MGU 230 | Working Full-Time

 

Working full-time gives a person financial stability, but to what extent? Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen discuss the issues of overworking, corporate jobs, and capitalism that create a dent in the life of the working-class society. Today, more and more people realize that corporations are taking advantage of them by asking them to put on more hours but are getting paid less than they should be. Capitalism is an ongoing issue for many years, and it has caused more than just people to lose their jobs, but their health as well. A study shows that clocking in more than 55 hours a week can cause serious health issues, but corporations are not doing anything. What could be the future of working full-time in corporate jobs when employee health is not prioritized in big companies?

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What Working Full-Time Does To Our Health: Is It Really Worth It?

We do a ton of research here on this show because we like to learn, grow, expand, challenge ourselves and make ourselves uncomfortable from time to time. Perhaps there is information out there that conflicts with our worldview but we want to know. We want to get cracked open and expanded. In that, there are a lot of things that float across my desk, Whitney’s desk and the Wellevatr’s desk. There is an official Wellevatr desk. None of that matters. What I’m saying is there are all kinds of interesting research and news articles that float our way. One that floated through my inbox was an eye-popper. It was one of those cartoon moments, Whitney. My eyes were like, “This is interesting.” It’s like the googly-eyed cartoon, eyes popping out of the head.

I get clickbait in this and it worked because I clicked and then I was like, “Holy crap. We need to talk about this.” The clickbaity headline, which led to a substantive article is this, “Working 55-plus hours a week kills 745,000 people a year,” according to research, the first of its kind, by the World Health Organization. Before we dive into this, first of all, the reason I clicked on it is you and I have talked a lot about the physical, emotional and spiritual ramifications of burnout, stress and overwork. The interesting thing about this study, which I found through Forbes.com is this is the first actual, according to the article, a clinical licensed research study to study the health effects of overwork. It’s frightening.

MGU 230 | Working Full-Time

Working Full-Time: If you’re going to work these many hours, you might as well get incredible treatment, good pay, and amazing benefits and stock options.

 

We are not sharing this to be fearmongering, anti-work. We are sharing this to create more awareness and discuss it to talk about the real-world health implications of overwork and how common it is for people to be working more than 55 hours a week. I don’t think that’s unusual at all. Digging into this article, Whitney talks about how the COVID pandemic and the gig worker economy. For anyone who is not familiar with what the gig worker economy is, it’s independent contractors or freelance workers.

For instance, I do my jingles on Fiverr. Some people are Uber drivers. Some people deliver for Postmates. The gig economy is where you are not an actual employee. You don’t have benefits. You are hired as an independent contractor. Teleworking is also making it worse. The World Health Organization is calling for employers and world governments to cap working hours to safeguard employee health. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, Whitney but good luck trying to convince a wealthy multinational organization to curb their employees’ hours. We can agree before we move through this article that it is, for the most part, to the benefit of large corporations to work their employees as long and as hard as possible.

As a tangent before we dive deeper into this, when I went to the Googleplex for the first time, Whitney, it was 2006. I went to the Google headquarters in Mountain View, in Silicon Valley. On my first tour of the Googleplex, it was unbelievable. They had on-site massages, arcade games, pool tables and these cool cozy futuristic pods. If you can imagine an adult version of the little beds or sleeping nooks that we get for our cats, the ones that look like little caves, they had human versions of that. They had a massage and they had a farmer’s market once a week. You could get your oil changed in your car worked on. You could get your hair cut.

There is some shift in consciousness where people are recognizing that they are getting way underpaid and not being treated well. Click To Tweet

Essentially talking to Google employees, the list of benefits and things that you could access, organic food 24/7 and coconut water stocked in refrigerators. I had never seen anything like it. We have to ask ourselves, why? Is part of it that a company like Google and others who have adopted these approaches want their employees to thrive? Certainly, I don’t discount that. However, when you have sleeping pods, arcade games, organic coconut water, as much food as you want to eat throughout the day and massages, etc., it’s because they want to keep you on the campus as long as possible. The idea is you don’t need to go home to sleep. Sleep in one of the sleeping pods. If your back hurts from overworking, go get a 30-minute massage.

There are two sides of the coin with this. Interestingly, this article comes out that working over 55 hours is detrimental to people’s health when corporations are actively encouraging their employees to stay on-site as long as humanly possible. The pandemic has changed all that. I don’t have a lot of faith that companies are going to actively curb the number of hours their employees are going to work. Before we dive deeper into the intricacies of health things, how does that land for you? It seems that overworking for 55 hours is not uncommon. That seems to be standard to me from the people I talked to who work. I don’t know if an article like this or comprehensive research is going to get a new one to change anything on a corporate level.

I don’t know either. I’m not sure I even have that awareness of what most people are working on. Most of my friends’ work for themselves. I don’t log my hours. I work a lot but there are days where I don’t work much at all, so it fluctuates a lot for me. It feels like my friends are either in a similar boat or they were overworking themselves but they were doing it by choice. They feel like they have more control and flexibility because they were self-employed or contract workers, which still are technically self-employed.

I don’t have a ton of perspective on this but it does lead me to a couple of things that I found interesting as well. There has been a rise and a movement in May 2021 of restaurant workers walking out and quitting their jobs. There is a movement called We All Quit. I don’t know if this is true statistically but some people are saying that this is the largest labor movement in modern American history happening. A lot of fast-food restaurants had to start putting up signs that they were close because all their workers had quit.

It seems that there are now a trend where a lot of businesses are losing their workers. I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or related to the pandemic. There are some shifts in consciousness where people are recognizing that they are getting way underpaid, not being treated well and not interested. One element of this, Jason, that you could speak to more than I could is the impacts of unemployment. I have seen this come up a lot as well, especially on platforms like TikTok, where people will openly talk about these things. You can get paid well through unemployment. Especially during the pandemic, there were boosts in the amount of money that people were getting. A lot of people were realizing, “I’m making more on unemployment than I am at the job that I hate. Why should I continue working there?”

Some people could see that as freeloading or whatever. Maybe it’s a rebellion against capitalism, unfair treatment and poor wages. All these shifts are happening. I’m curious what your perspective is on that, too because it’s not just about the time. It’s about how much are you getting paid. You bring up a place like Google that is vastly different than working a minimum wage job or working a low-level job because at least the people at Google, for the most part and other similar companies, are getting all those cool perks.

If you are going to work these many hours, you might as well get incredible treatment, good pay and probably amazing benefits and stock options. There are a lot of great benefits that come with tech and corporate jobs. They might be golden handcuffs and these people might be working a lot. It’s different than a lot of other jobs out there because employees don’t necessarily get all of that treatment, so they are getting burned out. They are not being paid well and not being treated well.

The unemployment thing is interesting. First of all, there are a lot of interesting debate between economists of different lineages and educational backgrounds talking about, whether or not all of these benefits throughout the pandemic have helped or hindered employment status. Some say statistically, it hasn’t. Some say it does and those are the people that want to revoke it. I have been getting unemployed since the beginning of the pandemic. I’ve got it retroactive through the beginning of March of 2020.

MGU 230 | Working Full-Time

Working Full-Time: The interplay between your health and your work environment is complex, that mental health and stress can also be profoundly affected.

 

For me, has it been getting paid more than the normal salary that I bring in doing my business and doing Wellevatr? No, it’s not. It’s less but it has allowed me to pay rent, to survive, continue having a roof over my head and food on the table. That all goes away unless more legislation gets passed. It’s all due to go away on September 4th, 2021. Mentally, I’m also forecasting in the future what I’m going to do to replace that once it will likely go away at the beginning of September. That’s the first thing.

The second thing, too, is a big part of this debate is also the minimum wage. We thought that the minimum wage was going to get raised in this last piece of legislation. It was the first bill that the Biden ministration passed when it was in office and the minimum wage didn’t get raised. I have been seeing a lot of interesting posts about this, Whitney. One in particular that I mentioned here before is Jack White’s record label, Third Man Records. It is based out of Nashville and they have an office in Detroit. I dig Jack White not only as a musician but as a business person.

Back in 2013, they mandated for the entire record company that everyone would have a minimum wage of $15 an hour. People in the record plant making the vinyl records are not making less than $15 an hour if you work for Third Man Records. It’s cool to see businesses that are bucking the norm of, “We are not going to pay you $7.25 an hour. We are going to pay you more than double so you can have a living wage.” That’s cool as hell. Shout out to Jack White and to all the other employers that are doing that. I don’t understand how anyone in any major city could live on $7.25 an hour.

We have talked about in a previous episode how Robert Reich put out this post showing all the cities in America where you could afford a two-bedroom apartment on minimum wage and there was zero city. This walkout is probably a response to the fact that people aren’t even able to support themselves in a basic two-bedroom apartment in every major American city on minimum wage. It’s no wonder people are leaving. If you think about these corporations that are profiting billions of dollars like McDonald’s, they are concerned with their stock price. It’s at the expense of the living conditions of their employees. People are walking out because they are sick of being taken advantage of. There are a lot of elements to this.

Maybe people realize that there is something else other than killing themselves to try and keep up with this. I want to go back to that article to share a few points about this. In this World Health Organization study that they did, which was with the International Labour Organization in conjunction with the WHO. About 745,000 people died from stroke and heart disease as a result of working more than 55 hours a week. Men made up the majority of these deaths. Almost three-quarters were men with people living in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific significantly affected.

People are walking out of corporations because they are sick of being taken advantage of. Click To Tweet

In most cases, these deaths were recorded years or even decades after people had worked and endured these long hours with those working 55 or more hours a week being at an increased risk of dying of a stroke. Thirty-five percent increase in stroke and 17% increase in heart disease compared to those working a 35 to 40-hour workweek. That is not insignificant. Thirty-five percent higher chance of stroke and a 17% higher chance of heart disease is shocking when you think about it. You jump up from a 40-hour workweek to 15 more hours a week and the numbers skyrocket. It’s fascinating. It also should be worrisome. Anybody who sees this article who’s working that many hours should take notice. It’s concerning to me to see those stats.

Going through this article, it looks like also in this study, working long hours has health impacts beyond physical heart disease and stroke. The interplay between your health and your work environment is complex that mental health and stress can also be profoundly affected. Although they didn’t take that into account. The WHO chief, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called for employers and governments to work together because “no job is worth the risk of stroke or heart disease.”

It doesn’t say how they’ve got this number but this is interesting. According to the study, 9% of the global adult population are working these dangerously long hours. The WHO estimated up a 9% increase from the year 2000 and they said this is still going up. That’s super interesting. In the last several years, it has gone up 9%. This is also interesting, Whitney. The study covered the years 2000 to 2016. “It has not accounted for a great part of the gig economy’s rise and the changed work from the home situation during the pandemic. The WHO said they expect these numbers in the statistics in the study to go up after the pandemic pointing to the uncertainty involved in the new working arrangements and an increase in working hours.”

Frank Pega, who’s a WHO officer, said the organization has evidence that when countries go into national lockdown, the number of work hours increased by 10%. Apparently, according to their study, people are working more during the pandemic at home. I wonder, too, the compound effect of this because we have talked about social isolation here on the podcast and a lot of the concerning mental health statistics of people being in isolation. You combine that with maybe some people being overworked or expected to work longer hours because they are not commuting, “You are not commuting, you should work more.” There is almost like a postmortem study and I’m sure there will be.

When we are out of this pandemic, it is going to be interesting to not only see how people are going to potentially regard their work-life balance differently. Looking back on exactly what this pandemic has done to people and their relationship to work in general, I’m at a point, too, where after the unemployment is done, I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do. There is this feeling in my body of anxiety because I have been relying on that money to keep a roof over my head. Once that’s done, I feel like a little bit of panic when I think about it. I’m not sure how I’m going to make up for that money. I’m sure a lot of people are also in that same boat of, “Holy crap, what are we going to do?” My anxiety is not necessarily from working too many hours. It’s wondering what I’m going to do for work when my unemployment is done. That’s where my anxiety is.

That leads me to something else I wanted to bring up on the subject matter. I have thought about how you have applied for full-time work and you have been reflecting on that. Mostly at the beginning of 2020, I didn’t have the clients that I have now so I had a lot of openings and not a lot of money. At that time, I didn’t even consider unemployment. I was in the state of panic that you are describing and I started thinking, “Should I take on a part-time or full-time job?” I did apply and got close to getting a more structured part-time job that would be officially part-time. That would have been the first part-time job that I had had since quitting Apple in 2012.

It was fascinating because a lot of emotions came up for me, considering all these years that I have been freelance, a consultant and making money in all these different creative ways. It was fascinating reflecting like, “The amount of time that I will put into this job versus how much I’m getting paid for isn’t what I’m used to.” Even when I don’t work a lot or don’t make a lot of money, usually my hourly rate is fairly high. In a lot of more traditional part-time and full-time jobs, their pay is not that great, especially if you are used to having this higher rate for your work. I had to reflect on that.

There was the issue of payment. It was like, “I will have job security and I will be paid enough to pay my bills but I have grown accustomed to the idea of my time being worth so much more.” I started to worry that I was going to be way undervaluing. The bigger issue here that is part of this whole conversation is people are recognizing that CEOs are profiting off of paying their employees a small amount of money relative to how much they make. That’s part of the larger issue here, capitalism, in general, neither one of us are anti-capitalist but it is certainly worth examining like, “How can we make this more balanced?”

Reading all these articles about how the restaurant industry is shifting and struggling to find employees, they are having to raise the wages because they don’t know how else to attract employees. Employees are sick of being paid shit small wages and seeing their bosses or the CEOs of the big company making so much. I remember feeling this way at Apple. Overall, the pros of working for Apple outweigh the cons of the wage that I was making at the time. It was crazy because most Apple employees, at least in my experience, are tech-savvy people. Once I left Apple and started running my own business, I was paid more for that knowledge and experience than I was paid working directly for Apple in the retail space. You are selling people products that are much money.

I’m a stock owner and I have been since being an employee. You are seeing like all the money in the stock market. You are doing the math in your head and knowing what you know about some of these big CEOs. You are like, “Apple, Google, McDonald’s and all these big companies are so profitable. Why is it that their employees are paid so little? What would happen to their profits?” There are a lot of fear and a big issue with the way things are structured. That is about all I know. It’s a complicated subject matter of like, “How do we restructure things and can we even?”

I love seeing these movements happen where people are saying, “I deserve to be paid more,” at the risk of maybe not being hired. That is a big concern. It’s hard to say no to things when you are feeling financially insecure. Perhaps that is part of the blessing of unemployment and you can have the confidence to say, “I’m going to turn down this job because I know I’m worth more money. I’m not willing to sacrifice my value to make money when I could get what I need from the government hopefully.” That is not a long-term strategy. That’s my perspective of my experience. I wanted to go back to yours, Jason.

I saw a TikTok and it was this probably Gen Z boy. This is what is going into the TikTok memes. It’s the pros and cons type of comparison style video. He’s like, “Pro, I’ve got a full-time job. Con, I have to work full-time hours.” You saw the smile on his face when he got the job and then he was huddled in a corner because he had to work so much, which ties into this article. When I saw that video, I thought of you, Jason because I know how many jobs you have applied for and how much you have been thinking about getting a full-time job. I thought, “Could you handle mentally a full-time job?” I’m asking you, could you handle working at least 40 hours a week, which is the standard? Granted, not all jobs are structured hourly but the majority are or they at least expect something in that vein. As much as you would enjoy the financial security of a full-time or even a part-time position, how would you feel is expected to work a certain number of hours each day?

MGU 230 | Working Full-Time

Working Full-Time: People are realizing that CEOs are profiting off of paying their employees a small amount of money relative to how much they make.

 

I had a deep conversation with my mom about this because I was relaying to her that I have had some interesting opportunities. I have had a lot of cool auditions that have come through my pipeline for commercials and an Apple TV show. There was an audition for an insurance company where I sang. There are some cool stuff that’s coming down the pipeline. Part of that is there have been easily over 50 jobs that I have sent my resume to. I am not a scrub. I have ten years of copywriting experience and fifteen years of experience in health and wellness as a chef and nutrition educator. I look at my resume and I’m like, “I have done some cool things in my career.”

Out of those 50-plus resumes, I have had probably 3 or 4 opportunities. That is not even 10%. That is maybe 5%. I don’t want to say it’s discouraging. That is not the appropriate word. I don’t feel discouraged by that. In every one of those interviews, in the last one that I had, I had a phone call with an advertising agency here in Los Angeles that wanted to bring me on as a writer. It’s like auditioning. You go through certain channels, talk to the HR person, talk to the creative director and then you wait and see. If you don’t hear anything, you assume you didn’t get it. Some people will email you back or call you and say, “Thank you for your time and interest. We selected a different candidate.” Some people, you don’t hear back from at all.

I was talking to my mom about this question you asked, Whit. My mom was like, “Could you go and do that?” I haven’t worked in a salaried office position since I quit in August or September 2010. It’s been several years in the late summer, early fall since I have had a full-time position. I’m used to working for myself after a full decade-plus of doing it. I don’t know that mentally I would enjoy it. Could I do it? Sure. Would I enjoy it? Would my rebellious tendencies do well in that environment? Likely not. On the other end of sending up 50-plus resumes, I’m burnt out.

I did send one, which was for a company called Rivian, which makes electric pickup trucks and electric SUVs. They had a writer position. They said it’s more of a storyteller than a writer. I said, “I’m a good storyteller. I like words. I use good words. I’m a wordsmith. Let me apply for this.” I’m not doing it nearly at the clip I was when the pandemic started where I was a barrage of resumes out there. It’s one of those things of like, “Do I take a clue from the universe or life that’s like, ‘If you are sending out these many resumes and you are only getting a 5% response, that’s low.’” I have been in the job market before. Five percent response is low. It is exhausting to send out that many resumes. I’m not playing the tiny violin. It is exhausting. To get a 5% return, you are like, “Is this even worth it?”

Beyond that, I’m wired independently now, Whitney, that it’s this difficult balancing act of I’m rebellious and I’m independent and more than ten years of working for myself. There is that. With that, I feel like I’m constantly hustling for new projects, sponsors and gigs looking for work. On the flip side, full-time and salaried, the constant hustle is taken away so that stress is gone but the stress is replaced by a different kind of stress, which is me being beholden to someone else’s schedule for me. Depending on the business, logging my hours, checking in at certain times, doing Zoom meetings and doing creative meetings.

Everything I’m applying for is generally a writer, a copywriter or someone writing ads and things like that. I know what is involved in that having worked in the industry as long as I did. Either way, it’s going to be stressful, difficult and painful at times. “What kind of stress and pain do you want?” It’s the question. The pain of the hustle and not knowing where the money is coming from or the pain of being beholden to a structure that maybe you don’t agree with and feel good about? I’m not saying this to be a nihilist. There is a pain in their struggle either way. Which one do you want?

I have reflected on these many times over the years and I have gone through waves with it all. I’m in a wave where things have been working out and I don’t know how long that will last. In 2020, there were multiple periods of tight financial times and me getting more creative with my savings and my assets to pay the bills. It’s tricky in general. There are pros and cons to it all. There are many different ways in which people generate income. When we talked about the show, Generation Hustle, it’s so easy to judge people who find creative and sometimes deceitful or harmful ways to make money.

When I was watching that show, first of all, I can’t relate to that level of desperation and second of all, every human being is trying to make ends meet and some people are willing to do that in unusual or illegal ways. There are many fine lines between what is illegal too and what people get away with. It’s fascinating, in general, to examine money. I have been investing in cryptocurrency and putting in a little money here and there. I’ve got fascinated with it and I wanted to be in the game. Jason has talked about with me privately how you are not sure if you want to invest in crypto because of the emotional roller coaster.

The same thing can be true with the stock market. You and I have discussed this, Jason. I have some stock and I’m fortunate that my biggest two investment companies do well. Over many years, rarely, they don’t do well. I invested in one company that has never done that well but I believe in the long-term, so it’s worth the ride, hopefully. I invested in another company because I saw many people talking about it. I was like, “I will buy a share of it,” and then another company. I will sometimes buy one share and see what happens. That one time paid off for me a few years ago. I bought a share in Tesla. I put in one share and now it’s worth ten times what I paid for it. One share split, so now I have multiple shares of Tesla.

I had never expected it and I was comfortable taking that risk. That is what I have learned about the stock market with my limited knowledge of it. It’s like, “I believe in these companies. I see other people investing in them.” I get a feel for it and then I take my risk. I haven’t had any problems with it. Now, I’m exploring that with cryptocurrency. First of all, putting money into cryptocurrency is truly an experiment and I view it more as a gamble than an investment. I understand that it’s extremely risky and more volatile than the stock market but it also has some similarities. A lot of things I described in my stock market experience and research is similar to crypto. You can go read about different coins. You can watch and look at the history. Read the news and generally, play it on the safer side.

As of May 17, 2021, we are in a weird time with crypto. It was a complete roller coaster and a lot of that was related to Elon Musk. It’s fascinating. Speaking of the mental health sides of cryptocurrency, people get so divided and worked up. There are many different perspectives on it. It’s incredibly overwhelming but I’m fascinated by it, so my fascination and interest in it override the overwhelm. I would imagine for you, Jason, you might need to be somebody that puts money in and walks away and doesn’t even look at it for your mental health. If you are like me, I’m checking crypto out of curiosity multiple times a day to see the ups and downs and then try to decide, “Do I want to put more in?” I haven’t taken any out yet but, hopefully, that is not too hard of a process.

Many people realize that there is something else other than killing themselves trying to keep up working for corporations. Click To Tweet

That all ties into the jobs that we have too or the income streams. Speaking of the stock market and crypto, you can be a day trader. I have known people that have made money purely off of day trading. The stress involved with that sounds intense. You have to be a certain person to want to do that. You have to be a certain person that wants to work with clients. Given what you were describing, Jason, I have a certain amount of anxiety almost every single day because I have several clients. I often wonder, “Do they feel like I’m doing enough for them? Do they feel like I’m doing a good job?” I have this sense that they could fire me at any moment’s notice, especially with California Laws. Most of which I’m operating under the general rule in California. You can let go of most jobs with little notice from what I understand.

I never know how long I’m going to make with a client unless we have an agreed-upon contract. As you have talked about before, even contracts can be broken and you can have issues with those things, too. The whole thing of making money, I have maybe a high functioning anxiety experience with it. I’m used to going through all of these highs and lows. It’s not that bad for me because of the ability to take a day off and say, “All of the work can wait,” that’s what I have in my life. It is common for me, Jason, to feel fatigued for four hours of the day and that is often in the window of that 9:00 to 5:00 timeframe. It’s hard for me mentally because I still operate under that traditional work hour structure. That is where my mind is at because of all the programming that most of us have had.

Even though I have the flexibility to work whenever I want, I still feel like I should be working during certain hours. When I’m tired during that time and I feel unable to get work done, I feel a lot of stress. I love the ability to say, “I feel pressure to do this but I don’t have to. It can wait.” I can take a nap. I can lay down and watch TikTok videos. I can make myself lunch, go grocery shopping and do whatever I need to take care of myself. That’s my big reason why I don’t know if working specific hours would make sense. I would end up struggling.

One of the big reasons I quit working corporate when I worked for Apple is I couldn’t stand the hours. I had a panic attack one day that led me to quit. I was like, “I can’t do this. I can’t get on the sleep schedule to make this work and show up when I feel like crap.” All of that corporate pressure, I was crushed under. I wake up around 9:00 AM and that is not going to work with a traditional job. You generally have to report to that job by 9:00 AM. In one of my jobs, I worked the night shift and didn’t report until 6:00 PM, which was cool for a night owl like me but it threw off my entire sleep schedule and a lot of my socializing. I don’t even remember what my sleeping hours were.

The times that I was awake, most people were asleep. That can affect your friendships, romantic relationships, travel schedule and all these factors. After all that experience, similar to you, that is when I started to pursue working for myself. I’m curious if you have reflected on that, Jason. We have talked about what the past several years have been like for you but do you remember why you decided to stop working traditional jobs?

To go on record, it was the second time I did this because in 2005 before I moved out from Detroit to the West Coast, I had left a traditional job then I had saved a bunch of money and went traveling for that summer and fall and then ended up in California at the end of the year. I went back to an office job because the catering business that I had closed and I had no money. There were no prospects. The reason I went back to this last office job that I quit in September of 2010 was out of necessity because the catering business I had had with my business partner folded. It was like, “Holy crap, what am I going to do now?”

I left that particular gig for two reasons. I don’t use this term lightly. I use this term intentionally. Number one, he was a megalomaniac. Throughout my career, I have worked for two people that were horrible bosses in the sense of screaming at me, calling me names and calling me at inappropriate hours to do inconsequential things. They have bad behavior. One of the reasons was I couldn’t stand working for this guy anymore because he was not a mentally stable human being. It was outrageous how he treated his employees, not just me. It was one of those things of, “I wonder if he has an issue with me.” He treated everyone with such disrespect. I was like, “This is a toxic environment that I must leave.” That was number one.

Number two, at the same time that I was working in that job, on the side, I was part-timing in evenings and weekends, I began personal chefing for celebrities. I remember I had a moment of decision. I was at Bhakti Fest in 2010 and I remember I had a decision because I have this full-time gig and it paid well at that time. It was a nice salary but the boss is horrible, he’s a psychopath. If I leave, I don’t know how the chefing thing is going to work out. It was honestly a leap of faith because I could not continue to do both of them. Physically, I had to pick and I picked the chefing.

Luckily, that led to working with some other celebrities, making food for them and get to work on movie sets. It was a decision that I chose to invest in myself. I don’t know if the chefing thing is going to take off but it did and it worked out. It was for those two reasons. I had to leave that toxic work environment and I also had to choose. I was at a fork in the road. It was like, “Are you going to do chefing or are you going to be a writer?” It was for both of those reasons.

I bring up the megalomaniac boss because part of my reticence to go back to a full-time salaried position with a company is I don’t want to work for an asshole again. You do not know who you are going to get. It’s like when you move into a house and I say this intentionally, what neighbors you are going to get if I had known about the situation with my neighbors, I probably wouldn’t have moved into this house. It’s a different conversation. It’s like that with the job. You can’t psychologically assess every single one of your coworkers or bosses before you get a job. You have to trust that they are going to be respectful, decent human beings.

MGU 230 | Working Full-Time

Working Full-Time: As much as you would enjoy the financial security of a full-time or even a part-time position, how would you feel being expected to work a certain number of hours a day?

 

Having been in a situation with two people that were psychotic bosses, it was like, “I want to kill you.” I’m not exaggerating, Whitney. “I’m going to figure out a way to have you killed. You are a horrible person.” I don’t want to be in that situation ever again. I have a policy when I have taken on clients if I detect that there’s any energy of disrespect, demandingness and belittling me, I don’t care how much money you are paying me. I’m not going to work with you. I have learned my lesson in that regard, too. I don’t know that I want to go back because I can’t work for another horrible person.

I’m getting feelings in my body remembering some of the situations with this person because it was difficult to deal with a human being like that who’s paying your bills, essentially. Have you ever dealt with a situation like that offhand? Maybe not to the degree of horror that I described but have you had a situation where you were like, “I can’t believe I have to work with this human being,” whether it was a coworker or a boss?

Yeah, especially in the entertainment industry. It was rough. My transition away from working in the film industry, I have talked about it in a few episodes, especially towards the beginning of our show. It was disheartening because I had all sorts of weird work environments. At that time, I thought I had to work those jobs to A) Pay the bills but B) Work my way up in the industry. I put up with a lot of bad treatment. It’s sad because it’s commonplace. A lot of people think, “I don’t have a choice. I have to do this to get where I want to go.” That breaks my heart to hear that.

I had a lot of weird employee experiences with colleagues. There were a couple of companies in particular. My first official full-time job, I’ve got fired from and I felt so much shame. The management was horrible and they blamed it all on me. I remember going into the office when they fired me, I cried and I was like, “I want to work on this. I want to get better,” and they didn’t give me another chance. I remember looking back on that job feeling like they never supported me in the ways that I needed and maybe I wasn’t a good fit clearly but they didn’t take responsibility for their actions. The work environment was so awful and the energy around it.

It’s not that they treated me badly as a lot of what you are describing. I don’t feel like I was mistreated but I wasn’t supported. I recognized in hindsight that I need to feel supported, valued and overall appreciated. People understand that not everybody works in the same way. This is the thing, specifically when it comes to our mental health. I have recognized over time that my way of working is based on self-expression. I need freedom and flexibility. Apple was phenomenal at that. Apple overall was a phenomenal company, at least in the years that I worked for them and I still believe that they are. I don’t know what the work environment is like these days. It seems good though. Every time I go into an Apple store, I love talking to the employees. We have discussions around what it’s like to work there and generally, it seems to be about the same as it was when I was there.

For the most part, they supported us and would hear us. There were a lot of good culture with Apple, which is why I worked there for 6.5 years. I stuck around because of all of that and I’ve got so much value. Whereas, a lot of the jobs I had in the film industry, it wasn’t so much. There was the ability to manipulate you because people knew how badly you wanted the money or the opportunities. It was always like, “If you don’t want this, someone else is waiting in line for it, so you’ve got to do whatever.” That makes my blood boil. That disposable element and the things that people will do because they feel like if they don’t do it, then somebody else will do it, so they might as well do it.

That also leads me in thinking about these things. I think about also the experiences of a woman and how women, in general, and then of course, people of color, non-white people. They go through all sorts of situations based on who they are and what they look like. Gender, race, ethnicity, age, people struggle because of that and the way that they are treated. That feeling that if they don’t say yes to this, somebody else will come along. It’s a privilege to have the job because most people that are like them wouldn’t get the job and all those weird emotions that go into it.

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I’m fascinated, too. It seems that there has been such a rise in online sex work. I’m going to use that word lightly because I don’t know what else to use it for. Online sex work has grown a lot in those fields. The number of videos I have seen on TikTok about women talking about how they sell their used underwear online to make money and how much money they can make from a pair of dirty underwear. No judgment around it. You see the way people talk about it and I imagine that somebody is watching these videos going, “I hate my full-time job. I hate working at McDonald’s,” or wherever else. “If I can make all this money by selling my used underwear, I would be so much happier.” They then get into that world of sex work. To me, the women empowerment side of it wonders about it.

I believe in a woman’s ability to choose what she wants to do with her body but how is that playing into the manipulation of women and sexuality as a whole? It’s the big thing. When you participate in things like that, you are encouraging. It’s like voting with your dollar. What is it for our long-term mental health that you are participating in a system where women are seen as sexual objects that smells a certain way? It’s probably not just men buying their underwear but people are buying their underwear to sexualize them and fetishize women. We have many issues with rape and human trafficking. I wonder so much about how there is grooming involved too, which is a big issue and how online sex works, especially when it’s talked about on platforms like TikTok that are viewed by so many young people.

Some women, in general, get drawn into sex work, whether it’s starting an OnlyFans account. There are a lot of sugar daddy talk on TikTok as well about like, “It’s so easy to make money. I have to go out to dinner with this guy.” There is speculation around that. This whole industry of women, are they lying about what they are doing to get the money to convince other people to become a part of the sugar daddy industry? That whole grooming can feel disturbing, especially when I dig into all the research about how kids are impacted by technology.

There are a lot of awful things that happen to children online. While it might be empowering for adults to participate in the sugar daddy world to make an OnlyFans account and show their body, maybe they are making lots of money and maybe that empowers them. If that is being glamorized as an easy way to make money, younger kids are susceptible to that. They are seeing that and thinking, “I should do that, too. People like kids maybe I should capitalize on that.”

All of this is a ripple effect of what we have been talking about, Jason. People are looking for ways to make money because the capitalistic corporate world has worn away at us so much. All of this is connected in my perspective because when people get desperate, especially in terms of their mental health, they are willing to do things that maybe don’t fully sit right with them. They think it’s temporary and they think it’s only affecting them but I don’t think it’s only affecting them because it’s perpetuating this.

It’s like we saw in the Generation Hustle documentary. One of the big points I saw the Detroit one that I don’t know if you ended up watching yet. It was about this one guy hustling in Detroit and they interviewed somebody in the law enforcement or a detective or something like that. He was saying, “That guy might believe that he is not harming anyone but he is in ways that he might not even realize.” It was about the whole ripple effects of this one person’s actions.

It may seem innocent, empowering, no one is getting heard and people are benefiting. The only people getting heard are the CEOs or whatever. There is a whole ripple effect to that. One of the reasons is that people have to build in fail safes. It’s like stores that have to bump their prices up because things are being stolen. You might think you are going to the store and stealing something and they can afford to lose that product. Now, people have to calculate the number of things that are stolen into their prices and the prices go up as a result, which hurts everybody else who’s shopping there. That’s my whole point.

When it comes to the way that we make money ultimately, we have to think outside of ourselves and also have to look at the long-term. If you are putting on the oxygen mask first, you have to think, “What are the long-term pros and cons of this? Who else is affected by my decision to do this type of work? Is this truly short-term? If it’s short-term and it’s causing some harm to me or others, can you truly justify it? If it’s long-term, is this part of your life’s purpose?”

Jason, I would love to know from you before we wrap, what are your long-term hopes with the work that you do? What would your ideal scenario be given all the experience that you have had working for yourself and working for others? I’m curious about the long-term because I imagine you are focused a bit on the short-term, even though you have long-term financial goals that I know of. There is the short-term insecurity and sometimes, that overrides our ability to think long-term. Where are you at with that?

I feel like I’m still figuring it out, to be honest with you, I don’t want to go back to what I have been doing. I don’t feel like that brings me joy anymore. Out of everything that I have done, I’m experimenting with new things and I’m enjoying writing jingles. I’m enjoying being a songwriter. The handful of gigs that I have received has been great. I don’t know if that’s going to morph or mutate into something full-time. I intend on marketing it and getting it out into the world. When I’m done with this batch of songs, I want to put it out there and see what happens. I like songwriting and making jingles. It’s a great use of my abilities as a musician, a singer or writer, the writing element of it and I feel satisfied.

MGU 230 | Working Full-Time

Working Full-Time: Employees are sick of being paid small wages and seeing their bosses or the CEOs of the big company making so much.

 

I like working with animals. The animal rescue that I have done working with different organizations has been satisfying. In my mind would be some hybrid between maybe doing some songwriting work for hire for projects and either volunteering or working with some animal rescue. I’m working directly with animals, not just tangentially. I want to physically support animals somehow. Those are the two things that I feel like there is some joy there and a deep sense of satisfaction in what I do. I don’t know what that will turn into.

Maybe part of my desire to move and go somewhere is to have a lower cost of living so that I can do those things. The reality is even if I was doing songwriting part-time and animal rescue part-time, as an example since you asked. If I was living in a place where the housing expenses, mortgage payment or whatever isn’t that high, then I don’t have to rely on doing another thing on top of all that to have the money in the bank to pay. One of the big reasons I want to leave LA is because the cost of living here is not what I want it to be. I wanted it to be lower so I can focus on what I want to do and not be freaked out every month with how much I need to pay to survive and live.

Part of my thing is can I be a songwriter from anywhere? Yeah. Can I do this show with you from anywhere? We have proven that. Can I do animal rescue? Are there animals that need help, safety and support everywhere? Yes. That is my long answer to your question. I feel like music and working with animals and supporting them or rescuing them or caring for them, is the vision moving forward. I don’t know what it will mutate or turn or evolve into but that is what I’m feeling in my heart. Speaking of healing and supporting, we have product shout-outs, don’t we? What do you have? What are you shouting out now?

I’m going to shout out four separate products and do this in a shout-out category. Why? It’s because I have been going through a process of tidying. One thing that I have been doing for years that I have been reexamining, Jason, I save empty containers of things so that I can show them in a video or photo if I haven’t yet. I don’t think you do this and it feels embarrassing to admit that I do this, to be honest. When I’m sent products for free from brands, there’s usually a hope, sometimes an expectation, that I’m going to promote them some way.

One thing I have realized is that I energetically rarely want to post on traditional social media. I enjoy doing the shout-outs here because the podcast brings me the greatest joy. I have been going through all my stuff in general and I’m like, “I’m finally going to shout out all these brands.” In that way, I can recycle the containers. What I would like to start doing with my shout outs to move through them because as you will see over upcoming episodes, I have been saving a good number of products. I’m going to lump them into categories so I can move through them fast. I’m going to share four different beverages that I enjoy and some of which you may enjoy, too.

I don’t know if you tried them because they were sent in a product box with several different items and I feel like you would have loved them. It’s from AMARUMAYU. Cool name and the packaging is insane. These are incredible fruit juices, 100% natural flavors, no preservatives or added sugar. They were superfruit juices. One is the Apple & Camu Camu, which is from the Amazon, handpicked in Peru. It’s got Vitamin C and it’s immune-boosting. It’s cool because it shows you a map of where the products came from, which is smart for us being mindful about where things come from. This company though is based in California, so hopefully, it’s not cultural appropriation. I don’t get that vibe from it.

Putting money into cryptocurrency is truly an experiment, and people can view it more as a gamble than an investment. Click To Tweet

I do encourage you to go and do a little bit more research than I did now that I’m reflecting on that. This other flavor is Apple, Buriti, and Cocona. Buriti is an Amazonian superfruit with omegas, Vitamin A and C and minerals. I don’t know what a cocona is but this is part of the fun of trying products like this because it opens up your eyes to products that aren’t common in American food. Anyways, this is the first product. It’s delicious, great packaging and the flavors were insane. I generally like sugar-free drinks so that was a bit of a splurge for me. The other one is all stained. This is good. This is a company called Après.

I’m imagining you getting it out of the box and being so excited about it. You ravenously tore the top open and chugged it and this is the after-effect of you. Did you down it in one fell swoop? Be honest.

I probably did. It was good. Have you tried this brand, Jason?

No. I have heard of Après but I have never had it before.

It’s good. It is a protein drink. They call it a plant-based replenishment. It’s got fourteen grams of protein MCTs. There is a sea salt chocolate. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free and 100% vegan. It was lovely. They say you can use it to replenish after waking, sweating, playing, working and doing. I loved this. I would buy that again. Next up, I have coffee. This brand is neat. I might even have a discount code. Full disclosure, I’m an affiliate but as an affiliate, oftentimes, I get discount codes. If I do, I will leave one for Explorer Cold Brew. I love this brand. I’m technically an ambassador for them. They are awesome.

Originally, I’ve got sent a kit. They are all the same size but they have four different types. What is neat about them is they are all in glass jars and they are concentrated so you can travel with them. That is why they are called Explorer Cold Brew. They have low caffeine, no caffeine, regular caffeine and high caffeine which is neat. It’s owned by a young guy who was into traveling and into the coffee. You could take these with you in a backpack, in your car, and then combine them with milk or water to make a delicious beverage or combine it with water and have it black.

They started making a larger size for people that mainly wanted to drink it at home. It comes in those four different caffeine options, which makes them unique. It’s from Brooklyn and it’s all organic. One last brand I’m fairly sure that you have tried this product, Royal Leaf Tea. You’ve got one of these. This is delicious. We mentioned them briefly in another episode. This is phenomenal tea. I love the design and I love that it’s in glass jars. One has honey but I didn’t drink that one. This is original and it is honey-free. It’s also organic and it’s caffeinated. There’s guayusa tea. It’s all about sustained energy, enhanced focus and enriched health. This is made in New York and it’s a delicious tea.

The big advantage of it is it’s high in antioxidants. It’s stimulating to your brain, which can help with concentration and boosting your energy. It is high-quality tea leaves in a nice glass bottle. I enjoyed the vibe of the brand. The guy that runs it is super cool, similar to Explorer. Speaking of which, going back to one of the main themes of this episode. Supporting amazing companies that are kind, passionate and trying to do something good for the world. That’s my drink shout-out, Jason. I can imagine that you have four products to shout out but I could be wrong. What do you have for us?

I don’t have four but I do have something that has been part of my recovery and nutrition regimen. I typically have a solid consistent supplementation routine with things like D3, K2, B12, folate, etc. After my motorcycle accident and my subsequent recovery, which I’m still in with physical therapy, I have talked about it, I needed to introduce some other nutrients for the bone and cartilage healing to make sure that the clavicle and the shoulder repaired themselves.

A mutual friend of ours named Katie recommended this to me after my accident. She was checking in on me. This is a brand called Pure Synergy. They have a product called Bone Renewal. I have had some of their green powders in the past. I didn’t even know they made a bone supplement. This is cool. It’s fully plant-based nutrients for optimal bone health. Here is what’s in there. There is Vitamin D3, K1, calcium, magnesium, silica, phytase, strontium, boron and vanadium. That sounds like a superhero power. “What are his claws made of?” “Vanadium.”

There are a whole bunch of plant extracts. There is bamboo, algae, Cissus quadrangularis and wasabi rhizomes. All of this is a nourishing synergistic experience that is supposed to build your bone density. For me, having shattered my clavicle and broken two ribs, I needed to be able to mend those bones quickly. I have been taking this and it has been awesome. The last X-ray that I’ve gone in and got, looked good, so it’s working well. Shout out to Pure Synergy. Thank you for your Bone Renewal formula. I bought this on my own. They didn’t send this to me. It’s part of my regimen of making sure that my bones, cartilage and ligaments are healing.

I do have a goal. The specific goal is that by my birthday, which is July 6, 2021, my aim is to have my shoulder back to full function where there is nothing I can’t do. I’m working my way back to getting as close to 100% as possible by my birthday. Supplements are a big part of that. Shout out to Pure Synergy. Thanks for helping me with my recovery. I appreciate it. With that, dear reader, we are wrapping this episode. Thank you for reading, supporting and sharing this. We always love to see your shares and your comments on social media.

Visit our website, it’s Wellevatr.com. If you want to shoot us a message, we always love hearing from you with feedback and suggestions. You can email us at [email protected] that goes directly to Whitney and me. You can also direct message us in our Facebook group. We have a great Wellevatr Facebook group and our DMs on Instagram, @Wellevatr. Until then, we love you and we appreciate you. Thanks for the support. We will be back with more episodes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with our guests and we will see you for more uncomfortableness then. Take care!

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