RasImani Diggs is one of the countless people across the nation who works in retail–she helps us all when we can’t find what we’re looking for, welcomes us when we walk in, and cheerfully deals with any number of odd requests. On our regular excursions to stores, malls, outlets and more, it’s the people like RasImani who guide us to what we’re seeking out and what we need in a moment’s notice without any major reward for doing the tasks we all rely on.
It’s her job, but what happens when she needs something that she can’t seem to find?
RasImani has been working part-time in retail since she was 17 years old, and even though she has a lot of practice helping others find what they need, her own needs aren’t being met–even those as simple as finding out her schedule. Because her workplace does not have a way to check schedules online, RasImani takes multiple trains to her workplace just to find out if she’s scheduled to work in the coming week or not. A crosstown trip is no small feat for her or any of the workers around the country who have to stay on their toes because of an unfair schedule.
“I would have to take two trains and three buses…just to see if I’m on the schedule. Sometimes they would change the schedule last minute.”
Every part-time worker knows that scheduling is everything. When, how, and for how long you work can make the difference between making rent, building savings, or finding a second job–or not. How can people who operate in the always-uncertain world of part-time retail scheduling live their best lives? The truth is, they can’t, and we can do better.
RasImani has hopes of owning her own business one day–and a plan to get there. She wants her future employees to be able to afford to live, educate themselves, and build for their own futures. It’s a vision for what a workplace should be like: Humane, fair, and reasonable. Having a job should mean having a better life, not an increasingly unstable and insecure future. The reality is, our society has grown accustomed to thinking that the instability shift workers experience is completely normal. But it shouldn’t be, and we can change that. There’s nothing normal about an unstable work life. Follow Workshift and support the fight for good jobs for all.