Women are leaning into activism! And since protest is not just the new brunch, they are struggling to balance SAVING OUR DEMOCRACY with career and family. What with all the marches, groups to join, states to turn blue, members of Congress to yell at (both in person and over the phone), petitions, tweets, emails, and executive orders to keep track of, one certainly can lose focus. And since folks aren’t being paid for any of this progressive activism, they can’t afford to be distracted on the job.
Friend of the Momtropolis, Catt Small, balances activism with her work as a product designer for beloved site Etsy! She devotes about 5 to 10 hours per week supporting civil rights causes for Black Americans, immigrants, and women. She organizes events for social good such as the Game Devs of Color Expo. As a game developer, Catt is always looking for ways to seed tolerance and empathy into to the user experience. Her sex ed app, SenseU does just that. So I knew Catt would be out there grabbing back against this president; and have some ideas about how to focus daily resistance to his distinct unAmericanism— without jeopardizing work. As I suspected Catt has some sharp tips!
1. Get Off Social Media!
Consider subscribing to a high-quality news outlet such as the New York Times or a daily newsletter. Social media can be a firehose of unconfirmed information that can lead to unneeded anxiety and stress. I lost a lot of time checking Twitter until I subscribed subscribed to the New York Times and installed an IFTTT (If This Then That) applet that notifies me when a new law is signed by His Cheesiness.
(FactCheck.org is also a great inbox reality check in this age of alternative facts.)
2. The Activist’s Calendar
Pick several ways to help, then set a schedule and focus on doing those things very well. It’s impossible to be everywhere and do everything at once. The less you do, the more you can focus and be a better activist. The added bonus is that you’ll deliver better work at your job because of your increased focus.
3. Political Lunch
Organize activism efforts during break time at work. For example, gather some politically-minded coworkers and do an hourlong calling session or take a field trip to your local representative’s office. This kills two birds with one stone and keeps you from feeling like you’re not doing enough to help your country during the work day.
4. Activist Road Trip?
Take a day off and volunteer or protest. Going to donate time to a charity? Ask your company if they’ll let you take Volunteer Time Off (VTO). If your company doesn’t offer this benefit, propose it as an idea or take a sick day, if possible.
If your company offers a matching gift program, give as much money as you feel comfortable with. There are a variety of 501(c)(3) charities that focus on social good and need money to do the best they can. Monetary donations can help offset the guilt some people feel due to not being politically productive all the time.
(When you want to dive into politics, there are also special elections going on right now that you can contribute to in states such as Delaware, Connecticut, and Georgia. Some of these are state races, which have national implications because decisions about redistricting are made at that level. A complete list of all 2017 elections can be found here.)
Finally, if you work at an inclusive company, ask to open an activism channel on your preferred chat system (such as Slack). Discussing politics within an acceptable space can give you the opportunity to air your frustrations so you can feel better and get back to work.
Also published on Medium.