Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oh SNAP! Panera CEO gets schooled.

   I just read an article on FB about the CEO of Panera Bread, Ron Shaich,  living on food stamp money for a week. He gets it... He took the challenge and he gets what it is like to have to think about how much and what you are eating for breakfast so that you can eat and stay full throughout the day. But he just fed himself. Try feeding a family.

    I have been on food stamps for the past year and a half, until they cut me this past summer for an over site they made. I called them about it and I was told it was fine and it would go through no problem when I renewed. By the time I found out it hadn't it was too late to appeal. I have to wait till Christmas. And yes, that little bit of money a month did help greatly. I used it to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy snacks. Good proteins and dairy. I don't allow soda in my house so juice and yes bottled water ( I know... why? But it was better than soda for the on the go active family we are) were bought with SNAP. I used my own money for the fillers and treats and on the times when extra money was tight I had the SNAP money to cover it all.  When pennies are being pinched you do tend to eat more carbs and less fresh things. I still try and keep to a healthy diet but the fresh stuff is so expensive. I do my best and my girls are never hungry or ever eat a poor diet but there has been a day or two where I don't eat dinner because what I made didn't make up into enough for the three of us.

     I am a single mom of two teens. When I got divorced I was doing okay and was able to afford my kids school lunches and we ate well. Hell, we traveled and had good birthdays and Christmas would be small but very nice. In the 5 years since my divorce I make almost $1 more an hour and work more hours a day but I see almost $200 less every cheque due to my insurance and such tripling in the past 3 years. When I was married I had no need for credit cards and everything was in my ex's name so I have no credit, so thus no credit cards. My ex has had to make changes in his job and I no longer get any help outside of child support for anything. We used to split a majority of things ( glasses, back to school, extra activities ) 50/50. I now cover everything myself. And my kids are no longer 8 and 9. They are 13 and 14 and MUCH more expensive.

     I live pay cheque to pay cheque and since my SNAP has been cut it is extremely hard. I work for the school system. A government job. They have altered the schedule this year and with the placement of furlough and vacation days ( non of which I get paid for ) I get MAYBE 2 full pay cheques in a row and then a partial. This next cheque, which I get bi-weekly, will be for 5 days. I am having to shuffle utilities around just to feed my kids and gas up my car. I can't even get a 2nd job because all places want part time employees who have flexible schedules. If I try and get a different job all together I lose my pension with the school. It is a vicious cycle....Oh and that new law that Georgia passed 2 years ago about non certified employees being able to file for unemployment during the summer. It's bull shit. I fought with them for 2 months. I jumped through all their hoops and the week I was supposed to finally get a cheque I received a letter saying I was denied.

    Even when times were good I am very smart with my money. I always shop at Goodwill for myself and I saved up and planned for 4 years to buy a new/used car. I have been cable free for over a year and while I do have internet, with High School and Middle school kids and the projects they get I feel it is needed. For a few years I paid a lot for car insurance but it has paid off in my most recent renewal. I now have no deductible if God forbid I get into a car accident. My only debt is my outrageous insurance deductible from a mammogram and biopsy I had  done in January. They will see that come tax time. The girls and I all have cell phones... at this point the only reason I keep them is because it is cheaper then having them shut off with all the penalties and such. Plus really, I prefer to be able to have contact with them when we are all here and there.

      And the whole insurance thing. Yeah, don't get me started. I am on anti anxiety/depression meds. I can't afford them since I am paying so much for insurance. And they are no longer covered under any of the $4 generics for what ever reason. I couldn't afford the $20 to stay sane. It was someones therapist that told me to talk to my  pharmacist, that there had to be a way. She ran it with out insurance and it was only $11.25. She had no clue! The software that pharmacies have just runs it and charges the co pay automatically unless you see if it is cheaper otherwise. Even so I can't always afford it. I have been off of it for two weeks and finally able to refill it tonight.

    This whole thing is an ongoing, never ending cycle. I can't not have insurance... I am too much of a klutz to take that chance. I need a colonoscopy but can't afford the deductible when I have the time to actually have it done. But it is so very expensive to keep it. I could look for a different job but I have a pension here that will be very fruitful one day. Plus if I stick it out and move up with my job I could be salary in the next year, if all goes as I plan. Right now it's just sticking it out. I would love to sit down with Ron Shaich and see what he comes up with for reinventing SNAP. How can we end all the circles that people keep running  in. How do we supply those in need with the tools to help them feed their families AND get out of the need for the assistance.

    And with all that said... I think  I am going to go to bed now. Like I planned on doing over an hour ago before I read an article that someone shared on FB. Night Folks!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Work vs School: the Lessons We Lose

     While talking to Bug the other day about school, I passed on words that have slipped off the tongues of parents for generations. When faced with a teacher a kids doesn't like we say "One day you will have a boss you don't like. This is just a lesson on how to handle them" or "Yes I know that girl that sits next to you is annoying, buy you won't always like your co workers" and the best of all.... " If I have to go to work you have to go to school!" In my own gripes about my new work place and listening to those of my co workers I realize like so many early on lessons, we haven't listened.

      I admit it. I miss my old manager and her OCD  ways. I miss the comfort of my neat little work spaces in the kitchen and the fact that even though we are all different in how we work, everything is done by the book and correct. I miss the fact that I had to think and had some sort of control over things. I am now a simple worker ant in a pile of dirt. There are pathways and tunnels that sort of make sense but we are still bumping into each other with food on our backs. The queen ant is safe in her order and neatness and we are all just the same to her. For weeks I have been so focused on what was and what I missed, I have been hating my job. I have forgotten why this manager wanted me so badly and why I decided to leave the other place... besides hours.

      I am a leader. I am the person who likes a challenge and rises up to the pressure and the stress.I have been living in the comfort of the past that I have been failing my co workers. They come to me to bitch and whine and I listen and remain Switzerland. I am trying not to rock the boat and just come in and work and leave. It has left me unhappy. This past week I kicked it all aside and put up the entire freezer by myself by Tuesday afternoon. I know I have team mates and one of them whom I consider my work Twin, is amazing. But this is how I work. I was taught and believe that all stock should be put up the day it is received, the next day at the latest. It makes it easy for me because it is the beginning of the week and I am not burnt out and it makes it easy for the rest of the staff to find what they need. This week I started to feel like me again. I have taken my little cashiers corner and made it my own. Yes I am OCD with my set up and literally had a panic attack over ketchup on Monday, after being out on Friday. But I got through it.  

    Some of the close working people are starting to get to one another. They are so focused on how they work differently from one another that they are constantly bickering. I have tried to stay out of it and not get involved since I haven't entirely witnessed situations. My staying out of it is making things worse. I see that now. They are looking to me for answers and I am also ignoring it. I don't have all the answers but I have some ideas. One of the women is leaving. She has become so righteous in her beliefs and that they are so correct. She is not taking into account that all of us are different. We come from different backgrounds and leave to different home lives. We are single moms and married grandmas. We are families of all sorts but we are all there for the same reason. We all need to work and this job fits all of our needs. I wonder how she will feel when she goes to a new school and she actually has to do what she is told. When someone says the correct way to do something she can't just walk away and say "Oh well, I'm going to do it my way" Will she run away from that job also?

      This leads back to those childhood conversations with our parents. We adults have become so soft and whiny. We bitch about jobs and jump from one to another because "Sally is mean to me"or "my boss doesn't appreciate me" When did we become a society of pussies. Really? There is always going to be the office bitch and there is always going to be crappy work days but each day is new and what you make it. We have to work. It is the way things are. We have to take care of ourselves and those depending on us. I know so many people who complain about how much they hate their jobs that the hate becomes who they are. They are so focused on the negative that when they are not at work they are still not happy. It ruins them. Yet look at kids. They put up with those teachers and those annoying kids. They come home and shed their "work" right inside the front door and surround themselves with what makes them happy. They turn on music and IM their friends. They watch TV or go to the park. They take our lessons and teach us a few back. It is about time we started showing them that we are listening just as much as they are.