The week in work: job stress, food service, Missouri, wealth therapy, unfortunate analogies, sea lions, a kangaroo, and a chicken.
A more literal choice between mourning and organizing than is usually understood to be the implication of that slogan
New research examining rates of heart disease and stroke finds that low-pay and low-status jobs like food service are the most stressful occupations around, with workers in these fields experiencing far higher levels of health impacts than those working jobs like neurosurgery and architecture. It turns out that high levels of stress are most closely correlated with a lack of respect and lack of control at work. Highly-demanding jobs that also offer a high level of autonomy registered much lower on the stress scale.
In fact, researchers argued that empowering front-line workers could have a measurably positive impact on public health. In other words: organize as if your life depends on it.
The Show me a backlash state?
A judge struck down St Louis’s new $11 minimum wage law just hours before the first phased-in increase was supposed to take effect, culminating a disheartening reversal of fortune for Missouri low-wage workers.
After Kansas City moved to raise its minimum wage to $13 and St Louis to $11 earlier this year, the Missouri State Legislature passed a law clarifying that local jurisdictions were barred from raising wages, which was then vetoed by the Governor, but then the veto was overridden. Meanwhile, St Louis raced to pass their wage increase before the ban took effect, and Kansas City’s increase was made subject to a referendum.
And now, perhaps completing the circle, the St Louis increase has been blocked, and Kansas City has repealed their increase, which is probably illegal under the new court interpretation.
A peculiar new branch of therapy is focusing on the particular problems of the top 1% of the top 1%, who struggle with issues like feeling guilty about their money and even sometimes wanting to hide it. One leading practitioner of "wealth therapy" argues that it all started with the Occupy movement, which “singled out the 1% and painted them globally as something negative.” Though “not necessarily comparing it to what people of color have to go through”, the movement against income inequality from this perspective is “an -ism” because “it really is making value judgments about a particular group of people as a whole”.
The whole dive into the psychology of wealth is remarkable, especially this alternative angle from a different wealth therapist, just in case the racism metaphor doesn’t land quite right: “Often, I use an analogy with my clients that coming out to people about their wealth is similar to coming out of the closet as gay.”
Sea lions are feasting on the Columbia River all year round, and sport fishers are accusing the larger mammals of theft for snagging salmon from their fishing lines and leaving only hooked heads behind. Local members of Congress want to legalize the use of lethal force to remove the sea lions for apparently outsmarting and outcompeting the human fishers.
A 4-foot-tall kangaroo named Buster was seen hopping around Staten Island, reportedly “enjoying the freedom and the fun” and looking at first like a deer and then like a zoo escapee. Marsupials are technically illegal in New York City, but Buster was just visiting from upstate, so no charges were filed.
And a live chicken named Betty has been retained to operate the twitter account of an Australian fast food restaurant that primarily serves dead chickens. Betty is expected to work until she pecks out a 5-letter English word, but it’s not clear if she is being paid or is classified as a social media intern.