Cheers my dears,
we need to talk! Take this as a #freelancefriday and a #socialsaturday post, as it is concerned with work and society. Both intertwined.
After having watched a video on Instagram from a German jazz musician, in which he talks about the artists and people from the event and entertainment industry suffering through the current crisis, and following that having had a conversation with an acquaintance (thanks for this, Miss K.K.), I decided it’s time to break the silence. I mean, I already talked quite directly about the risks and challenges of being a freelancer in another post – quote: “Every day that I don’t go to work is a day that I don’t earn money.” – but this here goes deeper and further.
So get yourself a tea or coffee and sit down. Because this is important.
We are all affected by the current crisis, that’s nothing new and nothing I should need to have to point out explicitly. And us living here in Germany or Europe, we’re still well off and should be grateful for it. Nevertheless, some things and circumstances need our attention.
Now in November at least here in Germany, it’s gonna be a Lockdown Light so to say – not so “light” and easy for all the small businesses, people working in gastronomy, the entertainment industry, freelancers, artists. Especially if they don’t have a well running online shop or if they live from selling products and services that are not able to be digitalised.
Second time this year that an uncontrollable wave threatens to wash away everything that hasn’t been fixed and anchored in the few months we had to gasp air. Many pub or restaurant owners and small business people fear having to close their facilities, not just for a month, but forever. Shut down and close their life work. Many musicians, authors, artists, theatre ensembles and others whose work is depending on tours, readings, performances, yeah, on social life, fear for their financial existence.
No, this post doesn’t aim to protest against masks and hygienic rules. To the contrary. They are necessary to save and protect the ones that need to be protected most.
But it’s a plea to support where we can. And we can. If we want to.
Saying “Well, what can one do, eh” right now, doesn’t help anyone. We have chances and options. Small ones. But also a small pebble in a sea can cause concentric circles.
If you’re now wondering, well, Gina, what is that you want, what should we do? I’m gonna tell you.
If you normally take your whole family out to your favourite Italian restaurant on a Sunday, then stick to that and order your favourite dish from Luigi every Sunday, because Luigi needs that! Eff the delivery apps that don’t have him listed, call him and order directly. Get over your laziness of finding an alternative that’s accessible with three clicks and don’t invest your money into big chains that already have more savings than Luigi could ever dream of, okay? Thank you.
If you’re said because you’re unable to visit the concert of your favourite band, buy CDs, vinyl, t-shirts, Merch and prove that it’s your favourite band. Or if they offer an online-concert with tickets, get your ticket. You would have spent the money anyway.
I hear you now, but we’re also struggling and need to take better care of our money. Yes, you are right. Absolutely. Good point. But let me calculate real quickly and I’m really bad at maths: If you normally would have spent let’s say 80 bucks on a ticket for the concert and you were refunded now due to cancellation of said concert, but you could purchase a vinyl or a t-shirt for let’s say 30 bucks, then it’s 50 bucks in your pocket and 30 in the pockets of your favourite artists, who are really effed and probably haven’t been sleeping well for a while now. Unless they hamstered ish loads of whiskey, wine and gin.
You love a particular poetry slammer but slams are dismissed? Well, I bet they have live recordings on CD or already published a book or two. Take the 8 bucks you would have invested in the live show and buy the book. But the book is more expensive than 8 bucks! Sorry, I forgot the pretzel and the beer plus the bus ticket/gas money/parking ticket you would have paid that night 😉 despite my lack of skills in maths I think you’re getting what I’m aiming at, huh?
For heaven’s sake, no, please, if you are struggling massively financially right now and your financial existence is at stake, please don’t invest your last button to help others, but help yourself first. Only if you have, you can give. But if you have a little, then give, cause you know what? That can save financial existences, and in some cases lives. What, 8 bucks are changing something? Yes, because if 100 people say that their 8 bucks won’t do anything, that’s 800 bucks that can’t do anything.
But you know something else? Even if you don’t have one spare cent, you can still help and support. How? By using your social media accounts to share contents of your favourite artists. Now you’re saying but Gina, I only got 20 followers, that’s not gonna be of any use. Even if I might repeat myself, I’m gonna say it again: con.cen.tric…cir.cles my friends. If one of your followers sees what you shared and clicks on the profile, finds valuable content and shares it again, we end up in the popular snowball effect and you might never now what kind of effects that can have. And I mean, does it hurt you? It doesn’t cost a penny, only three clicks while you’re taking a sh… bath. In comparison to the massive amount of free content you’re provided with by small businesses, artists & co. that’s a minimal effort, which might have a huge effect.
If you say now, hold on a minute, all this free content we get, well, they’re not obliged to provide it, it’s part of their normal marketing, then we have to get one thing straight: No, they don’t have to do it. They do it out of conviction. And for marketing reasons, sure. But mostly out of conviction. Because they have something to say. And they want to share it. Because they are convinced that it might help others, that there is something in it for someone. And rarely do they ask for something back in return. Because oftentimes a “Please support me during this time and buy my album/my book” is perceived as begging. While it’s just an appeal. And if you consumed free content en masse before and now are turning up your nose at those artists pleading for support and you call him pathetic or beggar, then please leave my virtual living room immediately. Merci.
Get another coffee or tea, my dears, we’re not finished yet.
We need to talk about Christmas, too. Besides the fact that it’s uncertain right now how exactly we’re gonna celebrate our family gatherings this year, I’d like to stick to the topic and talk about gifts and presents.
Another plea from my side: Please think, buy and invest wisely. If you normally would go to Luigi on the 25th to get your Scampi al Forno with all your family, then order from him on that day. If the family photo shoot you wanted to gift is cancelled due to restrictions, buy a voucher from the photographer to get your photos when it’s possible again. If you’re not super talented yourself in doing DIY projects and cannot timber a night table yourself, then search on etsy or other platforms or talk to your local carpenter who can make your idea a reality in a professional manner.
I don’t urge or press or ask you to spend more money than planned, I don’t ask you to donate to heal all the misery in the world, because – let’s be honest – when it comes to that, my heart could bleed every day and everyone of us could donate all their income and savings to ease the pain of the world. I just ask you to take a closer look at the investments you wanted to make anyway and to make sure whether there are alternatives which would help people who are really in need of support right now. You could help them make ends meet rather than throwing your money into the mouths’ of big companies that belch one time and smirk, knowing that there is gonna be a tomorrow for them. Unlike many small business owners, freelancers and artists. Yes, maybe the handmade calendar does cost 3 bucks more but believe me, they are well invested. And if it’s only for the coffee to get the small business owner out of bed to design your personal calendar.
And if you say now, well, they should have thought about things like that before becoming a freelancer or an artist, I ask you to hold your breath for a second. One person becomes a nurse out of conviction, which includes a permanent position. The other steps into the traditional family business, sells products to keep the tradition and is able to pay themselves a regular monthly income. The other becomes a musician, author, photographer out of conviction and passion to contribute cultural value to society. And these jobs rarely ever include permanent positions or regular incomes.
And I ask you: What would your life look like without the books you read? Without the photographs of landscapes that take you to places you’ve never visited and make you dream? Without the music that got you through your last heartbreak or that was the anthem to your big joyful moment? Without the handmade bookmark gifted to you by granny? Without the handmade and designed post card that you got from your best friend, on which she wrote a quote from your favourite author and that reminds you of the depth of your friendship whenever you look at it?
If any of these things resonates with you and now you got a song in your head, and if you want these things to still exist “when it’s over” (whenever that might be and whatever it might look like), then I beg you: Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
Even if it’s just sharing content, a post, a story.
with love, hope and gratitude in heart
PS: I’m gonna speak about it on the balcony, too, so keep an eye open.