I'm not going to tell anyone to risk their own job/money if they aren't willing to do so. It's up to each individual person to decide how much they are willing to sacrifice. I've been expecting a general strike, and studying the general strikes of the past, ever since the women of Poland did it so effectively in October. You sure as hell won't catch me being the first, second, or even third person out there. It's very dangerous talk.
That being said, effective non-violent protesting is about breaking the rules. Sitting at the front of the bus is a big deal because it's against the rules. A general strike is a powerful form of protest because of the extended economic damage it causes, and that damage is caused by breaking the rule of "you have to show up to your job". The consequences of being fired, having pay docked, etc. are mitigated by the number of people doing it together. Making sacrifices, like suffering retaliation, are what gives the general strike its power. It's also what makes it so dangerous and difficult to execute.
People go to Starbucks to get coffee, and it's closed.
People call the plumber, and the phone keeps ringing.
People have a big problem driving when gas stations are closed.
The grocery store is closed.
Pizza place tries to stay open, but cheese and sauce don't get delivered.
The market and the GDP take a huge hit because nobody is working. This fucks over the rich people who deserve to be fucked over. They then (in theory) also push for the demands of the strikers to be met because they need the strike to end.
Teachers joining a general strike have a much greater impact than people in most professions. It forces kids to stay home. That in turn forces parents to stay home. Each parent staying home is now effectively striking, and increasing the effect. I think only sanitation workers can strike more effectively. Nothing speaks louder than a huge mountain of trash.
I don't believe the time is quite right yet, or that the strike can reach the necessary critical mass to force change. However, I do believe that such a historic strike is inevitable if the course we are on does not change. When the time comes, I won't just walk out, I'll run out.
General Strike Protip: Showing up to work and then walking out is more effective than calling in sick, staying home, or going directly to a demonstration. The effect of all your co-workers seeing you walk out can not be understated. It's even better if multiple co-workers leave together.
Protip2: Not only do you refuse to work, but you can't buy anything either. Don't spend a dime. You have to fuck over the businesses that chose to stay open. If they are making money, it rewards them for not joining.