May 2nd, 2012

moonphase anger

I think this bears reposting

Recently, one of my LJ "friends" was trying to "mansplain" at me in response to this post. He said: "I don't care if what I am uncomfortable with is unusual or the norm, if I don't like it and it doesn't change, I don't stay.

No, getting a new job isn't fun. But its what you do to keep your self-respect and happiness. Happiness is what life is about, money is a tool."

My response:

I don't know how it is for you, but finding a job was so difficult for me when I still needed to have one, that the only time I ever quit was when I had to move away. Luckily, I never had to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, but I'm sure that if I had, I would have been too scared to be jobless again to complain about it.

I dunno, maybe you find looking for a job to be easy. To me, I'd literally rather pull my own teeth without anesthetic. Job hunting is the most draining activity, physically and mentally, I have ever experienced in my life. And the fact that the longer I went without getting a job made my depression worse, which made the whole process even more actually, physically painful to me, just made everything worse. Just about every job I've ever had I absolutely hated. They were all too difficult, or too boring, or both, and going to work was actual torture to me most days because I had to wake up early and then spend hours doing things that left me exhausted after only a couple hours. There were never enough break times, and I have a bladder that starts to complain if I go longer than an hour or two between bathroom trips. But still, I never quit a job. Nothing would have forced me to quit a job except being forced to move away. Or, in the case of Portland, choosing to move away because I couldn't tolerate being a trans woman in Iowa anymore.

The point is, there are a lot of people just like me, to whom finding a job is the most difficult thing ever; it's frustrating, exhausting, and depressing. I used to live on the edge of homelessness, clinging with all my might to anything that would keep me going over that edge, and my experience is far from unique. So actually having a job was, for me, like drowning in the ocean and suddenly finding a life preserver. It was always such a relief that quitting just was never an option, no matter what. And one of the biggest causes of depression in the years I spent struggling with employment issues here in Portland was anger at myself that I'd been too weak to continue to lie to the world about myself in Iowa, and had to move out here to be myself, despite the fact that being open about my gender in Iowa would have had a very real possibility of getting me killed. Hell, I once dared to wear some women's slacks - SLACKS! - to work, and an off-duty police officer made a comment about them to me that made me afraid to meet him anywhere less public. So don't you dare tell me my original post is propaganda, when you have no fucking clue what it's like to be a woman, or worse - a trans woman - in this society.

~ ~ ~

I'm starting to really understand why Kinsey Hope is so angry all the time. And I think I finally fully understand the concept of "privilege."

This was cross-posted from
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Thoughts on productivity

(Written the other day at home.)

It seems to me, from observing how humans respond to certain stimuli over the years, that there are a few ways one could increase productivity, ways that would work a lot better than the idiot crap they try now. My suggestions are:

1. Increase number and/or length of breaks.

2. Give the workers some kind of reward system, even if the reward is something abstract like verbal praise. People have been trained, in our school systems, to expect feedback on their work, which includes praise on a job well done, on improvements to their performance, etc. Most work places I've been in don't have anything at all like that; most, if they have any feedback at all, is all negative feedback.

3. In jobs where workers are stationary, especially if they're at a desk all day long, they need exercise breaks. I hate to say it, but a little exercise now and then, even if it's just walking, is a great boost to productivity. The mind and the body are connected, and stimulating one can - and often does - work on the other. Myself, if I'm feeling stuck, I pace around the room thinking aloud, or go out on a walk. Movement stimulates the brain. And if good health is a side effect of that, all the better!

4. Stop treating humans like machines. Humans are not machines. You cannot treat a human like a machine and reasonably expect them to respond well to this treatment.

5. If possible, make the job fun.

6. If conversation between workers won't affect the immediate job (like it would at a call center, or a job where you have to pay attention to prevent accidents), then don't discourage it. Most people seem to find a little chit-chat helps pass the time with repetitive tasks, and boring jobs go by more smoothly. (Weirdos like me being the exceptions to this rule.)

7. Happier workers = more productive workers. Boredom, frustration, anger, and other negative emotions makes it hard to focus on the job, cuts down on motivation to do the job, and reduces one's energy. Happy workers are more energetic, more focused, and more motivated to do a good job. Also, jobs where a worker is unhappy result in more of a temptation to call in sick; if you hate your job, there's more reason to try to avoid it. If you love your job, there are instead more reasons to want to go.

8. Healthy workers are happier workers, and thus more productive workers. Spending money on health care for your employees is an investment sure to pay off, if you do it right. And following the other advice for happier workers will also increase their health, resulting in fewer claims on the insurance.

9. Take a trouble-shooting approach toward discipline. Work WITH the employee to find ways for them to improve, figure out if there's something at home they're willing to talk about that's affecting their performance. Try not to make it feel like every trip to your office carries the risk of termination; being friendly with workers will do more to encourage hard work and productivity than beligerance or constant negative feedback. Employees treated well like this will tend to be more apt to try to impress you by working harder.

10. Take into account that not everybody can do the same workload. Even among able persons. Also keep in mind that not everyone who is disabled or differently abled has proof of it, and some may not even know themselves why they can't keep up with other workers. Myself, it took me about a decade to figure out that my constant depression was having physical effects on me that affected my ability to work.

This was cross-posted from
You can comment either here or there.