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Wanna know why work sucks? Ask Áine Cain. She’s a careers and employment reporter for Business Insider, and her experience covering multiple workplaces gives her a unique insight into what makes a great – or terrible – place to work. From the #MeToo movement to the gig economy, and lotus-eaters to a robot invasion, Laurie and Áine talk about the current state of work and its future.

  • Are there still great places to work? Yes, but don’t be lured by ‘perks’ companies. Áine explains what they are and why they create a culture of complacency and wasting away.
  • According to a Gallup poll, nearly 70% of employees aren’t engaged at work, and naturally, these employees blame their managers. There’s an argument there to be made, but Áine points at two of the major themes she sees frequently, and it’s not managers.
  • What makes a place great to work at? Áine has a lovely acronym to explain what companies are doing right. CCE – co-workers, compensation, engagement. She explains what each of them means.
  • The #MeToo movement has been instrumental in raising awareness of issues at work, but you have to wonder: will awareness lead to long-lasting change? Laurie and Áine tackle that tough question with some anecdotes and insights that will change the way you think about the future of work.
  • Yes, men need to behave better at work. But there’s a second change that needs to take place, and that’s in the systems at work. Laurie and Áine talk about how businesses can replace their antiquated systems.
  • So at whose feet do we lay the burden of fixing work? Management, HR, employees? Laurie and Áine talk about where change needs to happen to make a great workplace, both the ideal and the realistic ways.
  • No one wants to work in the ‘bro culture.’ Áine digs into why that mentality fails and what employees really want to become more engaged and invested in their job. From generational gaps to the advent of the internet, so many different things have contributed to the current job climate.
  • You’ve heard the term ‘gig economy.’ But have you ever stopped to think about what it really is? Find out who is a real part of the gig economy, who it benefits, and whether or not it’s a good thing.
  • We promised robots. Áine says they’re taking over. We’re probably not going to tell you something you don’t know, but you definitely want to hear what Áine says about how the robot takeover will probably mirror the industrial revolution in terms of unemployment. Laurie and Áine discuss some of the ways that can be prevented.
  • Listen to the Spotify Playlist.

Find Áine online: 

Áine on Business Insider

Twitter

LinkedIn

We hope you enjoyed this episode! If so, please subscribe and leave a review! Let’s fix work, together.

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Tony Robbins said something stupid about the #MeToo movement and then, shocking nobody, offered a tone-deaf apology.

Are we really surprised?

Tony Robbins is a piece of garbage who has been defrauding dreamers and doers for countless decades. And it’s time for conference organizers, advertisers, and even readers to drop Tony Robbins for a better path towards enlightenment.

I love motivational speakers. Wanna get motivated? Look locally, within your community, for the movers and shakers who are kicking ass and taking names. You work with awesome people. You go to church and temple with talented individuals. Want to change your life? Ask your neighbor or colleague for some help.

Don’t look to Tony Robbins for anything. Not for inspiration. Not for motivation. And, clearly, not for an apology when he’s been a moron.

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Jobs of the near-term future will have three components: dream, create, perform. Each part is interwoven and material to the whole. 

Dreaming is the precursor to doing great things. What differentiates humans from bots and algorithms is our ability to imagine. While robots can be programmed for artistic talent, they can’t aspire beyond their designed consciousness. Not yet, anyway. 

And while machines can create just about anything they’re told to make, they can’t forecast the emotional landscape of the human heart and build on impulse. I’ve been listening to How I Built This, which is a podcast on entrepreneurialism, and it’s fascinating to hear how people create successful companies. Our biases and weaknesses impede societal evolution, but they also cause artists and entrepreneurs to act and solve problems in creative and innovative ways. 

No robot can create Stitch Fix, and no algorithm could create FUBU. 

Finally, all near-term jobs will require some level of performance. It’s not enough to make a burger; it’s how you serve the meal. No longer enough to cut hair, but, instead, you need to impact your customer’s life. As I write this blog post, I know that hitting the publish button is the first step in my audience’s journey. Relationships differentiate me from a content bot on AOL.

So, the three components of future jobs look like this: dream, create, perform. Beyond authenticity, it’s vulnerability. And that’s easier said than done. 

It used to be that only artists thought about the creative process. Now, everybody is an artist, and, ultimately, a student of how their work gets done. If you don’t hone and guard your creative process, you’ll lose out to the commoditized products created by robots. 

Welcome to the future of work, my friends. You can beat the robots, but you must allow yourself to be human and vulnerable. I think it’s worth a try.

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Most recruiters are lazy. Things are broken, great talent is slipping through companies’ fingers, and no one is doing anything about it. Is it because they don’t want to, or because they don’t know how to? Today Laurie talks to ‘America’s Best Recruiter,’ Tim Sackett. Tim answers the most common questions he gets from talent recruitment managers including how he would fix recruitment for them.

  • Laurie asks a very pointed question: can recruitment be fixed or does it need to be changed from the ground up? According to Tim, there’s no single answer. Maybe it’s just a tech or metrics measurement problem. Perhaps it’s the company’s brand or even their performance management.
  • Tim dispels some major myths about why recruitment and retention are broken and it’s NOT candidate experience. That’s a made-up concept. So is employee experience. If you disagree, you need to hear Tim’s example from the movie Jerry McGuire. Are you the kind of boss you need to be? If so, the candidate and employee experience fall into line naturally.
  • Do you have to be a great manager to be a great leader and vice versa? Tim’s answer to this question is very revealing, and if you don’t know the subtle difference between the two, there’s a very good chance you’ll find your talent problem there.
  • Some leaders/managers do all the right things when it comes to ticking off boxes. But the big thing they’re missing is compassion, empathy. Tim is quick to advise against firing them or moving them to non-management positions. His pragmatic view might surprise you.
  • Tim and Laurie diverge just a bit from the topic to talk about putting content out there into the world, how to do it when you don’t know how, and how to deal with the haters even if you’re from Gen X or before. This is advice you don’t want to miss because it applies to more than just putting your content online.
  • Tim is releasing a book, The Talent Fix. In it, he addresses the major problems he sees when he works with companies. First among those is the belief that tech is the problem, not people. He gives his advice on how to deal with that issue right off the bat. Before you even ASK him for help.
  • You’ve heard of the ‘days to fill’ directive for recruitment teams. Tim explains the breakdown of why that measurement fails and offers an alternative: the recruitment funnel. It works kind of like a sales funnel and at the end of it, if you have 10 candidates and you only want to interview 1 of them, you know your funnel is broken.
  • Tim blows the lid off the truth about recruiters. They want that big paycheck but they don’t want to recruit. Instead, they want to be recruiting administrators, and Tim explains what that means, the ‘post and pray.’ In the same vein, Tim and Laurie talk about being mediocre or being exceptional at work. Where do you fall on the scale, and where do you want to be?
  • Listen to the Spotify Playlist.

Find Tim Online:

LinkedIn

The Tim Sackett Project

If you enjoyed this episode please subscribe and leave a review! Let’s fix work, together.

If you want to check out the Impact Makers Podcast with Jennifer McClure – you can listen and subscribe right here.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written about failure, but not a day goes by when I don’t think about the concept of the “premortem.” 

As a reminder, a premortem is an act of thinking about how you’ll fail before you do something. Modify your plans, and increase your chance of success.

For example, you’ve got a grandmother. She’s old but still around. Work backward and think about how she might die. Probably due to diabetes or loneliness if she lives in America. Get your ass over to Gramma’s house and spend time with her. Listen to her stories. Be a good grandchild. Don’t let her drink Sunkist soda with a slice of Entenmann’s coffee cake alone on the sofa while watching Wheel of Fortune. 

Anyway, I’m no longer the CEO of a tech company, but I still use the premortem almost every day. This week, I had a conference call scheduled for 7 AM. I thought — that’s super early, and what if this person doesn’t show up? So I woke up at 6 AM and checked the reply status of the invitation. She hadn’t confirmed. So I went back to bed. Nobody is mad, everything worked out, and I got an extra hour and a half of sleep. 

I also use the premortem on projects like HR Books and Let’s Fix Work. Yes, I wrote business plans. But I also wrote failure plans. Tons of failure scenarios — like how I always spend too much money — so I’m trying to be frugal while producing quality content. If these two projects don’t further bankrupt me that’s a win. 

So, the premortem is a living breathing tool in my life. Just because I’m not working on GlitchPath doesn’t mean I didn’t learn from my foray into the world of technology. And just because the execution of my product failed doesn’t mean the idea failed.

Being intentional and thinking through risks scenarios will always be in vogue. You might not need software, but you need a reminder to balance your irrational exuberance with reality. So, I’m here to tell you there’s nothing to fear about failure. Anticipate and plan for it. Try to outsmart it.

I still believe that if you can see it, you can beat it. Just takes humility, practice, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes. 

If you’re scared, that’s okay. Watch me do it, first. 

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I’ve been traveling all over, this spring, attending conferences and networking with amazing talent-focused business leaders. One thing that’s true for every event? Almost everybody is looking for a new job.

I’ve had hundreds of in-person conversations since the beginning of the year with HR folks who are miserable. Complaining incessantly about their leadership teams. Totally disengaged and caught up in a cycle of learned helplessness. It sucks so hard.

They show up at an event and get motivated to change their lives. Then they go home, get on the internet, and find jobs where other HR folks were miserable and have left for the promise of greener pastures.

It’s one big job-swap of crap. 

I don’t work in human resources, but I’m sympathetic to a certain degree. The job is challenging, and you deal with the underbelly of an organization. But, as an entrepreneur, I’m also impatient with people who complain. It’s tough to understand what’s so bad about a job with paid-time-off and benefits. Want to fix your life? The only limiting factor is you.

As HR’s big sister, it’s hard for me to not fix your problems. So, I’ve created a simple HR job board where LFR-approved jobs will be featured for your consideration. It’s free for everybody. If you’re a fan of HR Books, it means you’re already leadership material. Plus, readers are leaders. Why not help you find a great job?

And if you’re looking for amazing HR and talent-related professionals, you know how hard it is to recruit an HR professional who isn’t a whiner. (Sorry, friends.) Why not highlight your jobs to my audience and find the next person to change your company’s path?

Find a job, find talented people, and get back to work. It doesn’t have to be so difficult. Hope you have a look at the HR Job Board, and email me if you want to discuss it.

Now let’s all change the world.

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With all the wisdom out there about creating a great culture at work, you might think companies would have it well in hand by now. Unless you work in one of those companies getting it wrong. Creating a great culture at work isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sometimes it’s up to you to be the change you want to see. This week’s guest Amanda Hite explains how to be the change at work.

  • One of the best things companies can do is to treat their employees like humans who have lives, families, responsibilities, and interests. At the same time, knowing this can also open people up to other difficulties. Amanda shares the story of being offered a promotion as long as she promised NOT to talk about her LGBT lifestyle.
  • When you look at different companies across the globe in terms of culture problems, you see themes emerge. Amanda shares some of these themes, the most prevalent being the generational gaps and how quickly the world is changing. The old regimes are threatened by the highly intelligent younger generation stepping in.
  • Like it or not, we’re all embroiled in politics. It affects the experience we have at work, so Amanda shares a view you might not expect: what’s going RIGHT for work in regards to politics in America. In a world where information can go worldwide in a matter of minutes, issues in the workplace are brought to light and must be addressed by companies. Changes are made to culture because of it.
  • Have you heard the term ‘weaponization of social media?’ As troubling as the reality of it is, it’s a fascinating concept. Laurie and Amanda talk about how the promise behind platforms like Twitter has changed into damage control, and how the younger generations will need to lead the charge to turn it around.
  • Right now poverty is down. Life expectancy is up. Seems great, and it is. But trust is at an all-time low. From trust within organizations to trust between organizations and the public, Laurie and Amanda talk about where trust is emerging and how to foster it.
  • So what happens when your workplace isn’t an actual workplace? If you’re in the freelance, gig economy, you don’t have an HR department. So what change can you actually be? Amanda believes that there are already innovations happening that are making it better. She shares some of her favorites.
  • If you want to fix work, you need to start by fixing yourself. It’s a bold declaration that Laurie makes, and Amanda shares her own thoughts on how to fix work. She also shares how SHE’S fixing her own company and the experience her employees have.
  • Listen to the Spotify Playlist. 

Find Amanda online:

BTC Revolutions

Twitter

LinkedIn

We hope you enjoyed this episode! If so, please subscribe and leave a review! Let’s fix work, together.

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Work is broken. I’m here to fix it.

Every two weeks, I’m bringing you interviews and insights from my friends — people who are changing the world, taking risks and showing up every damn day to say NO to corporate bullshit, misogyny, institutional racism and everything else that is wrong with how we earn our paychecks.

And it all starts today, not with one conversation, but with three. Scroll on to find the first episodes of the Let’s Fix Work Podcast. I’ve talked to Scott Stratten about making huge career changes without a safety net, to Scott Santens about Universal Basic Income and how it will change everything AND with Jason Lauritsen about why people hate their jobs and what we can do differently. Below you’ll find each episode, show notes and a special playlist I made for it in Soundcloud.

Burn it Down with Scott Stratten

Scott Stratten hated work. It was broken. So he decided to burn it all down and build it back up. How did he do it? By becoming unemployable. Join Laurie and Scott as they talk through his experience before and after burning down his career (multiple times) and what he did to make life and work better for himself. What can YOU do to burn down your career?

  • Scott knew he wanted to be a speaker at age 12. For his 16th birthday, he asked for a textbook on HR standards because he realized that he could stand up for people through human resources. Pretty nerdy, right? Scott shares the story of when he was in HR for Goodwill and the ridiculous situation that made him realize he couldn’t do the job anymore. It started with an employee stealing from Goodwill. That’s bad enough. But then she was given $5,000 to drop her grievance. Would you have done what Scott did?
  • He went on to find another job training employees to sell bubble wrap, but it came with constant travel and ridiculous hours, so he quit with only 64 cents in the bank and a son on the way. His next job as an independent trainer didn’t go much better, but something happened that turned it all around for him. He created some viral content in the HR circle.
  • Laurie makes a surprising observation about the American economy; the rug’s going to get pulled out from under us at any time. She asks Scott how he’s future-proofing himself and his business. Normally, business owners want to grow their businesses, but Scott’s answer will shock you. He’s willing to take a 50% cut in revenue.
  • Not everyone wants to be a keynote speaker or online leviathan. Some people want to open frozen yogurt shops. Scott shares some sage advice on how to burn it down, or how NOT, to burn it down. The first piece of advice? Start building your other thing before you burn your current thing down. He even throws some ‘dad’ advice in there.

You can find Scott just about everywhere; just search the term ‘unmarketing.’ You’ll also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Listen to the Spotify Playlist! 

Basic Income Versus Welfare with Scott Santens

Living wages are a topic of high controversy. Why should someone get paid just for being alive? How can society and business thrive in such an environment? It’s not as hard as you might think and some of the benefits are surprising.  Laurie talks with Scott Santens, a proponent of the living wage, and he’ll make you think twice about it.

  • If you’re not familiar with the term ‘basic income,’ Scott lays it bare. It’s where you create an income floor for everyone, universally, that will cover their basic needs. This would remove the need for many welfare programs, but it would do so in a way that supports work. How is this possible? Scott explains the difference between welfare and basic income. He also talks about why welfare punishes you for working and how the people who truly need it are often overlooked.
  • Basic income isn’t just a pipe dream. It’s already happening in one of the United States in the form of a yearly dividend. It’s one of the closest examples of Scott’s idea of basic income and he explains how it works. The most striking bit of data is how it’s increased employment.
  • So who’s going to pay the basic income? Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates? Not entirely; basic income would remove the need for welfare programs, tax credits, and loopholes. He also talks about why figuring the cost of basic income isn’t as simple as multiplying the dollar per person by the number of people in the program.
  • When you talk about redistributing wealth, you’ll hear arguments that the wealthy are being punished for being successful and similar. Scott defends basic income against many of the common objections, including how innovation and investment in America could be stifled by it.
  • Laurie and Scott get to the heart of the matter: if you give people money to live, why would they bother going to work? Scott’s fresh take on the subject might change your mind if you’re against the basic income. The important part to remember is that while there’s a floor to cover your needs, there’s also no ceiling to what you can make. In addition to that, the ability to say no as a potential employee puts power in the employee’s hands. It’s no longer an issue of being forced to take a poverty-level income.
  • Scott talks about his experience living with a basic income, which he crowdsourced. What was the single biggest thing he gained, other than the money? Peace of mind and emotional stability. Imagine what $1,000 per month, per person in your household would free you up to do. Would you pursue your passions and do what you were meant to do?
  • The last question is a doozy. What do you do with people who won’t contribute and only ever take from the system? Scott’s answer is priceless. It’s also backed up with science. It’s called the Einstein Effect.

Find Scott Santens on his site, and on Twitter @ScottSantens. If you want more info on basic income, visit BasicIncome.org.

Listen to the Spotify Playlist!

Get Clear on What You Want with Jason Lauritsen

Jason Lauritsen hates work. It’s ironic that he is the one who tells companies how to fix work for their employees, and he’s pretty darn good at it. Some of the big topics Jason and Laurie tackle are the relationships, where change needs to start, and how to fix the situation you’re in right now.

  • Why does Jason hate work? It’s simple. He can’t stand following leaders who have no idea where they’re going. Jason shares the personal problems he’s faced in dealing with employers versus in consulting. He also shares why many of his employers have offered him money to leave work.
  • Work sucks for the rest of us, too. Jason has some very pointed reasons why this is so, and he puts words to what you’ve been feeling for a long time now. He provides some insights on why it’s happening, including the dissonance in how an employee sees work versus how an employer sees it: relationship versus contract.
  • How many jobs have you had where your managers call the team a family but treat it like contract labor? While Laurie and Jason might have differing opinions on whether or not work CAN be a family-type situation, Jason has some interesting ideas defending the idea of family in the workplace.
  • Laurie and Jason discuss a list of authors who are masters of psychology at work and similar fields; you’ll want to grab a pen and write these down: Dan Crosby, Dan Ariely, the Heath brothers, and more. Also, check out ‘What Color is Your Parachute.’
  • If you’re stuck at a dream and you aren’t sure how to make the jump into entrepreneurism, then you need to hear what Jason has to say about it. It starts with a pen and a piece of paper, but are you willing to take the step right after that? Remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and Jason and Laurie explain how their hobbies became side hustles, which became careers.
  • What does it take to do Jason’s job? He gives some tips on speaking, on being an entrepreneur, the precarious balance between content and art, and more.

Resources mentioned:

Find Jason:

And you can listen to the Spotify Playlist!

I hope you like what you’ve heard here today, and I hope you like what’s coming next. In two weeks, on April 16th, I’m talking to Tim Sackett, and you won’t want to miss it. You can subscribe on iTunes here – or search for Let’s Fix Work in your favorite podcast player.

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I’m fascinated by people who change their lives.

I was lucky enough to see a bunch of friends and colleagues at my friend’s 40th birthday party, last summer. These are bloggers, speakers and HR professionals whom I knew when I was younger but haven’t hung out with in many years.

What was clear at that party is that times have changed since 2009. Quite a few of my friends are now very successful HR leaders within their organizations. Several have married and started families. Some are published authors and thought-leaders with smart things to say about the future of work.

It’s hard to notice a change in most people, but when you see someone after several years apart, the hard work shows. Friends who suffered from depression and anxiety during the recession are now killing it at work. People who once floundered in HR are defining the future of the industry. And friends with troubled marriages are now involved in healthy, productive relationships.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it goes unnoticed. So, I reached out to some of those individuals after the birthday party to ask about what’s going right in their lives. And there’s a common theme: every single friend of mine admitted they were broken, and they chose to fix it.

The psychology of changing your behavior is complicated. Just because you want to fix a flaw — or enhance your relationships — doesn’t mean you have skills to do it. It doesn’t mean the universe will comply, either. Experts say it’s best to start with straightforward and attainable goals. And you’ll need help.

Some of my friends used coaches (and some reached out to clergy), but all of them asked for help to identify and fix one or two pain points. Then, like a snowball rolling down a hill, momentum grew.

Having friends who are committed to self-improvement makes it harder to be the least accomplished person in the room. I heard stories from colleagues who lost weight to travel around the world, got promoted into awesome jobs, or left abusive relationships and found peace. Their achievements made me think about my life. What are a few things I could do to improve life and my career?

I know this: I could spend more time with friends.

So, next week I’ll be in Austin with a bunch of former homies at WorkHuman. (I do behind-the-scenes coaching and consulting with that event. It’s my fourth year in a row.) These days, when I offer my consulting services to conferences, I’ll do my job and then stay home. But I’m happy to attend this event and see friends and colleagues who doubled-down on personal growth.

If you’re out there lighting the world on fire — or even just lighting your own world on fire — I’m happy to reconnect. Your change isn’t lost on me. I see the growth within you, and I want to learn more about it.

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I’m here for student protests.

Have passion? Make a statement. The louder, the better.

What I don’t love are school-sponsored “student protests” that hop on the bandwagon and co-opt the non-specific negative feelings about guns and turn raw emotion into an adult-centered activity focused on bullshit concepts like community and togetherness.

Listen, community and togetherness are important. But assembling on a football field and singing Coldplay songs to remember the victims of gun violence differs greatly from student protests, and it bugs me when parents confuse the two.

And it’s happening a lot.

“My kids had a protest day, today.”

“My daughter made a sign for her school’s walkout day.”

I don’t think so.

Student protests are compelling because kids are learning, growing, and making choices about comfort and safety while weighing the consequences of raising their voices. They’re debating tough issues and estimating risk.

“Can I sit here and do nothing while students around the country are massacred? What happens if I walk out and get detention?”

You walk out of class or don’t, but the decision and the consequences are yours. 

School-sponsored protests are the opposite of a student protest. At best, they’re an extension of groupthink and risk being misconstrued as a publicity stunt. At worst, it looks like a weapon of propaganda meant to brainwash these kids into thinking love and friendship will overcome bullets.

Love doesn’t solve gun violence. Better public policy does.

America has a system that allows prominent organizations to override our collective sentiment and create policies and laws that aren’t in the best interest of this country. And there are other topics such as toxic masculinity, money in politics, and, even, mental health that should be examined. I get that kids need to assemble in order to express feelings and grieve. But calling it a protest or a walkout does a disservice to kids who are making explicit choices to put their academic careers on the line because they want to change policy in America.

So, if your kids are gonna protest, let them fucking protest. Don’t make it a party. Don’t have donuts and chaperone the event. Allow your kids to exercise free will but, also, feel the discomfort of going against the grain.

And then hug your kids for me before you ground them. 

I’m overwhelmed by their bravery and inspired by their passion. I admire the determination to solve a problem that my generation couldn’t tackle. And I’m ashamed that gun violence is so bad that kids have to ditch school to make a difference.

We’re lucky this generation is here for all of us.

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