Archive for November, 2011

Scrooge is in a position to have a concrete effect on the way his employees experience their day-to-day lives.  He’s in a position to say “yes” to small things that make a big difference.

But does he?

This is where we can differentiate between the truly evil (which Scrooge is not – he wasn’t born with icy Thames sludge-water in his veins), and the miserable, greedy pustules of humanity, for which the mature Scrooge is the poster child.  And this latter condition is far more widespread than pure evil.

The Scrooges of the American workplace practice a form of active denial.  A refusal to consider.  They fall back on the excuse of life’s busyness to avoid activating easy generosities for the enjoyment of their employees.

In other words, they don’t want to think about what they could be doing to make their employees a little less miserable at work.  They don’t want to be bothered.  They’ll just pretend those relatively small steps don’t exist.

But they do exist.

And if you’re an employer who’s not taking them, you’re a bigger jerk than you think.

Read entire post: Scrooge is Alive and Well and Employing Americans.

Thanks to Kim Brittingham!


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Passive-aggression rolls in like a layer of black smoke on the heals of the doctor who comes to work late almost every day at the small healthcare office where I werk. Being chronically late sets the tone for a miserable 9-hour day, from which I don’t get a lunch break, or even a 10-minute break. In fact, I practically have to be wearing a urinary catheter as going to the bathroom is almost nearly impossible.

This day, the doctor is extremely worked up because a fair number of patients canceled. The doctor is not shy to exclaim, “How will I pay the bills? If I don’t have enough patients, I won’t be able to make the payroll!”

I can barely keep from dropping my jaw in astonishment when I hear this – not just because I am in fear of not being able to receive a paycheck (although in NYC, the reality for me and many people is being one paycheck away from homelessness.) But – the shameless audacity of this comment – is mind blowing. Can this person hear themselves? How far has their flight from reality taken them? How could they not have a sliver of sensitivty in terms of how this might sound to the person sitting in front of them who busts her ass non-stop, making $15 an hour?

The doctor is worrying about paying their bills when I in fact know they have a house at the beach, a house in the country, a swanky apartment in Manhattan and a car. And, I suspect there is one or two more cars in their possession no doubt sitting the the garage(s) of both houses. If you wanna pay your bills, how about start by selling one of the cars and cutting out all of the expenses that come with it? (Gas, insurance, routine maitanence, etc.) Do you really need an apartment and two houses? Seriously, what the hell?

That morning when I arrived at work, a fax had come in. It was from a government agency reminding employers they are, by law, required to post Department of Labor laws detailing workers rights. I put the fax back on the machine, curious about what would happen if the doctor saw it, which was inevitable as there is constant hands-on micro managing going on behind the receptionist desk. Sure as shit, the doctor snatch up the fax, look at it, crumpled it into a ball and then handed it to me saying, “This is garbage. Throw it away.”

How about “Throw it away please?”

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Yes, Thanksgiving, such as it is, the holiday, has passed.

I am once again with my sister and my lover. We had an informal dinner with ingredients bought at the last-minute, some with my own cash and some with my girlfriend’s food stamps.

It’s not so bad for me in terms of cash flow these days. I even managed to purchase as a gift  for my sister a new Macbook Pro, financed over 12 months, of course. She is one of the Wisconsin public employees whose salary was cut 5.8% and has to now pay 12% of her insurance premium. She is giving up her car, not exactly a luxury in a sprawling city such as Madison, WI, but she has found a way to do without it. People in my neighborhood in Brooklyn have cars, yet my gal and I feel extremely embarrassed on the very rare occasion we pull up in front of our building in a yellow cab. As if we are very privileged white gerls who can afford the world, when our neighbors all have cars, more than one even and I do not understand how they can afford to buy them let alone carry auto insurance and maintain their vehicles. Still we are embarrassed.

I have no healthcare coverage, nor does my gal. We both have our own individual precarious, but very carefully pieced together system we navigate in the public health system to get medical care and prescription medication. It’s hard to muddle through this piecemeal approach to healthcare, but since we both believe in unbundling healthcare from employment, marriage and other institutions, we deal.

It’s nice outside, sunny and cool, we are together, and yes we are all white and privileged by skin color, class and other markers. But still its hard trying to survive in the Amerikan economy circa 2011, for us, for everyone.

I give you this article Thanksgiving: a Native American View, by Jacqueline Keeler, as a reminder of herstory and how it shapes, informs and influences the present.

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Hey, it’s almost Thanksgiving 2011 and guess what I was doing yesterday?

I was on the phone with billing customer service at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt for almost an hour trying to hash out their bill to me from my 9/8/10 breast clinic visit. The customer service rep kept on telling me that Medicaid had rejected it every time they had submitted the bill. She was not hearing me at all when I told her HRA told me I had to submit the bill to the Medicaid office myself as part of the “proof” that I 1) had actually gone to the clinic and 2) the bill had been presented to Medicaid just two days after they dumped me and payment was declined

The sister just repeated over and over, “Your claim was rejected by Medicaid every time we submitted it:  on ## and ## and ##. Every time. Why didn’t you renew Medicaid so your clinic visit would be covered.”

Finally, I said to her,  “Lookit, it’s part of the whole scam to keep people off of Medicaid to not send renewal forms and then punish people for not sending them in.” THEN she understood. She understood completely and told me she would hook me up with her supervisor. Since the supervisor was not at her desk, Shirley, the customer service rep said she would leave a detailed message about my account for her and then I could leave a voice message. Which I did.

Later, when I was in a meeting at werk, that supervisor called. Her message to me was that she received both my message and Shirley’s message and wanted to let me know she had put the bill on hold and it will make its way to finally be disputed. “It’ll take about 3-4 weeks,” she said, “so follow up in about a month.”

I then called all my breast docs to obtain my records, reports, films etc. I need to go to the Project Renewal ScanVan to get a no-cost mammogram…and then find the somewhere to get my right breast checked out. And the dough to pay for it.

Meanwhile, my sister is again coming to Brooklyn for the Thanksgiving holiday. I can afford to pay for groceries this year, but not for a large group of people. So, it’s going to be a private affair with just my sister, my girlfriend and me.

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This article by Frances Fox Piven is a little off, it seems to me. The OWS movement may or may not be so high and mighty moral and as benevolent as Piven gives the protesters/occupiers credit for. Aside from the extremely problematic use of “Occupy” to name the movement, in fact many Occupy camps are NOT welcoming homeless people. There has been a huge divide about this issue that I wonder if Piven is not paying attention or is just idealizing OWS because it seems it’s all we’ve got at the moment?

Actually, while OWS seems to have captured the attention of the nation–and awakened in many the idea of the power of the people–those who have never been sleeping on the job of challenging the status quo have been and still are hard at work for radical change.

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