Praise for Walmart… Are We Crazy?
Walmart Pros and Cons from a Different Perspective
In recent months there has been a great deal of negativity posted online about Walmart. Much of it has been focused on how they pay their employees so little that even after working full-time, 40 hours per week, their employees still qualify for government subsides, including health care, housing assistance, and more. Further negative reports have centered around the fact that Walmart actually counsels their employees, upon hire, regarding the procedures for applying for such assistance, as if this is an unconscionable act. And to be honest, we’ve been guilty of criticizing this ourselves.
We do agree that companies as large as Walmart, with the profits they make, should provide better compensation for their employees. However, there is something that just recently came to mind for us that makes us question whether all that Walmart does is really so bad. We are referring, in particular, to the counseling it provides its employees.
This past week, our founder went on a job interview. In the interview, the owner of the company made frequent comments about how he believes all unemployed people are lazy and do not want to work. This particular employer informed our founder that he was considering her for a position paying just $12/hour, despite the fact that she has a Master’s degree and a lot of valuable experience. The employer further discussed benefits. The benefits he spoke of included a $401k matching plan which, frankly, is meaningless to anyone who cannot afford to pay their bills on the salary offered in the first place. The other benefit this employer stressed was $200 paid towards monthly health insurance premiums. Knowing that such premiums typically cost about $600/month (or more) for individuals, this would mean that the employee would have to contribute about $400 of their own $2,000 monthly income (or 20% of their income) toward the premiums each month to take advantage of the insurance. And because the employer offers this plan, it means that employees are not eligible for government-subsidized health insurance.
At this pay rate, government-subsidized insurance would otherwise cost as little as $150/year. However, this employer has created a situation wherein the employee will have to pay $4,800 annually if they want to be insured. Thus, this “benefit” would actually wind up costing the employee an extra $4,650 annually. What is more likely to happen is the employee will opt to go without insurance because their rent is $1,000/month and they are unable to pay rent, food, and other living expenses on this salary, even without adding insurance premiums to the mix. Rather than having an employer pay 1/3 of the insurance premiums, the employee would be better off with none. This type scenario happens more frequently than many of us realize. Many employers like to brag that they offer coverage, when in fact, what they offer is worse than no employer-provided health coverage at all…
Now, as far as Walmart counseling their employees, here’s a real eye-opener. How would you like to learn, when you are in your early 50′s, that for 30 of the past 39 years of your working life, you could have qualified for subsided housing, if only you’d known? How would you like to wake up one day and realize that you spent nearly 40 years of your life holding, at times, 3-4 jobs simultaneously, in some making less than minimum wage to make others wealthy? How would you like to know that you’d spent years of your life or working to save other people’s lives, working for non-profits, counseling adult and child victims of abuse, counseling batterers, counseling those in crisis, providing free counseling to victims of 9-11, and stopping people from killing themselves and bringing guns to school to kill other children? And for more than ten of those years you rented rooms, alcoves, or closets converted into rooms in other people’s homes or apartments just to keep a roof over your own head; having no privacy, and often no door to your “room” (just a curtain separating you from others), and no peaceful place to call your own to get away from the stress of helping others work through their own life stresses. And now, after working all those years while being paid far less than you’re worth, struggling just to keep a roof over your head, you are facing homelessness because there is a 3-6 year waiting list for housing assistance that you could have qualified for all these years. How would you feel knowing that you’d cashed in what little you had in pension plans over the years, just to pay the rent? How would you feel knowing you might have been able to alleviate some of your own stresses and slept peacefully knowing that you were not at risk of being homeless, knowing that you would not be asked to move because your landlord chose to sell, and knowing that your landlord/roommate was not stealing from you while you were at work? How would you feel knowing you might still have had some money in the bank or an IRA to show for all your years of dedicated work? If only just one of your past employers had shared with you what Walmart shares with its employees, your life could have been very different. You could have exhaled for just a bit, focused on your life purpose, and begun to sing the song you were meant to sing when your came to this Earth. Rather than chasing a paycheck, you might have been able to create a symphony (so to speak). And maybe you could have afforded to have just one child whom you could have inspired to do great things and who might have been able to bring you joy over the years and keep you company in your old age… Maybe you could have had a huge impact on the world if only someone had told you that the blood, sweat and tears you gave to your jobs over the years qualified you for further compensation in the form of health care and housing assistance.
Please don’t take this the wrong way. We are not advocating that everything that Walmart has done is appropriate. We firmly believe that all workers who are willing to work a full-time job should be compensated appropriately. They should be paid enough to afford to buy food, put a roof over their heads, pay for health care, and purchase a car (new or used) where public transportation is inadequate. As FDR told those who held the wealth during the Great Depression, jobs need to be created, and workers should be paid enough to be able to afford the products they help to make. Yet, as history has shown, without the incentive to do so, over time, most employers will pay their workers as little as they can get away with.
So, though it may be unpopular to do today, we still applaud Walmart for at least having the decency to inform their employees of their available options. It’s a lot more than many other employers have done. And at least Walmart’s employees are strengthened with information. Employees with other companies have remained in the dark, giving their hearts and souls in jobs for decades with no knowledge that relief was available to them all along, just for the asking. And sadly, because so many have spent their lives chasing tiny paychecks just to survive, the world has possibly been denied some amazing life symphonies along the way.
In the end, perhaps the greatest message we can leave you with here is that of knowing that there is always another way of looking at things. And even amongst what appears on the surface to be something very negative, there is often some good there, somewhere, if we just take the opportunity to view things from a different perspective.
Perhaps, rather than condemning those who work within the system, we should look at changing the system itself.
Let’s value one another…
Image Source: http://technorati.com/women/article/women-vs-wal-mart-largest-class/
As many of our friends may have noticed, we haven’t been posting much in recent months here, on Facebook, or elsewhere… at least not as compared to the number of FB posts we shared during the second half of last year. Some of this is due to the fact that we’ve been adding new software to this website and planning and working behind the scenes on exciting ideas to expand WECANFeelGood to be much more than originally planned. Another reason is that I’ve personally redirected my own attention to be nearly fully and completely focussed, 24/7, on job search efforts since January, so that I may continue to be able to pay my bills and move forward with WECANFeelGood … that job search process is still ongoing, so please, hold good thoughts. Thanks! … Still, there is yet a third reason why I have delayed occasional posts here and there. You see, I’ve also been going through a bit of a transition of my own…
As many of you know, I am passionate in my belief that this world has a great many wonderful things about it, and a great deal of positive potential. And while these many wonderful things do exist at present, I believe this world can be an amazingly better place than it already is. I know there is nothing wrong with working in a direction that brings about improvements. However, I’ve found myself occasionally falling into the trap of pointing out some negativity in the process, and have felt my energy drain as a result. Some of you may be wondering what I’m talking about, and may not have even noticed an ounce of negativity in our posts. But I have, and that’s enough.
My actions leading to the somewhat negative posts stemmed, in part, from my desire for change and the potential that elections, especially during a Presidential election year, can bring where change is concerned. A second catalyst was my wide-ranging work experience that provides me with first-hand knowledge of things that I wish to share with others who may not have had the benefit of the same experiential knowledge. A third catalyst was frankly my personal fear about my own financial future, given the current economy and my loss of three jobs since 2010 because of the economy (one of the reasons I was inspired to create WECANFeelGood in the first place). And a fourth catalyst was my belief at the time that it is important to point out current flaws, whatever they may be, in order for others to understand the need for positive changes.
While understandable to many, the problem with focusing on the latter two beliefs is that I know that whatever we give our attention to, and whatever we focus on, expands. If we focus on good things in our life and we express gratitude for those good things, we will get more good things. If we focus on fear, worry, lack, dis-ease, or anything that we deem to be negative, more of the negative will appear in our lives and our world in general (The Law of Attraction). A very wise Woman, known to the world as Mother Teresa, knew this quite well, as demonstrated in her quote added to the image below.
Mother Teresa knew that fighting anything, be it positive or negative, served no good purpose. Let’s face it, nobody really likes to be judged, criticized, or opposed in any way. And when we openly oppose others, their natural reaction is typically not warm and fuzzy, or inviting. Instead, we as humans often find ourselves wanting to defend ourselves and our actions, and/or worse yet, attack back. This practice results in nothing more than an ever-escalating, back-and-forth supply of anger, resentment, and increased negativity, through which nothing good results.
Thus, I have decided that I will, from this point forward, make every effort to give my attention steadfastly to that which is positive and uplifting. This is not to say that I will ignore someone’s need for help, or the room that exists for positive changes, and pretend that they do not exist. It simply means that I will continuously do my best to put myself in others’ shoes before I resort to criticism (something I’ve frequently practiced without effort for as long as I can remember). And I will not allow issues to sap me of the energy and attention I need to do good things. Instead, I will do my best to identify and share here things that can address existing needs in a positive and uplifting manner. As has always been my focus, I will also continue to make it a priority to provide information about, and opportunities to acquire, better alternatives for us all in the form of products and services from companies doing good things for Women, the Environment, Children, the Arts, and Nature.
In another sense, though this may seem a bit trickier, I will do my best to recognize the things I like about those individuals, organizations or methodologies with whom/which I may not totally agree. And where I see room for improvement, I will do my best to limit my comments to those that make useful suggestions (constructive criticism) for positive change, rather than making negative critical comments about that which I do not agree. Besides, most people (ourselves included) welcome suggestions that might improve what we do, as long as it is presented in a gentle, caring, and non-threatening manner. And the truth be known, there is good in everyone and everything. It is sometimes packaged in a way that we don’t readily recognize. That is the miracle (or shift in perception) available to bring great peace to us all, according to A Course in Miracles.
Let’s face it, we are none of us perfect. Or as someone I once knew used to say, “We are perfectly imperfect”. And we are none of us exactly alike. We are all learning and growing on our own paths and at our own pace. Some of us take long detours, while others like to get right into action. What works for some, may not be ideal for others. If it doesn’t serve you or me, it may just serve the one next to us perfectly. In truth, it is the differences between us that often make us so interesting to one another. And each attempt we make to improve ourselves and change the world for the better, without forcing our ways and views on others, moves at least one of us forward in some way, and has an infinitely positive rippling effect throughout the world. It’s our attempt to change, the approach we take, and the intention behind it, that makes all the difference in the world.
And for those who may be worried that there is so much negativity in the world that we must fight it head on to win, I would share with you news of the results of groups of individuals focused on peace and positive thoughts: http://www.worldpeaceproject.org/news/
In reading and contemplating this challenge, some may feel this Criticism Fasting Challenge that I/we are embarking on is a very noble act on our part. While I will not stop you from expressing positive comments or praise, as I know it will serve you in the process, you should first understand that this Criticism Fasting Challenge is actually quite self-serving. First, I believe it is my responsibility as a member of this world we share, to do what I can to make it a better place. Thoughts are powerful, and the more each and every one of us share positive thoughts, the more positive our world will be for you and for me. And while I always try to do my best to take others’ feeling into consideration, I know it to be true that as I praise others, I also lift myself up in praise, and my energy is lifted as well.
Again, to use a quote from Mother Theresa, she so wisely stated, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” In essence, we are one.
Looking at this idea from a psychological standpoint, we have what Carl Jung referred to as a Collective Unconscious, based on the experiences of those who came before us, and shared by us all. Then there are Carl Jung’s term Projection, and Carl Rogers’ term Reflection are often used to describe an understanding that we each serve as movie screens or mirrors for one another. What you see in others (positive or negative) is really you being reflected back to you, as if via a mirror. Others simply serve to help us gauge our own status. If we see negative things around us all the time, it is because we have projected things we don’t like about ourselves onto others, we are in need of healing, and are truly not at peace with ourselves. If we see positives, it is because we like, and are at peace with ourselves. This explanation may seem a bit simplistic as there are many things that come into play, but the overall concepts have great merit.
We invite you to partake in a Criticism Fasting Challenge of your own. (Please know, when we use the word “challenge” we are not suggesting that we hold a contest to see who “number 1″, who is is better than others, or who can do this the longest. My own challenge is with myself, to see if I can improve upon my own personal past performance, and maybe even eradicate negative criticism and judgement in my life for good. Yours, likewise, should be with yourself. After all, when we compete against one another, in order for someone to win, others must lose, and that is not our goal here.) We’d love to have you join us, and we’d love to hear back from you regarding your results. Try it for just a day. If you make it through a day, try a week. If you can make it through a month, you will likely have developed a new, healthy habit that will serve you and the world well for a lifetime and beyond. I personally believe, if you do this earnestly, you will truly appreciate the results.
So as I conclude this post, I do so in celebrating the great unique positive qualities that each of us possess, and the potential we each hold to do better and be greater than we are today! In truth, we are already great. Some of us just have yet to recognize that in ourselves and in one another… Here’s to us and our combined greatness!
Together WECAN make a difference and WECANFeelGood!
Photo sources (as best we can determine), in order of appearance in this article, follow:
Note: Creative editing, including borders and text, was added by our sister company, Powers Productions.
In celebration of the Environment, … and Nature, … and our founder’s birthday we are wearing and celebrating green things today! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all!
Image Source: http://www.webdesignhot.com/free-vector-graphics/st-patricks-day-vector-background/
Our founder’s sister, who lives down the Jersey Shore on the northeast coast, sent her a text message today to inform her that, even though she drove her car to two jobs today (she teaches at a high school by day, and at a University in the evening) there were icicles on her car in the middle of the day. New Jersey, and much of the northeast, will not see temperatures above freezing, day or night, for more than a week.
Having lived back in the northeast for many years, our founder knows what cold temperatures are like. At one point, she lived in a renovated barn on a 55-acre farm in Pennsylvania. The barn used oil heat, and oil prices were beginning to sky-rocket. For the entire winter, she set her thermostat to 55 Fahrenheit in order to keep her costs down. As a result, while some of her neighbors had oil delivered 3 or 4 times during the winter months, spending hundreds of dollars on each delivery, she never needed to refill her heating oil tank until summer when prices had dropped again. She learned to dress warmly indoors as well as outdoors. A down comforter definitely helped.
Now that she lives on the beautiful California coast, she has found no reason to heat her home, even though it is very poorly insulated. Last week, the temperatures dropped into the 30′s at night, and her thermostat dropped to its lowest point. (It was definitely in the 40′s indoors overnight, but the thermostat does not read that low.) Her down comforter kept her toasty warm at night, and the sun warmed her place up nicely during the day.
Even though the California coast can see some low temperatures at night, they are short-lived, and warmth via the sun is just a few hours away. On some days, the indoor temperature does not rise above the low- to mid-sixties. Yet, if one wears socks, and layers their clothing indoors, as one does outdoors, they will find that it’s really not bad. And the savings one can realize by avoiding the use of heat, as well as the benefit to the environment, can prove to be a very nice gift in the end.
Yes, we understand that this may be a bit late in coming. Still, we wanted to be sure to wish you all a Happy New Year!
We are in the process of making changes to our business and our website, so we’ve been a bit preoccupied lately. Given the changes we are making, we thought this beautiful picture would be a good choice to represent the changes we are undergoing, and the changes you will see in the upcoming year. Besides, we do love Nature!
We hope you are all well and in the process of making this new year a successful one in all ways possible. Wishing you love, joy, prosperity, and all good things!
Image Source: http://wallpaperpassion.com/download-wallpaper/32831/happy-new-year-2013-wallpaper
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! <3
The woman noted in this article (link below) was fired from her job for no other reason than her boss could not control his own sexual desire for her. And the all male Iowa Supreme Court decided that his decision to fire her was fair.
She did nothing wrong. She was very good at her job. If anything, his comments and text messages to her should have been viewed as inappropriate. But she is now out of work because he feared he might have an affair with her down the road.
We are not necessarily fans of sexually explicit clothing in the workplace, and have often thought women do themselves a tremendous disservice by dressing in ways that cause others to take them less seriously. Still, there is no mention in this case of a workplace dress code that this woman broke.
There is such a double standard in our society… TV, movies, and the media in general send the message that women should flaunt what they have. Yet, when the do, or if they don’t, it seems they can’t win
What does this say about women’s rights in the workplace? Men can fire women simply because they find them attractive? Men can also fire them because they are not attractive? This woman was not working in the field of modeling. Nor was she an actress. She was a dental assistant. How can the courts find this to be be fair?
There is something very wrong with a judicial system that makes decisions like this in this day and age.
For all those who lost loved ones in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, December 14, 2012, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
For all the dearly departed souls, we thank you for sharing your brief time here on earth with us. <3
This teenaged girl, Malala Yousafzai, took a bullet to the head, and one to the neck, simply because she she spoke out about her passion for education in a country where women are denied the right to an education. She remains, to this day, a target for the Taliban.
And now that her Pakistani government wants to name a college after her, this young woman of tremendous courage and fortitude, respectfully asked the government to rescind the decision, out of concern for the safety of the school’s female students.
We ask: how does anything that President Obama did this year come remotely close to what this brave young woman has endured in the name of equality for all?