My job starts again tomorrow. Times are volatile with the Omicron variant settling in and positive case counts climbing. I’m definitely apprehensive about going back. There are a lot of us together in a small space all day long. Constant reminders are needed about proper masking, sanitizing, and distancing as best we can given that two metres apart is impossible. Absenteeism amongst my colleagues is high; in some cases, 40% are out sick as we speak. The concern for my employers going forward is how to cover positions when so many of us are expected to be away. My concern is for the health and welfare of all of us—not just in my building, but in all of our buildings. People above me have the power to change the precarious situation before us (at least for the short-term), but *they* feel that the positives of being in-person outweigh the negatives of working from home. I disagree. I understand their perspective, I really do—I just wish that they understood mine/ours in return. In saying that, I am fully aware that there are a good many common folks who disagree with me in general and I don’t need to go on social media to hear about it either. It’s all around me, even amongst my own.
My profession has always been subject to judgement by others and always will be. After all, I am a public servant. As a result, I get to hear all kinds of opinions whether they are solicited or not. Interestingly enough, whilst most have never walked in my shoes, they feel that they are experts on the matter because of what they hear, read or can conjure up from being subjects of the public service system in their own developmental years. Funny, I don’t assume that I know how to doctor just because I’ve been seeing different versions of one since my upside down arrival into this world some forty plus years ago. That being said, do I have some opinions about what sounds right or wrong from a patient perspective? I sure do!
Over the Christmas season, I’ve been asked about my job a fair bit. When my answer is vague or short to avoid scrutiny or uninformed opinions, I often get questioned further. When my answer includes any of the genuine challenges faced, a look of doubt, disinterest or disagreement usually occurs. No one wants to hear ‘complaining’. Again, I completely understand, but I am not about to sugarcoat a difficult situation to appease others who think, “What’s the big deal? Everyone is experiencing tough times.”.
While I KNOW that I am not the only employee having to deal with COVID-19, no two work circumstances are the same. Sorry to say that no newscast, blog article, TikTok video, or social media thread encapsulates the WHOLE picture about/for any of us. The pandemic coverage has proven that! For example, as a frontline worker myself, I can empathize greatly with those in healthcare as I watch and listen to various stories, but I don’t really know what they are faced with each day that they begin their shift. I can only imagine really, and I’ll be totally honest in saying that I wouldn’t trade places with them for all of the money in the world despite my own hardships. They are real life-heroes in this whole thing, no matter what anyone says. Well, that’s my opinion anyway and that’s just my point….
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, including myself. However, please don’t judge me and my exact situation unless you’ve spent a day doing what I do and even then, that would be only a minuscule taste of what’s on my plate. If you aren’t prepared to truly listen to or accept an honest answer, then please don’t ‘humour’ me by asking out of obligation, misunderstanding or a sense of knowing without really knowing. Don’t tell or think-tell me to quit if I’m not happy. It’s not as simple as that for many reasons, one of which is my need to make a living for myself. I am sure that there are many people who would handle things a lot differently than I am, probably even better, but I am not them and they are not me. I am only doing the best that *I* can.
Earlier today, I let others’ judgements shroud me and my inevitable return to a less-than-favourable circumstance as I heard their voices over and over again in my head. Then, on my outside walk to ‘cool off’ and reset, I reminded myself of something very important: my path to walk is mine and mine alone. Period. No one can insinuate for themselves how I should feel or what I should or shouldn’t do. They are simply speaking from their point of view as they attempt to enlighten me about a subject matter that they are likely unfamiliar with or mainly uninformed about because… they have not been on this same journey with me. Just as I have not walked in their exact shoes for one moment in time, thus I will do my best not to judge them in return.
It all comes down to the basic concept of point of view. If you don’t wish to receive mine in truth, without judgement, then please don’t ask me for it. There are many other topics to discuss separate from work, the fourth and fifth iterations of the coronavirus, the vaccine and all that goes along with that. Please know that if any answer I give seems short or vague in response to a question of yours, it’s for a good reason and that reason usually involves trying to keep me in my lane and you in yours, most respectfully.