought as I read the memo given to me Friday afternoon before my commute home. I received my “authorization to travel” in the event the surrounding areas enforced a “shelter in place” order. The top line of the memo reads, “Critical Industry Employee, Authorization to Travel.” A statement in the body of the memo reads, “if you work in a critical infrastructure sector as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

As crazy as it seems, my plan is to do just that.

selective focus photography of open signage

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

I’m the senior administrator for a large insurance company. Working for such a firm guarantees I’ll have plenty to keep me busy while others are hunkered down at home. Don’t get me wrong. This makes me happy, but extraordinarily sad at the same time.

I’m not particularly fond of being considered an “essential” employee. In my opinion, everyone’s place of employment is essential. I truly hate for any business to be closed. What makes my job more important than yours? Nothing, my friend, absolutely nothing. It’s as frustrating to me as it is to you, but while many of you wish you were able to go to work, I secretly wish to be hunkered down at home.

Before Coronavirus, my mantra was to crawl in sick as opposed to call in sick, but since COVID-19 entered the scene, I’ve totally changed my opinion on the matter. So far, I’ve been well, and taking extraordinary precautionary measures to stay that way, but the mental battle to choose work over home is still grueling. I have plenty of PTO time I could take, yet I’m more inclined to work.

My coworkers and I have put many social distancing rules in place. We wash our hands constantly. Hand sanitizer and latex gloves are always within reach. Lysol wipes and spray are always close by for us to use; although, the rationing has begun…

Watching the world being brought to her knees in a matter of a few weeks is surreal. The entire ordeal feels like a terrible movie, and we’re all the stars of the show. Public enemy number one is on the rampage, and no one has the answer in combating such a vicious virus. I think we’re close, but not quite there yet.

When the worst has passed (and it will), we will never be the same. As a people, we will be different. In my opinion, we will be greater. As was the case of September 11, 2001, America will adopt a new normal—but what will it be? That remains to be seen.

All I know for sure is, God is good all the time. He’s never surprised by anything, and always in control. We’ll make it through. Stay strong my friend, and if at all possible—stay home!

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