Work in the Time of Coronavirus: From Three Jobs to One, How Will I Pay the Rent?


An artist in NYC shares their story about losing their job as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

I am an artist living in NYC. This past November I had major hip surgery. I truly had no choice. I was in so much pain, I could barely walk, let alone stand for 8 hours at a time at my customer service job. I was forced to take an unpaid leave for 2 months. It put me in significant debt (Not to mention the debt I was already in). But what could I do? I struggled financially, physically, and mentally. Fast forward a few months. I’m now back at work and finally feeling really good. For the first time in 8 months I can stand throughout my entire shift without being in pain. I just got the “okay” from my doctor to return to normal work hours. I’ve had restrictions until now. I am fortunate enough to work for Apple part-time and have a nannying job working for a family I’ve really grown to love. I need both jobs to pay my rent. Yesterday, my nannying job went away until further notice. The child’s school closed due to COVID-19, and they are going to be staying at their other home in Maine. I was relying on the paycheck. As I do every week. I have no savings. That’s long gone. I live paycheck to paycheck. How am I supposed to audition for the art that I moved here to be a part of? No longer an option for so many artists, which is really heartbreaking. I consider myself lucky though. I will at least have food on the table and one job. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay my rent next month. Not everyone has a support system to help them out during difficult times. But this is our America.

—Ashley Chesler

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Left Voice

Left Voice

Militant journalism, revolutionary politics.