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Although my job can be mostly done at home, the manufacturing company I work at frowns upon it. I have skills to find more remote friendly jobs. Right now our state only has 100 cases so the governor hasn't implemented any "stay at home" order, but I was told by the plant manager that we are an "essential" business so we'd be operating (and I guess I will have to come to work) even if the governor implements a state-wide lock down. Funny thing is, the thing we make is NOT essential.

When that time comes I think I will have to ask for a unpaid leave for a month or two. I just cannot be productive when I'm scared at work, that's what I'll say. If they turn me down, I'm seriously considering quitting my job. I mean, I'm fairly skilled in programming and math so it shouldn't take me TOO long to get another job, even in this climate hopefully. From a financial standpoint I'm not too worried since I'm young, single, and have a 6 figures saving. Only thing I'm worried about is that it'll look bad to future employers that I have a gap on my resume. Also, without a job I'd have no health insurance so if I eventually do get sick it'll be a big hit.

Advice?

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    "Only thing I'm worried about is that it'll look bad to future employers that I have a gap on my resume" -- They can see when that gap is and connect the dots.. Just explain why in the interview. – さりげない告白 Mar 25 '20 at 3:49
  • More if's than a course on logic... – Solar Mike Mar 25 '20 at 7:52
  • @さりげない告白 It's only possible to explain the gap in an interview, if you are invited. They may sort one out in the first place. – Bernhard Döbler Mar 25 '20 at 12:06
  • What is considered "essential" is up to interpretation and isn't being enforced for non-retail businesses (especially small ones). If you're considering quitting anyway, you might as well just state that you're working from home until this rapidly-changing situation at least stabilizes. Doing that will encourage others to do the same. In the worst case, it will put the WFH'ers on the short list for firing/layoffs/furlough, which might only be a matter of time anyway. – teego1967 Mar 25 '20 at 15:22
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Whoa whoa whoa - slow down there. Two things.

First Thing: You're chaining IFs like crazy:

"It's not bad in your state at this point."

"But what if it does spread here?"

"Then maybe your state will issue work-from-home orders"

"But what if my company doesn't follow them?"

"Then you can ask for unpaid leave."

"But what if they don't allow it?"

"Then you can look for another job."

"But what if I don't find one quickly?"

"Then you fall back on your $100,000+ savings."

"But what if interviewers ask about my employment gap?"

... and at the end of the chain, the worst case is "You'll just have to tell them that it was during the Covid-19 pandemic."

Seriously, if you have a worst-case after 5-6 different IF clauses go bad, and that worst case is simply having to explain that you were briefly unemployed due to COVID-19? Yeah, you're in a pretty good spot.

Second thing:

but I was told by the plant manager that we are an "essential" business so we'd be operating

So what? A plant manager saying you're essential means precisely nothing. If shutdown orders depended on company owners voluntarily saying "Yeah, we're not essential" then there wouldn't be a whole lot of shut down businesses - because everyone thinks they're essential. (And to be fair, it probably is essential from the perspective of the owner.)

So that deep rabbit hole you went down might not mean a thing. It might not get bad in your state. And if it does get bad, it might not matter what your plant manager thinks: you'll be required to work from home anyways.

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    "A plant manager saying you're essential means precisely nothing. If shutdown orders depended on company owners voluntarily saying "Yeah, we're not essential" then there wouldn't be a whole lot of shut down businesses - because everyone thinks they're essential." To back up your point, here in the UK, Sports Direct proclaimed that they were essential, and the government turned around and said, "No you aren't, shut your stores". So they did. – F1Krazy Mar 25 '20 at 8:41
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    @F1Krazy And this is not the first time that Sports Direct proved that they are on an "evil" level on their own. I very much hope they will be taken to court for price gouging after doubling prices for any sports equipment to use indoors in the last days. Profiteering from Coronavirus that's truly evil. – gnasher729 Mar 25 '20 at 11:12
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The real problem with Corona for you is probably not the sickness itself at this stage but what a close down does to the economy.

Yes look for a new job but do not leave current job until you have a signed contract, there is a risk the entire job market could colpse over a night if the global lock down leads to a recession and depression and businesses go bankrupt en masse.

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  • I always thought the real problem with Covid19 was all the death it causes. – WorkingHard_Guy Mar 25 '20 at 10:42
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    The real problem is that anyone who gets infected, even if they are not badly affected themselves, is going to infect others, and some percentage of those will die. I don't want to die. I also don't want to kill others. – gnasher729 Mar 25 '20 at 11:20
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My sentiment is pretty similar to existing answers but I just want to mention a key point I think they have missed.

Although my job can be mostly done at home, the manufacturing company I work at frowns upon it.

So what? If you can do it without being fire, do it. Stay home, stay safe. As you mentioned you won't have health care without the job I would be careful to not end up out of work at this time. Although it's rare for young healthy people to be hospitalised, it's not unknown.

However, yes look for other jobs because you might piss a few people in your office off but do not quit because things in the job market are only going to get worse as companies go under and a job where your boss frowns upon you is better than no job at all.

Just remember that things are likely to get worse before they get better and the more people who do work from home the fewer people will get it and the less strain will be put on the healthcare system.

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At your age, the risk you are exposed to is minimal. Quitting a job in this volatile situation is really stupid.

Chances are that your company will be closed down anyway in a matter of 1-2 weeks, until then, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and stay put.

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  • How do you know the age of the author and what preexisting medical conditions they have? – Philipp Mar 25 '20 at 10:50
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    The risk of being exposed is not minimal... just the risk of them having severe symptoms, but even that is an irresponsible stance to take. You have no idea about OPs situation, what is they have a compromised immune? What if they live with an elderly relative? I agree " Quitting a job in this volatile situation is really stupid." but the first line of your answer is very irresponsible and the type of thinking which has caused this to spread the way it has – Gamora Mar 25 '20 at 10:59
  • He mentioned his age, that is all the information I can go by. – WorkingHard_Guy Mar 25 '20 at 11:07

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