Things I Learned from the Internet This Week

In a blatant attempt to rationalize how much time I spend reading the internet, I’ve decided to post this first of what I hope to be a semi-regular roundup of some of the more interesting things I’ve come across in my coffee-time divagations. Those who follow me on facebook will recognize many of the links (one of the reasons I want to do this is to keep track of all the things I link to), though thanks to the mystery of facebook I never know how many people see any given link. At any rate, here are some things I found interesting these last couple of weeks. Maybe you will find some of them interesting, too. Continue reading “Things I Learned from the Internet This Week”

When You Say ‘My Owner’

I don’t know if this is just a Seattle thing, or if people do it other places. Maybe it’s just something that comes up in the kinds of joints I worked in back when I was still bartending. It’s a dumb little thing, but it always bothered me, and in light of a few months outside the Industry, I find it bothers me more and more.

It’s not uncommon, in my experience, to hear Industry folk use the term ‘my owner’ in casual conversation.

Point it out, and you get this moment of exasperation and incredulity. “You know what I mean.” And I do. It’s an easy shorthand, and ‘my boss’ usually refers to your manager. And in most non-corporate houses ‘owner’ is basically a job description, even if that job is mostly to loom over the proceedings, present or not, and express approval or disapproval to keep everyone on their toes. And hey, lots of them are right there in the trenches with you, pulling their weight and more, and I have lots of respect for anyone crazy enough to open a restaurant or a bar as a way to make a living. That takes a kind of dedication and perseverance of which very few people are capable.

But it still bugs me to hear people say that. Because how you say things matters. It matters on a psychological, even a neurological level. To say the words ‘my owner’ makes a physical connection in your brain. You hear yourself say the words, you experience yourself thinking the thought, and it strengthens that physical connection in your brain. Strengthening that connection makes the concept more real. It reifies it, makes it a thing that exists in your world, in however small a way.

Think about the implications for a moment. To concede the possibility of ‘my owner’ concedes the possibility of the loss of personal agency inherent in being someone’s property. Yes, we do this every time we clock in, to a certain extent. Such is the nature of working for other people. But to frame one’s employment in those terms concedes much more than trading your labor and skill-set for negotiated compensation for a set period of time. Continue reading “When You Say ‘My Owner’”