While many employees have had the luxury of working from home during the pandemic, there are a number of people who have not been so fortunate.
Many have suffered in silence, making efforts to stay above water when the tide seems to be getting higher and higher—and no respite in view.
Lisa (her name has been changed to protect her identity), who is from Bermuda, is a single mother with a daughter. She has worked in the hospitality industry for many years but has not been able to work consistently for over a year and is, according to her, at the end of her rope.
She has faced uncertainty and instability. Barely making enough to make ends meet, paying just enough of the bills to prevent disconnection, and not to mention she’s behind on her rent.
Couple that with having to hide the stress from her daughter who suffers from Crohn’s disease, Lisa feels helpless and is desperate for things to return to some sort of normal.
“I need help. I just don’t know what to do anymore,” she tells SheHUB as she fights back tears. “All I want to do is go back to work.”
“Before the pandemic, I was working 40 plus hours a week. Since the pandemic has started, I’ve worked two days a week for four months in 2020. That’s barely 20 hours a week.
“I have been out of work since November 2020, and I have not been to work since. The job has no clue when we are going back in because of the phases.
“With the unemployment benefit, while I am grateful for what I am getting, but $500 a week when you are used to making three times more than that weekly, has been hell. I owe rent, I am behind on my electricity, I’m behind on my internet. I’ve cut cable from my home since pandemic began.”
Because of her daughter’s chronic illness, a nurse visits their home monthly, which is covered by insurance.
“Without insurance the nurse’s visit is $2,000 out of pocket.”
However, Lisa says to add onto her stress, her job recently called her saying that she is expected to begin repaying them for covering her portion of her insurance.
“For them to call me to say that I have to pay back the $4,000 and in the same breath telling me that they don’t know when I’m going to be back to work, and then ask me, ‘Well aren’t you getting unemployment?’ is unreal.”
“I’m really at my wit’s end. I can’t afford anything that I need on a basic level. If my sneakers give out I can’t afford anything. I’m trying to pay what I can when I can.
“I owe a month and a half’s rent at this point. My rent is $400 short of what the Government is giving me plus I have pay bills and buy groceries. This is hard. I don’t know how people are surviving, but at this point I need help. I really, really need help. And it’s not like me to ask for help but I’m so overwhelmed right now that I have to. I have to be strong for my child.”
“From a mental health aspect, I can honestly say that I’ve gone through a couple of bouts of depression. I hide it from my daughter as much as possible so that she’s not stressed, as it would trigger her anxiety and make her ill as her disease will flare up. It’s not easy at all. I feel like I am on my last leg of sanity because there’s nothing worse than when you want to work and can’t. I have looked for alternative employment, but people are not hiring. I want to go back to work. I need to go back to work.”