Dezmond Ouzts is a frontline worker who lives in Waldorf, MD. He is twenty-six years old.
“I believe the company will view me and fellow co-workers, as they always should have, with more respect, dignity, appreciation, and concern going forward. Death and loss has a defining impression on human beings. It is humbling to understand that life is a bit more fragile than we like to think.”
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 COVID 19 has directly impacted me financially. Soon after the pandemic hit America, my job closed their operations and furloughed the majority of the employees working there. Because my job was a non-profit, they could not afford to keep the doors open any longer than they did. It was unfortunate, but, I am still being taken care of and provided for.
In regards to the current administration’s handling of the pandemic, what are your thoughts on their management of COVID-19?
The current administration has handled this pandemic in a reactionary way. I personally do not believe that they were prepared for it to be so deadly and active as it is, and because of that, they failed to plan wisely. Nevertheless, they are doing what they can now to ensure the safety of those in their care. I believe that they are making decisions for the best of the majority of the country rather than the minority who may be opposed to their methods.
Describe for me the work adjustments that your company made during the pandemic? What are some personal work adjustments that you have made?
As I stated earlier, the work adjustments that my company made during this pandemic was to furlough over 80% of the company. Some of the personal work adjustments I have made is filling for unemployment, applying for food delivery jobs, and continuing on in my educational endeavors.
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 agree that those who are working on the frontlines are “heroes.” Speaking candidly, one thought that comes to my mind is, “No greater love than this, a man laying down his life for a friend.” Those on the front lines are laying down their lives for the benefit and care of others while simultaneously risking the lives of their loved ones every day, by coming home to them after working around a virus-stricken atmosphere all day long.
What do you think this pandemic has revealed about the value we place on other job positions versus the one you have?
This is a question that I struggle with. I personally have never put value into my job positions. My identity and who I am at the core will always be more important than any title I may have. But I am sure that positions don’t matter that much now because the pandemic has put everyone on an even-playing field.
How do you think your company/public ought to view workers, such as yourself, moving forward?
I believe the company will view me and fellow co-workers, as they always should have, with more respect, dignity, appreciation, and concern going forward. Death and loss has a defining impression on human beings. It is humbling to understand that life is a bit more fragile than we like to think.
Explain for me how you view yourself, role, and impact as a worker during this pandemic?
For those that are essential workers, their role and impact is probably valued pretty high at the moment. They are probably being treated as royalty now. But, I know someone very intimately who is considered an “essential employee,” and the workload that they are under is heavy and the tasks are daunting to say the least.