Tuesday’s surprise

Five people from my work were fired today.

Five people. No explanation as to why, just notification that they no longer work for the company.

Five people got fired and I wasn’t one of them. I know it’s just my being overly sensitive but I really feel for each of those five people. Whatever the reason they were fired, I know what it’s like. It’s never good to be abruptly out of a job… let alone during a pandemic.

Usually you hear about last hired, first fired… but I was the last person hired. I’m still here, still standing and feeling like I dodged a bullet in some way.

Overheard on discord: The CEO dropping wisdom

Today’s a real zinger. A short, simple and relevant quote left by the CEO.

“If you don’t make time for your wellness you will be forced to make time for your illness.”

Let that sink in.


From time to time I have been sharing stories of things seen on my company discord.

If you missed the first posts, you should check them out!

Story time: The office frat-boy

Story time: Overheard on Discord

Second job hunting

I’m looking for a second job. I need something to keep me busy. The way I figure it, if I can make myself busier, I’ll have less time to think. If I have less time to think, I’ll have less time to be anxious. At least that’s the train of though I’m presently following.

Plus it would mean extra money. Extra money is always a good thing, right?

Christmas is coming.

I need some new glasses.

I need some new work shoes.

Extra money could come in handy for all of those things.

The problem with finding a second job is trying to find one that has minimal interaction. There’s all kinds of jobs available around here that involve a lot of interacting with the public. While I greatly admire everyone who’s been working those jobs for the past seven months through this pandemic, I just don’t think I can be one of them. I need to keep my interactions with people minimal right now, for my own peace of mind. If the point of working a second job is to keep myself from being anxious, I don’t want to put myself in a position to make myself more anxious.

Right now I’m thinking a delivery driver would be a good job for me. That or finding someone who is willing to pay me to work from my couch. I know, I know, I know… a girl can dream, though. Perhaps if I hope for it long enough, I can dream it into fruition.

Day 1 = Done

Went back to the office today. I’m proud to say that I only had one panic attack the entire day. With how anxious I’ve been feeling about being in the office and being around my coworkers, only freaking out once is a huge deal for me.

The CEO left a Costco Size bottle of hand sanitizer, a set of face masks and a large container of disinfectant wipes on everyone’s desk for when we arrive. Normally I am not a fan of single use products, but I think under the circumstance it was a nice gesture for him to provide and I will make use of them. After all, my aversion to single-use products is far less important than keeping the office clean and disinfected.

It’s weird… being around people right now. I want to be nice, I want to be kind. I want to shake the hands of someone I’ve never met. I can’t. I fear people. And I don’t mean that in a way to make me sound weak, or sad, or pathetic… I say that to say the closer I get to people, the closer I get to germs.

I just got out of the shower. Needless to say, I needed to do that before I could do anything else when I walked in the door. There’s about enough time left in the day to have some dinner and decompress. I need to get ready to face the world again tomorrow.

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that feeling.

Texas is business as usual

In a non-pandemic world, one of the most prominent aspects of my new job is that I’m supposed to be travelling with the sales team to help them with events, client meetings and all that jazz.

Whilst the majority of the world seems to have halted all in-person events, Texas seems to have… missed the memo? I’m not too sure what’s happening down there. They seem to be going ahead with their in person events and they seem to believe that it’s business as usual.

In a non-pandemic world, there are three major events in Texas in October and November that would require being there for three weeks. Three weeks… in Texas. These event organizers are still going ahead as though nothing is going on. They’re basically hounding my office at this point to get our flight information and registrations verified.

“Why aren’t you coming?”

“We’ve got hotel rooms booked for you.”

“Accommodations are being made. Please let us know when your flights are booked.”

My boss has cancelled all trips, events and in person meetings for the rest of the year. He’s talking about doing the same for the first half of 2021 as well, depending on how the rest of this year unfolds. Texas (and when I say Texas I mean the event organizers of these specific happenings that I am supposed to be at, but I don’t want to say their names because, well… sharing their names would give away the name of my employer and… I don’t want to do that) isn’t happy with him for doing that.

I wonder what it’s going to take before they give up the in-person components. They must be struggling for participants if they’re hounding us to come down there.

Overheard on Discord

In follow up to Story time: The office frat-boy, Axel has graced our company discord with another blog post about another date of his.

It’s like he doesn’t even realize there’s an ongoing pandemic with 500+ active cases still in our city. Well, that’s a lie, he does realize there’s a pandemic going on because his story included a lot of complaining about how hard it is to ‘read a girl’ when she’s wearing a mask. One thing’s for certain, though, the pandemic isn’t slowing down his dating life.

This time around Axel decided that a perfect first date was to take a girl to the mall to help him pick out new pants. Apparently he had a gift card, so it was a win/win because 1) He didn’t have to spend any money on the date and 2) He got to show off his manhood by trying on various pants in front of her and asking for her opinions on fit and style.

After buying the pants, he decided to take his date into Victoria’s Secret because he wanted to see what type of underwear/lingerie she gravitated towards. Apparently you can tell a lot about a woman based off what type of lingerie she looks at on a store shelf, on a first date.

His advice to guys everywhere… or at least the men in my office who might have read his blog post? Don’t take your dates to Victoria’s Secret. He says the walls are plastered with posters of complete knockouts wearing next to nothing and it made it difficult for him to focus on his date.

The date didn’t work out.

I can’t figure out as to why. (rolls eyes)

If you are a male, would you take a girl (on a first date) to browse (not even shop) for lingerie? If you are a female, what would your reaction be if a guy took you to look for lingerie on a first date?

Posting pictures of people you don’t know

Marla (MarlaOnTheMove) and I have been chatting today about the idea of posting photos online that include people you don’t know and also, about posting photos of people you do know that you haven’t asked permission to share. I’ve briefly talked about this subject on my blog in the past and I got a lot crap for my opinions. What I never did, however, was share the story that largely shaped why my opinions are the way that they are.

In 2014 whilst working PR for large event, two coworkers and myself stopped off for a breather in the media scrum room. For anyone who’s not aware, at large events that have groups of journalists come to them, the hosts will often have private rooms for the journalists to meet, talk, eat and relax between speeches or games or whatever is happening that day.

The food in this room on this day was a hot dog, pasta and potato bar. We grabbed some food, sat down in the far corner of the room and I secretly took off the world’s most uncomfortable heels for a few minutes. (I wear heels once in a blue moon, and when I do, I very much regret doing so)

While in the corner, minding our own business at our own table, a journalist that was sitting at a table about forty feet away from us, took a photo of my coworkers and I eating. He was far enough away that we didn’t know this photo was being taken. Not until after the fact.

We were eating hot dogs. It was a gourmet hot dog bar, with different types of meat and probably forty different items for toppings. I don’t make it a regular occurrence to eat hot dogs, but I mean… when in Rome… or when there’s a gourmet hot dog bar, why not right?

So, this journalist took a photo of us eating hot dogs without our knowing about it. This journalist proceeded to post this photo of us eating hot dogs to his Twitter account and make a lewd comment that compared the hot dogs we were eating to a penis.

He took a photo of three women who were minding their own business, eating their lunch in the middle of a busy work day, posted the photo to the internet and made a lewd comment as the caption.

We didn’t find out about the photo until probably close to midnight that night. It was actually our boss who showed us the photo. This journalist, not thinking about the reach that he had with his social media platforms, thought that it was completely appropriate to take our photo without our knowing about it and share it as a means to turn us into a joke.

That is why I don’t eat hot dogs anymore.

But also, this is largely why I have a firm, hard stance on people posting photos of someone they don’t know.

People deserve privacy.

In a world where there’s a camera on every phone (and likely to be a camera on every watch soon enough) finding privacy seems to be a harder feat with each passing day.

I’m of the firm belief that just because you can take a picture of someone doesn’t mean that you should. And, if for some reason someone has ended up in a photograph of yours on accident, you do not have permission to share that photo online without asking them first. If you want to blur them out, or crop them out, then go ahead and post the picture. But, if you can clearly identify someone in your photograph and they haven’t provided you permission to post said photo online, then you shouldn’t be posting it.

This counts for people you know, this counts for people you don’t know. This very much counts for EVERYONE under the age of 18. In my personal opinion it’s especially important if someone is under the age of 18 to either not share photographs, or seek permission from them (if they’re old enough to provide it) or their parents if they’re too young to provide permission.

If you don’t have permission to post a photo of the person in your photo then don’t post it. It’s as simple as that.

Do I think that everyone in this world is seeking to go out and take photos of people at vulnerable moments to post them online and turn them into a joke and humiliate them? No.

But, that doesn’t change my stance that people deserve privacy. They deserve the right to wander the bookstore without you taking their photo. They deserve the right to drop their kids off at school without you taking their photo. They deserve the right to privacy, no matter the circumstance or reason that saw them wind up in your photograph. They deserve the right to privacy no matter what you plan on doing with the photo. Even if your account only has ten followers.

I also believe this applies to everyone. Public figure or random nobody. If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the guests of honour and speakers for a public event, go ahead and take their photo on stage while they’re speaking. They know what happens at these events and they sign up for them, likely signing a contract that agrees to their photo being taken. If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are out for a walk with their son on a quiet trail on a Sunday afternoon and they can’t see you, or even if they can, don’t take their photo. It’s rude. It’s uncalled for.

People deserve the right to privacy in their lives. Walking out of your front door each morning is not a free pass for the world to use or share your likeness anywhere you go. Whether they’re Joe Schmoe from Timbuktu or the most famous person on earth. Whether you know someone or you don’t. Whether they’re in the photo purposefully (on your part or theirs) or they’re in the photo accidentally, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have the right to share it.

If your intentions are innocent and you just think it’s a cool photo that you’d like to share, get permission from the people you do know and crop out the people you don’t. It’s not that hard to figure out.

And, to the people in this world who argue there’s no such thing as privacy in 2020, there can be. If you choose to be a decent human being, there definitely can be. It’s all a matter of choice. Who do you want to be? What kind of legacy do you want to lead?

I’m sure I’ll get harsh critique of these opinions, but that’s okay. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and I get that not everyone thinks the same way as I do. That journalist seemed to think it was a completely okay thing to do to take a photo of us eating hot dogs and post it to Twitter with a lewd comment. Myself, my coworkers, my boss, we all did not.

I passed probation!

Oof. That sounds a tad nefarious.

I am no longer a probationary employee and my company. I’m legit. I’m official. They’re keeping me around.

I worried for nothing. I panicked for nothing. Well, it wasn’t for nothing. It was because the job means that much to me that I wanted to ensure I was getting my invitation to stay. The thought of being asked to leave was hard for me to grasp. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

On Monday I’m legit.

My boss jokingly said ‘Simmer down a little bit, why don’t ya? You’re making me look bad with your achievements…’ during the review. Hey, I’ll take it. I’ll take it in stride.

I can do this job and I can do it well.

Now that I know I’m legit, I’m staying and I have a pay cheque that I can count on twice a month, I really think it’s time to start a business. I love my job and what I get the opportunity to do, but I also want to have something that’s mine. Something that I can say I built. Something with low start-up costs and low overhead. I’ll figure it out one of these days. I just have to do it right.

I passed, baby.

I may or may not have celebrated by eating some frosting right out of the container. I’m a firm believer that you have to celebrate the small victories in life.

When panic attacks attack

I had a panic attack at the end of work today.

My three month probationary period review is on Thursday. It was supposed to be last week, but it got moved to this week, so I’ve had to carry that nervousness around with me for an extra seven days.

I’ve been very anxious about the review.

If I make it through this review without getting fired, I’ll have passed the probationary period, I’ll be an official employee with benefits and holiday time and get a work credit card and all that jazz.

But I keep telling myself ‘if’. ‘If’. ‘If’. It’s a word that can really eat away at you if you let it. And, for some reason, I’ve been letting it eat away at me since my review was rescheduled from last week to this week.

I’m worried.

What if they fire me?

What if they say ‘hasta la vista’ and they just don’t give a damn?

What if this all ends and comes crashing down around me as quickly as it started?

I’ve been doing really good with respect to my anxiety for the past two months. I’ve had very few major issues and, for the most part, when I get anxious, I’ve been able to be reasonable and calm myself down.

This afternoon I sent my boss a message on Microsoft Teams chat and they read it and didn’t respond. They didn’t respond and my mind just started racing.

‘What if I’ve failed?’

‘What if this all ends on Thursday?’

‘What if I’m fired?’

It didn’t take long before I was struggling to breathe and found myself curled up in a ball unsure of what to do. I’d like to think I’m calmer and a lot more collected than having a panic attack because my boss left me on read.

All that being said, perhaps if I survive Thursday then I will be.

Here’s to hoping they don’t fire me. Confident me says they won’t. Anxious me says that the worst case scenario is always possible, no matter how confident I am.

YouTube is the ‘ultimate’ modern day MLM

That’s right, I went there.

Multilevel marketing (MLM) is a strategy that some direct sales companies use to encourage existing distributors to recruit new distributors. In MLM schemes, there can be hundreds or thousands of members worldwide (or in the case of YouTube, Instagram and the likes, millions upon millions), but relatively few earn meaningful incomes from their efforts, indicating a possible pyramid scheme. Multilevel marketing is also referred to as ‘referral marketing’.

The entire premise of multilevel marketing is that people make sales for a company without being actual employees of that company. The ‘consultants’ make a small commission for their work and those higher up at the company will always be the one’s making real money. While companies like LulaRoe, Amway, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Avon might be struggling in a pandemic-ridden 2020 due to the structure and nature of their corporate pyramid, YouTube has been reaping the rewards of their corporate pyramid one-hundred-fold over the past decade.

Before you roll your eyes, hear me out!

Content creators are not employees of YouTube. They’re consultants. They don’t get benefits. They don’t have taxes taken off of the money YouTube pays them. They don’t earn a regular income. They’re paid based on performance. And, if they so like, they can take some of that payment from YouTube and put it directly into the membership costs of belonging to a YouTube network that promises to help them grow their platform. Furthermore, YouTube relies on content creators to bring in new creators and grow the YouTube platform further and bring in more money. In the case of YouTube, content creators are selling advertisements.

Now, let’s compare YouTube to Mary Kay Cosmetics, a widely known MLM. Mary Kay Cosmetics does not hire employees, they instead opt for a company structure that sees consultants making sales for the business, and, bringing in new consultants. Consultants are not paid a regular income, instead they earn based on performance. The more they sell, the more they earn. Mary Kay Cosmetics consultants also have the option to take their earnings and put it towards a network that will allow them to grow their platforms, and (hopefully) in turn sell more makeup.

Sounds familiar, right?

YouTube operates monetization on a sliding scale. Content creators are required to meet certain thresholds with their channel in order to even become monetized in the first place. As an audience grows for a particular content creator, new opportunities open up for them on the platform, such as being able to live-stream, finally earning a portion of the adsense dollars that YouTube is already making from their videos, and eventually even being able to open up their own ‘Membership structure’ for their channel in which people can pay the content creator directly for things like shout outs or sneak peaks. The better you perform, the more chance you have to earn. But also, if you don’t perform at all, it does not hurt the company whatsoever.

Mary Kay also operates their pay structure on a sliding scale. Sales consultants are required to make an initial investment in the company and sell ‘x’ amount of dollars worth of product before they’re able to even earn a profit. Depending on the amount an individual is able to sell, Mary Kay opens the opportunity for said sales consultants to earn bonuses – these can be anything from extra commission to free trips to the chance to drive a pink, branded car. The better that you perform, the more chance that you have to earn. But also, if you don’t perform at all, it does not hurt the company whatsoever.

In both cases, networking is pretty key to finding any sort of moderate success.

Now, wait a minute, wait a minute. The initial investment into a company like Mary Kay Cosmetics is one that you pay directly to the company. What is the initial investment in YouTube?

I’m glad that you asked.

While the initial investment one must make to begin a YouTube channel is not paid directly to the platform itself, you are required to have some form of technology – be it a phone, camera or computer – that allows you to film, edit and post videos to the platform. No, you don’t buy those phones, cameras or computers directly from YouTube. But, what you do give YouTube is your time. And time is valuable. For reference, when you’re just getting started with video editing, it can take as much as thirty hours to edit a single ten minute video. For someone like myself, last year I worked for an economic development firm part-time. The hours weren’t regular, but when I was working, I was earning $20 an hour. If I spent 30 hours on a project, I would earn $600. For a new content creator on YouTube, until they reach 4,000 hours of watch time, 1,000 subscribers or more and compliance with YouTube’s community guidelines, they’re not earning a single cent. That’s 30 free hours of work they’re providing YouTube with, each time they upload a video.

Depending on the content creator, it can take a couple of months before earning monetization, or it can take a few years. This is why hustle culture on YouTube can, at times, be very toxic… which is not unlike the culture among any MLM company on earth. In YouTube, and in Mary Kay Cosmetics, the deck is stacked in favour of the bold, the beautiful and those who are the most ‘commercial friendly’. But, when you’re getting the tips and tricks of the trade from someone in the trenches, they’re not going to tell you that.

Someone with heavy investments into Mary Kay Cosmetics is definitely not going to tell you how hard it is for them to earn an income because they need you to sign up to help boost the income they’re struggling so hard to earn.

Someone with heavy investments (yes we’re counting time and money) into YouTube isn’t going to tell you the cost/value ratio of a single YouTube video because the minute they do, they’re going to lose out on opportunity for earning potential. Yeah, there’s a reason why YouTuber’s don’t comment about how much money they make. The moment they do, YouTube can flag their channel and decrease their earning potential. And, in an industry in which their money isn’t guaranteed, they don’t want to risk earning less if they don’t have to.

In a 2020 world, especially with the ongoing pandemic, marketers and large corporations have realized that there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about having regular folk advertise their products. What better way to do that then to enter every person’s home/life through the technology they already have. Advertisers pay YouTube to be able to run commercial campaigns during videos on the platform. In turn, YouTube promises advertisers that their ‘Consultants’ (Content Creators/Regular Folk) will bring enough people to the platform to bring a valuable return on investment in said advertisement. When you really stop to think about it, this isn’t that far removed from well known MLM companies that do the exact same thing through Instagram and, in a lot of cases, YouTube as well.

Somehow, though, YouTube has morphed itself into a ‘Legal’ pyramid scheme. One where those at the top get richer, and those, even in the upper echelon of the platform, still seek out sponsorships and affiliate codes/links to earn the majority of their income.

YouTube was estimated to earn more than 15 billion dollars in Ad Revenue in 2019. (From Business Insider) Only between 10-30 percent of that revnue is distributed to the content creators who are responsible for earning that income in the first place. That means that between millions of content creators who earned YouTube that 15 billion dollars, high-end estimations of that would suggest they shared 4.5 billion. And that’s being reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally generous.

Sure, a portion of 4.5 billion sounds great, right? Let’s say that there was 4.5 billion to go around and approximately one million channels on YouTube to split that among. That’s $4,500… for a year of work. Now take into account that those dollars aren’t being spread evenly. Those who performed better are going to be earning a larger piece of the Adsense pie. Realistically, the dollar amount a content creator could be making from YouTube could be absolutely abysmal compared to a regular nine-to-five job. This is why there are sponsored videos, affiliate links and free giveaways. But that’s a story for another day!

The pandemic has hit this world hard. People who work for companies like Mary Kay Cosmetics can’t just go do what they’ve always done because hosting a ‘Mary Kay Party’ to show off the merchandise isn’t exactly recommended when there’s a deadly disease sweeping the planet. They’ve taken to Instagram and YouTube and made some sponsored content of their own to try and keep their company afloat amidst all that is going on in the world. And, while the blow YouTube might be suffering due to the pandemic isn’t quite as large, they’re hurting too. It’s not easy for companies to produce advertisements for YouTube when their entire staff is/was working from home. For this reason, YouTube has recorded a loss in their second quarter profit earnings from ad revenue. That is also the reason why there are so many more ‘this video is sponsored by’ and ‘this product was gifted from’ videos circulating YouTube. In a work-from-home world, content creators are learning the already low revenue they were earning from adsense is going to be even less in 2020.

What really gets me, though, is when I’m watching a YouTube video and there’s an advertisement for an MLM company or product within the video itself. It’s become a bit like Russian Nesting Dolls… an MLM within an MLM, within an MLM. As the world continues to adapt to circumstances around us, these instances are only going to become more and more prevalent. Especially since YouTube won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

And, because I went ahead and called them the ultimate modern day MLMi in the title, I will add that where struggling MLMs require high investments for you to even test the product, all that is required to test YouTube is technology and boredom. Thus making them a far superior MLM to any other in existence right now.