Quarantine Depression Diaries: A reflection on the true essential workers


Quarantine Depression Diaries column sig

Ryder Noah From

This is the third installment of Ryder Noah’s newest column, Quarantine Depression Diaries. 

When in school, the cliché way to convince students to work hard is by making them afraid of working at McDonald’s. They convince us it’s nearly impossible to have a happy life if we end up at a job like that. Now, those workers are called essential. 

Fast food is quickly growing in America. Some may think these jobs will go straight to teens who will work for cheap pay and experience. In reality, 70% of fast food employees are now adults. Given the demographic changes, economic changes should also ensue. Not only to reflect the cultural importance of fast food, but also the economic needs of adults.  

Even when fast food was worked mostly by teens, the thought that anyone deserves a non-livable wage reflects the classist culture industry has manufactured for centuries. Year by year it’s becoming more expensive to be alive, but wages have barely increased for 44 years. Why pay someone more if their job has been labeled as menial for decades?  

Fast food chains and big box stores are ingrained into American culture and should be treated as such, especially during these times when they are at heightened risk of getting sick through the terrifying social contact their job demands. These employees may not work in large office buildings made of glass, but their contribution to America is transparently unprecedented 

On the flip side, doctors, though viewed with the blessing of an amazing salary, are also unfairly hurting during this time. Several doctors are burdened by unfair student debt weighing them down, all while working the hardest they’ve ever had to at the frontlines of natural biological warfare that no one could’ve predicted. 

Those in the military get student benefits, under the impression that they might have to sacrifice their life for this country. Doctors are doing the same, putting their lives at risk in the name of American progress, yet they are racked with hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt. 

The only people I can think of who won’t hurt during this pandemic are those who were kings before it started. On both sides of the economic spectrum, we are seeing injustices and a lack of respect for everyone who is the real foundations of America, everyone who isn’t violently wealthy. 

The American dream is flawed. The idea that someone can only be important or happy once they’ve reached the top puts those with minimum wages on the bottom simply because money equals everythinghave little of it and you are nothing.  

I’ve heard many people talk about a change in America after this is over. Like after 9/11, people are hoping for more patriotism and a better bond within the country. I’m hoping the glass shards scatter and give all workers the respect and wages that they deserve.