I don’t how you’re doing but I’m feeling a big old tumult of thoughts and emotions about all the world has been throwing us in 2020. I can’t seem to settle to anything, there are so many BIG issues to try and engage with. If it’s not Covid-19, it’s Black Lives Matter, the looming recession, or the environment. They are all very important but I feel as though I’m constantly reeling. My nursing job is a never-ending carousel of changing working conditions and practices, in response to Covid. This week we have all been told to have our lunch in our cars as our office is no longer considered Covid secure. Even though we were previously told we shouldn’t be seen outside in our uniforms and without our masks on because it is bad for public confidence, we are now allowed to sit on the seagull poo splattered bench in the public park to eat our sandwiches if we would prefer not to sit in our cars. We are allowed to go home for lunch but would have to strip off at the front door, put our uniform straight in the wash, change into civvies to eat (although I suppose no one would know if you ate shivering in the nude to save a few precious minutes), and then put on a new uniform to return to work. Uniforms must be washed separately from the rest of the household washing at 60 degrees, as soon as they are placed in the machine. If we are not prepared to change and wash our morning’s uniform then we may sit in our gardens, assuming you have one (and it’s currently raining), and not change our uniform. Apparently this is readily achievable in a 30 minute lunch break. As long as you don’t want to actually eat any lunch.
I wouldn’t mind if anybody could provide me with a decent rationale for this change. We’re rolling back hard won employment rights, like having access to fresh drinking water and hand-washing facilities during your lunch break, for the sake of what exactly? We haven’t been using our tiny staff room since the Covid outbreak began because of social-distancing restrictions, and we all sit two metres apart to eat our lunch in the office. Every day I walk through the office door and brace myself for a new slew of restrictions to try and remember, never mind fit into the working day. The children are the same at school, though their teachers bear the brunt of the ever-changing guidance. It’s as though public sector workers are in a real-life version of the children’s game ‘Lava’, where each moment of the working day is spent trying to stay upright on a wobbly rock during an interminable volcanic eruption. I think weariness has set in now too. We have all been working so hard and trying to stay positive for so long. I don’t often moan and I love my job, but today I’ve had enough. I’m going to take a break from the blog next week and regroup a little, but I promise to be back with a spring in my step the week after 🙂