Work load compounds when school, job collide

Devin Brown

During quarantine there were two different types of people. The ones who enjoyed their staycation at home, and those who put in work to better themselves. 

While many students at our school decided to put themselves at risk during the stay at home order, some students decided to put in a little more extra effort. To put it in modern terms, kids were “getting the bread.” These students decided to help the cause of keeping America running during the troubled times by putting in 30-45 hour work weeks. 

Senior Max Sorensen is a dedicated worker at Culver’s. He has been working there for quite some time, and before Corona, it was like any other normal job for teens.

“Before Corona, work was nothing special,” he said. “I’d clock in, do my stuff, hang out with my co-workers for a while, and just go wherever people needed me. Nothing special, but enjoyable.” 

But as all are aware, this past March, everything shut down. School, businesses, restaurants, everything was closed. Because of this, lots of people were out of work or were limited to how much they could work. 

“The real problems were when everything was first shut down,” Max said. “The same day students were sent home, I lost three shifts because our dining area was closed. From there, we went through a number of policy changes for three weeks.”

Because of the closing of the dining area,. Max described people who came through the drive-through as going on a “family outing” because nothing else was open.

“The first two weeks were crazy,” Max said. “There were nights where we would be completely surrounded by a line of cars. It was this busy all the way up until closing time.”

Taking a look back he wasn’t wrong. Oftentimes the line worked into the KwikTrip next door he described. However, there was a positive to working during this time. At this time the essential workers around the nation were given what is called hazard pay. 

“About a month in, we got bonuses,” Max said. “The hazard pay was tagged onto our checks which lasted about a month until the quarantine was deemed ‘over.’ But to follow our policy, we still wore masks and followed guidelines for COVID.” 

During this time people were anxious. 

“A lot of the people were understanding given the circumstances we were in, but there were some people who simply didn’t care and were very impatient with us.” 

Max was lucky enough to have the time to manage schoolwork at the same time as his real job. But for others, that wasn’t the case.

On the other side of town at the local meat market, Maplewood Meats, Austin Christensen has a different story. He has been working since he was 15 and has been working at Maplewood Meats for close to a year. 

Austin is a more motivated by work, but this has been quite the experience. 

“I had been working close to 50 hour work weeks,” Austin said. “Not many people wanted to work, and I needed the money.”

Because he had been working between 40-50 hours a week, he found out that school was almost out of the equation.

“I barely had time for school,” he said. “There were simply not enough hours in a day.”

Because people were not allowed into the store, they needed to maximize their efficiency with getting people their goods. Along with this, people were not always happy. 

Now a lot more places are opening back up as the world tires to head into a new normal. It’s hard to think back to what seemed like the “good days” when everything was better.  

“I just wish things were back to how they were before,” Austin said.