Is Your Job Killing You?

Now more than ever people are buzzing about health matters in such a highly examined way. So much so, that there has been a massive push to comb through the everyday contributors to identify the biggest culprits of poor health. While discovery raises its head to the surface for its explorers, the question then soon becomes a matter of acknowledgement and choice. Meaning, once a person knows the cause of something will they then accept it and do something to change their course of action?

One such predominant cause and effect relationship that has been declared, is in the work to personal health dynamic. The evidence of this relationship has surpassed the questions of whether or not the jobs we work cause an adverse effect on our health, but have escalated to questions of how much are we willing to ignore and put up with the detrimental effects that our jobs are causing on our health?

Genetics Loads the Gun Environment Pulls the Trigger

While evidence has shown direct negative causation between work and health, it is true, however, that not all jobs are the sole cause of disease. Despite this balanced acknowledgement, many jobs do in fact facilitate environments that promote it. From 0-30 minute lunches (if even taken) to fast-paced demanding environments, with no breaks, it’s no wonder people have been experiencing unfavorable health-related issues. Issues largely effecting the digestive system and skin such as sporadic rashes and episodic eczema. These topical annoyances, which are some of the most common stress-induced manifestations, are often signs of a bigger picture that our bodies are alerting and forewarning us about.

While it has been argued that we all carry an innate predisposition to the spectrum of disease, what has not been largely opposed is the effect environment has on drawing out/activating those predispositions. Long work hours, overtime and working while “off” create stressful lifestyles that leave little time for proper sleep, nutritious meal preparation, and joyous time spent with friends and family.

So why, knowing all these affects do we continue keeping this harmful hamster wheel in motion?

The “Golden Ticket” Lie Corporate America Sold You

One such reason we resume on this course is due to the persuasive impact of the mainstream workplace arena. Corporate America has double downed on ticket sales for both the desperate and the greedy. Those in desperate need of provision to take care of the basic necessities of life have purchased their season passes to ride the main attraction as this procurement, in some ways, seems to be the best ticket in town. For others, basic needs are not a major deficiency yet the lure for greater material possessions and additional financial “security” are the draw for them.

But is the cost of the golden ticket to enter this world actually leading it’s buyers to the blissful entrance of the chocolate factory?

In essence, is the time, effort and energy invested really paying off?

As more and more cases of stress-induced work related disease is on the rise, the answer to this previously posed question becomes a resounding no. As what often becomes the story of workers around America (and other countries who have a similar toxic work system) is that the means to the end often lead to the end before the means. Meaning, many individuals do not even make it to the finish line of a lifelong career as they are sidelined by stress-related/work-induced disease. For those who do make it to “retirement” many have often spoken about health issues they currently face as a result of a stressful job they carried for years. Many have even confessed that they knew their job was “killing” them but that they had no choice but to just deal with it.

A copious amount of people over the past century have worked themselves into disease just as recklessly as a squirrel trying to cross the street. If people truly saw the link to their work patterns as paths leading them to destructive health-related ends how then would efforts for change be provoked? Would more workers seek to petition for a shorter work week?  Would collective voices arise to challenge corporate leadership and cultures to structure a better way?

Many millennials are being called “entitled” for doing this very thing. Pushing back. Seeing the early signs of what the previous generation experienced is what leads them to seek opportunities in less toxic settings.

Karoshi: Death by Overwork

Many of us are familiar with workplace terms such as “occupational health” and “workers compensation.” In fact, we often joke about the latter in hopes of “cashing in” while being excused from having to show up to work. Yet, if we were truthful, it would be hard pressed to find anyone who would choose to experience a painful injury for the sake of a temporary payday. As there is recognition that the road to recovery for those seriously injured most often is long and has the likelihood of permanent lifelong disability.

Outside of worker’s compensation, the most recognized work-related illnesses or occupational diseases are those who have been exposed to hazardous conditions or substances at work. Many of these particular conditions or health problems are often considered “work-related,” as workers have been able to evidentially show a link to job causation. Yet, there is another large pool of workers who are experiencing the same level of occupational disease; but because the condition is not as a result of an external hazard (i.e. chemical, pollution, etc) there has been little responsibility or repercussions given to the employer. Because of this lack of established culture in the workplace, many today fear reporting direct causation of stress-induced illnesses to their employers; so as to not look like they “cannot handle stress.” Thus many often suffer in silence and merely accept the “cost of doing business.”

With the pace of business only accelerating and the demands of worker productivity matching its speed, how then do we address this issue? How many cancer cases and deaths will it take for the culture of business to change? How many people are willing to stand up for their health and mental wellness at the potential risk of their income?

This is more than a push for employers to add a few more PTO days or imploring companies to put in a few more office perks to “make it a great place to work.” This is truly about changing the work culture that has led many to the place of illness.

We Are More Than Our Work

We Are More Than Our Work.

Period.

Albert Einstein said it best: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Thus, we must then take a different view if we are to shift the workplace culture. One such mindset that workers must change is the view that “the job needs me.” Please know the company will be okay if you choose to have healthy work boundaries and balance in your life. While many companies tout themselves as a family, the truth of the matter is everyone is replaceable. If not now…later. With this in mind, how can we restructure our level of engagement so as to reclaim our identities outside of work?

While many people fear what will happen to them if they use their personal time off (PTO), unplugging from work throughout the year is one of the best ways to counter stress-induced work-based disease. It has been reported by the US Travel Association that each year, more than half of Americans leave vacation time on the table. In 2018, a staggering total of 768 million days were recorded as unused PTO. Take time to actively plan your time off, because before you know it you will be indirectly adding to this total in the years to come.

It is not being a poor team player for taking care of yourself. Self care is not only for yourself but it is for the collective. When you are truly refreshed and refueled you are a better you. Not just for productivity sake but for health of the interpersonal interactions we all engage in everyday. Being on edge, stressed, having to call out all the time due to perpetual minor illnesses (cold, flu, headache, etc) is no way to live. Truly examine the cost of the quality of life you are willingly choosing to sacrifice for the sake of holding on to that position.

Ask yourself – is it worth it?

 

 

 

Viral-driven Based Content

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Photo by Tianyi Ma on Unsplash

What’s Trending?

Now-a-days the success of our content is measured by how many views, likes and shares we generate from it. Many content curators struggle with what they want to post versus what they feel they need to post. The structure and topical headers are carefully crafted so as to lure in as many click-happy individuals as possible. Often sacrificing truth and authenticity for sensationalized curiosity.

So who wins out?

What type of culture are we creating when we reward nonsensical content over well-thought out material?

So many expressions get lost in the mire of feeling as though “my voice and my content” do not matter enough to be heard because it will not be what people want to read about or hear. Many of us, however, would be okay with this view as we believe there are already too many voices and opinions being granted the space for expression. Still others, however, would lobby for those who feel the former way to not be discouraged or hesitant to speak what is on their heart.

Whichever side of the field you stand on, my hope is that you at least think twice about why you are clicking on what you are clicking on. Do we turn to online content for mere entertainment only? The latest news? Or do we search this space for it’s ability to provide us with thought-provoking content? If the latter, what are we doing to elevate this type of content so that this becomes our new norm?

I’d love to hear what you think about this in the comment section below – who wants to get the conversation started?

My Top 6 Vegetarian Recipes

1. Chickpea “Chicken” Salad

chickpeas salad with lettuce and bread on wood serving tray
Photo credit: Adoptmybowl.com

Found on AdoptMyBowl.com

I’ve amended the recipe a bit for my personal preferences, but have provided you the original version for you to try it out and see what you like! This recipe is a quick, cheap and (can be) cookless meal! If you don’t have time to cook the chickpeas from scratch, simply buy the low sodium organic canned ones and they do just as fine!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked Chickpeas
  • 1 cup Homemade Vegan Mayo
  • 2 large ribs Celery, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Red Onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp Parsley, diced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2/3 cup Slivered Almonds
  • 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning Blend
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • Optional Add-ins: 1/2 tbsp Dill, 1 cup Sliced Grapes, and/or ⅔ cup Raisins or other dried fruit
  1. First, add the cooked Chickpeas to a large bowl, and mash them with a fork. I prefer to roughly mash around 75% them to give a nice texture to the Salad, but you can adjust according to your own personal preference.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients for the Salad into the bowl, and mix until well-incorporated. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 7 days.
  3. To assemble each Sandwich, lightly toast 2 slices of bread, and layer each with a piece of lettuce. Place a heaping portion of the Chickpea Salad onto one slice of bread, then fold the other on top. Serve as desired.

2. Lemony Lentil Soup

The BEST Lentil Soup Recipe
Photo credit: GimmeSomeOven.com

Found on GimmeSomeOven.com

They have a stovetop, crockpot (slow cooker) and instant pot (pressure cooker) instructional version. Click here to view which one you would like to try. This recipe is good year-round and not just for the winter months! Average cost of this meal’s ingredients are less than $10 at any local grocery.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 2/3 cup whole-kernel corn
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • (optional) pinch each of saffron and cayenne
  • zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

 

3. The Best Black Bean Burgers I’ve Ever Had

The BEST black bean burgers, grilled or baked! Meat lovers went crazy for these veggie burgers. Lots of flavor with a sturdy, meaty texture. Grill or bake the black bean burgers! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
Photo Credit: Sallysbakingaddiction.com

Found on Sallysbakingaddiction.com

Oooo so good! I wasn’t quite sure about this recipe as it had a lot of different moving components and ingredients. I can truly say that not one black bean burger went in the trash can! I tried this recipe on a cast iron skillet the first time, but I will be firing up the grill to see how well these taste with that grill infused flavor. I can’t wait!

Ingredients

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans black beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (1/2 of a pepper)
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a large onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or oat flour
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup, mayo, or BBQ sauce
  • pinch salt + pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Spread beans evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until slightly dried out.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté olive oil, chopped pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until peppers and onions are soft, about 5-6 minutes. Gently blot some of the moisture out. Place in a large bowl or in a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Stir or pulse everything together, then add the black beans. Mash with a fork or pulse the mixture, leaving some larger chunks of beans.
  3. Form into patties– about 1/3 cup of mixture in each.
  4. To bake: Place patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F (191°C) for 10 minutes on each side, 20 minutes total. To grill: Place patties on greased aluminum foil and grill 8 minutes on each side. Heat temperature is personal preference as all grills differ. Generally, black bean burgers should grill on medium-high heat about 350°F (177°C) – 400°F (204°C).
  5. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Notes

  1. Make ahead tip: Cooked or uncooked black bean burgers freeze wonderfully! Stack between parchment paper in a freezer container or zipped-top bag. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat to your liking or, if uncooked, cook according to instructions.   If desired, you can skip thawing and reheat/cook from frozen for an extra couple minutes.
  2. Vegan: These black bean burgers are not vegan. To make vegan, leave out the cheese. Replace the Worcestershire sauce with a different vegan condiment (your favorite BBQ sauce would be great!) and replace the eggs with 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato.

 

4. Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes that can go directly from the freezer into your oven! Make them ahead for an easy (vegetarian) meal prep lunch or dinner.
Photo credit: SweetPeasandSaffron.com

Found on SweetPeasandSaffron.com

Now I don’t eat corn anymore so I’ve left this ingredient out. I also use (6 months to 1 year) aged sheep’s cheese which helps reduce the effects of being lactose intolerant. I practically have zero digestive issues whenever I eat aged sheep’s  cheese due to it’s low lactose properties. Nonetheless, this recipe carries a low labor intensity so just sit back and let those sweet potatoes do their thing!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheese 3/4 mixed in
  • Serve with avocado salsa and/or sour cream

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 400°F.
  • Scrub the sweet potatoes and pat to dry. Using a fork, poke holes in the sweet potato and arrange on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at for 45-90 minutes.
  • Sweet potatoes are done when a knife inserted into the center goes in with no resistance. You can also use a oven gloved hand to gently squeeze the sweet potato all the way along.
  • Allow sweet potatoes to cool slightly (10 or so minutes) before slicing them in half lengthwise.
  • Gently scoop out filling, leaving a small border along the inside of the sweet potato skins.
  • Mash together the sweet potato filling with enchilada sauce, salt, chili powder and cumin. Stir in the beans, corn and ¾ cup cheese, and spoon gently back into the skins.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup cheese.
  • To bake immediately Bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and melted.
  • To freeze:Cool completely, then wrap in plastic cling wrap. Store in a sealed container for up to 3 months.
  • To re-heat:Thawed: Unwrap, and place in a baking dish. Bake uncovered at 425°F for 15-20 minutes until cheese bubbles and potatoes are heated through.
  • To bake from frozen: Unwrap, and place in a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 425°F for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until cheese bubbles and potatoes are heated through.

5. Roasted Parsnip Soup

Image result for roasted parsnip soup
Photo Credit: BonAppetit.com

Found on bonappetit.com

Now you can make this without crafting homemade walnut pesto sauce -the soup is just as tasty without it. If you just have to have the full sha-bang then buying pre-made basil pesto will also do the trick!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds medium parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as tarragon, flat-leaf parsley, and chives)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Toss parsnips with 1 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Arrange parsnips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender and lightly caramelized, 22–25 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, pulse walnuts and herbs in a mini-processor until very finely chopped. (Alternatively, crush walnuts and herbs with a mortar and pestle to form a coarse paste.) Add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  • Let parsnips cool slightly, then transfer to a blender. Add stock; purée until smooth. Pour soup into a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper and divide among bowls. Drizzle with pesto and serve.

 

6. Lentil Tacos with Carrot-Jicama Slaw

Image result for lentil tacos thug kitchen
Photo credit: Thug Kitchen (Lentil Tacos pictured bottom left)

Found on ThugKitchen.com

Now this book is not for your grandma’s pastime or weekend kitchen bonding experience. Unless you’ve heard her spew out creative cuss words since birth, I’d keep this recipe for your eyes only. Cookingbylaptop.com has so eloquently given us the PG version below. A delicious version of a meatless taco sure to keep you coming back for more!

Ingredients for the base: 

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup black lentils (beluga), rinsed
  • 1 cube vegetable stock (or substitute the 3 cups water for your own homemade vegetable stock)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp soy or tamari (to keep it gluten free)
  • 2 tbsp apple juice or cider
  • 1 package taco seasoning OR use the following spices to your taste: chili powder, cumin, chili flakes, paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • additional water as needed

Instructions

  1. Bring water (with vegetable stock cube dissolved in it) or stock to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the lentils and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook, half-covered, for about half an hour, until tender. Drain the excess water off (if there’s any left) and reserve.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat, and then add in the onion. Stir well and allow to soften, about 3 minutes. If you are using fresh spices, and not a taco seasoning mix, now is the time to add them. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms start to lose some of their liquid, about another 3 minutes. Add the lentils, soy sauce, and apple juice. Stir well, then add the taco seasoning, if using it. Add the apple juice and stir well.
  3. At this point, taste for seasonings, and more salt, pepper, chili or cumin if needed. I like to mash mine up a little with a potato masher or a fork so that they aren’t totally uniform. Add more water if you need to, to get the lentils to that stewy consistency.
  4. Serve with soft or hard taco shells, and your favorite toppings.

Keeping Up With The Work Joneses

So What Do You Do?

The tried and true age old question we ask each other when we either meet someone for the first time or we reunite with someone we have not seen in a while.

My guess it is that about 50% of people are over-the-moon anxious to tell of their wonderful job title and career status. The other half, like myself, cringe at the thought of having to answer this question. The discomfort, I believe, comes from both an insecurity about ones’ social status and lack of positional progress. The thought of having to tell a person that you are “still at the bottom” is nothing short of embarrassing. Especially, if you were once deemed as gifted student and bright prospect. Top of the class does not always equate to top of the work force. Great minds do not always get rewarded with socioeconomic prosperity. The dissonance created by this unpredictable formula leaves many who fail to reach a certain workforce ranking feeling nothing short of a failure.

Oh yes…. that dreaded word: failure.

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Photo by Mitchell Hollander on Unsplash

Now we have all kinds of cute sayings and euphemisms about failure that are designed to take the sting out of the realization of its presence. But when we strip away these inflated motivational adages we are left with the facts of existence.

  • We are not where we hoped to be.
  • We are not where we (and others) have expected us to be.
  • We are not even close to the place that turns our situation around.
  • We are destitute and dissatisfied with life because of the place we have found ourselves to be.
  • We, in a nutshell, feel like trash.

As much as our friends and family try and give us words of encouragement and show us the bright side of life, we still feel a deep sense of social shame for not “measuring up” to our potential. All of this potential has been riding on 12+ years of education, social cultivation, and rearing that has forced itself upon unsuspecting people like ourselves who know nothing else than to follow it’s guide. To follow it’s unassuming path of claims that promise to lead us to victory.

For those who have reached an illustrious role in society, the question does not become “am I ashamed to tell people what I do,” but am I truly happy in what I do?  So many of my colleagues who have mid and director level positions unknowingly display a visible level of discontentment in their face. Just as secure as they feel saying they are “this” or “that” I gather they often feel just as insecure about admitting how trapped or truly unhappy they are in what they do. Many of whom do not even have the guts to openly admit how dissatisfied they are in life and with what they do for a living for fear of being “found out” or sounding ungrateful for the title and position they have secured.

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

My interactive data has computed that these individuals have predominantly accumulated years of a certain title behind their belt largely due to their life choices such as having kids, needing to pay off student debts or purchasing a home/car which forces them into the day-in and day-out grind. They “have” to stay there because, what would happen if they didn’t? The thought of this scares many who have such prominent titles or roles more than the terrifying realities of what they have to face on a day-to-day basis. Realities that often include: racist bosses, sexist cultures, toxic co-worker interactions, unsafe workplace environments, and of course the constant uncertainty of job reviews which lead to anxiety about job assurance.

Now, without a doubt, these same realities are faced by those who are “at the bottom.” Yet, their slice of the workplace pie comes at a much smaller piece. Meaning, they still have to take the crap but are getting paid significantly less money (due to their entry/low level position).

So how do those on the lower end of the financial stick and career title ever feel like they will be proud to say what they do?

I believe that this level of confidence will largely come to this group of individuals when they find a more sustainable income producing occupation that is personally fulfilling. This role may never reach the earnings that their colleagues amass, yet this group will be satisfied enough with relaying what it is they do because they will have reached a point in life that is dignifying.

Dignity.

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Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

That’s all most people “at the bottom” want to feel. They want to feel some sense of worth – both socially and personally. Yes, the one does indeed play on the other and they each go hand in hand. For one to say that they “could care less about what society thinks about who [they] are and what [they] do” is to strip away one’s direct participation with the larger community. A community that we are all a part of, no matter how removed and distant a person believes they can be. While one’s identity does not have to be fully tied up into society’s stamp of approval over what a person does for a living, we all still feel (whether we want to openly admit it or not) a desire to be proud about our participation in the global workforce community.

  • We want to feel like we are contributing.
  • We want to feel valued.
  • We want to feel like we have succeeded.
  • We want to feel like we are who we and others expected us to be.
  • We want to be who we hoped and knew we could be.

A success.

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Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

To whatever degree that looks like and whichever occupation that ends up being all anyone wants to do is find work that makes them feel valued and successful. Work that makes them feel proud to say this is what I do. That affords them enough financial opportunity as their fellow person who decides to do whatever it is they choose to do as well.

What are your thoughts about this? I’d love to hear your comments below! Will you be the first to share?

How I Made My First $1,000 as an Airbnb Experience Host!

Yes that’s right folks! I have hit the $1,000 earnings mark as an Airbnb Experience Host. Well what do you host Krystle? Well, I’m glad you asked :). I host a two hour Atlanta City Mobile tour.

Photo Credit: Airbnb

On this mobile tour I take guest to the following world renowned destinations in Atlanta, GA:

Mercedes Benz Stadium -Home of Super Bowl 2019

Centennial Olympic Park – Home of the 1996 Olympics

State Farm Arena – Home of the 2003 NBA All Star Game

CNN Center

World of Coca-Cola

Georgia Aquarium

College Football Hall of Fame Museum

Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home

Hank Aaron Drive featuring the 1996 Olympic Torch Statue

The Varsity – The World’s Largest Drive-in Restaurant

Fox Theatre

*And other bonus locations (pending time) such as:

Jackson Street Bridge (*photo opportunity of Atlanta Skyline!)

Jimmy Carter Presidential Center (39th President of the United States)

I offer pick up and drop off for most locations which is highly convenient for those arriving at the airport. I know for a fact the Uber alone would probably cost someone darn near the price of my tour altogether. So why wouldn’t someone want a quick tour of the city before face planting from the plane ride into their hotel bed?

One of the great things about doing this tour is that I get to meet people from all over the world – literally. I’ve toured people from London, Canada, Bermuda and Chile! All while sharing with them the city’s sights, sounds and history of “the city too busy to hate!”

So how did I make my first 1k?

Well, I’ll tell ya…it took some time…about five months. Now I started off doing this full time right after I got fired for the first time. While I was looking for other work, I decided to test the waters to see if I could make a little bit of side money from hosting. I previously purchased an experience tour for myself when I traveled to Costa Rica and thought to myself …hmmm I could probably do something like that. When I looked through the list of offerings in my city’s category and saw that no one was offering anything as it pertained to a mobile vehicle tour. I said to myself – “that’s it!” This revelation had also come at the helm of my 5 hour, 1 day Uber/Lyft driving debacle. No I didn’t have a horror story about an accident or crazy rider, but you can read all about my experience here.

Circling back to the good stuff – how did I even get this Airbnb “experience” thing going?

Well, for starters, you have to submit a written proposal through the Airbnb experience portal. If you want to get started you can click here.

Photo credit: Airbnb

In the portal, they ask you basic questions that you must either type in or select. Airbnb wants to simply know who you are, why you want to do want you want to do and what makes you qualified to do it. Simple as that. They will also want to know what makes your experience unique. They are looking for a unique service that new people to your location cannot easily duplicate themselves. You’ll also need to think about what things you will provide, length of the experience, location, what guests should bring or be aware of and of course what is a good price! You want to stay competitive but also make a profit…after all this isn’t a volunteer project. Keep in mind Airbnb takes a 20% cut off the top; so please factor this in! And yes for those of you wondering if my first 1k includes the aftermath of the Airbnb debo money heist :(….it does. Oh how much more I could have netted! Oh well…hey I figure it this way…that 20% is their fee for marketing; because guess what, it would take quite a bit of time, money and SEO finger magic to gain the reach they so easily and readily provide.

Photo credit: Airbnb

Now, as an fyi I did not market the tour anywhere else outside of the Airbnb platform. I simply let the bookings come to be on its own. Now some would disagree with this passive approach, but because I am really not a social media person (except LinkedIn and WordPress) and just wasn’t ready to jump on there at the early stages of this new venture. I also had quite a few other things going on in my life, so I did not put as much energy into promoting the tour elsewhere. I even picked up another full time job during those five months, which led me to only offering the tour at night or on the weekends. But for those you following my blog, you will see that even that second job did not last for long. After I was fired from the second job, I filled the calendar dates up to offer tours during the day which allowed me more flexibility and a greater offering. Ironically though, I still received bookings for just the weekends. So for those of you thinking that you won’t make enough money because you can only offer a tour on the weekend, think again. There is still money to be made!

So after you submit your proposal, it takes about a week to hear back from Airbnb if you’ve been approved or not. Once you’ve been approved, your listing goes live and it’s t-minus countdown before you get the first booking. Airbnb recommends certain pricing discounts and strategies to gain the first couple of bookings, but I steered away from doing this as I did not want to reduce my cut anymore than that 20% fee that was already going to eat into my take home.

Like anything, getting your first booking is the most nerve racking. But once you do, go out of your way to make sure that the guest leaves without question that they will be giving you a 5-star review. 5-star reviews are crucial to the continual booking game. While you can’t please everyone, at the very least you can do your best to make it so that there is very little to complain about. Aim for the personal connection! As the famous Maya Angelou says: “people will forget what you say, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.” I can honestly say that this is one of my strongest areas for reviews and really the whole point of the Airbnb platform; which is to make strong, immediate and impactful connections with people from around the world. So if you’re not into doing that at the very core, I really believe people will pick that up and your experience will not go as far as it can.

So with eight bookings down for a total of 30 people hosted. My total earnings to date have been $1,492. Now throughout these five months I’ve played around with the booking price and have fluctuated the price between $50-65 per person. I’ve landed on $65 as the go to price and will be sticking with this number going forward. I’m looking forward to more bookings and seeing where this will take me over the next six months. Who knows I may hit the $5,000 mark by then!

If you’re interested in earning some extra cash in your city sign up to offer an experience here. Based on my quick research, the demand is high for any animals experiences; but any good local offering will certainly draw in the attention! Happy hosting!

The 2 & 3 Job Culture aka “The Jamaican Hustle”

I got “tree jobs mon!” “TREE!”

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Photo by Evieanna Santiago on Unsplash

Yeah not one, not two, but three jobs. That is the norm now-a-days. Many folks that I run into say that they have at least two jobs. For those who don’t work a traditional 9-5 job, they could have up to four side hustles going at the same time.

Is this your reality?

Does this sound pretty familiar for the folks that you run into also?

It does for me. I know many people who leave their standard 8-9 hour Monday through Friday job to head straight to their part time gig work at night. Some folks even put in laborious hours over the weekend, never even getting a day off to recover from the work week.

So why all the grind?

Well if you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll inform you that it has become increasingly difficult to live a life (in a large number of places in the world) with just one income. Long gone are the days of a family of four thriving off a one income earner. Heck, a single person most often can’t even survive, let along thrive off a single income. That is of course, unless their income exceeds the average threshold of 75k+ earnings. This still is a misnomer as many single people earning even this much are drowning in a debt load of bills; most likely involving student loans and current housing. Check out this BET special which shows how this student debt crisis has swallowed up the lives of many recent post-graduate students.

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Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

For those not in the student loan repayment game, mere “adulting” in today’s economy has got them roller skating around from job to job trying to make ends meet. With the cost of living doubling over each decade, many are finding it is imperative to land, at the very minimum, a second source of income. No matter how small.

But how long can a person sustain the 2-3 job lifestyle? Is there any point to which it becomes counterproductive to one’s life? Well, I imagine the answer to that is largely based on each individuals set of circumstances. However the case, making a strategic plan for the additional jobs is key. Blindly and haphazardly signing up for a second job just to make a little extra cash can end up causing you to seriously “hate life.” The lack of sleep/rest, family/friend time and simple enjoyment of the day can be a burden no one wants to voluntarily sign up for.

Thus, having intentionality to a 2-3 job hustle is key. Make those extra hours count, by finding high value, high reward income earning opportunities. More work, does not always mean more financial progress. You might end up breaking even or taking a loss if you don’t budget out your time and spend surrounding this second or third job. Spend that includes: gas, food, uniform, additional doggy or childcare expenses, etc. Who knows, it may even be a cost-savings to simply budget tighter and work less.

Ultimately the goal should be to build towards freedom. If any of those second or third jobs do not show actionable results in financial freedom/quality of life I would seriously consider exchanging that Jamaican hustle for the Jamaican beach vibe – No probl’m mon!

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Photo by Virginia Johnson on Unsplash

 

Tons of Content…Very little of Substance

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Photo credit: Google Image

Boy there is just nothing to watch on television these days. I mean with the myriad of options everywhere from Netflix, to Hulu, to Amazon Prime Video to YouTube, the list is endless. How do we have ALL THIS CONTENT and very little of it is edifying?

1,000+ channels of eat your heart out television bliss yet very little of it is of interest. It’s just the same ole content remixed and reformatted. I guess that’s why anybody can be successful now-a-days and put up anything because it’s all garbage. Garbage I say!

Now I know what many of you may be saying…well Krystle not all of it is garbage. I’ve actually been able to find quite a few shows that have me hooked! Oh yeah, well kudos to you. You may have a particular niche preference that is currently being served up with a large order of fries. But for the rest of us – we are starvin over here! We want fresh, good, thought provoking content!

Making the push for new narratives however is no easy task. How do you change the appetite of a society that seems to crave junk when you are wanting to serve up a refreshing plate of fruit?

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Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

How do new content creatives get the play and exposure they deserve when videos like this are going viral? The old philosophy is true, there are a lot of undiscovered artist and talent out there who just aren’t getting the mainstream play they deserve. So where do you find such rich content if you aren’t getting connected to these underground artists?

Well, word of mouth if of course always the best way to start. You could also just randomly click on Spotify playlists or go on a YouTube recommended black hole of death bonanza. Or you could do my favorite which is create the content you wish to see! Now for the media production and technology challenged out there. This may not be a viable option for you, but if you’re up for the task of learning it very well could be! Hey who knows you may find out that you’re better than you think you are and love producing content.

We need more brave souls to step out of the box to help create a different set of content for the online world to enjoy. Well… maybe not the world….but MAYBE the world. Hey! You never know who and where your unique idea will pop up and who it will resonate with. All I know is that there is no shortage of same-minded narratives that need to take the backseat to creative content that truly ignites a positive and engaging spark in our viewing experience.

Will you be one?