Some call our new relationship with work "The Great Resignation". It seems that we're not all that eager to return to the J.O.B. but instead find ourselves exploring both the hustle, and the very role of labor work itself. This month, we take a look at how we got here - wage labor has its own interesting story with its own beginning...As the means by which to acquire money evolve, the intrinsic value of money itself must also change. Money can make money now- not time or skill - so where does that leave the value of labor? And who's labor? Recently I've read the meme, "What's your dream job?"
"I don't dream of labor," as a response hits hard. We must recognize the prominent role capitalism/money plays in how we experience equity. It feels like it's a good time we redefine the nature of work, its value, and role of work in our lives. Join us.
August 15, 2022 Learning by Julia
It begins as it always could, with an acknowledgement of this land, our connection to it and each other. And, from this earth we learn many lessons but that night, we remembered how nature does its work, our work. Natural things don't work when the time for rest is needed or when the need to work is satisfied. Are we doing that? Is that reflected in our modern history of how we sustain life for self and others? How we manifest ideas? Practice craftsmanship? And for my craft as circlekeeper, we begin our circle.
I asked, "If work was fulfilling and recognized your humanity, what is YOUR ideal time for work and why? Daily, weekly, monthly, annual...)?" And from the gate, we asked the world: Why is work and life defined separately to begin with? We've come to a point where work is dangerously close to defining us, our very personhood without consent. Now, we learn to refuse when that definition doesn't encompass our entirety, our purpose. We are told and taught that work is to make money, to gain power. That to be valuable means to be indispensable. We know these ideals are not full and do not represent our ways of life. What good is money if I can't have time to spend it with those who love me. [Period.] What is power when I don't care about right and wrong. [Period.] And, we all deserve rest, knowing our work won't fall apart in our absence. And for this freedom to find value in balance, we reclaim our rights to mental health and reinvigorate our ability to take risks in finding joy. We resist the temptations of endless greed and ego.
Instead, we strive to find meaning and connection in the belly of all the beasts. Once inside, we embrace roles of caring supporter, of creative innovator, champion of humanity. And, especially for Black women, those roles are too often misunderstood and devalued. [Listen to us!] What better motivation than to find alternative avenues of sustenance? We crave satisfaction and have no more room for trauma. But how, how to step out on faith? Well, we have each other.
And we’re here for alladat. We have resources both institutional and of the cry/lean on shoulder: we will find a way. We value more than just money, power, we have a whole other set of values not yet recognized. We are a community. With this, we pause for a break and return to answer, "If money doesn't adequately represent value, what does? What are our alternative values?" After a brief rest, we returned with answers.
Flow of energy, the "I'm the perfect person to be I'm doing what I'm doing in this moment" has value. We take sabbaticals and not call it unemployment because we value the time relationships require. We honor those who clean the home for our peace of mind and grow and cook food for our nourishment. We value mental health, breathing, and we respect grace. We recognize value in intellectual property - our product and service is ours. And real talk: No work requires more than 4-5 hours a day because we value life over ego and have nothing to prove.
We strive to love our work, to find meaning and definition even in the belly of the beast. We do our work out of love for self, family, and community and we WILL remember what it feels like to be satisfied.
"Friendship Tower", Gerald Lavell. On exhibit at High Art Museum, Atlanta, GA. Image: Two Black men in suspension work gear, one sitting and the other leaning against a lift rail. Both gaze at the viewer in a moment of pause after painting high places.
"Soundsuit", Nick Cave. 109 1/2 x 46 x 47 inches, mixed media including vintage ceramics birds, wire, beads, fabric, metal and mannequin, 2018. Image: A standing human form covered completely in intricate designs with arms at sides. From the elbow to a few feet above the head, there is an all encompassing swarm of birds and other objects connected to form an immersive cloud with the head at center. https://jackshainman.com/artists/nick_cave
Nelson Makamo, “Untitled” (2022), charcoal and pastel on paper, 116.3 x 87.2 x 3.5 centimeters framed. Image: A charcoal sketch of a young Black child's face, framed with bright blue circle glasses. The child has a daydreaming quality, the blue eye twinkles match a faint blue on the forehead. https://www.thisiscolossal.com/tags/nelson-makamo/
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Julia Ismael hosts monthly Listening Circles for the masses as a way to stay informed and to find new and meaningful ways to create connection. Julia is the founder and Head Architect of Aspirations of The Equity Consortium. Monthly Listening Circles are held on the 4th Tuesday of the month, and what is learned from these circles is shared here. Please enjoy our stories.