Hello. My name is Leland, and I’m a poor quitter.

I’ve worked a string of abusive jobs, and stuck with them far longer than anyone should. My first full time job gave me exactly 4 days off per year; I worked there for eight years. The second is essentially a meat grinder that operates on the assumption that employees will be used up until they fail and then replaced. I worked there for seven years. A job that wants me to fold 18 hours of work into 8 hours of paid time in blatantly unsafe conditions is nothing new to me.

I once held hope for change at this workplace. When I was hired, the recruiter told me the company wanted my expertise because they were trying to move in a safer, more regulatory-compliant direction. I’ve since determined that was a lie. This company is mired in the past, built on an ethos of doing everything in the most half-assed way possible. And almost no one at the executive level wants that to change.

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We make a lot of sacrifices in the service of becoming successful. We sacrifice leisure time to take on additional duties at work or spend more time writing. We sacrifice time with our friends and loved ones. We sacrifice our hobbies and the things we do for fun. We sacrifice our health, both mental and physical.

But it’s worth it, right? If we just work hard enough, one of these days it’s all going to pay off. We’ll be able to pay off our student debt, or afford to buy a house, or be able to send our kids to college, or land a book deal that we can support ourselves with, or develop a big enough following that we can live off the proceeds…

We spend our lives following this mirage of success. One day it’ll pay off. One day we’ll get where we’re going, and we’ll finally be able to relax, catch up with friends, spend time with our loved ones, and do the things we enjoy. People chase this mirage until the day they die– which is likely to happen sooner rather than later if you never give yourself a chance to relax.

We need to talk about this.

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Many of you are probably wondering what happened to me– did I get arrested? Die? Give up? And no, it’s none of the above.

Remember when I called the Other Job a cancerous mass that’s slowly consuming my life? Well, the Other Job is why I’ve been more or less absent the entire month of June.

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People don’t like unrest. They don’t like challenges to the status quo. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve noticed about a certain percent of the population every time something like the death of George Floyd happens. I guess we (marginalized groups, the poor) are supposed to just shrug and keep going every time one of ours gets murdered.

What happened to George Floyd should never happen in a free and democratic nation; and it doesn’t escape me that we are far from living up to the freedom and equality the United States allegedly stands for. I support those protesting for change. I support those rioting in outrage. Silence and complacency kill.

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For many of us, the world is falling apart. A large section of the populations is struggling to survive without income, while in “essential” sectors, such as healthcare, retail, and transportation, employers are working their employees into the ground to keep up with the booming demand.

Depending on the source, anywhere from 50% to 78% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck– and the general consensus is with the higher of those numbers. The vast majority of Americans also have no emergency savings. When your workplace folds up or is ordered to close, and you find yourself quarantined at home with no income, what are you to do?

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Wondering where the blog posts and Patreon content are at? Well, so am I.

All joking aside, though, I know exactly where they’re at. I have a couple of blog posts and a ton of writing planned out– I just need time to work it. The Other Job continues to eat an extremely excessive amount of time– 75 hours this week– and I’m running on empty.

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…well, sort of, but not really. They tried, but there weren’t going to be enough masks to go around, and the people who work in the admin building are much more important than the cargo employees who accept freight, load aircraft, and have contact with the general public.

In short, the company took action in a way that was completely on-brand for them: an attempt was made for a few brief hours at halting the spread of the contagion. Here’s how it went down.

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It’s looking less and less like I’m going to get the opportunity to use my resignation letter. That makes me kind of sad.

It’s a really good resignation letter. It’s sharp, succinct, and pointed. ‘Here’s a list of some of the worst ways in which you’re failing your employees. Here’s a list of the stuff we’ve put up with until now. Here’s why I’m leaving.’ The ‘fuck you and enjoy the bed you’ve made for yourself’ is silent but strongly implied.

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I’ve written about the situation at the Other Job, chronicling how poor management decisions, lack of staffing, inhumane working conditions, and abusive leadership eventually led to a mutiny in late 2019. (You can read that article here.)

I wrote about the conclusion to the mutiny, in which Human Resources got involved and the abusive supervisor was forced to step down (but not terminated or removed from leadership.) The company’s solution to the mutiny, it seems, was to do little more than shuffle the deck.

In late December, a new supervisor was finally hired. He was an excellent choice: he’s smart, perceptive, and has handled situations like this at multiple other companies. In fact, I have a feeling that upper management may be regretting their decision.

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A while back, I saw an interesting question posed on Twitter.

Imagine you’re talking to movie producers making a movie of your book. They want to change your MC’s sexual orientation or race or both! How would you feel about that?

And the answer is… well, it depends.

Thinking of main characters like Adrian in Necrotic City, it wouldn’t bother me a whole lot. He was designed to tell a story. He could be a person of color. He could be gay, or bisexual, or asexual. (And in fact, I deliberately never said that much about his orientation for that reason.) Changing those things about him wouldn’t fundamentally alter the story I wrote.

That’s the key concept here, though: it wouldn’t fundamentally alter the story.

Continue reading “Would You Be Willing To Change Your Main Character’s Identity?”

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