Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Every Job Its Lurking Bears

Public Policy: Existential Dread of the Non-Profit Sector in a Recession

It’s hard to describe what an absolute lifestyle upgrade it was going from working a projection booth to working for a non-profit think tank. It’s somewhere Young Me never thought he’d end up but Didn’t-Feel-Young-At-The-Time Me was lucky to be.

Of course there was stress. I had to weave most of my job out of whole cloth; there’d been no communications department before I started, so I had to teach myself most of my tasks while, if we’re being honest, probably falling short on some. Although I did outlast the seasoned communications professional they brought in to be my boss, so… I must have done some of it right.

But a more major stress was that being a non-profit, our money came from donations and government funding. And when greedy bankers manage to bet everything on bad mortgages and lose the entire world’s savings account in the process, like they did in 2008 and will again just any year now, well… that has an impact. The salary cut that summer wasn’t awesome, though the three-day-weekends that came with it were nice.

Time passed, donors returned, governments had money again, and I survived until a new career opportunity came along. Right after I got moved from communications to research and felt this time the end was definitely near. Turns out researching water use policies worldwide isn’t exactly my thing.

Now… I have started a hospitality career during a global pandemic, one that should and could be on the downswing but anti-mask, anti-vaccine ratlickers are determined to ensure keeps going. So… that could seem as stressful as mass recession. But things are bouncing back, enough that I can convince myself worrying about occupancy forecasts doesn’t need to be my problem. Honestly with Christmas approaching, “too many guests” is going to be more of a headache than “not enough” for a spell. Also my work has already survived a year and change of lockdown and is still here, so… no need to worry that the doors will shut or I’ll be downsized any month now. The industry is coming alive, like nature in the spring.

Or like that bear when it’s done hibernating and might stroll through the staff village looking for breakfast.

But, you know… I don’t lose 5-10% of my paycheck because the bear is hungry, I at most gain a fairly unimpeachable excuse to be 30 minutes late to the office.

So, advantage: bear on that one.

Policy Wonkery Speed Round

The Crazies Have Phones: Once someone called wondering why she had to pay money to vote for who would be the head of the Alberta PC party and thus premier (because it wasn’t a general election, it was a leadership race and you had to be in the party to vote on it). I didn’t see why this particular civics lesson was my responsibility to teach, but by the second or third time the co-worker who initially took the call said “Can I put her through to you?” it became clear that it wasn’t a question, it was a heads-up. Unless a grizzly manages to book a hotel room and now I have to help them find dinner plans, I will always be able to say “No, I don’t deal with bear issues.” Advantage: bear.

The Elevators: The three floors beneath us in our building all belonged to the United Way. And the staircases were locked for security purposes. You’ve never seen so many people take an elevator one story. Any day I could get in an elevator and make it more than two floors without it stopping was a good one. Bears take the stairs. You can tell it’s true, because it rhymes.

They Only Did the Good Christmas Parties When I Was Out of Town: So when I’m in Asia for nearly all of December, the budget’s high enough to hit a bar and meet hockey legend Lanny McDonald, then the following year, we play the Deal or No Deal home game in the break room? Have you any idea how boring Deal or No Deal is when there isn’t any real money involved? Also while we’re talking Christmas, I did two Secret Santas at Christmas parties, and I got a $10 Tim Horton’s gift certificate and a travel alarm clock. I don’t drink coffee and, yes, was often the last to the office despite living five blocks away. So for Secret Santa, I got a clear signal my Santa knew nothing about me*, and a hint. That, readers, is a bear mauling of the soul.

*Okay I also did that at the Moviedome on year. Got a concessions worker a mall gift certificate. I exchanged my money for something that’s like money but far more limited. My way of saying “I needed someone to tell me which one you are.”

Next Page: Less sketchy than NFTS at least

Author: danny_g

Danny G, your humble host and blogger, has been working in community theatre since 1996, travelling the globe on and off since 1980, and caring more about nerd stuff than he should since before he can remember. And now he shares all of that with you.

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