I hate asking for money
But if you don't ask for it, you don't get it.
I always balked at asking for a raise — to just be compensated in line with my peers — when I worked in corporate America. I was afraid of being accused of being greedy or selfish, as if anyone goes to work for free. As if most executives in corporate America aren’t greedy and selfish. As if the people I would have had to ask for a salary increase weren’t making 10x what I was making.
I did screw up the nerve to ask for a raise when I was promoted to the Chief Marketing Officer role. But I was told: It’s the best job in the company and you should just be grateful we’re giving it to you!
That didn’t go so well.
The interaction just reinforced for me how much I hate asking for money. Which ultimately benefited my employer, not me. (The guy who told me just be grateful was let go a few months later. So there’s some vindication in that.)
My compensation lagged that of my peers for pretty much 30 out of the 30+ years I worked in corporate America. I usually didn’t realize that until I got promoted and the people that had been my peers were now my employees. And I’d see their compensation. Which was sometimes more than mine, as their boss.
Anyway, in the past year and a half, I’ve gotten much better at asking for money. In producing the documentary film Generation Covid, I’ve had to be relentless about raising money to make it happen. Because I care about the subject so much, I put my own discomfort aside, and just asked. Maybe it’s easier to just ask when the money isn’t for me but a project I believe in. It feels less selfish, I suppose.
At any rate, I coaxed myself to ask — and ask again — because what’s the worst that could happen? They could say no. Or just not respond. So what? I would just move on from there.
The traditional documentary sources of funding were not really open to this concept — a film about the harms to children from prolonged school closures, largely the handiwork of Democrat politicians and the local and state public health departments elevated by those same politicians. I did try. I reached out to some stalwart documentary funders. “Too political” was the tenor of the response I got back. Or no response at all.
The documentary world — the filmmakers, funders, festival crowd — are a very “leftie” crew (or “woke,” for lack of a better term) and this film is not in their wheelhouse. Because, in discussing the harms to children and how they happened, Democrat governors and local leaders inevitably fall under scrutiny in the film. Because they were the ones who kept schools closed for the longest period of time. Of course, some on the Right get plenty of blame in the film as well — ahem, Trump set the whole thing in motion to begin with! But the Democrats really outdid themselves in not living up to their stated values of caring about children, public schools and the most vulnerable in society.
Despite the fact that the kids and schools issue should never have been politicized during covid, it was. Mostly by the Left, my former cohort. They were the ones who said anyone advocating for open schools was an alt-right Trumper. They were the ones who smeared us and deemed us unworthy of polite company if we challenged the policy. They were the ones who called us extremists, science-deniers, racists and murders. And accused us of being so evil and reckless so as to be unworthy of employment.
The undeniably politicized American Academy of Pediatrics reversed its recommendation to open schools in the summer of 2020, after Trump agreed with them. Tell me how that wasn’t a political decision?
Maybe now that The New York Times says it’s ok to talk about the harms from school closures, more documentary funding sources will open up to us in making this movie.
But I’m not holding my breath.
These committed Lefties aren’t a brave bunch, though they do think of themselves that way. Good trouble, and all that. But really, the most committed wing of the Democratic Party simply refuses to veer from the party line. And the party line now is: It’s unfortunate what happened to kids due to closed schools, but covid did that, not us. Don’t blame us. We’re the good guys just trying to keep everyone safe. Extend us some grace, please. We are the caring ones.
But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, if their intentions were actually good at all (and I don’t believe they were). The Democrat loyalists are about party not principle, in the end. Because principle would lead any reasonable person to say: This was a mistake. Closed schools were not only ineffective but extremely harmful. We made a mistake. It will not happen again.
I don’t see that happening any time soon, do you?
That said, once The New York Times prints about another 50 pieces like the one entitled “The Startling Evidence on Learning Loss Is In,” those committed Lefties will come around and pretend they bravely always knew and stood up for open schools.
Yeah right. I remember.
I’ve contributed a significant portion of what has already been spent on the film and I’m not collecting a salary (this to all the folks still calling me a grifter and accusing me of raising money for myself).
We are being very efficient with our funds!
A typical documentary of very high quality will run about $1 million to $1.5 million. This will cost considerably less.
Anyway, I’m writing for two reasons:
Give some if you can. Anything helps. You can do so here.
Share the link far and wide, if you’d be so kind.
If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in investing in a more significant way, write to me here. Or through Substack.
Thanks for considering a donation. Like I said, I hate asking. But what’s the worst that can happen? You say no . . . I can handle it.
Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time with your family.
P.S. Remember when we were told not have Thanksgiving with our families? Yeah, me too.
I’ll leave you with a laugh . . . my youngest kids’ school photos which look like mug shots for some reason. The one on the left and middle is my youngest — Ruth. And that’s Oscar on the right. Not sure why he looks so unhappy. He’s a pretty cheerful kid all around.
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