Paycheck During a Pandemic: What is it like for teens to work right now?


Photo by PYMNTS

Is it worth receiving a paycheck during a pandemic?

Teens, no matter where they work, have been going through the same experiences in their work environment amid the global pandemic.
Many teens have to do things such as count the number of occupants entering the building, frequently clean and sanitize, and even remind people to wear a mask.
When it comes to reminding customers to wear a mask, or to wear it properly, it is almost always followed by attitude or confusion as if it is something new that has not been going on for almost a year now. This is frustrating upon employees because they are taking the time out of their day to remind someone about what they should be doing in the first place.
As an employee, I get that there are customers who are unhappy with the guidelines so they take their anger out on us. However, customers have to understand that we are unhappy too. It is also not okay for someone who is almost double my age to be arguing with me and making my job more difficult by refusing to comply with guidelines in place for everyone’s safety.
Everyday, employees make the decision to go to work, and keep a mask on the entire time for 4-8+ hour shifts. Customers enter a building and stay anywhere from less than 30 minutes up to two hours, at most.
Is it really that hard for a customer to keep a piece of fabric on their face for not nearly as long as employees do? How is it that teenagers are more responsible than adults when it comes to keeping a mask on? Why do customers choose to make teenagers’ already hard jobs, harder?
Employees do not want to remind people to wear a mask properly or keep six feet of distance, but are required to. Otherwise, we could lose our jobs, or the entire business can get shut down.
Employees understand that all together, wearing a mask comes with it’s own problems. It’s uncomfortable to wear, it fogs glasses for the people who wear them, you get a hot feeling very often from doing the simplest of tasks, it’s hard to do things such as communicate to the customer and hearing what the customer is saying. But as a customer, if you are making the decision to enter a building and not follow restrictions such as wanting to wear a mask, then why even leave the house? Just stay home.
Employees should not be put in situations where they have to risk their health and safety because an anti-masker enters the store. People like this should be prohibited from entering public places.
Anti-maskers aren’t really common to come across but when you do, you’ll be wishing you never did. They are people who you have to have a lot of patience with when explaining the reason as to why they have to have them on in a building. Global pandemic anyone? I do not believe that being required to wear a mask is taking away any right at all. It’s for everyone’s safety. Plain and simple.
I feel like the only thing worse than an anti-masker would be someone who does not believe the global pandemic is real all together. There are customers who will tell you that the virus is a scam used by companies to hide the fact that they failed safety inspections. Sounds crazy, right? We have heard it all, and we are tired of it.
Another thing about the rules and restrictions, they do not by any means have anything to do with the employees, nor their employers for that matter. It is completely out of their control. If they have an issue with the rules, instead of wasting our time and complaining to people who can’t do anything about it, go to a city or county meeting. Argue about it with someone who gets paid to hear what you think is “stupid, useless, doesn’t work, or isn’t effective,” because the least a customer will get from an employee is an apology over something that is not their fault. And for the employees who do apologize to customers for things that aren’t their faults, I salute you.
“I never thought old people could be so rude to teenagers for dumb things out of my control like covid guidelines,” said Olivia Thomure, junior.
Many places have cut the occupation capacity by half or less than half so when a building is full, customers are required to wait. This is the main reason, that isn’t mask related, as to why most customers are unhappy.
Additionally, certain businesses have been restricted to dine-in only and because of this, are losing money. Businesses not earning money also means that their supplies are limited and so they have to work with what they have. The less money a franchise earns, also means the less hours they have available for employees to be given on a schedule. Less hours means that many places are short staffed and in return, employees have to partake on things they usually wouldn’t have to because there’d be another person taking care of it.
“Customers are more on edge and many get easily upset over wearing a mask, or things taking slightly longer,” said Arilyn Myint, junior.
Some managers don’t take the virus seriously and are less restrictive on following guidelines. This leads to workers adapting the same mentality because when you are a person of authority not following something that is a requirement, it is easy for employees to not take it seriously either. This is incredibly frustrating for employees who see the virus as something serious.
“I seem to be one of the only ones at my job that sees the pandemic as something other than a political scandal and it frustrates me to no end,” said Staci Cafolla, senior.
Without a doubt, customers have been more irritable than ever. With them being unhappy, and having a hard time following very simple rules and restrictions for everyone’s safety, it makes earning a paycheck during a pandemic not worth it at all.