Tina Kakadelis
YA Author

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Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

Guest Post: My Mom Gives Life Advice

(Ahem, Tina here. In lieu of a blog post from me, y'all are getting another lovely guest post from my mother. Enjoy!!) Hi, there! It’s Tina’s mom again. As you may have heard, she’s working a LOT and she’s very TIRED, so I’m giving her the gift of another guest blog. You all should try it too. She’d be eternally grateful and might even give you a free copy of her book. It’s a very good book.

There’s a lot of bad stuff in the news these days, and I’m very, very tired of people saying there’s nothing they can do about it. READ SOME HISTORY, FOLKS! People have been “doing something about it” since forever. Quietly, purposefully, with the full knowledge that they were really doing it for the people of the future and not for themselves. I thought I’d tell you about two times I did something small that helped make your world just a little better than mine was. Yes, Tina, I know you’ve heard them before.

1975, McDonald’s

I’d been working at McDonald’s for several months, always at the front counter. One day I was talking with a co-worker and somehow we ended up on the subject of pay. He was making five cents an hour more than me, but he didn’t know why. So 16-year- old me went to the manager and asked. JD (best supervisor on the planet) said it was because he screened the grill (basically just scraped it clean). I said I wanted to screen the grill too, but JD said no, “girls” weren’t strong enough. Seriously, this was the policy. I said I was certainly strong enough and I was going to keep bugging him until I was allowed to do it. He thought about it for awhile, then said I could take a shift, but I would have to do it at my regular pay. I said great and, drum roll please, I screened the grill and didn’t faint or collapse in a quivering heap. From then on I was allowed to do that job and, more importantly, I was allowed to earn those extra pennies per hour.

1980s, Unnamed Company

I was an administrative assistant with a company that dealt with a lot of male clients. Very “manly” clients. When I was arranging for a temp to take my place while I went on vacation, the agency offered a person who was highly qualified and had received rave reviews from prior jobs. I agreed that we’d use HIM and went to tell my (African American) boss. He said we absolutely couldn’t have a man do my job. Our clients would assume he was gay and they would not like that at all. I said, “Wait a minute. You of all people know what discrimination is like. Why would you discriminate against this highly qualified guy?” He asked me to give him a few minutes to think about it, and to his credit, we hired the guy…and no one complained!

These two stories aren’t a big deal on their own. Just two tiny moments in time that don’t seem to amount to much. But change comes slowly, and it comes because millions of people, just living their lives, take a moment to chip away at injustices they see. Sometimes they’re too tired or sad or hungry or frightened to stand up and do the right thing, but sometimes they’re not. And all of those people who did something when they could are the reason that ten or fifty or a hundred years later, BIG change happens. No one should ever say “I can’t make a difference.”

Go out there and make a difference! We need you!

(Hi, guys. My mom is totally stellar and gives the best life advice. Shh. Don't tell her I told her. Y'know what would be cool and would give me an excuse to do less work? I should start a segment on this space called Ask Mom where my mom gives life advice. She'd be like a cooler Ask Judy or whoever it is. I haven't even asked her if she wants to do this, but oh, well. You need life advice? Hit her up.)