Depending on one’s yardstick, I am either a baby Gen Xer or an elderly millennial. This means that I was born at the beginning of the Reagan Revolution and so my working life has been up and down and sideways, but never steady. I understand I am not even a cog in the wheel of capitalism, I am just the flat product that the cogs make possible.

I’m 42 now, and I’ve had a wild ride. In my worst years I made barely over $10k a year, in my best I cleared $90k. Most of it has been somewhere in between, and I suppose I’m lucky that my median over 20 years is 45k.  That SHOULD be minimum wage but, y’know, the way it works is if you make more than average you’re doing well.

Anyway.

Not to digress too far but I’ve hit a few really rough patches where I had to go to the food bank AND ask for charity on the internet. I’m not proud of that, but I refuse to be ashamed, either.

But all of a sudden, it’s a worker’s market. Anyone can get a job anywhere they want and that’s not republican talking points, it’s the actual truth.

Employers are raising wages and adding benefits to lure people to work.

(I’d love to take a deep dive on why this is, and I probably will later, but for now let’s focus on the here and now.)

I recently got a great job with a wage that’s above average and a lot of perks. I still work hard and ethically but it’s So. Much. Easier than the public service sector job I was doing before. 

I don’t have people yelling at me because I don’t have the very specific Tootsie Roll bar that they want.

No one approaches me with an attitude about how much a six pack costs.

I don’t have to deal with any of you grumpy tourists who didn’t know what you were walking into before you got here!

I do customer service over the phone- the people I’m talking to would never imagine that they’re talking to a lady who is wearing a vintage (IDC, I’m calling it vintage) LGBT for Obama T-shirt and blasting Rage Against the Machine in the warehouse.

I love my job, and I love what I do. I thank FSM for leading me to a job where I don’t have to work with public.

But… 

BUT (and here’s where YOU come in), I am exhausted. I am so tired. At my warehouse there’s enough work for three people to do, but it’s just me.

I wake up, I go to work, I come home, I pass out from exhaustion, then I wake up and do it again.

I don’t mind. In fact, I enjoy it. It’s making me happy, giving me discipline, having a goal every day is an important thing for me.

And at the end of the day, I just want someone to be nice to me.

I know that sounds ridiculous, but hear me out.

Everyone you encounter in your day to day life (unless they’re retired or otherwise out of the workforce) is trying to make things work with a lack of help.

This means that you need not only be kind to the clerk that’s ringing up/bagging your groceries (and BOO if you don’t simply do that out of habit), but also keep in mind the people in front of and behind you.

They’re exhausted. They’re showing up to work every day knowing they can at best stay ON TOP of things but the idea of GETTING AHEAD of them is out of the question.

Worker bees work. That’s what we do.

A lot of us have quit working with the public because you all- I’m sorry, I’m just going to say it- y’all are insufferable assholes.

We no longer have to deal with the sort of abuse that people love throwing at service sector employees.

So be exceedingly nice and generous wherever you go, because the people who bring your plates to you can go elsewhere.

We already are. So be kind, be happy, be generous. You might not even know how much a kind word in the middle of a long day can be.

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