Kennesha is a frontline worker who lives in Thorndale, PA. She is thirty-two years old.
“I’m not sure that I am considered a hero, but the work that I do is very important to our international presence in the world and so we are an important cog in the system. I am very much appreciative of the true heroes who are on the front lines of this virus, allowing me to continue to work from home and care for my family.”
We are currently living in an unprecedented time where workers, students, and people as a whole are uniquely impacted by COVID-19. How have you been directly impacted?
The pandemic has led to insecurity in our family in multiple ways. I have thankfully been working from home for many years and am able to continue working full time. My husband’s job has become less secure. He is the manager of a service team that has laid off 50% of the team. Should the shutdown of nonessential businesses continue, his job security becomes increasingly less sure. In the meantime, he is able to work from home, gratefully. We also have three children who were previously in some combination of school and childcare contexts. We have lost access to all of that support while trying to continue working two full time jobs. Our children, who are used to a lot of social interaction, have struggled with being cooped up in the house. We are also in the process of selling a home and caring for a family member battling serious illness – all of this has been complicated by the pandemic.
In regards to the current administration’s handling of the pandemic, what are your thoughts on their management of COVID-19?
I think that there are many very smart, intelligent people working within the administration. I think that Dr. Fauci and his team are an incredible asset to our nation in this time. But I think that the administrations inability to develop a cohesive message, agree on basic facts, and present a united front is damaging to our country and harms the ability for us to really get a solid handle on this pandemic. I also believe that there are people who need to take a stand for our nation who fail to do so and others who are more concerned for their own interests and reputation who put us all in dangerous positions.
Describe for me the work adjustments that your company made during the pandemic? What are some personal work adjustments that you have made?
Thankfully, my company has been equipped for remote work for many years so we hardly skipped a beat when the pandemic hit. However, all of us have to be increasing flexible as our schedules have needed to less rigid to accommodate individuals who are caring for children while working. Our management has been very flexible and have allowed employees to complete 80 hours of work at any time (day, night, and weekends) within the two-week pay period, allowing us to have workdays that are more flexible.
What do you think about the idea of people viewing you as a “hero” for working the frontlines during a pandemic? Would you agree or disagree with that?
I’m not sure that I am considered a hero, but the work that I do is very important to our international presence in the world and so we are an important cog in the system. I am very much appreciative of the true heroes who are on the front lines of this virus, allowing me to continue to work from home and care for my family.
What do you think this pandemic has revealed about the value we place on other job positions versus the one you have?
I really hope that this situations leads to a greater valuing of our essential workers and an expanded understanding of who those individuals are. Our essential employees of every kind should be much better supported and protected. There is now no denying the essential nature of their roles and I hope that changes are made moving forward to reflect that collective awareness.
How do you think your company/public ought to view workers, such as yourself, moving forward?
I am fortunate that my company places a lot of trust and value on its employees. They have trusted us to continue to show up as our best selves at work while also giving us the flexibility to do the same for our families. I hope that other companies will learn to do the same.
Explain for me how you view yourself, role, and impact as a worker during this pandemic?
While I am not on the front lines, I do recognize that I play an important role in the overall big picture and I want to do my best where I am while also being a good citizen.