Tomorrow is Christmas, we figured we’d start this blog out by stating the obvious. Now that we have that out of the way, we wanted to share our holiday wishes with you.
Each wish is specific to a team member, it’s what they are passionate about or advocate on behalf of – maybe it’s personal or maybe it is work-related, either way it’s important.
What makes 8THIRTYFOUR’s culture great is we embrace what makes each of us special or unique.
Home for the Holidays
Cue the Sarah McLachlan song and all the sad dog faces. I’ve opened my home to seven dogs (currently) and I love every single one of them, but it’s a big life adjustment – just like kids.
The amount of animals that are euthanized on a daily basis is heartbreaking and horrible. What is even worse is the animals who end up back at the shelter after the holidays, because giving a dog or cat as a gift is an absolutely horrible idea.
My wish this holiday season is for every dog (it’s a wish ok) finds a home with a family who understands it is a lifetime commitment and will show them the same loyalty they show you on a daily basis.
Don’t be an asshole. Adopt, don’t shop. If I see another Doodle on all the socials, I’ll lose it. By the way, there is a Doodle rescue, because even people who pay for designer dogs still dump them – cause people are the worst.
Let It Go
These last few years have been filled with a lot of hardship for everyone, and while we had hoped that a common enemy (COVID) would bring us all together, it’s only brought out the assholes among us (If we have to hear another freaking argument about vaccines or masks or someone who knows better than the actual professionals, we’re going to lose it).
Tensions are high, people are leaving their jobs en masse, tornadoes are taking out homes across the country, COVID’s the worst it’s ever been, and through it all, we’re supposed to just act like everything’s okay. Um…what?
That’s why this year, we’re wishing for a deep breath, a smile, and the warm reassurance that it’s okay to not be okay. If you’re burnt out, you’re not alone. With family members in the hospital and the Omicron variant on the horizon, it’s time to stop acting tough. Let’s put mental health first.
That means we’re going to grab a drink and pop in the sappiest holiday movie we know for a good cry, write up letters to our friends so they know we’ve got their backs, and hold our pets close. Things suck right now, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. It sure beats the hell out of faking a smile.
It’s Not that Deep
This plays off of Rowan’s, “Let It Go,” sentiment (cut to Jules singing the Disney hit from 2013’s Frozen), but collectively we should be giving each other and ourselves more grace.
We are trying to survive a pandemic (yes… that is still happening, in case anyone forgot), are living in a news cycle that leaves one with whiplash if you are on top of it like us and aiming to take care of ourselves and the ones we love at the same time. Yeah, with all of that, we need to remind ourselves that it really isn’t that deep. Do you think someone is mad at you? They probably are not and if they are, you will know. Stressed about work? Talk about it with your team.
We are small but mighty here at 8THIRTYFOUR but I know if I reach out to a teammate, whether they have pitched before or not, they would jump in and help me. My 2022 wish is that we will be graceful to our people, kinder to ourselves and remember to take it one day at a time. It really isn’t THAT deep.
Down with Debt!
So if you are going to wish, wish BIG. And nothing is bigger right now than student loan debt. The insurmountable mountain of debt a generation has burdened themselves with in the hopes of finding a job where they earn enough to pay it back has taken on a life of its own, a massive monster with hundreds of thousands of Americans under its heel. Now there are plenty of arguments saying how it was a choice, or how we shouldn’t have done it in the first place. However the problem won’t go away with should’a would’a could’a’s.
My wish this year, once student loan payments restart in January, is that we as a nation work to solve this problem. Not just for me personally, but for all those who are wondering what pocket they’ll pull that expense out of. I, just like a lot of people in my generation, were without a doubt pressured to go to school. And predatory lenders were all too eager to give out unsecured loans to every Pete and Sally who might wander into their clutches.
So here’s to everyone in the same boat – wishing you the best of luck in finding ways to repay these loans, and a happy new year. You can read more about the student loan crisis here.
Have a F*cking Heart
We’ve all been through a lot the past couple of years. The pandemic turned extroverts into introverts, and introverts into hermits. It has become so much easier to say no to things (not going to lie, it’s kind of a blessing). However, I know I’m not alone in saying “no” to things that have to do with peopling.
We’ve all drifted away from one another over the course of the past couple of years, whether it be by choice or quarantine; but seriously I feel like that separation has created a bunch of selfish assholes. Somehow we all forgot that we’re all human and we have our own struggles, insecurities, and anxieties. People have placed their needs over the needs of others.
So my wish for this new year is that people slap themselves back to reality and start treating one another with empathy. Put the shoe on the other foot (I don’t understand this saying it sounds like you’re trying to put your left shoe on your right foot), take your blinders off and take the time to understand both sides of the story, just pretend to give a shit if that’s what you have to do. People underestimate the power of language, words can hurt or heal, so choose yours wisely.
Giving Voice Where It’s Due
So many people these days are committing to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, but is there ever REALLY a follow through? We are living in a time in history where the past and present feel synonymous, all while we are constantly reinventing what it means to be inclusive and what it means to give equal voice to a multitude of groups of people. The reality is; voices are still silenced, people still feel isolated in “inclusive work environments,” and times are not changing as drastically as we need.
My challenge to you is to ask yourself these questions often;
- How are you including diverse individuals?
- How are you EXCLUDING diverse individuals?
- What are you doing to actively and consistently work against the status quo?
This year I am wishing for voice to be given to those who deserve it. No fake DEI goals, no black Instagram squares with 0 follow through, and no tokenistic behavior. Real representation, through real means, for real people of all walks of life. We can no longer simply talk about what is wrong in our world, we must combat exclusivity with active and consistent inclusivity.
Is it inappropriate to ask for Facebook (or Meta, if you’re into that kinda thing) to take a scheduled weekend hiatus like it briefly did in October? The silence and no pressure of the social world was…kinda nice, right?
But why are we still living like that? As media people, it’s SO hard to disconnect from the firehose (geyser) of information flowing through the internet, and for what? Is the attachment to social media productive?
My wish is for all of us (me, looking in the mirror) to take the advice of my co-workers as it pertains to the weekly screen time report:
- It’s not that deep – the important information will be there when wake up.
- Let it go – DELETE everything in that frantic comment to anti-vaxxers on the internet. It’s truly, not worth it, you’re the smart one.
- Give voice where you can – Speak up for the people you care about, against the issues that are downright bullshit and vow to DO BETTER.
- And have a f*cking heart – respect people’s boundaries and feelings. We will never know the whole story, and we shouldn’t need to, to be nice these days.
Peace and Kindness
Take a step back and breathe. Give yourself and others grace.
This shouldn’t be just a Christmas time practice, we need to incorporate it into our everyday lives, but Christmas seems like a good time to start!
The last few years have been HARD! That means we all need to work even harder to show the good. We have robbed ourselves and others of peace. Peopling is hard, it is even harder after a year of isolation (thanks Covid). Did you know that it is said that after 66 day we form habits. We had almost a year of no socialization (Zoom doesn’t count lol). I hope our new habits are being kind and giving grace.
We need to do better.
My wish is that we all share the gift of kindness and peace with those around us.
Take the time for self care so that you have the time and space to give that to others.
Make sure that you aren’t letting the everyday things in your life rob you of your peace or your ability to be kind.
Kindness and peace of mind are beautiful and powerful things.