Mostly, though, being nonessential at my workplace is a plus, even a privilege. It means that if a huge blizzard closes the museum on a working weekday, I get an "administrative leave" day; I stay home and get paid. It also means that I get paid to never ever go to work on a federal holiday.
So up until now, being nonessential has always, for over ten years*, been very good to me. And now, finally, the trade-off.
*My first year-and-one-half at the National Gallery was in the Gallery Shops, where I was "essential" on federal holidays other than Christmas and January 1, but "nonessential" if a blizzard closed the museum. Status can change suddenly: everybody on site but the guard force became quickly nonessential on 9-11 and sent home.
Fun fact: last Thursday was my 13th year anniversary at the NGA!