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How to Use Labor Shortages to Your Advantage

How to Use Labor Shortages to Your Advantage

Labor shortages? With a 6% unemployment rate? On the heels of a recession and global pandemic? Seriously?

Seriously. If you’re like me, you’ve seen the signs hanging in almost every restaurant, coffee shop, and gas station window you’ve walked past. “Now hiring! Check our website for details!” But there’s something off about them. Usually such signs have a cheerfully neutral tone. But these are radiating powerful desperation stink.

“We’re hiring! Like, SERIOUSLY hiring. Literally every role is open! Do you want my job? You can have it! We have signing bonuses. If you show up all five days your first week, I will give you my cat. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cat like a son—but if someone doesn’t help me bus these tables, the fabric of my reality will unravel all around me lol.”

When employers are desperate for employees, they’re weak. And when they’re weak, you are strong. You can use this moment as an opportunity to claw back lost ground.

But situations like these have been super rare in recent history. Honestly, unless you’re a Boomer or older, this really hasn’t happened in your lifetime! (Yes, to my eternal surprise, BGR does have enthusiastic Boomer and Silent Gen readers. We salute you—the few, the proud, the kickass—for enduring our 90s pop culture references and ageist hissy fits with grace and poise.) Younger readers will be forgiven for not knowing how to take advantage of it.

So that’s what we’ll teach you today! C’mon, finance, let’s get fin~nancial!

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While we should all do what we can, the key phrase there is "what we can."

Ethical Consumption: How to Pollute the Planet and Exploit Labor Slightly Less

There’s a short story by Ursula K. LeGuin called The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. With apologies to the late, great author, I want to summarize it here:

In the city of Omelas, everyone is deliriously happy. The people eat well, drink well, and party all the time. There’s no sickness, no pain, and the weather’s always perfect. It’s a utopia. Everyone has everything they could possibly want or need.

Well, almost everyone. For deep in the heart of Omelas is a dark, damp, cold room. And in this room is a child: unwashed, starved, uneducated, and treated cruelly. They don’t have a name, a family, clothes, or a clue as to why they’re kept in horrible conditions.

Everyone in Omelas is taken to see the child once in their lifetimes. They’re made to understand that, somehow, all the glorious happiness of Omelas relies on this one person’s suffering. As long as this child suffers, everyone else in Omelas will thrive.

And it’s then that the individuals of Omelas make a choice: to stay in Omelas, content in the knowledge that their comfort and happiness relies on the misery of another; or to leave, to opt out, to go somewhere that might not be as perfect as Omelas, but where they can live without exploiting another for their own gain.

The ethical choice is, of course, to walk away from Omelas. It’s a fable for modern times.

We live in a world where so much of our lifestyles, our wealth, relies on exploitation. Animals live short, brutish lives on factory farms so we can eat meat from the supermarket. Carbon emissions slowly damage the climate to devastating effect so we can drive cars and ride airplanes. Children work twelve-hour work days in sweatshops so we can browse a closet full of fashionable clothes and still say “I have nothing to wear.”

The way we consume—food, clothing, electronics, everything—is, all too often, pretty fucking unethical.

Now here’s a gif of a doggo hanging out with some baby chicks because that shit just got real fucking dark!

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Are Unions Good or Bad?

Our awesome Patreon donors have spoken! This week, they would like for us to answer this question…

What’s the deal with unions? Because I’ve heard they’re amazing, corrupt, empowering, exploitative, equalizing, and expensive. What’s the truth?

Let me answer this question the way I answer most things: by starting with a tangent on a totally unrelated topic, until it suddenly isn’t! (It’s kinda My Thing.)

It’s toasted

Do you know when cigarette smoking among Americans peaked? It was in 1963.

How about when we first got pretty solid evidence that smoking caused lung cancer? It was thirteen years earlier, in 1950.

Thirteen years is a long dang time! If people knew it was a health risk, why did so many not only continue to smoke, but begin smoking who hadn’t before?

The main culprit is the tobacco industry’s social engineering. Which is to say: their deliberate, coordinated campaign of disinformation.

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Fast Fashion: Why It’s Fucking up the World and How To Avoid It

As you can tell from our witty banter on the Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn podcast, Kitty and I consider ourselves to be eminently fashionable gentlewomen. Look good, feel good! That’s our motto! (Just kidding that is definitely not our motto. We don’t have one. We’re still workshopping it. Do you even realize how long it took us to come up with the name of this blog? A long time… and many Excel spreadsheets.)

And yet, I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes. I rarely go shopping for myself. And when I do, it is with all the precision and swiftness of a predator drone. Get in, get the goods, get out. I love me a good thrift store find. Few things give me more materialistic glee than purchasing a unique garment at the flea market. And yes, I still shop at fucking Target, but those expenditures are few and far between.

This is partially because of my frugal nature. I just don’t buy a lot of stuff. But it’s also because in recent years I’ve tried really hard to avoid an industry that is damaging to both the environment and to human rights on a global scale.

I am speaking, of course, of fast fashion.

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Labor Shortages ARE the Father of American Business Ethics, Maury Povich Confirms

You ARE the father.

Time for some History Lessons with Kitty and Piggy!

America is an interesting example of a country whose economic needs have flip-flopped wildly since its founding. The most interesting aspect to me is the story of American labor.

In the days of the American Revolution, labor was the scarcest commodity in the colonies. Which is hardly surprising if you think about it.

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