Contributor is exactly Scott Bartell
2020-09When COVID-19 first came to America I was employed as an assistant manager at a warehouse in northeast Wisconsin. Generally speaking, the city I live in is somewhat conservative and reserved. On a day-to-day basis, it is typically tolerable (despite my liberal and progressive philosophies) and the people are, on average, kind and helpful. However, as COVID infections increased and much of the proposed solutions to help curtail the spread were politicized, it became increasingly exhausting to exist around others with less-than-helpful and uncooperative attitudes. This was mentally draining, to say the least. On top of that, I was starting to work more and more as members of the staff were on a quarantine carousel. In a short amount of time, I began to routinely work 16 hours (or more) a day. Not only was I spent on an emotional and mental level, the nature of the work I was expected to do was leaving me physically beaten. As hard as I tried not to be too upset with those that had to stay home, I couldn't help but feel anger at those that weren't taking the pandemic seriously. I felt I was doing double-duty: I was not only working in place of multiple employees but I was doing my part to help stop the spread of a virus that was causing serious harm. To top it all off, I was feeling guilty for having those feelings while still being employed, having a healthy family (and not suffering any losses), and being able to continue my way of life pretty much unaffected in a major way. This was certainly a time of mixed feelings and emotions. Although this may not be exactly what is meant by 'sensory history', it is hard to pick other sensations of a greater degree I had felt.
2021-10-17The story and my experience are an example of the many ways in which the pandemic affected individuals in different ways. It goes without saying that each person was impacted in varied ways due to Covid-19, however, not all of them were either explicitly negative or an outcome that is easily defined as being either beneficial or harmful. During the height of the pandemic in the United States, I was employed as an Assistant Warehouse Manager in Green Bay, WI. My workload and responsibilities were already a little taxing, but once things got in full swing with Covid they became even more so. I went from working an average of 60 hours a week to over 75. This was mainly due to about a third (or more) of our employees being out of work due to quarantine-type measures or actual illness. This went on for months at the beginning. Many weeks out of that time period there were as few as about a dozen of us running three shifts in a warehouse that normally employed roughly 40 workers. Also at this time, my wife became unemployed because her place of employment shut down. Others around me were losing their jobs in droves and facing financial hardship. But due to my position and the nature of the job, I had never had more job security and we never faced any kind of financial difficulties. On the contrary, during the entire pandemic, my wife and I never went without or struggled. This gave me a surreal feeling and one that I almost felt guilty for living through. Aside from some minor changes in my daily life, I barely noticed any personal changes due to Covid. All in all, it was an extremely odd time to live through; the pandemic wasn't necessarily bad for my wife and me, but I know it was for countless others. And that made it all the more strange.