Thursday, October 22, 2009

IMG_0664
Violet and Elsa

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Still dark out — can’t tell the weather

I’ve got a new post up on Kemmyrk on “Fashioning Ritual”, in case you’re interested. The photograph at the top of that post is one I took in Montreal one fall.

I’m booked at one of my favorite site jobs (the job to which I’m going this weekend and for a weekend in November) for about a half a week early in December. That’s going to be such fun.

I’ve been having a series of odd, sequential dreams the last few days. Although I can’t remember enough of them to write them down and try to figure them out.

I didn’t get much done on “Lake Justice” unfortunately. I wound up doing a long post for a friend’s site regarding fair pay for fair work, which ate up most of the morning. I managed to get to the grocery store to get in a few things. I headed to White Plains and picked up some books — I was looking for an issue of a magazine where I’m interviewed as part of an article, but I think I missed the issue. I’ll have to hunt it down in Greenwich Library and copy it. I tried on a bunch of shoes and boots at Nordstrom Rack — nothing I really liked. They’ve got a bunch of shoes where the heel is placed all the way at the back of the shoe instead of the slight curve that places it about 1/4” inch in and directly under the middle of the heel — so in those shoes, I felt as thought I was listing backwards all the time. I still haven’t found the gray boots o’my dreams!

Bounced down to Target, but they didn’t have what I needed. Well, they had one thing — exactly the type of new writing bag I’m looking for — a square carry-on with multiple sections for computer, cords, books, flashdrives, files, books, the travel yoga mat. But it was double what I was willing to pay for it, so I passed! I want to get the new bag before i head to DC next month, but we’ll see. Me and new luggage, right? A bag for every occasion.

Went to a dinner party last night, where we discussed a wide range of issues, including the whole writing-for-mill-content site issue and what it means. I’m the only one of the group who makes my living in the arts. Some of the others are in academia, some of them are in the corporate world, and some are now unemployed.

One of the interesting things about the discussion was how harsh the corporate types are about people who work for jobs (even beyond content mills) that pay crap. There’s a real sense of contempt for people who don’t negotiate or even attempt to negotiate. While a lot of writers in the community advise against it and warn how it can harm not only one’s bank account, but one’s future prospects (I belong to that group, although I’ve lost patience with those who insist that the crap wages are worth it, and my position is moving towards, “if you were good enough and motivated enough, you’d be earning a living wage”).

It was pointed out to me that businesses exist to make a profit, not provide for employees. Employees are a “necessary evil” and are to be cut loose as soon as feasible. Sure, some are using a more employee-friendly model, and those businesses tend to do well and hold on to their employees. But many businesses don’t care about turnover beyond their own bottom line. If they can get someone for a low price — and that person delivers — that’s what they’ll do. If the cheap ass can’t do the job, they’ll move on to someone else. They’ll wrangle for as low a rate as possible, because it benefits THEM, and they constantly have to figure if paying a rate quoted is worth it. If there’s quality involved that will build their business and raise their profit line, and if the person hired is reliable and not trouble to work with, then it is. But if they can get quality for less, they do. That’s why business always fights unions. The union position is “ a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work”, whereas management’s response is, “Why?” (Having sat at plenty of negotiation tables, I know from experience that that is true in many cases).

If employee-friendly policies result in a higher profit margin for a company, then they’ll do it. But few will actually volunteer to “do the right thing” unless forced to do so by regulations. Companies that do right by their employees from the get go are generally started up by one or two individuals with a vision that’s considered naive by the larger business community; and, on the occasions when it works and the company grows into a huge success, it’s shrugged off as an anomaly.

It was pointed out to me that, as long as employees are willing to be paid like crap and treated like crap (in any line of work), they will be so paid and so treated. Unions (especially early in the labor movement) managed to curtail a lot of that, but many of them are imploding because they began to fashion themselves on regular corporate models and have grown more interested in their own bottom line than the good of the membership, although that’s the phrase they use to shove something unpalatable down membership’s throat. As long as workers agree to be exploited and only look at the small picture instead of the big picture, that’s what many corporations will do, because that’s how they increase profits and reward the ones at the top who keep figuring out ways to cut salaries and benefits by giving the top execs huge bonuses. Current regulations are considered a joke, a slap on the wrist, and law suits take so long and have so many loopholes that it’s more cost efficient to draw them out, exhausting the other side’s resources and, if they lose, find ways to delay pay outs.

It was interesting to hear it from the corporate point of view. Depressing, but interesting.

Today will be busy — I’ve got some paperwork and correspondence to get out in the morning, a ton of errands to do, polish up one of the rituals and get it out, pack my writing bag for the weekend (my duffle is already packed and I’ve got the food sorted), and do two tarot readings. And I’m supposed to go out with a friend tonight.

Weather-permitting, I might have the opportunity for a really fun adventure at the midpoint of next week. Fingers crossed!

Devon