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The COVID-19 pandemic rocked our worlds in many different ways; some stayed at home, but many others were deemed essential and had to keep working as if the world wasn’t experiencing an unprecedented global event. Doctors, nurses, CNAs, paramedics, and other healthcare workers deserve waves of accolades and praise for their heroic work, but today we also acknowledge those who are overlooked, have also struggled, and deserve the same amount of praise for doing their essential work as well. Luz Collective created a list of the top 5 most thankless but most valuable jobs so we can acknowledge their sheer and utter awesomeness.

Housekeepers and Cleaning Staff

They wipe, sweep, and dust all corners of their employers’ homes, offices, and hospitals. This work became even more challenging as they were constantly exposed to environments infected with COVID-19, and were over-impacted by the deadly virus. The profession is over-represented with Latinas and they also suffered from work instability when everything closed down, with employers choosing to stop paying their help. 

Cleaning includes everything from making beds to wiping bodily fluids off surfaces. It can’t be easy to clean up areas where a COVID-19 remains, but they do the work that so many simply won’t. They often do it selflessly for the benefit of our communities, often out of economic necessity, and oftentimes, because of both reasons. Be kind to cleaning staff next time you interact with them. They deserve it.

Childcare Workers

They are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of children. They were presented with a big decision to make when this pandemic started. Their services were also deemed essential when other essential workers needed their children taken care of. But going to work at a place where the risk of transmission was very high because of how easily germs spread amongst children; was a challenge that they all took on as the heroes that they are.  As talked about by Elisabeth Tobia; a CEO at two early learning centers in Michigan, she highlights the struggles of childcare workers, pointing out how despite being so important for the functioning of our society, they are some of the lowest-paid workers in the U.S, many making only little more than fast-food workers. If you value your children, you should value the people who take care of them.

Farm Workers

One of the backbones of our society. They’ve maintained food readily available for us to consume by working everyday and thus being constantly exposed to COVID-19 and a plethora of other horrific work conditions. As reported by Rosa Tuiran and Nick Roberts, agricultural worker Osmar Orellana explained how afraid he felt having to go to work every day, and how he did so regardless. 

They go on to explain that farmworkers have been amongst those with the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the conditions in which they work, where social distancing is impossible and supplies, such as water and toilets are shared amongst many.

Despite all of this, they never stopped working and suffered the brunt of the worst of this pandemic while Americans found food on their store shelves without interruption. The MVP award goes to the people who are the reason America has food on their plates.

Food Workers

While most restaurants shut down during the pandemic, many were deemed essential including fast food establishments that remained open throughout the health crisis. They are some of the most undervalued workers and are often mistreated by customers. 

A casual poke around social media will easily lead you to viral videos of food workers being yelled at, mistreated, or assaulted, and the mistreatment became even more common the further the pandemic progressed. Limited amounts of people were allowed into establishments at a time which meant they had to work twice as hard and twice as fast to get through the long lines that formed outside. Reporting on how difficult it’s been for these workers is common, with most of the reporting describing the mistreatment they endure, and the difficulty they face in navigating the pandemic. As with all service workers, be kind when ordering your next meal.

Caregivers and Home Healthcare Workers 

Caregivers ensure that the most vulnerable are taken care of, at all times. The people they take care of are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19, turning their already difficult job into more of a struggle. They aren’t even remotely close to getting the recognition they deserve and yet, the demand for their services has increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. Caregivers and home healthcare workers were oftentimes the only people that the most vulnerable had any access to; otherwise, they would be without a single soul and unable to care for themselves. It’s no secret that such a commitment can bring along challenges to their emotional wellbeing. UNICEF put together this guide called “Caring for Caregivers during the Covid-19 Crisis” which is not only an amazing resource but also a great reminder of everything they do for us and how we have to look out for them as well. Thank them and recognize their hard work next time you see one.


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