Has COVID changed our perceptions of what jobs are most important to society?
Three years ago, I wrote an article about the most underappreciated jobs in America. Respondents to a poll in the article thought the most underappreciated jobs were sanitation workers and teachers. Then, a little over a year later, COVID-19 invaded our lives.
We’ve endured two years of a crisis that has made some of us reevaluate which jobs are absolutely essential to the functioning of our society. Many of those jobs don’t pay a large salary, garner any publicity, or generate a following. These jobs, that have historically been overlooked and even looked down upon, are now being seen for their importance.
Consider these jobs:
- Caregivers, including nurses, EMTs and paramedics, home health aides, midwives, and eldercare support.
- Civil servants, including mail workers, military, law enforcement, and social support providers.
- Construction workers, general laborers, building maintenance, and road crew.
- Drivers, including truckers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, and delivery personnel.
- Farmers, ranchers, fishermen, lumberjacks, and miners.
- Minimum wage employees, including food workers, servers, retail clerks, cashiers, grocery employees, customer service, and hospitality.
- Sanitation workers, including garbage collection, janitorial, and waste and water treatment.
- Teachers, teaching assistants, school administration, and education-support jobs.
- Trade workers, including landscapers, plumbers, mechanics, carpenters, roofers, and electricians.
Before COVID, sanitation workers and teachers were voted the most underappreciated jobs in America. Since then, all of these jobs have had to cope with new requirements associated with the pandemic. Many people lost their jobs and others had their workloads increase greatly. Many had to try to do their work remotely. Others had to brave the threat of contacting the disease just to do their jobs.
What do you think is America’s most underappreciated job in the age of COVID? Answer the poll below and share your thoughts.