so you might as well do as little of it as possible
my first taxable paycheck came from selling lottery tickets and cigarettes at a red gas station in hollidaysburg, pennsylvania when i was sixteen. three months in, i watched a coffee pot shatter and leave a coworker with 2nd degree burns covering both her legs. they gave her a week off, and told her to head to the hospital. the older women shook their heads about how “everyone knows not to rinse glass in cold water before pouring in something hot,” and went back to work. i hadn’t known either. i remember she had a kid--cute, like her, but with red hair. i wonder where they are now. i wonder if she and her kid ever stop there to buy gas, or if they drive by to the next station down the road.
this was the first time i saw how little employers care about their employees. it would take me years to understand that i should match their enthusiasm.
for the first time since that gas station job, i don't have one. now that i have free time, i think about work a lot. the loss of my income meant my wife and i had to make some serious changes. we sold and donated a lot. we took a few months to live in a country with a lower cost of living. we decreased our spending tremendously. still, i'm broke af--but here's the thing... i was broke when i was working constantly and making 80k a year as an assistant principal. living hand to mouth and borrowing money from friends isn't new to me. working harder or getting a "better job" never meant getting ahead. it doesn't for most of us. i made the least money at the jobs where i worked the hardest. as i made more money, i got a car that i didn't have to worry about and rented a place of my own for the first time since i was an RA senior year of college, which of course meant my bills went up. i found myself making more money and still being broke af.
i'm not advocating for you to quit your job (....unless...??). what i am advocating for is seeing work as a means to ends. if you're reading this as someone who really enjoys the idea of owning a big ass house and a nice ass car, you might wanna just archive this one and move on to the next. if you're reading this as someone who does work you find meaningful but comes home tired af at the end of the day, this one is for you.
there is no work worth giving up your health and wellness for, no matter how needed the work is, no matter how good you are at it.
okay, okay, okay... but bitch, i have bills and i need my health insurance. very fair. the dual power model teaches us that we can build the world we want while living in the world we've got.
as always, i've got some ideas about how we can do this. BUT FIRST A POEM (that gets misused all the time which makes me want to kick kneecaps):
except from "The Summer Day"
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
1. unionize & support others who are unionizing
amazon workers are unionizing in Alabama and across the globe. first of all, cancel your subscribe & saves and delete the Amazon app. then, go to SupportAmazonWorkers.org to find out how else you can show up.
if you're in new orleans, support the Bricolage School Union
2. tell your co-workers what you make. no, seriously.
as we all know, non white men make less than everyone else. women of color especially are consistently fucked over. check out this thread below
one way to combat this is to tell your co-workers what you make, ESPECIALLY if you're white or a man. if you're both, then you fucking better.
The point isn't that every person earn exactly the same thing — we all want to be rewarded for good work. But you can't know if you are underpaid if you don't know what everyone else makes.
read the rest:
3. support medicare for all
in no world is it okay that losing your job means losing your healthcare. i'll let a nurse explain it:
“The pandemic has highlighted in deadly detail what nurses have known for decades: Our current health care system, based on private insurance tied to employment, is a colossal failure and leaves far too many of our patients to suffer and die unnecessarily,” says Bonnie Castillo, the registered nurse who serves as executive director of the National Nurses United union. “While we mourn the more than 500,000 lives lost to Covid, we rededicate ourselves to the fight to ensure that everyone is provided with high-quality health care regardless of where they live, how much money they make, or their health, immigration, or employment status. Nurses will never rest until we get this done.”
That fight will be waged in Congress with new vigor, now that Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) have introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2021. They have done so with a sense of urgency that reflects both the pandemic moment and an understanding of where we now stand in the historic struggle to establish a single-payer health care system in the United States.
read the rest:
4. refuse to do more than you're paid for
if you've got the time, read "Work Won't Love You Back" with me. if you don't, play this video in the background while you fold laundry.
special shout out to teachers and nurse whom my mother once explained to me are the easiest people to exploit because "we are working so closely with people we care so deeply about."
5. name work as work and support other workers.
sex work is work. period. as workers we need to support sex workers in all ways we can.
as always, i hope this is useful.
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