‘I Did Something Useful’: Unemployed Workers Take On the Virus in Temp Jobs

‘I Did Something Useful’: Unemployed Workers Take On the Virus in Temp Jobs

‘I Did Something Useful’: Unemployed Workers Take On the Virus in Temp Jobs

‘I Did Something Useful’: Unemployed Workers Take On the Virus in Temp Jobs

Those suggestions are now taped to the wall of his cubicle, where he works alongside fellow testers who used to work in many fields, including airline pilots and cabin crews.

Before March, Mr. Lawrence’s days were filled with music, working with orchestras, symphony choruses and national choirs across the country. He took the job swabbing throats to fill time, earn some money and connect with others.

“I’ve enjoyed it much more than I expected to,” said Mr. Lawrence, 55.

The virus continues to spread through Britain, accelerated by an especially contagious variant, and the country recently surpassed the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid deaths. Helping in some way to slow that spread is “a very important job to do right now,” Mr. Lawrence said.

“I will be able to personally look back at this time — I can’t wait to look back on this time — and say I did my bit, I did something useful, and I already feel very proud of that,” he said.

For one of his co-workers at the testing site, Katy Oakden, 36, it was a relief to be placed on furlough in March.

After six years working as an equine midwife, she had taken a job as office manager at a veterinary hospital to gain administrative experience. But that job brought with it grueling stress that began to take a toll, chipping away at her confidence.

“I had forgotten who I was, almost lost my identity,” Ms. Oakden said. After she was furloughed, she regained her confidence, she said, working alongside others as a coronavirus tester, where she felt valued and appreciated.


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