Tuesday, December 17, 2013

At Least I'll Have More Free Time...

So you may know that since moving to the Bay Area 15 months ago I have had a number of jobs. Some were temporary, some didn't pay enough and some just didn't work out.  I would love for postcard making to be my full-time job (only 790 more subscribers needed! more or less...) but I have been lucky to have a variety of print-related jobs.  I have also had one steady, there-when-I-need-it, restaurant job.  The hours were flexible, the pay was good and my co-workers are great.  Really really great.  Recently, as a seasonal job came to an end, I decided not to get another job but to stay at the restaurant a few days a week and focus on more printing and bookmaking.

Then a few days ago, on the morning of our holiday party, the owner of the restaurant decided to close it down.  In two weeks.  Since then, he has recanted and thinks maybe we'll stay open for awhile longer.  Not because he employs 20 amazing, talented individuals who are about to visit family or work extra hours so coworkers can do so, but because he was advised financially not to close. Not yet. I get that business is business, and this is how capitalism works. Our restaurant was losing money and there are definitely things that could be done to make it more efficient.  We all did our best with that but ultimately, those decisions aren't up to us.  We knew it might end but we didn't expect it mid-December, while adjusting to new changes.  Some co-workers wish he would've given us more notice, while I think that the incertainty and impending job loss has sunk morale, added stress and leaves us generally unmotivated. I still show up for my shifts and do my job but it would be foolish to not be looking for alternate employment.  Our job isn't changing much in the world but it is amazing to work in a place where people care about each other and consider each other friends.  It is pretty special as far as restaurant jobs go.

I've thought about what is going to happen to us all. None of us are financially secure and I'd bet few of us have savings. Four households have 2 folks employed here which means 2 people loosing income at the same time.  I am angry at the guy who thinks this is an acceptable way to treat people and then I realized it doesn't matter.  It sucks to be job hunting and it is stressful and unemployment won't even cover my rent, but we are a lucky group of folks, youngish, educated and experienced and creative.  So while I want to complain, to vent, I also want to check myself.  We are lucky to have support systems and no dependents. We can creative folk with varied talents who are sure to work out something and probably,  eventually, something better.  But I also want that guy to think about he is affecting our lives, how making business decisions on a whim will not win you loyalty nor love nor even decently motivated employees.  The owner was there the other day, after telling us we might have our jobs for a few more weeks or not, and I wanted to tell him that the reason we showed up for work that day was because we are loyal to each other and we all need one more paycheck.  But I chickened out. And I didn't think he'd get it.

Maybe I'll start an employment agency.   There is a great variety of skill and talent among my co-workers.  Or if you were thinking of starting a vegan sandwich shop but need a staff, let me know.  I think I have something for you.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ebb and Flow

Using a space heater to coax the ink across the rollers.
I won't complain about the cold because I am not that Californian yet, even if it is below freezing at night making our little space heater work its hardest.  Because in the middle of the day I spread mulch on hte garden which is getting along just fine.

Two days of printing and one cup of tea

We've been busy here, printing and printing and binding for the holiday season and already our sale season is over.  You can still but journals, blank books and post card subscriptions as gift on etsy.  If you order any blank books or datebooks for $10 or more, I will send you five randomly selsected postcards from the Keep Writing archives. This offer is good through the end of the year but you have to order by December 17th to get it in time for Christmas.
this could be yours!

Last weekend, we set up to table at Oakland's First Friday but packed up immediately as it began to rain. The light mist continued all night, enough to bum anyone out but luckily we went home.  It would have been our first tabling event with Gazelle and Goat but it seems it was not meant to be.  Instead, we went out for pizza and went to bed early in anticipation of the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest.  I was seated next to the sweetest, most excited pair I could hope for.  I went home with an armload of new reading, including a bunch of poetry.  I have barely dug in but the prose poems of Julian S. of Ash and Bone and the comic zine by Lacey both made a surprise afternoon off even much better.

basket of zines!

I am also taking some time to look ahead to the new year, to think about making paper like I have been talking about, writing more, finishing a new zine and hopefully so much more.  This morning I gathered these marigolds seeds to save for when the weather is a little more hospitable.  Until then, hunker down with a warm drink and take care.