Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the job projected to have the largest percentage increase in employment from 2018 to 2028 is the home health aide followed by the personal care aide, a reflection of the growing older population in America.
Despite the increasing need for these workers, home health aides and personal care aides typically earn less than $12 per hour. And they are overwhelmingly women of color, and disproportionately black women: 87 percent of paid adult care workers are women, compared with 46 percent of nondomestic workers, and about 25 percent of home care aides are black, compared with 12 percent of nondomestic workers.
The workers we need the most aren’t wearing boots and hard hats; they are wearing sneakers or scrubs. (source)
The real future of work is the people who take care of us – a low-wage service work force that is disproportionately made up of black women and other women of color. A workforce that will grow in numbers as the population ages. And they are largely unprotected by our safety net.
This helps situate the relative importance of robots replacing humans and remote/distributed work.
Also, I can’t get over the numbers.
$12 an hour is $96 a day, $480 a week, $24,000 (for 50 weeks). Roughly $2,000 gross, $1,800 net.
Can one live on $1,800 net?
If you follow the 50-30-20 philosophy, you’d have $900 to cover your Needs (Housing, Groceries, Utilities, Transportation, Bills, Insurance, etc.), $540 on Wants (Shopping, Entertainment, Restaurants, Hobbies, Etc.), and $360 for Debt Payoff and Savings.
Note: For some reason (probably human error, that is, me) this entry did not post at the determined time, which was weeks ago now. I’m not saying anything new, but I am speaking my mind. I’m sure I will come back to this in later posts.
We witnessed the lynching of a black man. We all did.
And we were reminded of other similarly barbaric and despicable acts taking place in the recent past. Enough instances to lead one to conclude that this also is a pandemic.
I share Elie Wiesel‘s observation that
Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.
Indeed, “we must take sides.” (Night).
Personally, taking sides consists not only in not being racist but, rather, in being anti-racist. Reading and reflecting on this hand-out from the Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities to Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, and Engage in Collective Healing by Anneliese A. Singh, PhD, LPC is a good place to start.
For corporations, statements are a modest start but clearly not enough.
Please be mindful of what our black colleagues are going through. Shenequa Golding’s “Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot” is a good place to start to nurture your empathy.
Here are a few excerpts:
I don’t know who decided that being professional was loosely defined as being divorced of total humanity, but whoever did they’ve aided, unintentionally maybe, in a unique form of suffocation.
If I am to perform my duties for 40 hours a week, it’s asinine to assume that the life I live outside of those 40 hours won’t rear its head. Whether I’m a sleep deprived single mother of two or a struggling college student who really needs this internship to graduate, the belief that only the part of me that fattens your bottom line is allowed in the workplace, is stifling.
This is magnified for young black professionals who are recruited for their culture, but told, in so many words, that their blackness and the struggles that come with it are to be left at the door.
A black man went for a run only to be ambushed by two white men, shot and then killed. A black female essential worker was asleep inside her home when police serving a “no-knock” warrant shot her eight times. A white woman, enraged that a black man asked her to follow the park rules lied to cops about being threatened. And a black man died face down on the ground because a white cop suffocated him.
But yeah, I can totally have that presentation for you by end of day, Ted. No problem.
We’re biting our tongues, swallowing our rage and fighting back tears to remain professional because expressing that hurt caused by witnessing black death is considered more unprofessional, than black men and women actually being killed.
So if you can, please, be mindful. Your black employees are dealing with a lot.
[Photo by Sticker You]
We’re not working from home. We’re at home in the middle of a crisis trying to get work done.
Look after yourself… and others.
I am a fan of keeping a journal. I keep one myself and I encourage the leaders I work with to do the same.
The format does not really matter (what you thought, what you did, what you said, how you felt, etc.) as long as you record it. By recording it you’re acknowledging that it mattered at the time and you’re making it matter now.
You don’t keep a journal to revisit it. You keep a journal to make a record, to state that your day mattered.
I’m reminded of this by a recent post I read on keeping a Good Times list:
to notice and record the moments and experiences in life that bring you joy, or that energise and fulfil you. This one thing will help you appreciate what really matters, and to do more of them. It’s simple to do, and you need nothing more than a pen and paper.
It’s another form of “counting your blessings”. And it will help you keep track of what really matters.
[photo by Dina Spencer]
On the last day of class, Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, asks his students to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves to find cogent answers to three questions:
First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?
Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?
Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?
Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.
As the students discuss the answers to these questions, I open my own life to them as a case study of sorts, to illustrate how they can use the theories from our course to guide their life decisions.
More at How will you measure your life?