Well things have gone and gotten into an international garbage fire, huh? Governments are trying to quell the crash of their society’s fears against the crumbling economies, hinting that “everything will be fine when you’re back at work, producing, happy, normal, YOU WILL BE FINE WE PROMISE OR WE WILL FIRE YOU, AND YOUR FAMILY WILL DIE IN THEIR BEDS.” In the meantime, there’s a groundswell of sentiment backing the Workers of the World. As employees (non-CEO-levels) are forced to stay home, the world’s climate is seeing rest and repair while commutes and factories are reduced to almost nil in some places. And some people with almost no personality at all are missing the normalcy of a routine that was leading them to a nice retirement card and an early grave.
Now, there’s shit to be shoveled everywhere at all times. As someone who has shoveled shit of one kind or another, and will do so in the future, I have been trying to “stay productive” in the days since being sent to work from home (WFH), going on 1 full month now. It’s different and weird and not what any of us would want, but this is reality now. Dwelling in Reality is the only way to really center yourself when you don’t know what to do next. And sometimes shoveling shit isn’t really what you’re supposed to do at all.
Yesterday I, and 50% of the employees for the company I work for, were furloughed due to the quick, sharp decline in consumer spending. I am still processing feelings and ideas about it, from “they don’t see me as important” to “now’s the time to finish up the 1,000,000 things I say I’d do if I had time.” We’re also in the middle of a stretch where our kids are not in school, and we’ve done our best to homeschool them, or at the least, not let their brains go completely pudding-like. So now I can look at all the shovels and all the shit and decide what I want to do with either of them.
I surely have more to do than I have written down. In the past year I left one job, had 3 days off, and started the new one. Shortly thereafter I tore my quadriceps tendon, which I didn’t find out for about a month, then had surgery to repair it, and currently I am rehabbing that. Also in the past year I got into a debate online (I know… dumb move) about how workers control the industry, but nobody believes they do, because you’d never be able to organize enough people to walk out at the same time to cripple an economy “just to prove a point.” My point was that if every person in a major industry took a week off, and had their company pay for it by way of paid vacation time, the industry would see a hit that would likely correct the way of thinking. That introduced a larger, more problematic idea to get past.
The idea is that people fear the loss of their income so much that they’d never do something that drastic, something that would raise the ire of the company for which they trade time for production and knowledge. Not enough people would trade a paid day off to march in a protest if that meant they would lose time to do nothing around the holidays or take a trip somewhere. I know, this sounds very Marxist, and even though I’ve read only a wee bit of Marx and usually when I was hungover. I know this leans very socialistic, because it is from a Worker’s point of view. But again, I’m not against Capitalism. But a minimum wage isn’t the least you can make, it’s the least a company is forced to pay you, and some would pay less if they could, because Profit Margins, bitch.
We have a greater power now. In a time when many of us looked at saving our jobs by going to work, we can help save communities and people and industries if we do waaaaay less than we are used to doing. There are skills to learn. There are museums you can tour, virtually. Work on your lunges. Come July you can have those bakery-fresh buns you always promised yourself you’d bring to the party. And if you would just STAY HOME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, there can be parties to go to, with people you truly like, who have jobs with golden shovels. Won’t it be nice to be missed?