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Thread: This really depressed me (full disclosure, an 85006 post)

  1. #1
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    This really depressed me (full disclosure, an 85006 post)

    As I posted a few minutes ago, I have been picking up a lot of overtime recently and have not had much time as a result for anything outside of work. I did have one night off mid December and I ran into someone at the Hispanic grocery store down the street that I have engaged in activism/protests/call -ins with - who told me that they question my commitment to my neighborhood, which very much stung me.

    I explained that I had a chance right now to pick up a lot of extra hours at what for me is a decently hourly wage to begin with, let alone earning time and a half for overtime on top of that, and that I would be active again starting in April when my hours were cut and when I likely would be going to back to my server role (undecided as of yet). This apparently was not good enough and was not understood and this person snubbed me and treated me much I was someone they were engaging in activism against.

    Really, this does not sit well with me at all. I don't know any fine print anywhere that I signed up for that states I am not allowed to display some ambition - that working hard is something bad when a decent and worthwhile opportunity actually does come along. What do you'all think of this? I'm honestly curious as I believe for a few folks here my activism was seen as over the top - and here I am being snubbed for not having time to engage in activism - and I'm displaying qualities that the conservatives here at least on the surface would likely approve of.

    For what it's worth, being snubbed here really hurt me deeply. I still am processing this and I still have not wrapped my mind around what to make of it. Rob

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    Our sense of belonging is a very deep need. The impact of being snubbed, feeling outside the group, can cause a reaction that triggers our survival instinct. Humans don't survive alone so that is very primal. I think this especially comes up when we are deeply invested in the larger culture.

    I have seen a relationship with money and those who have money that you describe in the helping professions and activism field. If you have always had money you can be seen as a supporting angel, sometimes still with suspicion. There is always a sense that you could revert to your social class over activism. There is too much division when we need each other the most. However some of these issues are so deeply personal and relevant, there are lives at stake in my opinion, that people have a hard time dealing with small differences. Small differences feel like they lead to big differences and then a serious situation. So you are probably dealing with that,

    I say keep your ambition, it carries over into your activism as well. It is not a bad thing at all! I know the sentiment can often be ' no one regretted more time at work on their deathbed ', and I would even argue that. For people who have not been able to reach some professional ambition based on a love of doing something they may regret the loss of opportunity. I think about generations of women and POC who have been relegated to nurses and aides instead of DR's. Just know that you will likely meet this again,

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    Well if they value people that walk the walk and actually will engage in activism they have a point. It doesn't mean that a lot of other people may not more passively root for various causes of course. It's kind of like when it was all the rage to talk about quality time with kids etc. as if that could somehow make up for not spending any QUANTITY of time with them. But one might say one's values are reflected in how they actually spend time.

    NOW BACK IN THE REAL WORLD ... there is a VERY REAL conflict between being involved in the community and earning a living in terms of actual time allocation, and there is often very little choice but to prioritize earning a living if one wishes not to put their own financial well being in jeopardy. This is why most criticism of people not spending more time on this and that and the other thing, falls kind of flat, because it doesn't realize many people are doing the best they can given the ACTUAL constraints they face.

    But any decent activist group should understand this to a degree (what kind of clueless activists are you if you don't even get that people face constraints due to economics - I mean really!!!). But they might still chose to most respect those who make sacrifices for the cause if they do, and that's understandable. But we aren't all saints.

    Your actual error might be expecting people you have engaged in activism with to be FRIENDS. But people who want to change the world are just that (and it's all well and good), but it's not friendship. Friends should stick with one through a range of life choices (well everyone has their line in the sand - but for the most part - unless you have become a hitman or something else that is intolerable your friend should not dump you because you got a new job etc.). But groups one engages with for a specific purpose are not one's friends (unless an actual friendship evolves out of it of course).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I agree with the posts so far. When people need to demonstrate power over others, they will criticize whether for working too much, too little or even at the wrong kind of work.
    As others mentioned above, my friends will get my support for being who they are as human beings and the qualities that they demonstrate in their daily life. I set no goals that they have to meet beyond basic human decency. I wish them well at all times.
    Friends want what is best for you, others are simply those activists sharing an interest.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post

    NOW BACK IN THE REAL WORLD ... there is a VERY REAL conflict between being involved in the community and earning a living in terms of actual time allocation, and there is often very little choice but to prioritize earning a living if one wishes not to put their own financial well being in jeopardy. This is why most criticism of people not spending more time on this and that and the other thing, falls kind of flat, because it doesn't realize many people are doing the best they can given the ACTUAL constraints they face.
    I have to say ANM that I have always appreciated your tagline. It is so true, and I find myself often on the end of doing more than (IMHO) my fair share. I have had a couple really positive experiences very recently with our meditation group. At one meeting I shared that the most current information is always on Facebook, and of course some serious mediation types do not like facebook, so they asked (reasonably) for other forms of communication. My response was that no one had been reading my newsletter and as I spent personal time in study, retreat and with teachers to be the best facilitator I could I did not have time. However I thought it was a good idea and supported anyone else doing it. They were responsive and may do it. And then I got a holiday card thanking me for being the foundation of the group, very appreciated. However I will say that I have been on the side sometimes of frustration with people who rarely show up, only have $1 to contribute, etc. Rob, I also want to consider people friends. I spend so much time on my group that I don't have much time for more friendship activities.

    This whole topic reminds me of why I think income inequality is a foundation issue for all activist work, and why some parts of society work against it so hard. If people start having some reasonable incomes, free time, and choices of money beyond survival level then they tend to work on issues in their community. The more affluent communities have clean water and air because citizens pushed for it. I see the difference in my school community, the more affluent it becomes the more that parents are super involved in things like stopping sugar from being offered too much or supporting kitchen composting.

  6. #6
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    Well if they value people that walk the walk and actually will engage in activism they have a point. It doesn't mean that a lot of other people may not more passively root for various causes of course. It's kind of like when it was all the rage to talk about quality time with kids etc. as if that could somehow make up for not spending any QUANTITY of time with them. But one might say one's values are reflected in how they actually spend time.

    NOW BACK IN THE REAL WORLD ... there is a VERY REAL conflict between being involved in the community and earning a living in terms of actual time allocation, and there is often very little choice but to prioritize earning a living if one wishes not to put their own financial well being in jeopardy. This is why most criticism of people not spending more time on this and that and the other thing, falls kind of flat, because it doesn't realize many people are doing the best they can given the ACTUAL constraints they face.

    But any decent activist group should understand this to a degree (what kind of clueless activists are you if you don't even get that people face constraints due to economics - I mean really!!!). But they might still chose to most respect those who make sacrifices for the cause if they do, and that's understandable. But we aren't all saints.

    Your actual error might be expecting people you have engaged in activism with to be FRIENDS. But people who want to change the world are just that (and it's all well and good), but it's not friendship. Friends should stick with one through a range of life choices (well everyone has their line in the sand - but for the most part - unless you have become a hitman or something else that is intolerable your friend should not dump you because you got a new job etc.). But groups one engages with for a specific purpose are not one's friends (unless an actual friendship evolves out of it of course).
    ANM - THANK YOU. I believe you really hit the one out of the park....and you are dead on. I was operating under seeing many other activists as friends - you have really given me food for thought here and I am going to think this over for a few days. Rob

  7. #7
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    I give you a lot of credit for taking the extra work when you can get it and trying to help yourself. None of us know when an emergency will come up, or unknown medical expanses so it is great that you are working so hard when you can.

    But I think some people like others to stay in their role and when someone breaks out it is threatening to them. Some people take volunteer hard workers for granted as well.

    Hang in their and work work when you have the ability to do so. As time marches on overtime and long hours get harder and harder

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    Sounds like you're being on the opposite side of where you normally talk from. (trying to better yourself verses purposely staying in poverty, expecting others to provide for you)

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  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Boy, this is an interesting thread. Thanks for posting it, Rob. And thanks for the responses so far--they're all awesome, especially Zoe Girl and ANM.

    "...But we aren't all saints."

    I've thought long and hard about these topics. I've made good money working for Big Pharma--despite some of the typical anti-capitalist, greedy-healthcare-provider sentiment a liberal like me could fall into. If I bit the hands that feeds me, I'd not only be a hypocrite but a total ingrate. I own my choice here. My "ambition" has always been to be able to provide for my family and earn basic sustenance, as well as get them through college. I don't think I ever had a strong ambition to be a market researcher. But we make choices in life that enable us to do the most good. And doing good for ourselves should not be ignored. We should be ready to stand behind the choices we make and to hell with everyone else's opinion. As others have mentioned here, others' motivations are often based on their own self-interest, not yours, and not even the interest of "the cause."

    My activism comes in the form of donations to causes. As ZG said, put me in a different space than those who "walk the walk." But I'm obsessed with "saints" like Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, and others. Will I ever be a Dorothy Day? No. I'm at peace with the fact that that's not my calling.

    I think ANM made a great point about the expectations that you are seeing fellow activists as friends, when they are not the same thing. And tie that up with a strong desire to identify with a certain group of people, and I can see why you feel snubbed and hurt. But you're a good person, Rob, you are living a very good life. And never forget it's YOUR life. You haven't become J.P. Getty. You're simply using your talents in a job that's just as noble as any others.

    My favorite quote from MLK. I've had it above my desk for 20 years, and I never forget it:

    Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. Even if it does not fall in the category of one of the so-called big professions, do it well. As one college president said, ‘A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.’ If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.’
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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