May 28 2020
A Colombian national with a Spanish passport, aged 51.*
Note on the series
Autonomy is running a Stories From the Frontline series of testimonies that aims to capture what it is like to be a key worker during this COVID-19 crisis. We’ve put a call out asking for those currently working in key roles to reflect on their working life at the moment. We want to give our contributors a wide berth in terms of what they can speak about: some discuss politics, others discuss their immediate feelings; some focus on their day to day tasks, others reflect on the sector as a whole; some are angry at management, others talk about what their customers or clients are experiencing. We feel it is important to hear as ‘raw’ an account as possible: needless to say, these testimonies reflect the individual authors’ views only.
We’ve kept each testimony anonymous and have edited out any possible identifiers of the workplace involved.
*The biographical details of this particular testimony are shared here with the author’s permission. This article has been translated from Spanish.
At the beginning, I had symptoms of Corona virus. During the first few days when I had symptoms I continued going to work, but I was scared to leave my flat. When I took public transport, I acted as if I didn’t have hands (i.e. not touching anything) and I didn’t interact with anyone around me. I tried to arrive at work in the safest possible way, following the guidance. I was scared that my temperature would go up, and I was scared to have to keep isolating forever. I then isolated for 14 days. This was March, but even when I started to feel better in April, I was terrified to leave my flat. I was able to access a session of therapy over Skype and it gave me the confidence to leave again. I began re-learning how to use public transport safely, and while I’m at work I’m trying to be as safe as I can, abiding by the government’s advice. I now have a better idea of how to maintain safety and distancing at work. My situation improved because my boss is always checking in on me, she asks me every day how I am and says that even if we have a slight cough, we need to go home. Not just that, but they also provide us with many masks and gloves as well as sanitiser. Throughout this process they have paid us all our full wages, despite the loss of work the company has taken. I am lucky in that regard.
Aside from work, I have been worried about how the pandemic will affect society and I don’t really have confidence in the government now… The politicians live safely while the rest of us struggle. Since I have recuperated from COVID19, I have returned to work, but I get angry sometimes when I see people not abiding by the guidance. I can see groups in parks gathering, and it makes me upset and makes me question people…. Are they being irresponsible or do they live together and I’m just unaware? I am always questioning people. I also suffer from anxiety, and I had 3 months with severe anxiety this Spring – so I called the GP. They gave me more medicine and support. Honestly, I felt really scared when I was isolated and sick with the virus as I don’t have any family here and live alone. I had a very real sensation of isolation. Now I’m getting better, but I really miss interacting with people on a daily basis. I am hopeful but fearful of what is to come.
We’re looking for testimonies from those continuing to work during this crisis. In the main, this should be key workers. If this is you, then please be in touch!
This is meant to reflect what it’s like to work as you, right now, on the job. This is *not* meant to be an academic paper or a mere record of events.
What is your day to day experience of the job? What is your workplace like? What do you hear from your colleagues about the sector as a whole? What has changed since COVID? How is your relationship with your employer?
All testimonies will be published anonymously or using pseudonyms where relevant.
Please email no more than 800 words to: email@example.com