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Dr Sarah Taber @SarahTaber_bww
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Still digesting #SHA2018. One thing that came up that will probably keep digesting for a while.

Let's start: There's a huge connection between how employers treat their workers, and workplace outcomes.
This includes pay. But "how workers are treated" also means workplace conditions/safety, and my personal fave, how much of their time they spend on actual productive work vs kludging to get their job done in spite of management's failures.
When management's stingy, abusive, or just plain wastes workers' time, it causes resentment. It's shitty leadership. People won't put their best work in if YOU, the management, won't put YOUR best work in.
Now. If you've been making a "duh" face since the beginning of the thread: congrats. You're ... like ... literate at life.

There are a lot of folks for whom this is so intuitive that saying it out loud feels wrong. Like, "fire is hot"-level obvious.
But there's a shocking number of folks who are bowled over by this info. It's a bloomin' revelation. #1 NEW FAVORITE LIFE HACK

And in my life experience, 100% of the folks who find this info new & exciting are both white and middle+ class.
sorry y'all I'm just still digesting what kind of life somebody would have to live in order to miss this
The thing is though, I have to walk people through this fairly regularly in trainings w tech founders ... and with farmers. It's NOT intuitive to a lot of them.

We all knew that about startup founders already. But farmers? Says a lot about social class & agriculture, doesn't it?
Meanwhile, I was just at a conference with a bunch of Librul Elite Academics ... who instantly got it.
Anyway, right now's the end of field season.

This time of year usually winds up being a deep existential crisis from spending so much time & energy walking folks through stuff that should by all rights be basic human knowledge, coupled with ... basically therapist burnout.
With the way this job (food safety auditing) works, we can't just hold people accountable & train them. We have to make sure they feel as good as possible about themselves & their operation during the whole process.
Ultimately I do think it's the best way to get lasting improvements in that part of the food system. And there's really no reason to be a jerk about it anyway. If you can get things done the kind way or the unkind way, why NOT do it kind?
It's fine. I'm pretty happy with the results of what we do.

It's just a whooole damn lot of emotional labor, & no rest. A giant existential crisis about ag & privilege. And a festering sense that everything we think we know about ag is wrong, but I can't even put it into words.
I've been living on the road … p much since April. Had a couple 2-week breaks in there (frantically catching up on paperwork). I keep forgetting what state I'm in, everything hurts, & haven't been home long enough to set up my office since we moved in. That room just sits empty.
And honestly? It's really difficult to feel like any of this is even a real problem. What I do is just really high-end migrant farm labor. Most days on the job you're there on a farm with the other kind of migrant farm labor, wondering if they're ok.
After all that, #SHA2018 was just a really fascinating cherry on top of the existential horror sundae.

TO BE CLEAR: the conference was great!
It's spending 7 months on the road talking a lot of landowners, w their tendency to shit-talk the Librul Academic Elites, through basic working-class knowledge

only for the Out-Of-Touch Librul Academic Elites to understand it instantly

that'll really throw you for a loop.
Also guess who was at a hipster café this AM that turns out to belong to the fam THE TOWN IS NAMED AFTER

who were INDUSTRIALISTS FROM CONNECTICUT who loved slavery so much, they moved to Georgia to start a town, fight for the Confederacy & bitch about those g-d carpetbaggers.
What I'm saying is, agriculture in general & especially in the South is a never-ending Ouroboros of bullshit. I'd like to thank the Southern History Association #SHA2018 so much for participating in the Dumbo nightmare sequence that is my life, let's do it again next year.
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