Life
    Culture

    Word of the week: Key worker

    3 April 2020

    Definition:

    An employee that provides an essential service.

    Derivation:

    As the pandemic escalates, farmers and shelf stackers are holding up the nation  as key workers alongside the NHS. Meanwhile employees of corporates, NGOs and government quangos whose job titles underlined their important contribution to society have been told to go home, keep out of the way and not make a fuss. Thus the workforce is having to survive without the services of inclusivity officers, sustainability directors and wellbeing therapists whose wisdom we relied on so heavily before lockdown.

    Business Executives who, until a couple of weeks ago, spent their time jet-setting around the world looking important, now occupy themselves waiting for the arrival of a food delivery man (or woman). Many people who used to work on computers and attend meetings, have been shocked to discover that their job is not ‘key’ and that they are no longer ‘essential’. This has been a major blow to millions, who have toiled for years under the misapprehension that they provided a useful service for someone, somewhere. In only a fortnight, the world of work has turned upside down. A new hierarchy has emerged, based on work that has real value.

    Supermarkets have granted privileged access to all 1.5 million NHS workers, enabling them to get first dibs on fresh stocks of wine and gin after a shift. Following the run on loo rolls, there is now expected to be a spike in demand for counterfeit NHS identity cards and nurses’ uniforms in an effort to beat the queues.

    Use:

    “Netflix has helped me discover that I am neither ‘key’, nor much of a worker”.