Essential Workers Have the Right to Be Mad

There’s more to feel than optimism right now

Tiffany Verbeck


Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

This piece was taken from my an episode of my new podcast on feelings about money, The Poor Me Podcast. If you would prefer to listen, go here.

Essential workers have the right to be pissed off right now. But it feels like the larger culture doesn’t want to be angry. We want to be hopeful, we want to be optimistic — all of which are good things — but we need to also allow our full spectrum of feelings. We’re human, after all. It’s OK to be frustrated, to be scared, to have negative feelings.

Especially about going to work. Going to do your job. You go to a grocery store like you may have done for the past five years, and all of a sudden, you’re at risk. Your life is at risk. Of course you’re going to be angry.

Let’s try to accept the fact that anger is a part of this process. Sure, there are lot of ads showing us a kumbayah, virtual-hand-holding version of reality, but I, personally, am pissed.

We can be angry and optimistic at the same time

And I’m not even an essential worker. I stay home, and I’m pretty lucky in that regard. But I’m still pissed off. It might be controversial to say, but whatever. It turns out you can be hopeful and angry at the same time. We’re human. We’re allowed to have complex feelings, especially about making money, going to work, or losing your job.

All of these things are complicated and they can’t be black and white. I’m so done with seeing non-stop ads on television — from news channels, pharmaceutical companies, whoever is trying to sell me something — telling me I need to be hopeful. Because I don’t feel that hopeful right now.

Hope is good, but other feelings are allowed

Let me rephrase.

I do feel hopeful that this will end. We’ll find a vaccine, it’s going to get better.

But in the meantime, we have a lot of bad stuff to get through. And that makes me angry. Personally, I believe that it didn’t have to be that bad. And that makes me mad.



Tiffany Verbeck

Tiffany Verbeck uses her awesome storytelling skills gained from a master’s degree to write on personal finance, lifestyle, and creativity: