Humans before jobs: perspective in time of pandemic

Weeks ago I started to write a post about jobs. The main line was around my disapproval towards the easiness people put on identifying themselves with their jobs. I was pointing out how our society determines if you are a successful person or a failure based on your pay slip and on your job title. I still object classification, but in the light of what is going on in the world right now I changed a bit the narrative.

Before the unexpected (but predicted) pandemic, exhaustion was the flagship of achievement. Before our lives were put on hold, being extremely busy and having a high profile job were badges of honour proudly displayed. And if you were to make a test and ask a few random people to talk about themselves, the majority would have started with “I am” followed by their job. I am not including here the ones who managed to transform their passion into a successful career. They are far less common than the rest of us.

Please do not get me wrong. I do say about myself that by education I am a Geographer and I like to notice people’s reactions. And to be perfectly honest I have never worked in the field.

What I do for a living? I work in an international organization as an assistant. I’ve been doing it for years. On the hierarchical scale, not impressive some might say. It took me time and a lot of self – discovery to understand I am not my job and that identifying myself with my job or education is not healthy.

I know we ask and give information about education, studies, jobs because this is the general frame we are used to. In time this type of setting became part of our society and now is almost inevitable not to apply it.

Among the good things this terrible worldwide situation brought is that has shed a light on what matters. Jobs and the way we look upon became aspects of our lives we were forced to reassess.

And all of a sudden, the hierarchy and the impact scale of jobs changed.

Before the pandemic earning a decent wage as a cashier or as a delivery man was by some disregarded.

Setting aside the healthcare workers, the whole situation has put forward and made visible people having jobs in sectors of economy less noticed in normal circumstances. We needed a pandemic to give the floor to jobs that were/are serving us, but we were taking them for granted. The delivery man, the brave taxi driver, the people working in the food supply chain become together with doctors and nurses heroes.

The high degree of abstraction that most office jobs have lost significance.

From the comfort of a couch I realized that the option of teleworking is a privilege not given to all.

In the light of isolation between the walls of our homes, even the high profile well paid jobs seem less important. In confinement counts less if you are manager having no one to manage. But outside the walls a baker still bakes and feeds the others.

I do not want to diminish the importance of the office jobs, or any job in general.

I wanted to point out how is all a matter of perception. Sometimes we give too much power to a job title. Sometimes we forget that we must take into consideration the mark it leaves behind.

These days making an impact means keeping open a mini-market. These days making an impact means delivering the long-waited online orders. These days making an impact is putting a smile on a customer scared face. Behind all these actions you will not find fancy job titles, but big hearted people who keeps us all together, as a functioning society.

We are all fragile souls depending on each other. Let’s not forget that only together we can prevail.

Stay safe and healthy.

Lots of love,

Sharing Simple Words

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