Who Gets To Decide What Is Essential? - Poem

I got fired, for my job is not considered essential. With that, they just admitted that my job is not as important as the others. The job I work hard for. The job I slave over. The job that takes most of my time. That isn’t essential. I don’t feel non-essential. My job feels essential to me. I don’t care what they say. So I don’t make food that feeds people. I don’t sell drugs that cure people. I don’t give out gas for cars.

Does my work not pay for that food, for those drugs, for that gas? I pay the mortgage, every bill, taxes, everything, because of my non-essential job. They talk of the economy being so important, yet are so quick to fire people like me who support it. My family thinks my job is essential. That non-essential job is the reason they are fed. It is the reason they can take their pills and vitamins. It is what pays for their cars. Do their opinions not matter? Am I a have-not? Am I a nobody? Do my contributions mean nothing? How important can I be if, in a time of crisis, I am rid of quicker than the trash? Don’t you ever tell me or anybody that their job is non-essential. Jobs take a man’s life. Some even more. You work too many hours, doing menial thankless tasks you won’t ever do voluntarily, and that results in mental, emotional, and physical problems you hide from others out of fear of being fired. If you show you are stressed, they will find someone else not stressed. If you show you are sad, they will find someone else not sad. If you show you are hurt, they will find someone else not hurt.

Your job is the reason for your pain, but you are never expected to admit it.

And what do you get for those sleepless nights, those streams of tears, and for that persistent back pain? A small raise, a small bonus, a small pat on the back. You give your all. They give you the minimum. Jobs steal a man’s dreams. Instead of doing what you love you are printing reports, filing papers, and shipping out boxes. Until you decide to destroy your dream for it does nothing for the job. Sure, the job pays for everything. But can it give you back your lost years? Can it give you a relaxed state of mind? Can it give you happiness and joy? Can it give you a new back? No. Your job takes everything it can from you, and when you are not needed, they get rid of you as if you were never there at all. Sounds like they knew I was non-essential all along.

For something not important to the world, the job I lost sure knows how to mold me.

That job is who I am. It’s what I do. It’s a part of me. One of the main things people say of me after my name is my job. When people ask what I did all day, I mention a thankless task from my job, that is if I have the energy to even do so at that point. I had no idea this whole time I was considered someone on the wrong side of the road. I’m one of the lost boys. I’m an outsider. I’m non-essential. It’s funny, that seems like information I could’ve used before a major epidemic fires people like me. If we are defining jobs as essential or not, are we also not defining those who are defined by those jobs too?

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Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.

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