The “real world,” the “9 to 5 world,” or the cold dark reality when you eventually realize you have to work to support yourself, you have to pay for an apartment, you have to pay for food, you have to worry about if you have health care and you have to worry about your current and possibly next job too.
This is a scary place, and I am just now entering it, I know there are positives to it, like freedom, independence and lots of choices, but I’m more scared right now.
I just started my job at Action United, a community organizing group that brings communities together to address problems in their neighborhoods and beyond. We are better known to both the public and our constituents as Acorn (sadly we had to change our name after our name was drug though the mud by conservative bloggers and the corporate media).
We organize people around something as little as fixing a street light to as big as fixing the school system. Our first step in organizing people is signing members us. (That’s what I’m trying to do right now). While I was hired as a organizer, I’m mainly a canvaser and a phone banker right now. In the mornings and evenings I am the person calling your house when you aren’t home or you are eating dinner (why don’t you tell me a better time I could reach you). But in the afternoons is when I start doing my serious work, door knocking to start getting members signed up.
No, I have not signed up anyone yet, but hopefully I will soon or I probably won’t have this job for long. There are a lot of benefits of signing up, the main one being fighting for change with a group instead of alone. We have better the community to a great extent from making the city to clean abandoned lots and tear down abandoned houses, to helping people get loans to buy houses, to getting drugs off the street and do whatever else AU members think they need improved in their community.
My time so far with Action United has been stressful and confusing. Though they work on organizing people, they need some serious organization help themselves. During my first 2 days I shadowed other organizers then I was thrown out to fend for myself. Apparently this is how you train organizers, or at least how AU does. So far it is working okay, better than I expected, but certainly not good. I’ve already wanted to quit almost every day I’ve been at work, but maybe I’ll be able to push through that and figure out how to organize communities.
I will say that I started out being scared of calling strangers on the phone and almost having a panic attack at the thought of trying to get a total stranger to sign up for Action United. But after my first week I am now comfortable getting people agitated about their problem, the next step for me is trying to get into peoples houses, and then to get them signed up.
Wish me luck!