Working during the pandemic: Hardships and successes

In Romania, some of the biggest struggles people have had to face during the COVID-19 pandemic have been job losses and financial difficulties. The virus has certainly changed the way we as a society view the importance of economy during harsh and dire times. Without the proper work force, there can be no proper economy and the overall financial stability of the people drops significantly depending on the time frame of the socio-economic events.

According to Insider Romania, some 38% of Romanian workers said they were fired or forced to work fewer hours during the pandemic. “In Romania, the economic crisis has affected young people and those over the age of 61 to a greater extent, as well as the less educated. Layoffs and reduced working hours have affected the most those working in the field of tourism and travel (88%), as well as those working in the media and non-profit sectors and those in the consumer products manufacturing and services.”

However, in every hard situation, there is hope in the horizon. It’s like looking at a half-full glass. You can see the empty part, or the full part. It’s all just a matter of perspective.

This is the story of Raul Duneș, a former bartender who became a real estate agent.

Courtesy photo of Duneş Raul

Before the pandemic started, Raul was 18 and worked as a bartender in a local restaurant near his village. He enjoyed working there as the salary was great. But once the pandemic struck, the management was forced to lay him off.

He sat at his house for a couple of weeks, thinking at what he could do next. After some time of decision making and planning his future, he decided to apply for a job as a real estate agent in Cluj-Napoca. He was called for an interview a couple of weeks after and went there in a suit, with all his documents and CV at hand. The boss of the company was so impressed by his communications skills and CV that he hired him on the spot.

“I was confident that he would hire me the minute I told him about the fact that I worked with people for about a year at my previous job and I noticed that his eyes lit up,” said Raul Duneș.

When asked how he felt about the struggle  he had faced during the time he was unemployable, Raul had this to say: “I kind of knew it would happen, you know. Getting fired. It happened to many people around me. So when it finally happened, I wasn’t even fazed. I just packed my stuff and went out the door. All I was thinking about during that time was getting a new job. I thought about it for a while and looked on the internet at this real estate agent job in the center of the city. I took a chance and it paid off.”

Courtesy photo of Duneş Raul

This shows how even when hope seems gloomy, the facts are that there is still stuff to do in this world and jobs are out there waiting for you. According to CNN news, hundreds of companies around the world are hiring new people to work in their companies because of the pandemic crisis. The most notable names are Amazon, Big Pharma, Albertsons and Partners, and Coca Cola. The reasoning behind this being that the world is in a unique position of having its global economy degrade even further, and therefore these companies want to ensure that this will not happen. According to Pizza Hut, an official statement made by their CEO is “Now more than ever, restaurants have an important role in feeding families and those looking for safe, fast, and reliable food from brands they can trust”.

All of these things point towards one thing: hope. There is always hope to get hired, always hope to make money and help your family, no matter the circumstances. 

When asked about how his life has changed because of the pandemic, Raul replied with: “It changed for the better, I believe. I see my new job as an upgrade. It allows me to do my own schedule and work on my own terms. In many ways, on paper its a lot harder than being a bartender, but in practice I find it to be easier. One big plus is that this new job allows me to wake up whenever I want. You know… I never saw the pandemic and the layoffs as a bad thing. I saw them as things that were going to happen anyway. The pandemic just hurried things up. People have been, are and will continue to get fired. There’s nothing interesting about that. However, what is interesting is what you do after. Do you cry? Do you give up? Or do you get your act together and find a better place? That’s what I did. And I had no experience in the real estate domain at all, but still got hired and now I’ doing pretty well. So if I can do it, I don’t see why others can’t.”

Photo from

The pandemic has been hard for the Romanian workers and for the workers of the world. But now it’s time to start a new episode in each of our lives and try new things. Everything around us won’t get better if we don’t do anything to improve our status quo.

According to Business Review, 45% of the working class people are expected to fully return to the office and move everything back to normal by the end of this year. So things are getting better and are improving slowly, but surely. As Raul did, and many others just like him, we can’t wait for others to improve our lives, we have to do it ourselves, and we have the qualifications to do so.


Mihai, Cristea. “45% of employees expect a full return to office life, while for 35%, the working model of the future is hybrid .” 21 Apr. 2021, Accessed 2 June 2021.

Chaulsey, Alcorn. “These companies are hiring thousands of new employees during the coronavirus pandemic .” 23 Mar. 2020, Accessed 9 June 2021.

Andrei, Chirileasa. “Over a third of Romanians worked less or lost jobs during pandemic.” 29 Apr. 2021, Accessed 4 June 2021. Accessed 6 June 2021.

Petru Cristian Negrea

Petru Cristian Negrea