Article 43

 

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Toxic Work World

A workplace where there is total focus on the bottom-line and its leadership has forgotten that though the bottom line is important, far more important is our humanity, our human-ness, our spirit as individuals and as a collective.  It is a workplace that has not learned to balance the need for profits with concern about the heart and soul of its people.
Toxic Workplace

By Anne-Marie Slaughter
NY Times
Septemer 18, 2015

For many Americans, life has become all competition all the time. Workers across the socioeconomic spectrum, from hotel housekeepers to surgeons, have stories about toiling 12- to 16-hour days (often without overtime pay) and experiencing anxiety attacks and exhaustion. Public health experts have begun talking about stress as an epidemic.

The people who can compete and succeed in this culture are an ever-narrower slice of AMERICAN SOCIETY : largely young people who are healthy, and wealthy enough not to have to care for family members. An individual company can of course favor these individuals, as health insurers once did, and then pass them off to other businesses when they become parents or need to tend to their own parents. But this model of winning at all costs reinforces a distinctive American pathology of not making room for caregiving. The result: We hemorrhage talent and hollow out our society.

To begin with, we are losing women. America has unlocked the talent of its women in a way that few nations can match; girls are outpacing boys in high schools, universities and graduate schools and are now entering the work force at higher salaries. But the ranks of those women still thin significantly as they rise toward the top, from more than 50 percent at entry level to 10 to 20 percent in senior management. Far too many discover that what was once a manageable and enjoyable work-family balance can no longer be sustained regardless of ambition, confidence or even a partner who shares tasks equally.

Every family’s situation is different; some women may be able to handle with ease conditions that don\t work for others. But many women who started out with all the ambition in the world find themselves in a place they never expected to be. They do not choose to leave their jobs; they are shut out by the refusal of their bosses to make it possible for them to fit their family life and their work life together. In her book “Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home,” the sociologist Pamela Stone calls this a “forced” choice. “Denial of requests to work part time,” layoffs or relocations, she writes, will push even the most ambitious woman out of the work force.

A young lawyer I know from Virginia was offered a general counsel position, which she determined she could take but only if she could work from home one day a week to be with her two children. Her employer refused. Still another woman wrote to me about her aspiration to an executive-level position and the predicament of doing so with a 2-year-old at home: ԓThe dilemma is in no way the result of having a toddler: After all, executive men seem to enjoy increased promotions with every additional offspring. It is the way work continues to be circumscribed as something that happens in an office,ђ and/or between 8і6 that causes such conflict. I havenҒt yet been presented with a shred of reasonable justification for insisting my job requires me to be sitting in this fixed, 15 sq foot room, 20 miles from my home.

The problem is even more acute for the 42 million women in America on the brink of poverty. Not showing up for work because a child has an ear infection, schools close for a snow day, or an elderly parent must go to the doctor puts their jobs at risk, and losing their jobs means that they can no longer care properly for their children ԗ some 28 million and other relatives who depend on them. They are often suffering not only from too little flexibility but also too much, as many low-wage service jobs no longer have a guaranteed number of hours a week.

This looks like a דwomens problem,Ҕ but its not. ItҒs a work problem the problem of an antiquated and broken system. When law firms and corporations lose talented women who reject lock-step career paths and question promotion systems that elevate quantity of hours worked over quality of the work itself, the problem is not with the women. When an abundance of overly rigid workplaces causes 42 million American citizens to live day to day in fear that just one single setback will prevent them from being able to care for their children, itגs not their problem, but ours.

The problem is with the workplace, or more precisely, with a workplace designed for the Mad MenӔ era, for Leave It to BeaverӔ families in which one partner does all the work of earning an income and the other partner does all the work of turning that income into care the care that is indispensable for our children, our sick and disabled, our elderly. Our families and our responsibilities donגt look like that anymore, but our workplaces do not fit the realities of our lives.

Irene Padavic, a Florida State sociologist, Robin J. Ely, a Harvard Business School professor, and Erin Reid from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business were asked to conduct a detailed study of a midsize global consulting firm where top management thought they had a “gender problem.” The firm had a paucity of women at the highest levels - just 10 percent of partners were women, compared with nearly 40 percent of junior associates.

After careful study, Professors Padavic, Ely and Reid found that an equal number of men and women had left the firm in the preceding three years, a simple fact that contradicted managements women, work and family story. Some of the men also left because of the long hours; others “suffered in silence” or otherwise made do. The firm’s key human resources problem was not gender, as management believed, but rather a CULTURE OF OVERWORK.

The firms leadership resisted these findings. They didnҒt want to be told that they needed to overhaul their entire organizational philosophy or that they were overpromising to clients and overdelivering (for example, making hundred-slide PowerPoint presentations that the client couldnt even use). They wanted to be told that the firmҒs problem was work-family conflict for women, a narrative that would allow them to adopt a set of policies specifically aimed at helping women work part time, or be mentored, or join support networks. As Professors Padavic, Ely and Reid wryly concluded, their attitude required a rejection of evidence on the part of evidence-driven analysts.Ӕ

Bad work culture is everyones problem, for men just as much as for women. ItҒs a problem for working parents, not just working mothers. For working children who need time to take care of their own parents, not just working daughters. For anyone who does not have the luxury of a full-time lead parent or caregiver at home.

But theres good news. Men are also beginning to ask for and take paternity leave and to take lead parent roles. According to a continuing study by the Families and Work Institute, only a third of employed millennial men think that couples should take on traditional gender roles. Some tech companies warring for talent are also beginning to compete by offering longer paternity leaves, which will hardly affect the average American workplace, but is a sign of changing cultural attitudes.

Even if men and women join forces to demand changes in the workplace, though, we cannot do this alone, as individuals trying to make our lives work and as workers and bosses trying to make room for care. Some other company can always keep prices down by demanding more, burning out its employees and casting them aside when they are done. To be fully competitive as a country, we are going to have to emulate other industrialized countries and build an infrastructure of care. We used to have one; it was called women at home. But with 57 percent of those women in the labor force, that infrastructure has crumbled and itҒs not coming back.

To support care just as we support competition, we will need some combination of the following: high-quality and affordable child care and elder care; paid family and medical leave for women and men; a right to request part-time or flexible work; investment in early education comparable to our investment in elementary and secondary education; comprehensive job protection for pregnant workers; higher wages and training for paid caregivers; community support structures to allow elders to live at home longer; and reform of elementary and secondary school schedules to meet the needs of a digital rather than an agricultural economy.

These proposals are not so far-fetched as they may seem. President Obama put forward proposals to expand access to affordable, high-quality child care in his 2016 budget. Hillary Rodham Clinton has made providing a foundation for working families, including child care, one of the central aspects of her campaign. One of the few states that offers paid family leave (workers pay the cost out of a small increase in their payroll tax) is New Jersey, under the Republican governor Chris Christie.

Republican senators have sponsored a bill that would allow employers to offer employees paid leave hours instead of overtime pay; some polls show that a majority of women who vote Republican support paid family leave. Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, is co-leader of a bipartisan caucus across both the Senate and the House devoted to assisting family caregivers. She follows in the footsteps of former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, who successfully sponsored legislation to allow homemakers to contribute to retirement accounts the same way that salaried workers can. And as the baby boom becomes an elder boom, we can expect a whole new constituency for care, on both sides of the aisle.

Change in our individual workplaces and in our broader politics also depends on culture change: fundamental shifts in the way we think, talk and confer prestige. If we really valued care, we would not regard time out for caregiving for your children, parents, spouse, sibling or any other member of your extended or constructed family - as a black hole on a resume. We would see it as engaging in a socially, personally and professionally valuable activity. We would see men who lean out for care as role models just as much as women who lean in for work. We would think managing kids matters as much as managing money.

Impossible, right? Yet I grew up in a society where my mother set out little vases of cigarettes on the table at dinner parties, where blacks and whites had to use different bathrooms, and in which almost everyone claimed to be heterosexual. That seems a lifetime ago, but I’m not so old. Our world has changed over the past 50 years, vastly for the better from the point of view of African-Americans, the L.G.B.T. community and families who lost loved ones to lung cancer. Given the magnitude of that change, think about how much we can still do.

We can, all of us, stand up for care. Until we do, men and women will never be equal; not while both are responsible for providing cash but only women are responsible for providing care. And though individual Americans might win out in our current system, America as a whole will never be as competitive as it ought to be. If we do not act, over time our families and communities, the foundation of our flourishing, will wither.

The women’s movement has brought many of us the right to compete on equal terms; it’s time for all of us to claim an equal right to care.

Anne-Marie Slaughter is the president of New America, a think tank and civic enterprise, and author of the forthcoming “Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family,” from which this essay is adapted.

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Posted by Elvis on 09/21/15 •
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cant Find A Qualified US Worker Redux 5

dying-america.jpg rel=America is slowly dying

Qualcomm Lays Off 4,500 Workers While Demanding More H-1bs

By Rachel Stoltzfoos
Daily Caller
September 15, 2015

Another tech giant that says it must import foreign workers because there arent enough skilled American workers in the industry is laying off thousands of workers.

Qualcomm - a major producer of smartphone chips - announced last week its eliminating 15 percent of its workforce or about 4,500 employees, just weeks after fellow tech giant Microsoft announced a massive round of layoffs.

Both companies are top beneficiaries of the H-1b VISA PROGRAM, which backers say allows companies to temporarily hire foreign workers for jobs they CAN’T FIND qualified Americans workers to fill. Critics contend the program is really used to cut costs.

Microsoft and Qualcomm were in the top 15 users of H-1b visas in Fiscal Year 2013, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data obtained by Computer World. Theyre part of a major tech lobbying effort to increase the cap on these temporary workers, on the grounds there is a shortage of Americans with science, technology, engineering and math degrees.

“Qualcomm has been engaged within the technology industry in highlighting the skills deficit in all areas of today’s workforce, especially engineering,” a spokeswoman for Qualcomm told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is an industry-wide problem, and we are committed to working to build the pipeline of students studying STEM fields.”

One in five of the new Qualcomm hires in Fiscal Year 2013 were foreign workers with H-1b visas, according to an analysis of SEC filings by Ron Hira, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology who is an expert in offshoring. Those 900 foreign workers hired in 2013 triple the total number of workers Qualcomm hired in 2014.

Qualcomm and other tech firms have argued that they turn to H-1Bs because there is a significant shortage of American talent available,Ӕ Hira told TheDCNF. Given the recent large layoff announcements by Qualcomm, Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco, how can the tech industry continue to argue thereӒs a shortage of American workers?

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hira also analyzed the skills of H-1b workers Qualcomm hired from Fiscal Year 2010 through 2012, and found most of the workers weren’t the highly skilled, U.S.-trained workers lobbyists imply make up the majority of H-1b holders.

Thirty-five percent of the 1,265 workers Qualcomm hired at that time held only a bachelors degree, and just 32 percent held advanced U.S. degrees. Only 44 of them held Ph.Ds from U.S. universities.

“This is very different than the carefully constructed, and MISLEADING, narrative constructed by the tech industry that the H-1b program is primarily a vehicle for keeping people from abroad that the U.S. trained, and paid for,” Hira told TheDCNF.

The Qualcomm layoffs, which it says are in response to dramatic profit losses, will eliminate the net employment gains of the past two years. A spokeswoman for Qualcomm declined to provide further detail on the layoffs or the fate of Qualcomms H-1b employees, beyond the 15 percent figure.

But Qualcomm said it plans to “significantly reduce its temporary workforce,” in a presentation detailing the restructuring.

“Obviously some of the ones being laid off are not engineers, but in general I’m sure that a lot of the people laid off could be doing the jobs taken by the H-1bs,” Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California Davis who is an expert on H-1bs, told TheDCNF.

The Department of Homeland Security is working with the Department of Labor to investigate the H-1b program after Southern California and then Disney, among others, allegedly laid off hundreds of American workers and essentially forced them to train their foreign replacements holding H-1b visas.

Its a violation of federal labor laws to fire an American worker and directly replace them with a foreign worker holding an H-1b, but companies such as SCE and Disney have apparently gotten around this by contracting the work out to H-1b reliant firms, such as Infosys and Tata.

Critics of the program, including a bipartisan group of senators, see the layoffs as evidence the companies are using the visas to cut costs, not legitimately fill in gaps in the American labor force.

Seventy-four percent of AMERICANS WITH STEM DEGREES are not working in STEM fields, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and only 3.8 million Americans with STEM degrees hold STEM jobs.

“The entire industry abuses this visa, and Im sure that includes Qualcomm,” Matloff told TheDCNF. “I’ve done research that shows statistics on how much the industry pays its H-1b [workers], and Qualcomm is definitely one of the ones that does not have a good record in that regard.”

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Posted by Elvis on 09/16/15 •
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Monday, September 14, 2015

Unemployment Being Rebranded As A Psychological Disorder

Unemployment being rebranded as a psychological disorder

Birbeck University Of London
June 8, 2015

Unemployment is being rebranded as a psychological disorder, with an increasing range of interventions being introduced to promote a ‘positive’ psychological outlook or leave claimants of welfare to face sanctions, according to a new analysis carried out by social science researchers from Hubbub and Birkbeck, University of London published today.

The research, published in a special edition of BMJ Medical Humanities Critical Medical Humanities, exposes the coercive and punitive nature of psycho-policy interventions in Government workfare programmes designed to get unemployed people back into work. Ill-defined and flawed constructs such as ‘lack of motivation’ and ‘psychological resistance to work’ are being used to allocate claimants to more or less arduous workfare regimes, the paper argues.

Drawing from written accounts of the lived experience of workfare as described by those undertaking it, the authors documentthe impact of psychological coercion, from unsolicited emails extolling ‘positive thinking’ to ‘change your attitude’ exercises Җ with people looking for work frequently perceiving such interventions as relentless, humiliating and meaningless.

Increasingly, workfare mandatory unpaid labour under the threat of benefit sanctions - also includes coaching, skills-building, motivational workshops and training sessions that use psychological approaches to address apparently negative perceptions and instil approved characteristics such as optimism, confidence, aspiration, motivation and flexibility.

Commenting on the study, Lynne Friedli, co-author of the paper and researcher with Hubbub the current residents of The Hub, the Wellcome Trust’s dedicated space for interdisciplinary research said: “Claimants attitude to work is becoming a basis for deciding who is entitled to social security - it is no longer what you must do to get a job, but how you have to think and feel.” This makes the Government"s proposal to locate psychologists in Job Centres particularly worrying.

ғBy repackaging unemployment as a psychological problem, attention is diverted from the realities of the UK job market and any subsequent insecurities and inequalities it produces.

Robert Stearn, from the Department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London, added: ԓMethods drawn from psychology are being used to redefine the aims of workfare. Job Centres and welfare-to-work businesses demand that the only emotions claimants have are employable ones. At the same time, the expected outcome of a forced, unpaid work placement has become just a positive change in attitudes to workђ.

Punitive benefit sanctions underwritethese uses of psychology. But the damage done to people is ignored, by both government-contracted positive psychology courses and the professional bodies that represent psychology.

Critical Medical Humanities is a special edition of BMJ Medical Humanities, guest edited by William Viney, Felicity Callard and Angela Woods from Durham University.

The research originates from Birkbecks Department of English and Humanities. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 75% of research in the department was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.

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Posted by Elvis on 09/14/15 •
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Where Not to Be Old and Jobless

Worst Cities In The U.S. For Older And Unemployed Workers

By Theresa Ghilarducci
September 14, 2015
The Atlantic

Hidden by the steady, optimistic jobs reports in recent months is the fact that unemployment rates for Americans 55 and older have been increasing.

Ten days ago, another monthly jobs report came in, indicating slow but steady progress: In August, the overall rate of unemployment fell to pre-crisis levels, 5.1 percentthe lowest since April 2008. Adding to the mediaגs positive reception of this buoyant news, job growth was widespread across many sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile, though, the slight increase in the unemployment rate for workers ages 55 and over, from 3.7 percent to 3.8 percent, was scarcely noted. While the jobless rate is always lower for older workers, it is unusual for their increase or decrease to diverge much from those of the national numbers.

As of last month, there are about 1.3 million Americans over 55 who are actively looking for a job, but can’t find one. But that estimate is probably low, because it does’t count the older people who are too discouraged to actively seek work or too proud to tell a pollster they are jobless, instead saying they’re a more respectable-sounding “retiree.” It has been suggested that a lot of the older people who report being retired are closet unemployed.

In short, the declining national unemployment rate hides the fact that economic growth is not benefiting everyone. These disparities probably exist because many workplaces are biased against older workers and because older workers who have seen their 401(k)s shrink and their pensions evaporate are looking for more work, increasing labor-market competition.

Looking at city-specific figures can provide some other clues as to why many older workers are being left behind during the recovery. Four metropolitan areas have high jobless ratesҔhigher than 12 percentfor older workers. What is illuminating and disturbing is that the unemployment rates are larger in cities that are vital and vibrant. As of 2014, the latest year with the most complete data, the new economies have been leaving the old behind: Among the 10 cities with the highest rates of unemployment for older workers are San Jose (13.7 percent), El Paso, Texas (13.6 percent), New Haven (13.1 percent), and Austin (12.2 percent).

Some cities extraordinarily high unemployment rates for older workers are not moving in the same direction as the unemployment rates for job seekers 54 and under. While San Jose and El Paso have high unemployment rates for younger workers, at 8.4 percent and 7.3 percent respectively, Austin has one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates in the country for younger workers - just 3.6 percent.

The reasons a city’s economy would prefer younger workers over older ones are complex and murky - there’s more research needed to be sure of anything. However, the types of industries each city specializes in could be to be blame for the age gap. San Jose and Austin are tech hubs, and New Haven’s college-town economy has many stores and restaurants geared toward young peoples tastes. And Ohio’s Rust Belt cities feature similar disparities: Clevelands August unemployment rate was 9.6 percent for workers 55 and over, versus 5.2 percent for workers 54 and under, and Cincinnati’s older unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, versus 6.6 percent for younger workers.

Economists have long understood that high unemployment weakens bargaining power and lowers wages. Adding to the weakened bargaining power of older workers is the downward trend in access to retirement-savings plans at work. This means older workers nearing retirement age have less of a safety net, and are increasingly at the mercy of a less than robust labor market. They are facing pressure from two directions: As older workers are losing their pensions and their 401(k) plans have lost value, they feel the need to work more at precisely the time the economy may be leaving them behind.

Only policies dedicated to affordable and sustainable pensions for all workers - expanding Social Security and creating universal pensions for all, regardless of where they live, are two such policieswill help older workers so that they arenגt desperate to take the first job they might find. But for now, worse than taking a job at low pay and with requirements that dont utilize oneҒs full abilities is finding no job at alla fate likely in many cities for older workers.

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Posted by Elvis on 09/14/15 •
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Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Empathy Gap

The Real Skills Gap

By Gregory Olson
Delightability
September 7, 2015

There is a pervasive issue that plagues our economy yet it is mostly invisible, unless we look for it. Im going to help you to see it. It is the Skills Gap.

Weve all heard media, politicians, and pundits refer to the skills gap in this country. It’s true we do have a skills gap. But it isnt the one they’ve been referring to, where people are trained for the wrong jobs, lack technical skills or a college education. All of that is simply not true in a universal sense. It isn’t anymore true than the statements all dogs are ferocious or all email is spam.

Each of us knows family, friends, and colleagues whose personal economy has suffered in spite of their college education, skills, and experiences. You probably also know people that are super-employed by greedy corporations that work their employees tirelessly, refuse to hire more people, while stockpiling more and more cash.

No, this skills gap is of a different sort. As a society, we’re becoming less empathetic to those not like us. This is making us less human. This is our real skills deficit.

The decline in empathy is all around us. It is a fact. You can find studies that show the decline over the last 40 years. But, you don’t need to. You need only reflect on your own experiences.

Examples of Empathy in Decline

Over Labor Day weekend I experienced a lack of empathy when I re-entered the U.S. at the Canadian border. I had my keys taken away and my car searched. I guess I look like a smuggler or terrorist or my backpacking story triggered some false instinct. Of course I did nothing wrong. It’s just that we are at war with ourselves. I think I would have felt more empathy from a bear encounter than I did from the border agent interaction.

If you’ve traveled aboard a commercial airliner in recent years, you’ve no doubt been treated as a dangerous object by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Even, in our own communities, were ruled by red light cameras.

When the police outfit themselves in combat gear and appear as robocops they look and behave less human. They also further insulate themselves from the communities they are supposed to protect and serve. The events in Ferguson displayed a lack of empathy in all directions.

Some municipalities have gone so far as to outlaw homelessness. Police and firefighters have been ordered to destroy the donated tents of people experiencing homelessness. They didn’t merely dismantle the tents, they actually destroyed them with box cutters. What a horrible misuse of power by the mayor and what a horrible thing to have to do as a public servant. The lack of empathy in all directions can be witnessed by reading the comments on the video posted on YouTube, St. Petersburg Police cut tops off homeless people tents. The war against people not like us rages on.

We have systematically been reducing our own empathy.

We are communal by nature yet when we don ear buds and bury ourselves in front of screens of all sizes we avoid real discussion and face to face interaction. We no longer visit video stores or interact with bank tellers. We buy online and pay at the pump. We are having less and less human interactions.

Think of your own conversations and those you hear around you. How many of these conversations actually matter on a human level. Too many would be meaningful conversations are not happening.

We are increasingly isolated. We have technology that connects us to each other more than at any point in human history, yet we are connected in less authentic ways. It is much easier to ignore or exit a conversation that is only online. Internet and social media bullying are sadly commonplace. Unfriending and the conversations that precede that act are inflammatory and lack components of a healthy dialogue. Few would have the courage to act this way face-to-face.

So, yes, we have a skills gap. We are forgetting how to be human. We are becoming less empathetic. Technology and our busy states of mind are our allies for ignoring what’s wrong in our communities and in the world.

We Pay Homage to Things that Don’t Matter

Making matters worse, as a society, we are paying attention to the wrong things. These things further harden us and make us even less empathetic.

I think each of us does want a more humane and just world, where people are genuinely peaceful and happy. But, those things are hard to measure and don’t carry headlines, so instead we measure things like GDP, the DOW, and the S&P 500. We measure things that tell a story that media and politicians want retold - and we in turn, pay attention. Even American Public Medias Marketplace that purports to present news on business, economics, and money for the rest of us, chants the numbers as though they mean something to main street America. Imagine if we were listening instead to, “HumanPlace
or “ProsperityPlace” or the like.

Unfortunately, the larger human story is going untold. We do have a prosperous nation, if you measure it by GDP and the DOW. But, we have poverty in this prosperous nation. We also have droves of educated but unemployed and underemployed people. And, of those that are working, most are largely disengaged.

These things are not part of our national dialogue or priority, but they should be. Instead what is heard is, “If you don’t have a job, it is your fault. Skills gap, remember. If you don’t have enough work, get more education. If you are suffering from poverty, again, it must be your fault. If you are a college educated fast food worker, just try harder. Pick yourself by your bootstraps and just do it.

This is all hogwash and only serves to polarize and distract all of us. So, what can we do?

Platform for Human Progress

I imagine a Platform for Human Progress. The platform would be about two things: 1) We’d relearn empathy we’d systematically restore empathy in schools, in police departments, in the workplace and dare I say it, online; and 2) we’d develop human potential - wed have a people first agenda.

What would a Platform for Human Progress look like? Technology would be involved.  So would forums and events. Institutions of all types and sizes, and of course government. In fact, the employment security department would morph. It would become less about policing benefits and more about helping people to reach their potential, irrespective of education, experience level or industry. No longer would people automatically become invisible or be labeled as discouraged workers, no longer looking for work, simply because their unemployment benefits were exhausted. A human centric side project of Delightability that has debunked both the skills gap and the notion of discouraged workers is Please Count Me. This website gives Americans the opportunity to self report their employment status no matter if they are unemployed, under-employed, fully-employed, or super-employed.

We’d want the Platform for Human Progress to scale while at the same time being careful not to concentrate more wealth and control into the hands of a greedy few. Maybe wed embrace small as the new big.

There is No Innovation or Progress Without People

I think investing in people should be a national priority. There is too much idle wealth and talent on the sidelines in the U.S. and in the world. Yet, there are many problems to solve and opportunities to explore. There’s no innovation or progress without people. This is important work for all of us.

Lets return the keys to the kingdom to the makers and remove them from the takers, speculators, and manipulators.

If we can build vaccines for diseases we cannot see, and build fabric winged airplanes that can carry us to other continents canҒt we also build systems that help humans that are negatively affected by public policy, technology changes, and corporate greed? Of course we can. If we did, wed be a real superpower, not simply a military superpower. Maybe, as a country the U.S. would then rank as high, or surpass Norway or Denmark as having the most prosperous and happy people.

In all that we do, we need to start asking the question, “What about the people.” Repeat that 100 times, “What about the people.”

We need to measure the success of the platform and our nation in terms of: Can individuals secure food and a future? Are they achieving their potential?

Maybe we can learn from the work of the Grameen Foundation’s PROGRESS OUT OF POVERTY INDEX. Hopefully, wed replace it with Prosperity Index; the Legatum Index might be a good place to start. The Legatum Prosperity Index is an annual ranking, developed by the Legatum Institute, of 142 countries. The ranking is based on a variety of factors including wealth, economic growth and quality of life. In 2013, the U.S. dropped out of the top 20 for the Economy sub-index.

We collectively need metrics that matter to human progress and prosperity. We need to communicate these metrics and hold ourselves and others accountable to improving them. This would be a shift much like John F. Kennedys Man on the Moon speech that sparked a nation to action.

In Conclusion

Humanity is a big subject and even though each of us play a tiny, time limited role, each of us can make a bigger impact with our conversations and the challenges we put on others. I challenge every reader of this article to be more human, more empathetic, and to hold others to a higher, human standard. Maybe pose the question, ғIs that helping or hurting humans?

A New Conversation

I don’t have all of the answers. I think the answers are spread across all of us. But, well need better conversations to draw them out. I hope you’ll share this message with others so that we can close the most important skills gaps we face, being human.

I’m going to leave you with a little quote from the universe.

“When you understand, that what most people really, really want is simply to feel good about themselves, and when you realize that with just a few well-chosen words you can help virtually anyone on the planet instantly achieve this, you begin to realize just how simple life is, how powerful you are, and that love is the key.”

Posted by Elvis on 09/12/15 •
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