Charles Gutjahr

Melbourne, Australia

Pandemic words week #4: Essential

3 Aug 2020 — a 1 minute read on COVID-19 Words


Essential services, essential workers, essential supplies... the Victorian Government repeatedly used the word "essential" while announcing the latest restrictions in Victoria. So what is essential, who gets to decide, and why?

I suppose you could say essential is whatever the 3000 word document issued today says it is. But what I think is more interesting is that we all seem to have an instinctive sense of what is essential, and it's not the high-paying jobs like corporate lawyer or management consultant. Almost everyone agrees it is the nurses, the cleaners, the grocers, the teachers who have proved essential — but they are rarely well-paid jobs. I think it shows we undervalue the essential things in life.

© 2024 Charles Gutjahr