On being a self-employed acupunk on Labour Day.

 

In Canada and the US, today is Labour Day, an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers, e.g. the 8-hour work day. I’ve been thinking this week about various crappy jobs I’ve worked; jobs which required a lot more than 8 hours a day of work, working for people who felt entitled to get the most out of my labour for the least amount of remuneration or respect. It has been an enormous blessing and sweet relief to escape from crappy customer service jobs and seasonal employment to work as a full-time community acupuncturist in the last two years. Being self-employed in my situation sure hasn’t involved less work, but it’s allowed much more meaningful work, and a lot more choice about who I work with/for, and who I don’t.

What I’ve realized in the last week though, is that while I was technically self-employed as a full-time ‘punk, it actually felt at the time like I was working for some really great bosses – the clinic owner at Poke, the executive director at the mental health services center where I ran a NADA group, program coordinators at other addiction treatment facilities. They were warm respectful people, very appreciative of my efforts, and yes, this does have something to do with me being treated as a middle-class professional as opposed to as a minimum-wage shop assistant or a temporary forestry employee.

Having left those acupuncture jobs to move across the country and open a CA clinic in Ontario, this feels more like an experience of being self-employed – and at this stage, I answer only to myself.

I note two things:

1) This is damned lonely. I can’t wait for the CA 101 workshop in Toronto next month. I can’t wait to open the community acupuncture clinic and start working with other people every day again.

2) My current boss is a jerk.

She talks like she’s got this keen critique of capitalism, but she expects her employee to move across the country and hit the ground running with barely a day to unpack, let alone find their way around a totally new city or navigate the complexities of suddenly living with a partner after months of a long-distance relationship. She greets me first thing in the morning with “WHY HAVEN'T YOU FINISHED THE BUSINESS PLAN??” and makes passive-aggressive references to aaaalllll the time I had on the train between British Columbia and southern Ontario when I could’ve been working on sales forecasts and cash flow projections. She expects her employee to be self-taught and fluent in Fundingapplicationspeak after a morning of reading on the interwebs and impugns their intelligence when this proves difficult. She seems to think it's possible - and advisable! - to put energy towards checking out downtown storefront properties for lease, getting on to website development, developing marketing strategies, and building community in a new & unfamliar place, all in a single day. She’s got oceans of empathy and patience for patients and co-workers but, bizarrely, very little for her hardworking, totally dedicated employee.

Morale has been low at times.*

So here’s to taking a break from Market Research and SWOT analysis this afternoon, raising a glass of iced tea to the workers, and thumbing my nose at crappy exploitative bosses everywhere. Including and especially the one in my head.

Happy Labour Day, everybody.

*Rereading the first draft of Tungsten helps with this.

This story was posted on September 3 2012 by Lisa B..

Comments

  • September 3 2012 at 9:59 PM
    Pauline writes:

    Lisa: I’m so sorry you’re working for a jerk. That’s why I’ve been self-employed for most of the last 25 years. Working for jerks sucks big-time. Any time you want to hang out out at my clinic or do some shifts call—I realize Kingston is far from your first choice destination—but I’d be glad to have you.
    What are your plans for opening your clinic in Guelph?

      2 likes
  • September 4 2012 at 8:25 AM
    crismonteiro writes:

    Nothing like having your head on the block to give her/you new perspectives.  As a boss myself, I’m always hoping to be able to see things from both sides- but then to remember which shoes I’m standing in.  It’s been hard sometimes, but it’s gotten easier with practice.

      4 likes
    • Nora
    • tatyana
    • trish
  • September 4 2012 at 11:53 AM
    Naomi writes:

    You had me for a moment there, Lisa! Very well put… I love your blogs! I definitely have that boss too - so good at being kind to others! Look forward to meeting you next month in TO and having your clinic grow nearby. Ontario needs you!

      4 likes

Add your 2 cents!

You must be logged in to comment on the blog.


Who Likes This:

  • Spartacus
  • Lisafer
  • sizzlek
  • Naomi
  • Nora
  • Nic
-- placeholder --

Who's been POCAing lately.

  • joanneo commented on the blog post 'Cohort 3 Graduation Speech by Jess Long' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, July 08, 2019
  • Bob W commented on the blog post 'Cohort 3 Graduation Speech by Jess Long' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, July 02, 2019
  • melissa commented on the blog post 'Cohort 3 Graduation Speech by Jess Long' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, July 01, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, June 26, 2019
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, June 25, 2019
  • melissalac commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, June 25, 2019
  • zedmunds commented on the blog post 'Keynote POCA Fest Milwaukee May 2019 -- ALL EARS!!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, June 20, 2019
  • engerin commented on the blog post 'Student Circle at POCA Tech -- Guest Post by Shelby and Sonya' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, June 20, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, June 17, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'The Vows of Hua Tuo and Sun Si Miao..Actually Carried Out' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, June 14, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, June 13, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, June 13, 2019
  • Presence_CA commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, June 10, 2019
  • Presence_CA commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, June 10, 2019
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, June 07, 2019
  • teatree commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, June 07, 2019
  • teatree commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, June 07, 2019
  • janisx commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, June 06, 2019
  • janisx commented on the blog post 'Acupuncturists As Endangered Species: Extinction Post #1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, June 06, 2019
  • swiggs commented on the blog post 'A Successful May Membership Drive!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, June 06, 2019
  • Arene commented on the blog post 'A Successful May Membership Drive!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, June 04, 2019
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'A Successful May Membership Drive!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, June 04, 2019
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'A Successful May Membership Drive!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, June 04, 2019
  • Cynthia Marie commented on the blog post 'Why more punks in more places…' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, May 29, 2019
  • swiggs commented on the blog post 'Why more punks in more places…' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, May 24, 2019
  • Bob W commented on the blog post 'Why more punks in more places…' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, May 22, 2019
  • mcandela55 commented on the blog post 'Keynote POCA Fest Milwaukee May 2019 -- ALL EARS!!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, May 22, 2019
  • Laura commented on the blog post 'I Am Closing My Clinic -- Guest Post by Michelle Rivers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, May 21, 2019
  • Laura commented on the blog post 'Keynote POCA Fest Milwaukee May 2019 -- ALL EARS!!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, May 20, 2019
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'Keynote POCA Fest Milwaukee May 2019 -- ALL EARS!!!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, May 20, 2019
  • crismonteiro commented on the blog post 'The Vows of Hua Tuo and Sun Si Miao..Actually Carried Out' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, May 13, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'The Vows of Hua Tuo and Sun Si Miao..Actually Carried Out' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, May 08, 2019
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'The Vows of Hua Tuo and Sun Si Miao..Actually Carried Out' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, May 06, 2019
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Toward a Culture of Safety: Part 4, AERD as Relationship Management' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, April 29, 2019
  • ellengrover commented on the blog post 'Toward a Culture of Safety: Part 4, AERD as Relationship Management' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Saturday, April 27, 2019
  • ewolfk commented on the blog post 'Toward a Culture of Safety, Part 1' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Friday, April 12, 2019
  • Paxcow commented on the blog post 'All Ears!' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, March 28, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'New POCA Tech FAQs' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, March 13, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Fatphobia Part 3: Some Thoughts about Diet Culture and Talking to Patients' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, March 13, 2019
  • Roppy commented on the blog post 'The Acupuncture Profession has 99 problems, but NADA ain’t one of them.' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, March 12, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'Open Sourcing Modern Acupuncture, Part Two: Trouble' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, March 11, 2019
  • OpenSourceEverything commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, March 11, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Poor People's Priorities' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • Lisafer commented on the blog post 'Stone Soup and Social Containers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 13, 2019
  • Nityamo commented on the blog post 'POCA Clinic Member Changes' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 13, 2019
  • weedyknees commented on the blog post 'Stone Soup and Social Containers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 13, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Stone Soup and Social Containers' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Wednesday, February 06, 2019
  • swiggs commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Tuesday, February 05, 2019
  • urbanapuncture commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Monday, February 04, 2019
  • monkeyacupunk commented on the blog post 'Hierarchy of Needs: Too Sexy for This Work?' in the blog 'Prick Prod and Provoke Blog' - Thursday, January 31, 2019