A Letter on Greed

Dear Greedy Business Owners,

My first legit experience with you was when I worked at Weis Markets.  I began in Oct. 2008 and thoroughly enjoyed my job.  After about a year or so things began to change.  I still enjoyed the actual work I did and I loved my coworkers.  The environment began to alter however as hours began to be cut.  At first it seemed casual.  Oh we’re slow this evening so let’s allow someone to leave an hour or two early.

By 2010 it was a near daily habit.  No longer were people being sent home early due to the store lacking customers.  Instead we would hear from management that 20 hours needed to be cut from the front end staff’s schedules that week.  It didn’t matter if we had lines back through the store or carts piling up in the cart corrals, if you at corporate said hours needed to be cut then cut they were.

Customers grew irritated.  Cashiers were annoyed.  I was stressed and depressed to the point that I ended up in counseling.  Most days I spent jumping on register to help out the growing lines while trying to get the front end audits done and trying to help out the customer service desk worker since we were no longer allowed 2 associates to operate it.  All this while making less than $9 an hour.  The cashiers who would come in and work an hour or two of a four hour shift and be sent home?  Most only made minimum wage.

Can you honestly say that you made that much more money by cutting hours of your lowest paid workers?  Those meager paychecks that put gas in a high school student’s car, paid for books for a college student’s semester and supplemented a senior citizen’s social security check.  I heard how most of you received bonuses for cutting X amount of hours in a year.  I’m sure you used it to buy another Lexus because you certainly never gave it back in any form to your employees.

I survived you, but I am watching my parents struggle in dealing with you and it makes me cry tears of anger.

My mom who has worked for several of you at various jobs and given 100% despite never receiving enough compensation for her efforts.  My mom who also busts her ass everyday for you because she is a hard worker despite the lack of recognition you give her as well as the lack of a simple one week’s paid vacation.  My mom whose knees and feet ache from standing all day because you won’t let her or her coworkers take a simple 10 minute break to sit down.

My dad who has worked for you since he graduated high school yet barely makes more than those who are hired fresh off the street.  My dad who at 56 years old you are forcing to work mandatory 12 hour shifts as well as Saturdays and who you are threatening with a 7 day work week.  My dad who has more energy at his age than anyone I know (and likely more energy than me some days too) that because of you is worn out, sick, cranky and who gets no time to enjoy life because it’s being consumed by work and sleep.

I picture you as Ebeneezer Scrooge sitting behind a desk counting your monies.  Always looking for a way to make just a little more even if it means tightening the noose around your faithful employees’ necks.  Who cares if they’re tired and not paid well enough so long as at the end of the day you have what you want?

I hate you.  I hate you for what you did to me in destroying any desire I may have had in pursuing a career in front end management.  I hate you for fueling one of the worst periods in my life.  I hate you the most though for what you are doing to my parents.  They deserve so much better because they give so much of themselves to you.  I wish they could walk out on you, but then again you probably wouldn’t care because you stopped caring about employees as individuals years ago.  As long as they produce for you that’s all that matters.  Who cares if they enjoy their work.  Who cares if they’re meeting ends meet with what you pay them.  Certainly not you.

You are what is wrong with America.  You embody the greed that blinds people and divides this country by class.  I can only hope one day karma shows you the error in your ways and you see how you treated those “beneath you”.  I hope it makes you see people like my parents for who they are – hard working, loyal individuals who are more than just a means to lining your pockets.

Facebook Robots

I think most of us who use Facebook would say we have a love/hate relationship with it.  We enjoy sharing our lives with our family and friends and having a simplistic way to keep in touch especially with those who live far away.  We like not having to remember anyone’s birthday since Facebook reminds us of it.  We can find events of interest, keep up on daily news and play games.

Yes, Facebook is quite wonderful overall.  That is until we look at the clock and realize we’ve wasted half our evening on it.  Or we find out news from a friend’s status rather than a call or text from that person.  Or we subconsciously start comparing our lives to everyone’s and begin to feel depressed without realizing why.

Merriam-Webster’s third definition of the word robot is: a mechanism guided by automatic controls

Are we not robots in a sense thanks to Facebook?  We check it multiple times a day as if it is programmed into us.  We waste hours of our life just scrolling through our news feed, sometimes seeing the same posts we just saw an hour or so ago.  We log off our computers at night only to sign into our phones before bed.  We wake up and check it again as if something truly important happened while we slept.

What is it about Facebook that draws us in to the point that we lose track of time?  It’s certainly not for the enjoyment of it.  It doesn’t relax us like going for a walk.  It doesn’t connect us like an in depth conversation with a friend.  It doesn’t broaden our horizons, stimulate our brains or cause us to grow in any meaningful way.  If anything it dulls us by killing our communication skills, stunting our creativity and depriving us of time better spent engaging in something that truly matters to us.

Stop being a robot.  That may require deactivating Facebook for a period of time or even setting a timer to limit time spent on it.  Personally I have recommitted myself to not looking at it when I finish work for the day until I have worked out and/or done some cleaning, made dinner and showered.  Whatever works for you just find a way to stick to it.  Life is short; spend your time being more than a Facebook robot.

No More New Year’s Resolutions

For years I loved the start of the new year.  The chance to start anew with a fresh calendar meant the chance to wipe the slate clean and become a new person.  Or so I thought.

The more I think on the concept of New Year’s resolutions the more I think they set us up for failure by implying high expectations.  We create our lists and share them with family and friends determined that this year is going to be our year!  We will do more than we ever have – lose weight, save lots of money, find our dream job, take on the world!  Never mind the fact that statistically most resolutions are abandoned by February.

Now I’m not saying that goal setting isn’t a good concept.  I just think creating a year’s worth of goals to begin on one particular day of the year is futile.  Every month, every week and every day we have a chance to tackle a new goal.  Whenever people ‘fall off the wagon’ instead of thinking “Oh well, maybe next year” they need to think “Tomorrow is a new day.”

This year alone without ever having made a formal New Year’s resolution for any of them, I have accomplished several goals.  In August I decided to keep a log of my workouts to ensure that I never skip working out more than two days in a row.  To date it has worked.  I wanted to explore new subjects as I missed learning, and I signed up and completed two Coursera classes.  I’ve also watched several documentaries on a wide range of topics and in doing so have developed a passion for certain causes.  I’ve donated more money to charities than I have any other year.  I didn’t hold off and wait for 2017 to begin.  I simply made internal goals and picked my own date to start.

Every year I formally or informally create a resolution to write more.  This is made with the underlying hope that somehow that will be what starts me on a path to writing a novel.  I failEvery year.  Some could argue it’s because I don’t set out an actual plan.  Much like running though I cannot force myself to stick to a regiment of writing.  The passion has to be there or else it will feel like a chore that I will grow to loathe rather than love.

This year I’m not going to make that resolution.  I’m not going to make any.  I am just going to trust that when the time, energy and motivation are right for a certain goal then I will undertake it.  I don’t need to wipe any slates clean.  I’m not striving to become a “new” or “better” person.  I’m content to enjoy my life as it is and who I am as a person.  Life doesn’t always need to be a checklist of goals we need to achieve.

Here is to 2017 becoming whatever it is meant to be for all of us, with or without New Year’s resolutions.

Water – My Element

I believe all of us are drawn to one of the 4 main elements (earth, wind, water, fire) more than the others.  Water has been my element for as long as I can remember.

I am fortunate in that I have been to the Atlantic Ocean every year of my 30 years of existence.  This past spring I finally saw the Pacific Ocean as well as Multnomah Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the country.  I’ve swam in and kayaked on lakes and I’ve cruised the Caribbean.

I grew up not far from the Susquehanna River.  Thanksgiving and Easter were spent at my grandparents’ house where my cousins and I either played on the frozen pond or waded in the creek.  I spent my first year of college living on campus and often took walks to a nearby creek.  When I moved to Northeastern PA I quickly found both a river to run alongside as well as a lake to visit when I needed to clear my mind.  It seems I am always drawn to water no matter where I am.

Water calms me and opens my mind as a natural form of meditation.  It connects me to nature in a way that nothing else does.  It has the ability to make me appreciate life all while realizing how minuscule I am in this world.  I am in awe of its power to give life as equally as it can destroy it.

Tonight I ran across the Susquehanna River and looking at it from atop the bridge it finally clicked to me where my advocacy passion lies – water.

I am strongly against fluoride being added to the water supply and refuse to drink my tap water because it is added to it.  I feel anger when I read articles about states prohibiting their residents from collecting rainwater.  I want to cry when I see images of the glaciers melting.  I am appalled when I view pictures of trash accumulating in the ocean.  I loathe companies such as Nestle who seek to expand their business in states where drought is affecting the locals.

This is why I feel so much empathy for those in Standing Rock, ND.  They are fighting for the right to clean water.  A right that shouldn’t need a protest.  A right that every human in existence is entitled.  I feel helpless in my ability to assist them, but I can only hope that my bringing attention to their plight serves to help them.

Water is their cause.  Water is my element.  Because of that we are connected.

My Birthday Post

I have officially lived through 3 decades as of today.  I think I’m supposed to write about how much I’ve learned and grown and how grateful I am to leave my 20s behind.  I think that’s too cliche and if you know me at all you know I hate the majority of cliche things.

The truth is I would live every moment of my 20s again because each has brought me to today.  I’ve never believed in regrets.  There are moments in my life I would have preferred to have played out differently, but I’m a firm believer in that you always end up where you are meant to even if you don’t like the path taken to get there.

I debated writing a blog of 30 bucket list items or 30 fun facts you may not know about me.  Those too seemed too overplayed.

What I truly want to write about is what is going on in Standing Rock, ND.  If you are my friend on Facebook you’ve likely already seen the multiple news article I have posted in relation to this.  I am not one to attempt to blow up people’s news feeds, but I feel like there is no such thing as too much attention on this issue.  I am appalled and stunned that something like this could be occurring on US soil.  I am beyond disgusted that there is no mainstream media coverage of this.

In recent months I have become very anti mainstream media and its lack of coverage only fuels my disdain.  I feel that true journalism has become a rarity.  Agendas such as dividing Americas whether by race, wealth, or political viewpoint are being fueled rather than having legit news reported.

I encourage you to please educate yourselves on what is happening to the Native Americans and their supporters in Standing Rock.  They are peacefully defending their right to clean water and their sacred lands and are being persecuted in horrendous ways for it.  Those who are attacking them without provocation should be punished.  The pipeline should not be built.  Our country needs to get its priorities straight.

Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes.  As a gift to me I ask that you please donate to the Standing Rock cause.  At minimum please educate yourself about what is happening and stop believing everything the media wants you to.

Why I Write

I only ever write blogs when I feel inspired to write, but I have a personal journal in which I have written much more often.  Actually I have several journals, the first having been started when I was in 3rd grade.  Over the years the frequency of my writing has varied.  Normally it picks up when something bad or stressful is going on in my life, but there are a fair amount of entries about good events as well.  Sitting outside under the stars tonight I began to think about all the reasons that I write and my list is as follows:

I write to reflect.

I write to grow.

I write to immortalize my past and anticipate my future.

I write to heal.

I write to vent.

I write to say all those things that I am unable to vocalize.

I write to release.

I write to express.

I write to not just hear myself think, but to analyze the thoughts.

I write to tell the world who I am without uttering a sound.

I write to capture emotion.  Fear.  Hope.  Loss.  Excitement.  Depression.  Peace.

I write so I can read.  So I can learn.  So I can find the underlying mysteries within myself.

I write to define myself.

I write to keep a constant in my life.  A balance.

I write because it is me.

NC Shooting Videos

Normally I don’t write blogs about current events in the media.  The main reason for this is because I believe the media is biased and will portray events to suit their agendas.  I strongly believe the media is a prime culprit in the increased racial divide in this country.  I don’t believe we ever get the full story from the press and therefore letting the reporters and social media stir us up over everything seems pointless.

Another reason is because too often I think events are either staged or don’t come close to appearing as we are to believe.  There has to be more to 9/11 than the accepted story of “terrorists flew planes into the buildings”, but I have not researched this enough on my own to give my opinions.  The Sandy Hook shooting had “staged event” written all over it; nothing made sense about that and I strongly believe it was created to try to push through gun legislation and/or drive up gun sales.

For these reasons I haven’t paid much mind to all these “cop vs blacks” shootings.  The riots that are happening because of them are ridiculous and anyone rioting needs to learn the definition of peaceful protest.  Not to mention busting windows in local shops isn’t go to do anything to solve the issues.

Tues. evening my husband told me about the most recent one in North Carolina.  He played a video on his phone of the victim’s daughter filming the scene.  She was outside of the taped off area running her mouth and swearing at the cops.  Within 2 minutes into the video I felt that something was off.  The video continued for probably 10 mins, but I didn’t watch all of it as it appeared to be the same thing over and over.  The first thoughts I conveyed to my husband were that if that had been my dad the last thing I would be doing would be walking around making a video.  If someone notified me that my dad had been shot you better believe I’d be there by his side in a split second and if that meant being handcuffed for interfering then so be it.

Today when I signed online my homepage had a story and video of the victim’s wife video taping the encounter.  Again, something seems off to me.  If my husband was sitting outside in his vehicle and I saw cops coming up to his car nothing would possess me to grab my phone and start recording it.  I will even give the benefit of the doubt here and say that I am white, so maybe due to the recent shootings black people feel the need to get any encounter with cops on video.  I’ll respect that.  Even so what disturbs me is that after the victim was shot his wife continues to film.  Again, if I watched a cop shoot my husband I would be there in a split second at his side no matter what.

I don’t know the background of this case nor any true facts related to it other than a man was shot.  I’m not going to trust that the media is telling the full story as already there’s controversy as to whether or not the victim had a handgun.  All I will say is that the videos from both the victim’s daughter and wife are very peculiar to me and that you shouldn’t believe everything you see or hear.