There is an interesting phenomenon going on that we at ULTRA are calling, “employment guilt.” At the top of the pandemic, companies started deeming employees as essential. Only catch was, not everyone made the cut. Those of us who have been “lucky” to keep our jobs, have been working from home with a very blurry home life balance.
In my experience, complaining about a job or the effort that goes into producing a specific project, was a very normal thing pre-pandemic. In fact, the majority of my time spent in corporate America, housed work friendships that were founded on conversations about the job – the work, our superiors, and our career endeavors.
But now, in a pandemic, where millions are unemployed and face real struggle, it has become taboo to speak poorly about a job situation. Even if all you are saying is you’re tired or need a break. Personally, as a freelancer, I work for multiple outlets and produce anywhere between four to ten stories a week. Granted not all of them are long form and require expert sources or heavy duty back-end research, but four to ten is still quite the commitment. Fortunately, I’ve been able to maintain this volume throughout the pandemic. And to be quite honest, at times, it is exhausting.
The multiple times I’ve reach out to a friend to share my concerns for my mental health or sleeping patterns, I’ve been accused of being ungrateful. The friend will share how fortunate I am to have a position when so many are struggling by annoyingly responding, “at least you have a job,” and then launch into how having no income for months has deteriorated their lifestyles.
To be clear, I am very aware of how fortunate I am to have a job. Let alone have a job in a pandemic. I practice gratitude daily. Sharing concerns for burnout and the daily stressors of a pandemic, does not negate the sheer and great emotions of gratitude I feel to be employed. Half of the members in my family were laid off due to COVID-19 and I have been significantly pitching in to our household. I am very grateful for a job but also aware of the toll the pandemic and a full-time role takes.
I would like people to have a bit more grace around COVID employees and understand that if they mention one tiny negative thing about their job, that doesn’t mean they are any less grateful.
Photo via Helpline