Odds are, you spent a significant amount of time during 2020–2022 stuck at home, frustrated that you couldn’t safely go out and socialize. But have you thought about the people who kept you going, working in the background to do what was necessary to get you what you needed? Here are some of the underappreciated jobs that deserve more recognition.
While you were slouching on the couch ordering Thai or pizza, delivery drivers were out there picking up orders from restaurants and getting them to their destinations. These drivers put up with traffic, complaints about the speed of deliveries, and lousy tips to bring you your pepperoni pizza or Pad Thai. Delivery drivers kept a stalled economy going.
Everyone Who Works in, Near, or on Behalf of a Hospital
Emergency medical technicians, firefighters, cops, nurses, orderlies, and janitors all put themselves at risk to transport and treat COVID-19 victims. They risk their health and lives every day. However, during COVID-19, conditions were so extreme that workers routinely put in 18–36 hour shifts. Banging on pots or yelling from balconies was nice, but how about taking some sweets or boxed lunches to your local hospital when they’re not in crisis to show that you won’t forget?
Child Care Workers
When day care facilities closed, parents suddenly realized how much it mattered to the functioning of their workdays. Child care workers are absurdly underpaid, and their underappreciated job deserves more recognition for keeping children safe, fed, and entertained during the parental workweek. It may take some time for child care centers to return to safe staffing levels, and parents who can afford it will be getting into bidding wars for the services of certified nannies.
Teachers are probably the least appreciated of essential workers. They pivoted quickly to do their best to keep kids learning online instead of in the classroom and routinely work long hours by making lesson plans, grading homework and tests, and checking up on students who are struggling.
Now that schools have reopened, give some thought to everything teachers offer and the things teachers need in their classrooms that help them succeed. Educational losses during lockdowns were real, so patience and compassion are among the things every teacher needs in their classroom from both students and parents.