I just marked four years as an executive director. Every day I learn more about myself and how this position within the entire non-profit industrial complex (to read more about that I recommend the Revolution will not be Funded) brings out the worst in me.
Every day is hard in it’s own way. There are too many examples of people dying as a result of capitalism and colonialism and the myriad ways that manifests (addiction, houselessness, chronic illness). Within the non-profit structure – the cozy relationship with electoral politics, the competition for resources/cash, and the celeb status held by some people with my title and the organizations they run – I am reminded at how and why this system was created and how easy it has become- especially with fear of losing money/access means the real reason a lot of organizations -including the one where I work- is all too easily lost/forgotten.
I am also reminded how I started – as an organizer- not an administrator and how I wasn’t paid for that work and how I hustled at a bullshit super capitalist job(s) then hustled for myself. It was hard as fuck – I was always behind on my rent, the gas got shut off but I was way happier and less conflicted and I could be myself- something I really feel I have lost (and continue to lose) in this work.
I’m not as close to leaving as I would like. I don’t want to do the people I work with and for like that (although there are probably some people who want me to leave- which is fine). So in the meantime I need to find ways to be connected to community outside the npic, I need to draw clearer boundaries, and there is a part of me that wonders if I just need to shut the fuck up, put my head down and just work. I’m good at working. Not so much at shutting the fuck up.