You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged since the 4th of July, and I haven’t uploaded a video to YouTube since June.
Since I began tweeting daily in April and interacting with the ever increasing members of my twitter family, I’ve come to feel very attached to you all. I made a major change to my life/schedule by quitting the 2 part time jobs I had for 2 years and trading them for one full time job back in July, and it’s been quite the positive change. On the other hand, ever since the move, I’ve found myself relegating my social justice/progressive patriotism work strictly to twitter with zero youtube/blog actvity. Due to a recent twitter war I participated in on the topic of a living wage for fast food workers, I realized that you guys know a lot about what I believe and the actions I want us all to take to ensure a more just and ethical world, but you may not know why, simply because I do not tweet much about myself (though my youtube videos do tend to divulge more of my personal feelings/experiences). For example, the other day someone on twitter assumed that I do not like hard work. I thought that was interesting because I’ve never tweeted anything to indicate that and ironically, the opposite is true. Moreover, if the positions were reversed, and I was following this person (me) who spends two hours tweeting petitions to be signed every night and seems focused on the closing of Gitmo almost to the point of obsession, I would conclude that not only does the person like hard work and indeed has a very high pain threshold, but that she also seems not to mind working hard toward that social justice goal– for free! For no pay! In the process of the back-and-forth-tweeting, the topic of passion came up, and I thought about how I WISH my passion — motivating our government/elected officials to uphold our Constitution and Bill of Rights in the Progressive Patriot fashion — was something I could convert into a job. Good grief — that would be amazing.
And you may have noticed that I’ve started to tweet earlier in the evening and for only an hour, as of just a few days ago, so I want to update everyone — but especially my Twitter Family who I would otherwise only communicate in 140 characters or less with — on what’s going on. I figure if you’re reading this far, then you must be one of the closer members of my twitter family and might appreciate the rare view into my personal life.
Back in July I made a much needed break with the Corporation (Ecolab). I started there in 2011 and for the first time in my life, worked for a big corporation that wouldn’t give full time hours, and had implemented that strategy as a way of deliberately increasing turnover. Starting pay was $13.00/hour regardless of experience or education (not the norm at big corps) and everyone in our customer service training group was hired on for 30 hours a week, part time. Sometimes I wonder why I worked at a certain job — what was the point? Because it’s never to stay indefinitely. I work simply to have money to pay the bills so that I can work on my world-service/social justice goals — without pay — in my free time. On every project (what I call my jobs/tenures at the Big Corporations, so far Target, GE, Ecolab, and a myriad of other companies via temp agencies, Merrill Corp, Land O’Lakes, et al), I gained insight into the inner workings of corporations — and there are many good things about them, despite the greed that casts such a dark shadow at the levels of upper management. The efficiency of a corporation is unrivaled. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years from them is that if you just keep working, as hard as you can, and take regular breaks, you can’t help but progress (the verb, not the noun). I apply that reasoning to every personal goal I’ve made and stay motivated that way because I never ever feel that I’m not making progress. Why? Because I always am.
But specifically at Ecolab, there were two reasons I was there — and I do mean this in a spiritual sense. I don’t view myself as someone who has free will in the conventional way. I feel that I am moved around on the chess board of life to wherever I can bring the most truth or joy or service or love to people. And there were 2 super important things accomplished during my time there. The 2nd was that I found out (because, you know, people talk … and other people listen ) that in 1988, the hiring wage for a customer service rep at Ecolab was $8.00/hour and everyone was hired full time. Guess what eight 1988 dollars converts to in 2011 dollars? $15.19. And they were hiring at $13.25 when I left in 2013 but eight 1988 dollars turns out to be $15.92 in 2013 dollars. How did this conversation happen to come about? One of the assistant supervisors was celebrating her 25th anniversary (in 2013) and was telling me a story about when she was a “poor little CSR making only $8.00 an hour” back when she started. My jaw dropped (I don’t have a poker face — I am really good at getting people to tell me everything they know, but not at not reacting to that information) and I said, “In 1988? You were hired at eight dollars an hour — full time?” Yes, she said. Everyone was. You had the option to go down to part time but most people didn’t. I practically teleported back to my desk where I googled “inflation calculator” and found this spectacular one from Dollar Times. To put it even more disappointingly into perspective, I was hired on at Target Corp as a full time returned check collector at $12.35/hour for the 1st 90 days, then $12.72/hour after that grace period, back in 2004 ($15.85 in 2013 dollars), and $13.75/hour plus incentive as a full time debt collector at GE Money Bank in 2008 ($15.03 in 2013 dollars). But learning that tidbit was most likely secondary to the other goal: On the first day of training, I was seated next to a woman a few years younger than I am who had recently given up on online dating. We hit it off right away, having both worked for corporate coffee shop chains, both loving French press coffee, and enjoyed a conversation or two about politics and religion. As I had just gone on a date with someone from Ok Cupid and was about to go on one with someone from Match, I was unsubtly encouraging her to go back on (what I call the Full Sarah Effect, including random bursts into song). I had literally just ordered a slew of books off the internet on the topic and lent her them, one by one. She was a very unique case, looking for something very specific, and at that point was a little despondent. Over the next 8 months, long after I had cancelled my memberships to all the sites I’d been on, I would check in with her everyday to make sure she was still communicating with her matches. She had one false start — from the way she described this guy, I knew he was not a good match, and I did my best to assure her that her soulmate was looking for her too and that the doubt/hesitation she was feeling was the indicator that this guy was not the one. Boom — the next guy was it. He exactly personified the unique components she was looking for and so what if he lived a thousand miles a way? I said. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. They got married in June at her parents’ house (a year after being matched) and on the drive home from the wedding, I knew I was done. I got that familiar feeling, like a click, as if everything is clicking into place, and knew that I would be leaving that job soon. (The $8.00/hour conversation happened a month or two months before that June wedding). I applied for my current job a few days later and started July 22. (This whole time of course, since there was no way in hell I could live on $390/week, I was also working 16-20 hours a week at a retail store as a part time associate, so I’d work there from 9:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. usually 3 mornings a week and then catch the 1:27 bus to get to Ecolab by 2:00 and work till 8:00 pm.)
Those kinds of experiences are not unique for me. There’s always something I “have to” do at every job that has nothing to do with the job description and then it’s on to the next company. And all the “overcoming objections” skills I learned at Target as a debt collector, honed at GE as a debt collector, and am using again in my current position as a debt collector, are skills I apply every single night on Twitter and in my youtube videos and in my blog. People don’t always naturally want to do the right thing and lots of good people on twitter don’t feel motivated to take action at all. I love inspiring people. I love inspiring people to take action and reminding them that they are not alone in their desire for justice and truth.
So here’s the bad thing that happened. I’ve gotten sick 3 times since I started the new job because I haven’t been getting enough sleep. And of course, I still went to work every time I was sick instead of staying home to rest which prolonged the cold, ear infection, and hacking cough. The cough that sounded like pneumonia lasted 3 weeks. Now, I am a very healthy, naturally resilient person. For me to be sick for three weeks is bizarre. I’ve never been sick longer than 4 days in my life. I finally stopped coughing up crap on Friday. And that’s when I realized I have to go to sleep by midnight, no matter what. While I was working the 2 jobs, I never had to get up earlier than 8:30 a.m. and some days not before 11 a.m. Now I get up at 6:30 a.m. 4 of 7 days a week; tweeting till 3 a.m. is just not conducive to a healthy immune system when you end up exposing yourself to all kinds of viruses on 3.5 hours of sleep. So last weekend I spent the entire two days catching up on sleep and by Sunday night, knew I wanted to make some kind of adjustment. It has been really hard. My inner clock is very set on 2nd shift mode so I have been making myself get at least 6 hours of sleep and get into my bed with eyes closed no later than 12:30 a.m.
Making videos is now a little more challenging as well; my friend who films them was also a coworker at the previous job, so we could film them during a morning I wasn’t also working the other job, before work. It’s not impossible — we can always film on weekends, but I have been so frequently sick and then consequently unprepared, that I haven’t made one I thought was good enough to upload. We did go to Nathan Hale Park in August and make one on Snowden and Manning, but it was 45 minutes long. I thought that was just way too long and wanted to refilm it, and make it more concise. This is hard for me — you know how I memorize a lot of info and then have my progressive patriot commentary. So I thought, 45 minutes isn’t too long for a radio show! So I downloaded the app for Spreaker to make it an internet broadcast. This is definitely still in the works, as are more NHP videos.
So how do you like this journal format for a blog post? All my other posts are about some kind of political or social justice issue. This one is about me. I have a feeling that it will increase my effectiveness as a social justice activist/Bill of Rights enthusiast if I interact more with people on twitter and share more of my personal life via my blog. After my 48 hours of hibernating last weekend, I woke up very refreshed and this idea to make the Messages to Millennials as much about the messenger as the messages occurred to me. It’s not one of those things where you can go back though, and because of this, I slept on it (for 7 nights). Outcome? I decided to go for it.
Be sure to watch for more blog posts and Sunday Sarah Updates now that I’ve got my schedule more mapped out. Now that I only have the one job, my weekends (if not spent catching up on sleep, which I hope to never do again) are free to blog/research/record. I may even tweet a selfie!