What Gig Employees Wish Employers Understood

If you haven’t heard the term “gig economy” yet, you probably haven’t been paying attention to a major shift in the job market. For various reasons – from complicated benefits requirements for traditional employees, to changes in technology, and everything in between – more and more employers have been opting for contracted labor. The people who are willing to fill those positions often juggle multiple contracts at one time, out of necessity. That “should” be obvious, since it’s not likely that any single gig will pay enough to make ends meet. Employers are theoretically using this option to save money.

That brings us to the first thing that gig employees wish employers understood:

No, you probably aren’t my only employer – If you’re an employer who is having trouble filling a contracted position, take a close look at the time you’re expecting from a potential employee. This isn’t just about the raw amount of time you expect a person to work. If you’re expecting the candidate to commit to being essentially “on-call” all the time, or if you’ve set up hard and fast deadlines spread out through more than just an eight hour day, you’re probably not going to find someone to do the job. That’s especially true if the pay you’re offering isn’t remotely close to market rates for a full-time position in the field. Time is money for a gig worker, and if you’re saying that you expect a person to be willing to jump every time you call, you are setting expectations too high (unless you’re willing to pay for that ability.) Either expect to be told that your work will be done within a reasonable period of time, or be willing to pay handsomely to get your projects to the top of the proverbial pile every time.

Yes, I often do prioritize my projects based on pay scale – This is something that some gig workers might not want to admit out loud, but we’re human. Of course we’re going to get the work that is paying us the most done first. We might push other deadlines to the extreme limit, even to the point of getting ourselves in danger of losing a lower paying gig to keep the higher one. We know we’re expendable on the job market, and usually the first to lose our positions when budget cuts happen. That means we’ll put the highest paying and most stable gigs first, since it will hurt us less in the pocketbook if we lose something small. Sadly, most gig workers won’t let an employer know what the “break point” is – what pay and time commitment level is needed to put a gig on the top of the pile. If you’re really serious about making sure that your work takes priority, ask what it would take. Don’t be surprised if a candidate doesn’t answer easily or at all. (There’s advice to gig workers here, too. It’s better to be honest about this, if an employer asks.) Keep in mind that a lot of people are new to this type of employment – employers and employees alike. We’re all on a learning curve on how to negotiate terms.

I do gig work for the flexibility – That might seem obvious, but it gets lost once the contract negotiations start. Employers get requirements floating in their heads, and potential employees start weighing the wages versus time commitment. Also, it’s important to remember that gig workers have to shift gears from one employer to the next on a daily basis. Not all employers have the same expectations, even within the same field. Don’t set yourself up to lose gig employees on a regular basis by expecting them to know everything you want immediately. For example, in my own field of writing and editing, I regularly shift between writing styles – AP, APA, and Chicago – and occasionally that gear shifting is a bit rusty. If every employer I had assumed that I was incompetent when I would occasionally use the wrong style for them, there would be major problems. Thankfully, I haven’t dealt with that often, but on the rare occasions that I have, employers who insulted my intelligence quickly found out that while they considered me expendable, that thinking was mutual.

Yes, gig workers do talk to each other – This can work for or against employers who hire people on contract on a regular basis. There isn’t a formal “black list” per se, but word travels fast if someone is slow to pay, too demanding for the pay offered, or just generally “difficult.” On the other side, there are companies that get recommended as great employers, too.

I do know how to find other gig workers – If you already have gig workers for one type of work, and need them for another, a good place to start looking is among the ones you already have. Some people have multiple skill sets, so you might have what you’re looking for already. When we apply for a gig, we don’t necessarily say anything about other skills we have. Failing that, we know other gig workers personally, and we usually have favorite places to look for gigs. (Very few of us will ever go to Craigslist, but we probably are registered on at least one or two freelance job sites.) Ask us, and we’ll tell you where to find the cream of the crop, or ask around for you.

Offices are overrated – In my industry – writing and editing – there are rare circumstances when it’s absolutely necessary for people to actually work in an office together. In spite of the movement toward team-building, open office plans, and living room style work spaces, there is still a large contingent of people who like to call the coffee shop their office. Gig workers are usually in that set. Let’s be honest – we do this so we don’t have to deal with set hours, commuting to an office, or changing out of our pajamas to go to work. Beyond saving on overhead for office space, offering remote gigs opens up your options, too. You’re no longer limited to your local area when you’re searching to fill a position. If your argument for having your employees under your own roof is that you want to be able to keep an eye on them, you might need to rethink your staffing choices and management style. Yes, you do have to trust remote workers – a lot. Ask yourself, do you really want to feel that you can’t trust your own employees to do their jobs without needing someone to watch?

This list is generally interrelated, and only scratches the surface. There probably could be a few books written on the in’s and out’s of gig work, and how to break down some of the walls that often end up between the workers and their employers. The bottom line is that gig workers are usually a mix between the “work to live” and “live to work” crowds – the two extremes. Either they’re doing just what they need to be able to pay the bills and afford what they want, or they’re total workaholics who wish for 48 hour days and 14 day weeks. The ones who stick with it aren’t the kind of workers who need hand-holding and excessive amounts of guidance. They’re doing the same thing the business owners they work for do, just on a smaller scale. It’s a business, and when you hire one, you’re hiring a “boss.” Maybe just remembering that is a good start for employers who are stepping into the world of hiring gig workers.


Source: Liz Harrison

What Gig Employees Wish Employers Understood

Ann Coulter, UC Berkeley, and Attention Whoredom

I made the observation on Twitter that there really was no way that Ann Coulter was ever going to speak on the UC Berkeley campus.

Full stop.

That shouldn’t need to be repeated, and if anyone can come up with a remotely-close-to-legitimate argument to the contrary, I may have to publicly humiliate myself for their benefit.

Since I’m not into humiliation, on with the explanation why Coulter just wasn’t going to do that appearance.

There is a single piece of information that is needed to explain this—Milo Yiannopoulos was pushed off that campus, violently so.

On the scale of “objectionable persons” in the sheltered world known as the UC system in general, the flamboyant gay guy who likes to call the president “daddy” is actually less detestable than Ann Coulter. At least he’s gay, right?

Coulter has built a reputation for being crass, ignorant, hateful, bigoted… I could go on, but I’m not in the mood to show the extent of my vocabulary right now. Bluntly, she stands for all the things that Berkeley students cower in safe spaces to shield themselves from every day.

If anyone wants to attempt to start the argument of free speech, and diversity of views on campus, see the previous list of negative adjectives. “If” Coulter was remotely close to serious, and could manage to string two sentences together without insulting huge swathes of the US population, then we could get into that discussion.

That isn’t the case.

Coulter is a shock jock, in the hateful toad sense, as opposed to the stripper-loving Howard Stern sense. While the latter might wander into the realm of misogyny, at least it’s with the consent of the participants (and all in naughty fun.)

When dealing with someone who cannot manage to offer constructive ideas without peppering them heavily with hate, there is no reason to suggest that there would be educational value for students. Well, maybe she might be a good case study for psychology students, but it’s doubtful that Coulter would appreciate being told by her audience that they think she’s a sociopath, a malignant narcissist, or both.

This entire exercise had nothing to do with freedom of speech on campus. Hate speech, while still protected speech for the moment, does not have educational value outside of pointing at it as an example of what not to do. It’s already been established that Coulter doesn’t take kindly to being challenged on her twisted world view, so there wouldn’t be an opportunity for an enlightened debate on anything. So, what was this really about?

Coulter is an attention whore.

She’s worried about remaining relevant, so she’s creating dramas to keep herself in the spotlight. What’s better than to have the she-devil claim to be the victim of the special snowflakes that can’t handle hearing her vitriol?

Newsflash—the snowflakes aren’t the only ones who don’t want to listen to her. There are plenty of people who at least slightly agree with Coulter who don’t want to hear her either. Back to the previous statement about her fear of losing relevancy.

So, before anyone gets sucked into the “Coulter as victim” nonsense, think about it. The only thing Coulter is a victim of at this point is fewer dollars in her pocketbook because fewer people want to hear her these days. Now that she’s taken to trying to force herself in front of groups she knows very well have zero interest in hearing her, everyone should be smelling the desperation.


Source: Liz Harrison

Ann Coulter, UC Berkeley, and Attention Whoredom

Content Filters as Censorship

As long as there is content on the web, there will be arguments about what is “offensive.” Sure, we might want to think that some information or media would not be objectionable to anyone, but the climate of outrage has reached such a fevered pitch, this is unrealistic to assume.

When it comes to content that is even remotely sexual, there are constantly arguments about what is acceptable, objectionable, pornographic, etc. Parents fight with content platforms about age gates – something to make people feel good, but don’t really stop much. Then there are the piles of filters out there, offered with free-standing software, by ISP’s, and now by individual platforms like flickr, Facebook, and now Twitter.

The problem inherent in all of this is that as a general rule, the programmers and developers who are tasked with creating these filters don’t tend to consult the creators of the content they want to allow users to block. Many people who provide sexual content that people might find objectionable honestly don’t want to force their “stuff” on the world. That means they would probably help those developers create filters, assuming that the goal was to leave the decision of blocking to the end user. We get annoyed when the filters are platform-wide, and no one can choose to opt-out of them.

So, what needs to happen to “fix” this issue?

A good start would be for companies to stop acting solely on what they find in their complaint boxes. The people who are offended might have an honest issue that needs to be addressed, but lately, it could just as easily be the current faux-outrage fueling the complaints. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, and if your business plan includes catering to people who actively look for reasons to be offended, you will drive your employees insane trying to keep up.

Next, at least when it comes to the murky area of sexual content (from educational content on sex like here, to pornography, and everything in between), start talking to the content creators. Reach out to organizations that represent them, or are active politically for sexual freedom, like NCSF. Instead of randomly choosing keywords, ask us what is most likely to work for your users who want to keep their kids away from as much purely adult content as possible.

Finally, be highly suspicious of people who are demanding content blocking because it “triggers” them. Yes, it is possible you might end up ignoring someone with legitimate problems, but the fact is that no one gets over being “triggered” by anything without facing it, period. When it comes to overcoming past sexual trauma, “safe spaces” were originally meant to describe environments with mental health professionals. People would then be exposed to known “triggers,” and be able to deal with them with the help of those professionals. No one knows all of their “triggers,” so it is impossible to help anyone avoid all of them. Bluntly, this isn’t in the job description of content providers or social media platform developers, no matter how much anyone screams otherwise. It is ok for tech professionals to tell these people that they need mental help, not more content filters.

Bottom line here is that tech companies providing social media platforms for the masses need to stop worrying so much about catering to the whims of people who leap from one outrage to the next on a nearly daily basis. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the providers of the content people honestly want to filter for real reasons, outside of the outrage circus. We don’t bite – well, not unless you want us to!

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Source: Kinksanity

Content Filters as Censorship

No Negotiation Is Non-Consent – or Rape

Out in vanilla world, the concept of consent, while hotly debated from time to time by policy makers, is at its core cut and dry – either the person acted or spoke affirmatively and sexual activity occurred, or the person didn’t speak or act in an affirmative way and hopefully no sexual activity occurred. The waters became muddied considerably when some activists, particularly on college campuses, started pushing for “guilty upon accusation” policies when it comes to rape. Morning after regret could turn into rape allegations, and no one could be sure if yes meant yes anymore. This situation infuriates me, both as a writer and as a rape survivor. It is destroying the already hellish legal system for dealing with rape, because it is casting real rape victims as just women who thought twice about sexual encounters after the fact. Bluntly, it is making it necessary to coin the phrase “legitimate rape” that not so long ago caused a politician to face severe public criticism.

In the world of BDSM, these debates over consent can be considerably more complicated, given the nature of some people’s proclivities and desires. As an activist writer on sexual freedoms, I usually try to stay out of discussions on this, with the exception of when I come across situations that make me sincerely question whether or not consent has honestly been given and hasn’t been withdrawn. Because so much of BDSM exists outside the law – unlike vanilla sexual relationships – it’s very rare when I step in to offer an opinion. While I personally do not accept the “My Kink, Not Your Kink, and That’s OK” answer in all situations, I usually try to stay out of categorizing activities as acceptable or not until it comes down to people wanting to see their kinky behavior protected by the law. Bluntly, I’m not a miracle worker, and neither are any other sexual freedom activists who dabble in legislative affairs. There are some things we may never be able to get lawmakers to protect, period. So, my answer is “if you’re into it, have at it, but please don’t ask me to defend it legally, because I can’t.”

Lately, I’ve been catching a theme on something that honestly in that category. It seems that I’m seeing people regularly asking BDSM communities all over the place on the web about what to do when D/s relationships go out of control. I’m talking about a spate of submissive types asking for input on dealing with dominant types who are ignoring or not allowing negotiation of the boundaries of the relationship. I’m sorry, I’m not sorry, but there is just one word for that – rape. It’s not consensual non-consent, or any other glossy kink term someone chooses to use for it. When negotiations are ignored or not permitted, it is impossible for consent to be given, period. When there is no consent, it is rape.

Those of you who are shaking your heads because the situation in question did not involve sexual activity per se can stop now. I am saying this from the perspective of drawing a line in the sand. From my own experience dealing with lawmakers – over 20 years of it – I’m here to tell you that there is no way anyone will be able to sell this kind of activity as legally acceptable. Further, I am saying that personally, I will actively campaign against any attempt to do it, and will be on the front lines to see non-negotiated BDSM activity specifically made illegal, on the same level as existing laws forbidding rape.

While I’ve held this position for a very long time now, until recently, I had no idea what such a law would look like. Laws are picky things, and need to have specific language and requirements. There must be something for a prosecutor to prove in court, for one thing. That “something” doesn’t necessarily have to be absolutely objective, which is what we see in many rape cases already. So, what would need to be proven in this situation?

There is one common factor involved in all consensual BDSM activities – all parties involved are doing their parts to get something they want out of it. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Sure, it gets complex quick, when anyone is put on the spot by questions about why they want something. “What normal person wants to be beaten or humiliated?” Yes, we all know that pile of questions from vanilla folks, and we generally just stick with the “Why do you assume we’re normal?” reply. Normal is boring in our world, right?

But, within our own little world, the answers to those questions about why we want the “freaky” stuff we do vary, with more answers than practitioners floating around. No, I’m not suggesting that we’ll ever manage to get the vanilla folks to “get” why we do what we do, even if it does end up that non-consensual BDSM can specifically land someone in court on criminal charges. I am saying that members of the psychological community are capable of figuring out whether or not someone is doing something completely against their will, and more importantly, whether or not real psychological damage is being done. In their parlance, it’s called diagnosing emotional abuse. That is the common thread I’ve finally noticed, and have been furious with myself for not noticing before – every one of those submissive types who would take to the forums in BDSM world to ask advice on dominant types who weren’t respecting or creating boundaries with them showed some signs of emotional abuse. Be it fear, disconnection from support systems, excessive insecurity, rationalizing bad behavior of their partners, or describing themselves as emotionally numb without realizing it, the signs are there. (If you’re a submissive type, and those words are hitting too close to home for you, it’s time for you to reach out for professional help, or at least a domestic abuse hotline. Skip talking about the lifestyle if you’re not certain the people you’re talking to would understand, and stick with just your emotions. Or reach out to NCSF.)

The reason why I have finally reached my limit on this one, and have decided to not remain silent on this issue is the pile of dominant types I constantly see replying “Well, that’s how it’s supposed to be, buttercup. Do as you’re told, and quit whining!” There’s one answer for that reply – NO!

BDSM and D/s relationships of any kind are not a license to ignore negotiation of limits, period. Full stop.

If you think I’m wrong, and you think you can do whatever you want to “your” submissive types as a dominant type, consider this fair warning. Watch your back. This isn’t a threat of violence or physical action, but it is a promise that I will start calling you on it. This writing is meant to encourage everyone who values ethical BDSM and D/s to do the same.

As a community, we have been failing submissive types by remaining silent. That needs to stop. “It’s not my place to tell someone else how to do their thing,” is not an acceptable excuse once it crosses the line to the point where the submissive types are making pleas that would fit on a domestic violence support group forum. If you don’t know what that looks like, start visiting them, and learn. Look under “emotional abuse survivors” when you can. If you have the time, it’s even better if you call your local women’s shelter, and volunteer to take some shifts on their helpline. They’ll train you, and you will learn how to draw a definite line between BDSM and abuse.

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Source: Kinksanity

No Negotiation Is Non-Consent – or Rape

How About Owning Your Freaky Self?

Sad as it may be, we still have issues in society about owning who and what we are. Yes, there is occasionally a reason to be concerned about one’s reputation, but when it comes to flamboyant behaviors in one’s past, it starts to get a bit thin. Tomi Lahren is the latest one to show that she simply can’t deal with her own past.

Sure, she’s an up and coming conservative pundit, but does that really mean she needs to start sweeping out old social media posts when her detractors come across them?

Apparently so.

In Lahren’s world, perhaps it is a bad thing to discover that you’re trending on Distractify for less-than-grown-up tweets from when you were still in college? I mean, I’m sure that her current adult audience never did anything they regretted in their youth (or lately.) They couldn’t possibly think highly of anyone talking about partying, sex, and all of that. I mean, it’s not like they didn’t just elect someone to the highest office of the land who managed to talk about grabbing women’s private parts, right?

If you think I’m making the leap to normalizing any of that nonsense, forget it. However, I will say that Lahren made a mountain out of a mole hill, mostly by giving any attention whatsoever to the people who unearthed her old tweets. It also didn’t help that she took to deleting them. That just screams “I’m guilty!”

Yes, Lahren was guilty of being a typical American college student at one point in her life. So what?

Maybe it would have been fine to just call out the ones who called her a hypocrite. Sorry, but that’s dead wrong. Again, “college girl” Lahren isn’t the same as “conservative pundit” Lahren. The difference is the same as it is for anyone else of her age who managed to move on from that college-girl mentality – she grew up.

Unfortunately, apparently the people who started all this in the first place did not.

As for why I’m going on about this here, as opposed to anywhere else? This is why kinky people tend to keep their freaky selves out of the spotlight. There are way too many children dressed up like adults running around who can’t figure out that other people actually do grow up. Since they can’t figure out that anyone grows up, they also can’t figure out that grown ups mind their own damn business when it comes to private lives. Sex and kink are filed under “private lives,” and as long as the child-like-adults are running amok, they have to be extra careful about hiding their private lives from public view.

So, if you were one of the people getting your jollies over Lahren’s issues lately, and you have some private stuff you don’t want the world to know, maybe you need to figure out something – are you a grown up, or are you one of the overgrown adolescents? Think about it.

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Source: Kinksanity

How About Owning Your Freaky Self?

Dominance and Submission Really Is Everywhere

There are a few people out there (myself included) who think that while not everyone gets into dominance and submission as a lifestyle, most interpersonal relationships have facets that include the dynamic. It’s the basic idea that in most good relationships, there is a leader and a follower. That might change in various situations, but you have fewer arguments in general if you don’t have two people trying to be in control at the same time.

Technology seems to be proving that, too. Many people were amused today by a chat conversation between two bots. Yes, they did take “master and servant” roles all on their own at one point, and here’s the proof!

While it’s not definitive proof of human nature defaulting to dominance and submission in relations, it does add to the evidence. Yes, they are just bots interacting based on Artificial Intelligence technology, but that technology mirrors human behavior at least a little because it is created by humans. But, like many humans, there was also a little power struggle, too.

So, don’t feel too bad about those little struggles you have in your own relationships. Even the machines have difficulties sometimes!

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Source: Kinksanity

Dominance and Submission Really Is Everywhere