The More I Explored, the More I Found
One of the ways to truly understand the impact of the oncoming Gig Economy is to look at what’s driving it. I have touched down on some of these elements such as “The Cold Sweeping Hand” or “The Race to the Bottom”. Another thing I come across frequently is that workers are voluntarily leaving to seek other opportunities – escaping many of the traps that exist in the workplace. I decided to start digging around to see what I could find about the overall American work experience especially in light of some of the crappy things I’ve witnessed or have been through personally. If you take a moment to think about it, this topic is not short on subject matter. At first it seemed like a fairly simple task to start with a survey I’ve seen before, “Worst Places to Work“, expecting it to highlight the issues – in general – and then proceed to looking at some alternative solutions. It’s those “out of the blue” ones you stumble upon in email newsletters or side bar news where you didn’t expect to discover additional research resources that began to open this up more. Little-by-little a larger picture emerged that has now evolved into a series of articles exploring various dimensions of this topic. At first it may seem all a tad negative because that is the most prevalent, plus more are likely to complain than praise. Yet there are good companies out there as well, begging the question of ratios as I’m certain the Bad Ones outweigh the Good Ones.
What We All Want
If money makes the world go round which is then used for the exchanges of life’s goods and services et al, then it’s not much of a stretch to add that happiness be involved with this in that all any of us want is to at least slightly enjoy what you do (preferably more), earn a sustainable living per your life’s goals, have a family if you choose, a social life, etc.…all part and parcel of living a good and decent life. Life isn’t life without its ups and downs and bumps and grinds requiring an ever growing ability to adapt to the consistency of these engaging challenges; some may refer to this as stress. Yet when I look around at today’s work environment, this is not what the Status Quo is. Job Security is said to be eroding but in reality it’s a long ago thing of the past kept alive by old “Leave It to Beaver” ideals of “The Great American Way of Life”. What came out of this and other elements such as the eroding Middle Class resulting in greater challenges of Upward Mobility, is that some even go so far as to say “The American Dream is Dead” because you have to be asleep to believe in it; that’s why it’s called a dream. Yet the majority of us continue to plod along in an ever eroding employment environment never realizing the degree to which we adhere to these outmoded versions of a Stylized Working Life. Until one day, out of the nowhere, the eroding American Dream is suddenly interjected in our lives through avenues such as Downsizing or Restructuring with Severance Packages issued after not just many years of dedicated and devoted service but also that many years since involvement with the Job Seeking Market where we eventually discover things are not the same in Kansas anymore.
The Growing Instability of Job Stability
All it takes is the word “restructure” or something similar to show up in your work email and your boots should shake at least a little bit as you never know what things will look like once that dust clears. Tenure used to mean something, now it’s a Decision Point within restructuring aka your wages are higher than Junior Roles so you’re long term dedication and devotion in the end means nothing. This results in redefining your role where you end up being over qualified and too costly, resulting many times with “Here’s your Severance Package; Good Luck with your new endeavors!” Interestingly the list of issues ends up being basically the same wherever you go. I have both directly and indirectly experienced the very same things I constantly read about; how many employees complain that they are underpaid, overworked and treated unfairly. The Gig Economy is similarly entrenched in this as well, even more so because the 1099 Independent Contractor status has resulted in even greater abuse. Some companies “Candy Coat” it all creating a disparity between their “Corporate Speak” and the actuality of working there – including the various guises of Corporate Favoritism. Stir in a bit of bullying to complete the mix of The Great American Work Experience. Later I will delve into where American Employment sits within the rest of the world and it ain’t pretty.
What’s in a Name?
It’s gotten to the point that I’ve seen it prevalent enough, long enough that you could call it a Business Model because the same thing is happening at so many places as if it’s “Business As Usual”. Employers are “shitting” on their employees in a variety of ways so what better name than The Defecating Business Model. The driver of this is mostly to maximize company profits that will be primarily applied to higher level positions such as Executive Salaries including CEO Golden Parachutes and don’t forget the inevitable and insatiable investor portfolio growth. In order to maintain this level of “profit sharing” then what appears to arise from this, are many of these employment issues such as low or stagnant wages and high stress/high expectations from excessive profit driven protocols with unengaging, self-absorbed, agenda-driven management. Including dealing with various “engagements of ego” shall we say. The best place to start is at the top which is really the bottom as these are the worst companies to work for and why – which will be explored in the next article of this series. This will establish the baseline of this Defecating Business Model which eventually begs the question of how did we get here?