A freelancing, self-employed journalist isn’t “ungrateful” for complaining about electricity that’s been out for a week. And let me tell you why!
As with every major event to take place in this country, opinions about how to deal with the effects of said event start flying out of the wahzoo. Everyone becomes the moral compass on what should and shouldn’t be said, what should and shouldn’t happen and who should complain about what…if anything at all.
We all know the story because we all lived it; last week category 3 Hurricane Matthew swept through the entire Bahamas leaving a trail of devastation in his path; wrecked homes, ruined possessions, devastated lives, downed power lines, disrupted utilities and left a country in panic. The same storm ripped through our southern neighbours in Haiti, killing nearly 1,000 people.
Back at home, Bahamians in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Andros, especially, suffered massive damage to their islands and homes. Some of us are still reeling, still rebuilding, still trying to come to grips…and still without electricity.
Here’s why I’m gonna need y’all to stop calling me ungrateful!
The country seems to be split on exactly how we should be handling this unprecedented devastation in the country. Some people are outraged that there are Bahamians, like me, who can muster up the energy to publicly complain, cry out for and beg for their basic utilities to be restored. They’re calling us “ungrateful,” “stupid” and “out of touch” for wanting our lives to return to normal “when so many other people lost everything and thousands have died in Haiti.”
But we’re saying we get it, we understand, we’re devastated as well!
But let me just say this:Complaining about my good situation doesn't mean I'm diminishing anyone else's plight Click To Tweet
In fact I have a plight of my own.
I’m self-employed and work from home; I have every right to complain that my power is still out.
You see, I quit my job several years ago to work as a freelance journalist. That said, I work from a home office and 90 per cent of my business is conducted online. I communicate with all of my clients and prospective clients online…which requires electricity.
When work gets interrupted for a hurricane, “the gratefuls” with a full time, 9 to 5 job still get paid. But…ahem, there are others of us whose job it is to hustle 9 to 9 just to make a living. We don’t have bosses who are still obligated to sign off on our checks, we’re the boss and we’re in crisis!
Trust and believe, my begging for the lights to be restored isn’t so I can lay off in A/C watching Empire and Love and Hip Hop.
I have pitches to send out, emails to send and respond to, projects to update and cheques to check up on! Electricity is my business, it’s an essential service that drives my career and bank account!
It has nothing to do with being entitled or privileged, uncaring or unsympathetic. Sure we haven’t lost lives or limbs and for that we are grateful, but some of us are losing livelihoods, clients, money…our business!
And this isn’t just the case for me, but for thousands of other people working in this country whose livelihoods depend on the connections and communications they make (or in this case can’t make) every day to eat, pay bills and keep a roof over their heads.
Being a blogger many of my contacts live around the world , so effective communication via the internet is the lifeline of my business.You can't just accept the unacceptable and STFU Click To Tweet
The fact that many Bahamians have taken this, “wait and see, be grateful you’re not dead” approach and are lambasting the rest of us for demanding a properly functioning country is sad!
We’ve become so accustomed to accepting bad treatment, poor service and sub-par professionalism that sometimes we don’t even know when we deserve better.
We should be able to demand more, request better services and functions in this country. We should be pissed that seven days later we still have no power and no real explanation as to why!
So heading into the eighth day of having no electricity, I’m also heading into the eighth day of having shoddy communications with my clients, the eighth day of not being able to promptly reply to emails, accept offers and confirm my availability for the next gig.
Tomorrow makes the eighth day that I’ve been unable to effectively #girlboss.
We demand answers and power because we deserve it…and have paid for it!
UPDATE: On the 16th day, Friday October 21 at around 7:30 p.m. my power was restored!