Praise with No Raise

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Danny Lavery: This Ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. Lucky you. And. Hello and welcome back to Big Mood. A Little Mood. I am your host, Danny Am Lavery. And with me in the studio this week is Jackie Kelly, a standup comedian, writer and actor based in Oakland, California. She currently produces Good Medicine, a live comedy show featuring all native comedians that travels around the San Francisco Bay area. Jackie, welcome to the show.

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Speaker 2: Hello, Danny. So happy to be here.

Danny Lavery: I am so happy that you’re here. And I’m so happy that when I joined this call, you were in the middle of learning something new and exciting about my producer, Phil, who is, you know, such a glorious enigma in my life. I know some things about him, but I did not know that he had never seen the movie Titanic.

Speaker 2: I know it’s such a foundational piece. You know, I.

Danny Lavery: Don’t know how it came up for the two of you because you were just just getting set up for the show, I thought.

Speaker 2: But we were singing a song together. Danny was in the line, and then I was like, Remember that scene when they’re all dancing and they’re doing, like, a jig like down below in the, quote unquote, workers quarters? Vividly, yes. Right. You remember that scene where they’re holding hands and, you know, but he had no concept and he doesn’t even know who the king of the world is and like what that line is, because he’s haven’t seen the movie.

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Danny Lavery: I had assumed that you two were talking about the career of Billy Zane, and that was how it had come up.

Speaker 2: I love Billy Zane, by the way, Rose is displeased.

Danny Lavery: What to do to solid Billy Zane, right? I don’t know a lot of people who have a Billy Zane impression in their back pocket, and I’m delighted.

Speaker 2: With their one.

Danny Lavery: Who and anyone else you want to trot out just before we get started just so.

Speaker 2: Much. Oh, gosh. I mean, I do all kinds of I have very playful voices in my life. Danny So like, I’ll just be talking to a friend and I don’t notice I’m doing it. And that’s probably obnoxious to other people in the other world, but not in the other world. But in the world. Sure. But yeah, I’ll just like, you know, pull out of Scottish accent or things like that, you know, I love to, to do that kind of stuff.

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Danny Lavery: So my friend Ben does the best impression, but he only does one. And it’s of a grocery shopping cart that has one squeaky wheel and it is immaculate. And it is so good that that’s just like the one that he does.

Speaker 2: I want to hear it now. Like I just oh, yeah, now I now I want to I love people who play with their voices and who have, like, little noises and things like that.

Danny Lavery: It’s love, a good noise. I will have him record it and I will send it to you after we’re done with the show just so that you can hear. It’s really good. I’m not over.

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Speaker 2: You’re. No, you’re not over it. Yeah, I see. I’m ready for this. I’m down to to listen to it. Like this is something that you’re excited about. So I am too. So, yeah. What’s another one that we could do? There’s so many movies. I just have lines of movies in my head. I think we’re going.

Danny Lavery: To stick with Billy Zane today. It’s going to be an all Zane day, all that. I’ve always felt bad because I feel like he only missed the, like, superhero blow up of the of the arts by a few years because he was in that movie The Phantom in 96 playing The Phantom. And I think of that in the same like scale is like The Rocketeer, like guys who are trying to get superhero careers going in the nineties when just right superheroes were not the thing.

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Speaker 2: I know he missed the Marvel Universe coming in and taking over all superhero everything.

Danny Lavery: Bring Back The Phantom. I mean, it has a great cast. You’ve got Patrick McGoohan, you’ve got Catherine Zeta-Jones, you’ve got you’ve got the Zain.

Speaker 2: Yes. That was just that that lineup right there was just of that time. Very much so.

Danny Lavery: Yeah, it was an incredibly 1996 cast and I’m going to be keeping the lessons that I learned from that movie in mind as we try to advise a bunch of strangers today.

Speaker 2: Oh, yes.

Danny Lavery: Which will mostly boil down to beware anyone named Zander Drax.

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Danny Lavery: Anyways. All of this is to say I’m very pleased that you’re going to be helping me give advice to people today. We’re starting with just like a nice and simple one. It’s just like a slightly tweaked etiquette question for for our times. But it’s like low stakes. No one stands to break up or die over it, which is a nice way to start the show, I think.

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Danny Lavery: Right. So the subject is hesitant houseguest. My wife’s long distance boyfriend, Alex, recently moved closer to our city to be with his other partner. Alex and I were friends in college but don’t have much of a relationship beyond that. My wife is planning to drive up to stay with Alex in a hotel for a weekend next month while we were planning since we only have one car between us. She suggested that Alex’s partner could happily put me up in their spare room and then we could all get dinner together. I’d still have access to the car and could do some local hiking. What’s the etiquette if I do accept this guestroom? My wife doesn’t know Alex’s partner very well either, and I’m not sure what to expect or whether I should bring a gift for my host.

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Danny Lavery: So they stick to talking about the weather, invite them hiking with me. Alex thinks we’ll all get along fine, but hasn’t told me much about them apart from confirming the invite. Hmm. And again, I love this one because it’s just like. Worst. Worst possible outcome would be like you go and aren’t sure how to like you’ve been a guest before somewhere, you know, like it’s just nothing too bad is going to happen here hopefully.

Speaker 2: Yeah, that’s what I think. This one’s kind of kind of tough. I was first like, Hey, let your wife hang out with her long distance boyfriend on her own. Like, part of me was like, is this just like a courtesy thing? Like, hey, you know, I’m going to be doing my thing, but you could, like, hang out with their partner. Like, I don’t know. I felt like it was for me anyway. I was like, just. Just let her have her weekend, man.

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Danny Lavery: I could definitely see. This one does feel very subjective, I think, in that sense, because I could really see somebody feeling like I feel like my wife is trying to arrange a playdate for me and.

Speaker 2: Sounds like.

Danny Lavery: Resented. It’s like when your parents try to set up a playdate with you and some other kid because like, they want to hang out and you’re just like, Oh, now I don’t like this kid. Even if I might have liked them under different circumstances. Whereas somebody else might feel like, Oh, delightful, you know, unexpected hiking weekend and like increased, you know, closeness, friendship with a bunch of new people that I’m like indirectly connected with.

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Danny Lavery: So maybe the first step is just going to be like, look within yourself. Do you feel a little bit like you’re being pushed into a playdate and you feel a little bit resentful? Or do you feel like excited? You just want to make sure you’re not stepping on toes because if it’s the first politely decline, right? I don’t know, walk around your neighborhood or take public transportation or like borrow a friend’s car this weekend or something or whenever the weekend is. And if it’s the second, do you have any thoughts on like let’s say they look within themselves decide this doesn’t sound great seems like the wife will be pretty receptive to just hearing like thanks but no thanks. Do you think there’s anything else there that you would want to suggest about like turning it down, but maybe suggesting you all get together sometime in the future or just just go with.

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Speaker 2: No, I mean, I think it’s okay to go with no. Like if this person feels like they’re being pressured, you know, and they also are like dragging their feet, not really wanting to make this happen. Because here’s the key thing the wife doesn’t really know. The partner, like, doesn’t have much to say. And so, you know, I can totally see this relationship where, oh, my God, you would get along so well with a partner like this would be a missed opportunity if y’all didn’t hang out while I was also visiting with my long distance boyfriend.

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Speaker 2: You know what I mean? Like, I felt like that seems more like, okay, this could be community building, this could be relationship building, and that there are all these intertwined folks that are part of a greater, you know, relationship. But none of that was there. It was like he doesn’t really know much about the person. There’s a spare room involved. Like, it just seems like there’s not a lot thought out aside from, Hey, we share a car and this could be that you’re not stranded, you know, like, that’s and that’s not great. So I would just say, like, you could turn it down and maybe you have your own plans, like you’ve got your own friend network. Like maybe you’ll have a movie night on Saturday. I don’t know whatever day y’all are hanging out. But yeah, I, this is, this is where I am.

Speaker 2: I’m unaware of the etiquette in poly relationships, but yeah, but I do understand that when you’re meeting other partners related to your partner, there’s a lot of stress in it and there’s a lot of like, anxious, you know, emotions and feelings because you’re you’re you’re bringing together pieces of your romantic life. So but I feel like in this one, I think it’s totally fine that this person hangs back and does their own thing, you know? And you’re right. Public transportation, man.

Danny Lavery: This one this one feels like such an inkblot test in some ways because there’s like, you know, not a lot of emotional context. And it could go so many different directions of like, I don’t really want to get closer to anyone else, but I feel like I should or I would actually, you know, enjoy it immensely. But I want to make sure that everyone else really wants to when they’re not just doing it to be polite. Any number of like possible variables here.

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Danny Lavery: So I do sense a little bit of that kind of like polite people dance of just like, well, I’d love to get to know you better or like maybe reconnect with my old college friend, but only if you want to. And so everyone’s kind of trying to suss out like, Well, I got this invitation, but it didn’t come directly from the partner who’s like name we don’t even get. So it’s sort of like people are saying that you might want to be friends, but I don’t want to bother you at lunch in case they were misrepresenting your feelings. So I can maybe see there’s a lot of that going on here. And if that’s the case letter writer, maybe the move is to talk to your wife about like, you know, probably like being a guest at this person’s house for the first time would be a little much, but I would really love it if we all got dinner. Not this particular trip, but like, let’s make a plan in the next couple of months to all get dinner together.

Speaker 2: Totally.

Danny Lavery: And, you know. Yeah, I guess I’m curious, too. You know, you say Alex and you were friends in college but don’t have much of a relationship beyond that. And again, like, I could see that going in any number of different directions. But if part of you feels like Alex and I were friends in college. Who would maybe like to reconnect a little bit. You might want to say that. You might want to say, like, I would love to hang out altogether sometimes, or I would like to hang out one on one a little more often. Do you like that idea? See how that one goes. And again, like if. Because I can also really see I know plenty of people who are like, this is maybe a little wacky, but like, let’s all meet and see what happens. And then like, yes, when my friends are fit in that situation, I not infrequently, two days later get a text after radio silence being like, we have all been having sex, all four of us for the whole grade and we are in love. And it might end messily, but we’re having a great time right now, which is, you know, the most you can hope for at the beginning of any relationship.

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Speaker 2: Best case scenario for that kind of. Yeah, me too.

Danny Lavery: So if that does feel like shoot, like I might have a great time. And like, if the worst comes to worst, I just had, like, a weird weekend and I don’t have to do it again if that’s the way that you feel about it.

Danny Lavery: You know, I think the next move is to say either to your wife or to Alex, hey, can you put me directly in touch with your partner? I would love to take them up on the offer. I would love to just kind of like, again, I think just like lead with a charming nod towards your own vulnerability, which is like, that was incredibly nice of you to invite me to stay in your home. Especially given that we don’t really know each other. I feel very excited to meet you, and I also don’t really know how to be, you know, a guest of a partner of a partner’s partner. Having done this before, you know, can I bring anything like I’d love to bring a host gifts? Is that okay? You know, lead with a charming acknowledgement that you don’t know what you’re doing.

Danny Lavery: People generally like that if they also don’t know what they’re doing and just, you know, name the things you’re not sure about. Because I think one of the things that we’re seeing here is because there is no one set of etiquette for how to meet a partner’s partner or a partner’s partner’s partner. Right. There’s a sense of like, either I need to try to like guests on my own or like find a rule from someone else rather than just. Ask first ask yourself and then ask your partner and then keep asking as the circle widens, because it’s really just about what sounds good to all of you.

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Speaker 2: Totally. And Danny, I triple underscore agree with that because there’s no manual on how to do this. There really isn’t. And I think it makes sense because there could be a really great opportunity for this to just enhance their whole relationship across the board. You know, but I like the question, like, should I bring a gift? I was like, what do you bring, like to your partners? Partners meeting like a peace? Lily I don’t know. Like, what is the what is the thing you bring?

Danny Lavery: And like, that was where I was doing a tiny bit of like trying to read between the lines where I was like, so me, this implies that the letter writer kind of thinks this will be fun and exciting. Yes. And like would like to maybe do it and is kind of envisioning like, how would I be a good guest? How would I, like signal my excitement without coming on too strong or being like the odd person out? And that could be totally a misreading, but it really just fundamentally does come down to letter writer, what sounds good to you?

Danny Lavery: And then what? What does your wife like the idea of? And is there an overlap there? Like, there is just if you think, you know, Alex is great, but I don’t want to get any closer, that is fabulous. And if you would like to get to know Alex’s partner better, great. And if you want to try it and then you decide they seem nice, but I’m just not feeling a strong vibe or a chemistry that’s good to like. I don’t want you to feel like there has to be a one size fits all approach to other people in your multiple relationships. And it’s not better to be extremely close with everyone than saying, you know, this is kind of my time and I want to do my own thing.

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Speaker 2: Absolutely. And I think there’s just one piece like part of the hesitant houseguests. You know, the letter that was written part of it seems like there could be a conversation with their wife. You know, like I feel like there is just a conversation missing here that could add a lot of clarity to this. And I think it has a little bit to do with do you want to be with your long distance boyfriend by yourself this weekend?

Danny Lavery: Well, and they would at least be staying in different places, right? Like it would be like maybe we all get dinner together than you to go off and have your weekend together. Right.

Speaker 2: So I feel like, yeah, just do what feels good for you. No need to, to force it if you’re not interested in you’re hesitant about it or set expectations in advance. You know.

Danny Lavery: And everyone here sounds like pretty thoughtful and open. So I don’t think you have to worry. Like if you ask your wife a question of like, hey, did you suggest this mostly because you were kind of worried about taking the car and you want to try to like make it up or do you feel like genuinely excited you would really like us all to meet? No pressure either way. I’m just kind of trying to figure out what sounds good to me.

Danny Lavery: And then, you know, that that last question about like, should I stick to talking about the weather or invite them hiking with me? I felt like the question there was like, how do I acknowledge, like our proximity to intimacy without assuming because your partner’s dating my partner, you and I have to be besties. So, you know, again, I would say start small and work your way up. You can always add more intimacy later. It’s a little harder to retract it if you open with just like you are part of my family.

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Danny Lavery: Now, you must take with me on weekends because we just like have to be bonded like that. So, you know, I would say if you do go and you do bring a gift, you know, start by talking about the weather, maybe like start with small talk, it doesn’t have to specifically be the weather. But if you feel like I also want to acknowledge, you know, if this is maybe your first time meeting a partner’s partners partner, you can say that. You can say like, I’m excited to meet you. Kind of don’t know how to do this. I Would you like to just talk about the weather? Would you like to talk about shared interests? You know, again, like people often feel relief when you acknowledge there’s not a playbook for something because it frees them from having to act like they know what they’re doing. And so I think that’s probably going to be the thing that serves you best here is is just cheerfully acknowledging you’re figuring this out as you go.

Speaker 2: I would love to hear how this goes. I really want I want to follow up.

Danny Lavery: Yeah, this is it looks like happening in the near future. So letter writer, please do keep us posted both on what you and your wife decide you want to do and then also how that goes. No wrong answers except for go along with what you think everyone else wants and don’t say anything about what you might like. That’s always the wrong answer.

Speaker 2: It’s the codependent playbook.

Danny Lavery: Our next question, we’re really moving up the difficulty and potential consequences ladder because this one is not unfortunately. Every possible outcome is a good one. And would you would you mind reading it for us?

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Speaker 2: Absolutely. So the subject for this one is nonprofit nonsense. I’m a black trans person in my mid-twenties. I’ve been working at a nonprofit organization for about seven years now, and I’ve been repeatedly promoted. I’m one of the highest ranking employees, and we had to cut a lot of staff throughout the pandemic and are currently in the middle of a transition period. I feel extremely privileged to be employed, especially at an organization with excellent values and goals. However, since the transition started, I feel like my daily workplace experience doesn’t line up with those values. I’m essentially a manager, but I’m paid $15 an hour and don’t receive benefits. Our president has changed over the last year and I barely recognize them more demanding, less affirming of the good work we do and seemingly more interested in money than our supposed goals.

Speaker 2: I tried to have a conversation about my pay and how I can’t afford to cover my bills right now, let alone mental health care. Organization claims to be all about supporting mental health, and my boss said that although they can’t afford to pay me a higher salary, they’re compensating me in other ways because this job provides further training, networking and valuable experiences that will uplift me in the future. They said that they’re they’re paying me what’s fair for a quote unquote training position, whatever that means. Aren’t those pieces part of any regular job training, networking and experience?

Speaker 2: I’m so confused. How can we say that we support and center the most marginalized communities while having the bulk of the work fall on a black trans person who’s paid $15 an hour? I understand our organization is in a transition period and I’m being promised that more will come and more money will be coming in. But I’m struggling to live right now. Should I wait for the transition to end and see if I do get better, compensated and treated better once the stress of the transition is over?

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Speaker 2: Should I leave? Would I regret leaving if the organization does in fact transition into a blooming place and I watch someone else hold my position and be paid better while at it? Should I trust and be loyal to my boss who I’ve known for years, or is prioritizing my current wellness the best move? I’ve been looking at other jobs that are available in my sector, but I’m afraid that I’ll take an even worse job at an even worse organization. Plus, the nonprofit industry is complex and flawed. So many orgs also don’t live up to their values. And I’m afraid that I’ll get into something even worse. Help! Wow.

Danny Lavery: Well, I want to start with just a big, deep breath so I can calm down. Right. I really you know, that first bit about I’ve been repeatedly promoted. I think the letter was going in one direction and then I got to $15 an hour.

Speaker 2: Right. Oh, my God. In this economy.

Danny Lavery: If you get a promotion and it doesn’t come with more money, you didn’t get promoted.

Speaker 2: No, you did not.

Danny Lavery: And I don’t say that to make the letter writer feel self-conscious about having felt like pride or, you know, fulfillment in getting non financial acknowledgements of their good work. And I also don’t want to. I say, I don’t want to assume that their boss, who they like is like acting badly, but I don’t know if I can quite get there. You know, like if you’re paying somebody $15 an hour after seven years and they’re one of the highest ranking people in your organization, you have a bad organization and your company shouldn’t exist. You don’t have enough money to employ people and you shouldn’t employ people. That feels pretty straightforward to me.

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Speaker 2: Yeah, I hate to say it. This is like a no brainer. I’m like, Oh my God, you poor person. You’re fully being taken advantage of. And they’re clearly capitalizing on putting you front and center by, quote unquote, promoting. Because you’re right, Danny. Like promotions come with merit increases. Right. So you should be getting paid. Well, if you’re the one of the highest ranking folks in the organization. I don’t know what your boss makes, but I would imagine it’s quite a bit more. And I this is such the issue with nonprofits in the nonprofit world is that there are people that are out there to make money for themselves and they market on a particular issue. And so whether it’s, you know, putting marginalized folks front and center in the resources and that they provide.

Speaker 2: But yeah, this is just kind of like a you got to go like I, I want to be nuanced and be like, I understand that you like your boss, but I’m like, after seven years, this is just, this is like, hi, you know, you’ve you’ve hung out long enough. And I feel like you you got to go somewhere that pays you well because you’re saying you’re struggling to live. And I can only imagine like $15 an hour, like, you’ve got to pay your bills and you have to put yourself first.

Danny Lavery: And truly, I mean, seven years in. No, you know, this is just really I’m just really sorry. Letter writer.

Danny Lavery: It’s also clear, like you’ve been at this company maybe since you were in your teens. So my guess is that this might be one of the first, if not the first full time jobs you’ve had. And so presumably they have also really not that you are currently inexperienced, but like my guess is that, you know, at least at the outset, they really took advantage of the fact that you had not, you know, negotiated pay raises often before as a 19 year old employee and maybe convinced you that this was industry standard or necessary or not a problem that you should be bringing to them. Because, you know, you say that you have recently tried to have this conversation about your pay. And I don’t know if this is the first time you’ve brought it up. It didn’t sound like you had been bringing it up a lot before.

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Danny Lavery: So my guess is they had also probably made it pretty clear earlier in your career that it was either like unwelcome or inappropriate for you to bring up the subject of your compensation, which is, you know, again, even if your president were constantly affirming the nicest person you’d ever met, I would still say you should look for another job.

Danny Lavery: The fact that on top of this, you’re president is also getting more difficult and exacting again on a salary after seven years and multiple promotions. That is like you’re not, you know, unable to cover your own bills. Unconscionable. You’re your people should be outside of your president’s house right now. Picketing them like this is so bad. And, you know, you say that you feel like skeptical, suspicious that they’re like saying, hey, we’re providing you further training and experience instead of paying. It’s just like, yes, you were right to be suspicious of that. That is a bullshit answer. All jobs provide you with like training in as much as you are doing your job while you’re at them. Mm hmm. And uplift you in the future. What you do, pay your bills and uplift you don’t. You don’t write a check to the utility company with, like, an inspirational note instead of money.

Speaker 2: This reminds me of, like, so I’m a comic, and this reminds me of people who are like, Oh, you’re not going to get paid. But my God, the exposure. And it’s like, these are intangible things that mean nothing. And so this whole training, networking experience, it’s like, you’ve been there seven years, you have the experience. They can’t take that away from you. And they also apparently can’t add to it because you’re I say this, I say it’s a job seekers market right now. I want to remind folks that. So if you’re unhappy in your current position, there has never been so many positions available and open.

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Danny Lavery: Many of which are also paying $15 an hour, though. So don’t stand for those ones.

Speaker 2: Don’t go for those. But you can be choosy, I say, because Danny brings up a really important point, which is you probably started this job when you were pretty young, so you don’t have a lot to compare to. And you open up the letter writer, you open up saying, you know, I’m I’m extremely privileged to be employed. And I would I would counter that and say they should be privileged to have you as part of their organization. And they are. And they know that, which is why they’ve been promoting you, why you have a high you’re one of the highest ranking employees. And and you represent as it as it appears from the description here, one of the marginalized communities that your organization works so hard to resource.

Speaker 2: So it’s like I just feel like it’s really frickin hypocritical of them to be touting you out here as like, Oh, check out who leads our organizations. We pay them $15 an hour, you know, like, so it’s I think that there’s better working situations out there. There are better jobs out there. And because there’s not a ton to compare it to, it might be hard to see that. But you you sound like you bring a lot to the table and you are privileged to be you. And I want you to go to a place that honors all that you contribute and does so in a way that compensates you for it and gives you health care. I mean, you know, those are things that I would love to see for you.

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Danny Lavery: There’s no health care. And then to dare to say they’re paying you what’s fair for a training position. I mean, first of all, as you say, you are one of the highest ranking employees there. You are not a trainee. No. And to say like. Oh, there’s one training type of job that everyone unilaterally agrees is only worth $15 an hour is evil. They are saying evil things to you. These are not good people you should admire. These are bad people who are exploiting you and have done so for years and have encouraged you to thank them for the privilege of being exploited.

Danny Lavery: And I’m so, so, so sorry, because I can also really imagine that you’ve shared valuable experiences with your colleagues and your boss there, that you don’t want to think of them as people who have been exploiting you because that, you know, is a painful, like retroactive knowledge. To add to the times that you felt like you were being trained or treated fairly or, you know, prepped for a meaningful career that was in line with the goals you’ve had for yourself.

Danny Lavery: So I just really want to stress whatever meaningful experiences or relationships you’ve developed over the years that this job that is real, that’s yours, that can’t be taken away because they are also financially exploiting you. I don’t want you to feel like all of that was, you know, worthless to you. But the the worth and the value that you’ve gotten out of those last five and a half years, I think is probably more to do with you than it does to do with this company.

Danny Lavery: And I think that line I feel privileged to be employed is maybe like I feel lucky that I didn’t get fired when so many of my colleagues did. And I would just encourage you, letter writer, I get that you feel compassion for your coworkers and that you maybe have a sense of like they all deserved good jobs, too. They didn’t deserve to get fired. That’s the reality that you’re trying to gesture at. Not I’m lucky to have this exploitative job. So I would encourage you to think of it along those lines rather than lucky me to be mistreated in this way. So. That’s like the sort of underpinning of I also think you should start looking for a new job immediately. Do not tell your boss.

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Danny Lavery: I would not. Part of you might be tempted, especially since you’ve known them a long time, and you feel loyal to like maybe if we just have this conversation again and I try to explain again why I really do need to pay my bills, you know, they’ll see the light and they’ll listen to me. And I think, you know, they’ve known what’s on your paycheck the whole time you’ve been working there. They know what they’re doing. They know that they’re not giving you health insurance. I don’t think these are people that you can trust and I don’t think you should share any information about your job, search with them until you have a new offer that has been signed and is a sure thing. And then you can put in your notice. That does not have to be two weeks. I don’t know that you owe them two weeks.

Danny Lavery: My guess is when you do give that notice, they are going to try to make you give them months and months and say, Oh, you’ll never be able to survive without you. And I’ll just see a company that can’t survive without exploiting a top level manager who’s been there for seven years by paying them $15 an hour is a company that should not exist, and I don’t care what their values or goals are. As you say, they’re not living up to those values or goals in the least know.

Speaker 2: And I and I that’s this the whole thing.

Speaker 2: I feel letter writer, I feel compassion for you because you clearly put a lot of emphasis on being loyal, but also, you know, taking I don’t know, I just I feel a lot of compassion for you. And I’m sorry that this happened. I’ve been at it when I first started off early in my career, I was at a job that I did not like, but I thought, this is what everyone talks about. They hate their jobs. So this is what I expect. Like, let’s get rid of that. Like, we don’t have to do that anymore to be employed. We can, you know, it takes time. You’re still developing your career, you’re in your mid twenties, so you’re still figuring things out.

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Speaker 2: But I can’t wait for you letter writer to have a job that you love, to have the resources that you need to have, the health care that and all the things that you deserve. So I’m I’m looking forward for you to find that. And I know it’s out there and I would encourage you to talk to your friends who have good work experiences, talk to the folks who do the nonprofits in your area that are doing similar work and or doing, you know, related work and see who likes where they work and and get those jobs there.

Speaker 2: You know, this is where you should be doing your networking. This is where they forget that job. Like do your networking with your core folks. Like maybe there’s people who you worked with at this nonprofit that are sister organizations that, you know, you might be able to start there. You can take advantage of some of the relationships that you’ve built in the last seven years of this organization and branch out. And I think that might be a good place to get the you know, the job search started.

Danny Lavery: Yeah. And you know, to that, I will simply add, I would also encourage you to look for work outside of the nonprofit sector. So, you know, I think this is a problem you will run into at many other nonprofits. And one of the things that I think you’re kind of coming into a new awareness of is one thing that nonprofits can do that other companies have a more difficult time doing is convincing you that the company is the same thing as the values that they claim to espouse. And therefore, if you are working for them, you are furthering those values when in fact those values and the company itself might be two very different things.

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Danny Lavery: Whatever goals they are trying to accomplish, this company is not the only way to achieve those goals and for them to manipulate people into accepting sub standard pay and substandard benefits because it’s for a good cause. And I’m not saying go get a job at like Raytheon, don’t do that. But you know, there are plenty of companies that are just like a company where you can do a job and they will not pretend that you are doing the greatest and most fulfilling and exciting thing on the planet. And in exchange for dropping that pretense, they will give you some more money and benefits because there’s no they’re not pretending it’s anything other than a job.

Danny Lavery: And again, I’m not saying like give up on trying to find a career that feels meaningful or just look for the first job you can get as a day trader or like a mortgage specialist where you kick people out of their homes. I just mean there’s a there’s a lot of room in between exploited by a nonprofit and mortgage adjuster. So maybe consider looking in the for profit sector. And then, you know, you say, should I wait for the transition to end? No.

Speaker 2: We both were like, nope.

Danny Lavery: I mean, again, like, this has been a problem for seven and a half years. It’s not like you’ve only noticed how much it bothers you since your president has been changing, but you were being exploited and undervalued before. This has not just been a new issue of the last six months. It’s been the whole time. And my guess is, has anyone said the transition will end exactly on June 19th at 4:30 p.m.? Or is it more like, well, as soon as we get, you know, a few more people on board or as soon as this grant comes in or just even a vague by next year, I would be very surprised indeed if they said this is when the transition period will be over.

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Danny Lavery: I just. Yeah, I don’t see that happening. I think wait until the transition is over is a great way to trick people into like looking back at their work and then looking up and seeing that three years has gone by and then, you know, would I regret leaving if the organization does in fact become an amazing place and someone else holds your job and gets paid better while you’re at it? I, I think the odds of that happening are very unlikely. I think that they will continue doing what they’ve been doing. But man, even if they did and you found out somebody later got that job and was making, I don’t know, $20 an hour. I think by the time you get out of there and you find another job and you realize it doesn’t have to be like this, you are not going to look back with regret and think of only had stuck it out. You know, they finally would have straightened up and flown, right.

Speaker 2: Yeah. It’s not worth it. You you owe it to yourself to have a higher quality of life and you’re struggling right now. And so I say let it go and move on and move forward.

Danny Lavery: Yeah. You know, again, just like my last thought here and not to be totally like Don Draper about this, but, you know, if you say you’re afraid that you’ll take a worse job at a worse organization and a company that doesn’t live up to their values, I just to me, I’m just like go outside of the nonprofit world. Go work at a company that is not going to pretend that they want you there to achieve a particular value or goal. Go somewhere where the money makes up for the fact that you and this company are not the best of friends and build, you know, meaningful solidarity and direct action and living out your values elsewhere in your life. There’s like a a rich history of activists with day jobs who do incredible, meaningful work that does not pay their bills. And I hope that for you, because I want you to be able to pay your fucking bills.

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Speaker 2: And get health care.

Danny Lavery: And more mental health.

Speaker 2: Resources. And I.

Danny Lavery: Some shoes once in a while.

Speaker 2: Yes. You go on vacation. Yes. Enjoy your life. Celebrate your life. Yeah.

Danny Lavery: I’m just so sorry. I feel like I was really hammering home a lot of different points there. And this letter writer just seems like an incredibly conscientious and thoughtful person who wants to do right by other people. And I wish so much that they were met with that same energy in their life. And at least money won’t lie to you, you know, like money can. There’s a limit to the things that money can do, but it’s not ever going to piss on your leg and tell you it’s raining. It’s going to be the exact amount that it look. You know what I mean? Like your bank account will have as much money as it says that it is. And that’s not that’s not that’s not nothing.

Speaker 2: Oh, I can’t wait until they’re in another position. Like, I want to see what they end up doing.

Danny Lavery: And I want to see what they end up doing. And I want to, like, have a ten minute conversation with the president of their company. Just 10 minutes. I just want to chat.

Speaker 2: This is the reality is this is this is one of many nonprofits that are pulling this nonsense like it’s true. I was like, go to another non-profit.

Danny Lavery: I mean, I don’t want to rule it out. Like, it’s not it’s not like the for profit sector has a beautiful track record of treating employees well.

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Speaker 2: I mean, none of them do. I mean, really, this is just capitalism. Like, get your basic needs met with whatever job you end up with. And let’s hope it’s not nefarious and let’s hope that it’s not unholy and evil.

Danny Lavery: I mean, that’s why I have like literally the ratio online, like, yeah, pay how you can and like pick a line that’s like, all right, I’m not going to manufacture tear gas. That’s totally you can even you can you can get your line earlier than that. You don’t have to wait until Raytheon. That was just like the first one that that came to mind, wasn’t it? Like Raytheon came out last year with some attempt at like like priority, like spotlighting all their like queer employees and some like some little V them was like, I love working for Raytheon in my little bow tie and oh.

Speaker 2: They do that that a company loves to put their posse and their like queer folks front and center on their website and then, you know, have them working in the basement with no air conditioning. Like, it’s just it’s such the it’s such a classic move for these companies.

Danny Lavery: It’s it’s not a great move. It’s not a really fun one. And now I’m just thinking of, like, all the jobs that I’ve ever had and oh.

Speaker 2: My God, I’m getting I was just.

Danny Lavery: Thinking about this this morning that like, I think if you if anyone were to run for like local office and they did so on the platform of, I think cashiers and all the grocery stores in this town should have stores so that they can sit down. Right. They would win in a landslide. It would be an incredibly popular initiative. People would turn out to vote who normally wouldn’t. And it’s like small scale enough that you could, like, actually accomplish it as like a mayor or something. But it would also take some doing because you’d have to, like, go up against small business Twitter.

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Speaker 2: Oh, yeah.

Danny Lavery: You know, small business interests I IRL. But I really do think like someone could do this. Someone could like prove that like populism for the people is real. And I hope so much that somebody does that. That’s like my dream. If somebody started a nonprofit that was about getting chairs to grocery store, cashiers.

Speaker 2: Stand up to sit down. Oh.

Danny Lavery: Okay. So please assemble this.

Speaker 2: We’re running this campaign platform right now.

Danny Lavery: They should sit down.

Speaker 2: I used to work as a cashier, actually, at Whole Foods, and I never understood why I had to stand the entire time. But I just didn’t ask any questions.

Danny Lavery: I used to work as a cashier at BMO and I rigged a fake stool together out of a bunch of boxes, and I was able to use it for two days before my manager noticed and said, You can’t do that.

Speaker 2: Did they tell you why you couldn’t have a chair? Was it like it reads as lazy? Is that.

Danny Lavery: Oh, it was literally just like, you can’t do that. I mean it is in the same vein is like I used to wait tables before that and my managers would actually say the line that you think is so cliche that no one says it. If you’ve got time to leave, you’ve got time to clean.

Speaker 2: Oh, God, I hate that.

Danny Lavery: I remember the first time I actually heard that, and I just felt like I felt like I had just seen him throw up or something. Just like. This is so shameful that you just said that with your mouth. To me, a teenager like you little petty tyrant, I just. You just rhymed. About not ever leaning. And I’m just so upset.

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Speaker 2: And it’s usually those particular positions that’s usually those are the tyrants. Like it’s usually the manager of a grocery store that, like, is power hungry and has, like, little man complex and just has to flex on all the employees. And it’s.

Danny Lavery: And it’s like, these are always the jobs where, like, I’d be running around, like, an indoor outdoor cafe with no air conditioning. It was always insanely hot in the summers and like, it’s the kind of thing where, like, you’re running out and you’re, you’re responsible for, like, 15 tables all on your own. And so, like, if I occasionally have time to lean, it’s because I’ve been running nonstop for 4 hours, like I’m in the world’s worst soccer game. And it’s just always like, why? Why?

Speaker 2: I couldn’t do it. I did. I waited a table for one day and then I was like, Oh, this is not for me. This is really random. But I was in I was studying abroad. I did not have a permit that allowed me to work legally. So I, I decided to do a day of work. You do a day of work, quote unquote, for free. It’s terrible. It’s a quote unquote trial day. And I worked in a restaurant and she never called me back or put me on the roster, so I guess I did. Terrible.

Danny Lavery: Did you at least get a free meal?

Speaker 2: I did get a free meal. I got Eggs Benedict, I remember. And there was an American couple that was so excited to see me. This is in New Zealand and they gave me a tip and they gave it directly to my hand and said, This is for you. And that bitch came over and said, We share tips here. I’m taking that from you and I’m putting it in the tip jar. And I found out later was a.

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Danny Lavery: Scam, right? Like this woman just hires people for one day at a time, steals their tips, and never let anyone.

Speaker 2: Oh, she was evil. Yeah. And it was hilarious because it was just me and a bunch of other, like, kids who were immigrants from other countries that just didn’t, you know, they had to pay their way. And, you know, they were all students and they were all basically working 80 hours a week, you know, full time school, full time work. And yeah, this lady had a major because it was all under the table and totally illegal. You know, she had huge influence on these folks. And it’s it was it sucked. And I was fortunate enough to be like, okay, she didn’t want me back and I can’t do it legally. So I didn’t have.

Danny Lavery: To list.

Speaker 2: It did. Yeah. Yeah. But there’s so much there’s so much exploitative work happening out there at every level.

Danny Lavery: It’s brutal, especially in the food industry. And I just feel so like retroactively glad that I stole so much food from as you should restaurant. Like, just any time somebody was even like mildly friendly. I was just like in the back of my head, Well, I’ll be comping all of your sandwiches or, you know. It is just beautiful, beautiful levels of like from the smallest ham and cheese cross on it, leftover at the end of a shift to the biggest secret table of my friends that I love bring, you know, underage beer to and then lose the check. I probably I should have you know, I should have stolen more. I should have stolen more. Everyone who works.

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Speaker 2: For the Robin.

Danny Lavery: Hood said, if you have time to clean, you have time to clean, should steal as much as they can. And that’s not nailed down. If you bring a purse or a backpack to work, you should steal toilet paper from. Oh, not the restroom, they say, for employees, but the restroom that the public can use. And you should steal the good toilet paper out of there. Anything that’s not nailed down. And if it is nailed down and you can pry it up, steal that, too. My official legal advice, if you hear it, you must do it. Willing to go on the record? Steal it.

Speaker 2: I love it. That’s the benefits, though, like the benefit of when you are working in the food industry is that you share your resources with your friends who also work in the food industry. I go to this bar and I drink for free. I go to this cafe and I drink for free. You know, it’s that that’s that it’s the ecosystem. They know it. It’s beautiful. They know it. Yeah, I love it. I love.

Danny Lavery: It. It’s a lovely little dance.

Danny Lavery: Did you ever have a job with that? You’re like, you’re. You’re shortest ever job was just the one day where she stole your tips. Do you have a shorter one?

Speaker 2: No, I think that was probably the yeah, that was the shortest job. That was the shortest job. And I’ve been I’ve been lucky enough to have relatively decent office jobs, but I have fully been part of nonprofits that didn’t get paid $3 an hour. And I would be told how lucky I was to work there. And, you know, there’s there’s a lot of manipulation happening. And I’m one of those I’m a people pleaser, Danny. I’m a people pleaser.

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Speaker 2: So in my twenties, a lot of folks got away with a lot of stuff because they’d be like, Oh, well, you know, we just don’t have the resources right now. But we love your work. We love your contribution to this team. You know, they could, like, hype me up and I’d be like, Okay, it’s worth it then. And now I’m like, Now fucking go for the money, you know, get the money or go, you know, you got to you got to do that.

Speaker 2: So I highly encourage everybody that I know. If you’re getting a job offer, always push back for 10% more, always as a rule, as a rule of thumb, because at the start of a job, that’s when you have the chance to negotiate. And beyond that, you do not. And I made a mistake once. I did not negotiate because I thought, oh, it’s I should be so lucky. You know, that whole I should be so lucky. Shit is like bullshit capitalism that you just got to get out of your head. You should not be so lucky. They they want you go for it and then also constantly be on them every year for a merit increase at a minimum. And so I’m that person in my office. But it’s, it’s because I was taken advantage of and a lot of the jobs in my twenties that I am such a staunch like supporter of, make sure that you get your merit increases. Make sure that your performance evaluations come through with at least a five or 7% increase. You know, every industry is different, but this is where I came from and I support all my coworkers and I go, hey, did you get your did you get your annual review? I better get that in now because, you know, just make sure you get that money.

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Danny Lavery: It’s nice. It’s really nice. I think you have me beaten. My record for shortest ever job is eight days at Yelp.

Speaker 2: Oh, my God. How Yelp? Oh, my God. Was this in the heyday of Yelp? Like when it was 2013?

Danny Lavery: So maybe a few years after the heyday, but certainly within the the some sort of a day and and on my way out, I was able to tell the woman who had gotten me the job because she was like a friend of a friend. She had been working there for like five or six years and they were constantly praising her. And I was like, just so you know, they hired me at like, I want to say something like 43,000 and she was making like 38,000. And we lived in San Francisco, which, you know, that doesn’t go very far. And I was just like, oh, just so you know, they offered me at the start more than what they’re paying you now. And she was able to use that and negotiate a raise above that level. So I felt like I’ve done my I’ve done my time. Have I you know, you’ve you’ve.

Speaker 2: Yes. And that’s really good. I had a coworker who did the exact same thing to me I had working at normalization. I hired him. He tells me what he makes. And I said, excuse me. And I use that to build a case internally and to advocate for higher pay. And I fucking got it. But it’s literally those angels. That’s why I’m about I’m out here saying, Talk about your money, folks. Talk about it because like Danny with his coworker at Yelp, found out that, hey, you’re you’re being underpaid. And sure, they can they can talk about how much they love you and how much they love working with you and how great you are on the team. But that doesn’t pay bills, that doesn’t get you health care and that doesn’t, you know. So yeah, thoughts and wonderful kind things are nice, but they don’t they don’t pay. So make sure you get yours, folks.

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Danny Lavery: For sure. And to that end, you know, I’m still if anyone has staff media jobs, I’m still looking, I still haven’t been offered a fulltime job. And I’m going on year ten of being a professional writer. So someday I would love to have. A job. And on that note, we get to we get to end we get to stop advising people and go back to being regular citizens.

Danny Lavery: Thank you so much for being right about everything.

Speaker 2: You know, it’s hard to do, but I’m here to share my skill with with your listeners and with the world. And this was a joy. I mean, these were some pretty heavy topics. And I think, you know, I’m just excited that you have such a wonderful composure and you do such a really good job of being compassionate to your letter writers and also being straight up. And I love that because, you know, these are you know, I think about when I have relationships with my good friends and I’m like, I want to I want to channel my my inner Danny sometime and be, you know, straight up straight up about stuff because, you know, we all have stuff, man. Everybody’s got their stuff. And sometimes the kind thing to do is to say, you got to go. Or, you know, sometimes the kind thing to do is to. Yeah. Anyway, I’ll we’re just.

Danny Lavery: This is really sad and it’s not going to get better. How can I take care of myself?

Speaker 2: Exactly. Sometimes it’s just facing and accepting that this may not work out, and you’ve. You’ve got to find a way. At the end of the day, I want all these folks to be good to themselves. That’s what it is to and do what feels good for you.

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Danny Lavery: Speaking of feeling good, if people would like to feel good and perhaps see you and a lineup of great native comedians in the Greater San Francisco Bay area. Where and when might they next? Keep an eye out for you?

Speaker 2: Sure. So you can all find me July 16th at the California Shakespeare Theatre, the wonderful outdoor amphitheater in Orinda, which is just six miles north of Oakland. So it’s just around the corner. And I have an amazing, fresh new lineup of native comics that are coming out for that. And again, it’s July 16th. I’m going to be promoting more information and details on my Instagram very soon. So you can follow me at Jacki Comedy II. And it’s going to be so fun. We sold out the last show at the Oakland Museum last weekend. We sold out the show last year at the California Shakespeare Theatre. So we’re looking to sell out again, folks. So make sure 1000 is made. You get your tickets because it’s so fun and it’s so native. And it’s basically the first time in the bay that we’ve had like all native lineups. It’s not that common. So you can find it at good medicine.

Danny Lavery: Awesome. Thank you again so much, Jack. Have a great rest your day.

Speaker 2: Thank you, Danny.

Danny Lavery: I’ve got an update from a letter writer in the episode. Which friends and what benefits? I’m writing to thank you for your advice and provide an update. Emma and I eventually had a falling out while Z and I continued to see each other as time went on. I felt increasingly uneasy about him. The truth is that despite our connection, I didn’t want a relationship with him. The idea of getting together in the future made me feel anxious, and whenever I shared some of these feelings with him, he put them down to my negative experiences and past relationships.

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Danny Lavery: Finally, during one conversation, I snapped and told him bluntly that I didn’t think we should get together and to not push me on the matter. Several weeks later, he sent me a long message, calling me selfish and cruel and accusing me of causing him a mental breakdown. I apologized for snapping at him and wrote a carefully worded message explaining my side of events. He responded, disparaging my character. Finally, I told him I wouldn’t continue this conversation if he continued like this and our communication died out. Part of me feels like I dodged a bullet. Another part is baffled by his behavior. Another part is saddened by losing a friend. Sometimes I think about writing him, but every time something holding me back.

Danny Lavery: Thank you so much for this update. I think perhaps something that is holding you back is me. Consider me part of what is holding you back, because I think that further communication with them would not be a good thing for either of you and would almost certainly and the way that it did during your last go round. I think any time you describe yourself as snapping and telling someone bluntly that you don’t think you should get together as a that’s the mildest possible snap it is possible to have. If your version of snapping is saying no, then you can take that as an indicator that it’s time to work up to a higher threshold of of what constitutes snapping. You could probably stand to snap a little bit more.

Danny Lavery: It can also understand that if you’re sad to lose a friendship and there is nothing quite so appealing as somebody, you know, getting unilaterally and sort of bafflingly angry with you, it can provide this like intense rat chasing the electrified cheese pleasure to a certain type of person, because it just feels like if I can just figure this out and get you to like me again, all the feeling good centres of my brain will light up and the scientist will write it down and say I did a good job, but that way lies madness and no cheese.

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Danny Lavery: So thank you so much for writing back. Congratulations on dodging a bullet, which I agree that you have done, and feel free to, you know, express and mourn some of your sadness with your other friends who don’t yell at you and claim that saying no causes them to have mental breakdowns because that is manipulative and fucked up. Thanks for listening.

Danny Lavery: Thank you for joining us on Big Mood, a little mood with me. Danny Lavery, our producer, is Phil Surkis, who also composed our theme music Don’t Miss an episode of the show, had the Slate.com slash mood to sign up to subscribe or hit the subscribe button on whatever platform you’re using right now. Thanks. Also, if you can please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We’d love to know what you think. If you want more big mood, little mood, you should join Slate. Plus, Slate’s membership program members get an extra episode of Big Mood Little Mood every Friday, and you’ll get to hear more advice and conversations with the guest. And as a Slate Plus member, you’ll also be supporting the show. Go to Slate.com forward slash mood plus to sign up. It’s just $1 for your first month. If you’d like me to read your letter on the show, maybe need a little advice, maybe some big advice. Head to Slate.com slash mood to find our big mood, a little music listener question form or find a link in the description on the platform you’re using right now.

Danny Lavery: Thanks for listening. And here’s a preview of our Slate Plus episode coming this Friday. I think you know this letter writer. But right now, whatever you say or don’t say will probably upset your mother. So, you know, if part of you is holding on to the fantasy that if only you could phrase this in just the right way, she won’t be hurt. I don’t think that’s going to happen. She sounds hurt right now, physically, emotionally, in an ongoing way, in a chronic way, in a long standing old way. And that doesn’t mean you can’t have useful conversations with her or try to change some of the dynamic. I think that’s possible.

Danny Lavery: But, you know, you haven’t been trying to hurt her feelings. You haven’t been, like cruel or dismissive. So as long as you kind of keep meeting your consistent standards of politeness, let that be your guide, rather than how can I say something that will guarantee she won’t be upset to listen to the rest of that conversation? Join Slate Plus now at Slate.com, forward slash mood.