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.
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.
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.
- Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
- What Color is Your Parachute
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath
- The Laws of Wealth by Dan Crosby
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.