Though every student continues to adapt to an extraordinary school year, some face the additional challenge of working a job during a global pandemic. Despite the health risk, these students continue to show up to each shift and abide by ever shifting regulations.
Employees continue to find joy in their work despite COVID-19. Mary Pittman (11), who works at the Chickasaw Country Club, still gets to enjoy her favorite aspect, connecting with club members.
“I enjoy interacting with the members and gaining insight into a completely new lifestyle that differs from mine,” Pittman said.
Since COVID-19, countless schools, stores and restaurants have taken extra precautions to keep employees protected. Since Nyla Fields (11) started working at Sonic in May 2020, she believes that her employer has taken the necessary safety precautions including checking temperatures and wearing masks during her shift.
“My employer is doing a good job protecting me…she makes sure everyone complies with the rules of COVID,” Fields said.
With work comes lots of challenges with non rule abiding customers that students endure when going to their jobs. Laila Shannon (12) faces challenges with enforcing coronavirus guidelines while working her shift at Pyro’s Pizza.
“My biggest challenge is dealing with rude customers who don’t follow our rules to keep us and themselves safe from the virus,” Shannon said. “Everyone should wear masks or stay at home.”
The coronavirus has negatively affected the workplace, with the loss of both jobs and customers because of the pandemic. Businesses have had to lay people off which caused less customers because of safety concerns with spreading the virus.
“COVID-19 affected my job because it caused at least 20 of my co-workers to get laid off for maybe two to three months,” Shannon said. “We also lost many customers, even after the lockdown.”
For students, working a job during this time comes with a lot of pros and cons.
“The biggest challenge I face at work is that in some cases social distancing becomes harder,” Pittman said.
Regarding workers’ safety, many students believe they should receive hazard pay—additional pay for performing a hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship.
“We are providing a service during a world health crisis that could make us sick,” Pittman said.
Despite the setbacks of dealing with the pandemic, students have decided that working is the best choice for them during this time.
“The experiences and lessons I have gained from working is the reason I continue to work, even in the middle of a pandemic,” Pittman said.