I used to think that when I became a published writer, that I would spare no one. I told myself that I would not change names to protect the innocent. Because we are guilty, and have already changed our names.

Turns out, I have more of a heart to follow the faults of Jean Giono, the French writer who counted as his chief fault, “the generous lie.”

So, in this tale, I will largely leave out names and details, although the moral may betray its players.

They say that everyone has their price. I can’t say this is untrue. It is very possible that I, or anyone I know can be bought. What I find truly offensive is the paltry sums that tend to be thrown around as casts on the dissatisfaction of the labor class.

As though, when finally we’ve had enough and gathered the courage to stand up for and take care of ourselves, those in power often hang a pinata from the highest branch and tell us where the sticks are.

To offer us laundry change and a hot chocolate is to miss the point. What we demand is not a higher wage, although it could be demonstrated in that way. What we demand is simple respect.

To pay us the wage we deserve before we come into the office with our voice quivering, would show respect. To genuinely say thank you at the end of every day, would change the way we think about you. To acknowledge just one one more good thing that we’ve done every day, and forgive just one more mistake. To ask questions. To listen. To care. These are good business decisions.

We are not all so lucky as to fall asleep one Christmas eve and wake on the other side of an epiphany. There is work to be done. This hording has gone on long enough. Isn’t it time we really started to ask what is it all for?

In the fields today, a co-worker told us about his cousin who inherited $20 million on his 18th birthday. Another worker wondered what anyone could possibly need all that for. The answer was that he has much more than that now.

I would argue that many people can not be bought by $50 million dollars any more than they can be bought by a 50 cent an hour raise.  It’s fear, not bribes, that works best. But spreading fear lacks creativity, and can’t continue to work.

Our world is constantly evolving, and every time one person leaves their job in search of something better. Or demands safety equipment. Or chooses communication over manipulation. Every time, every heart the world over gets just a little bit lighter. And that’s enough for now.