Collision: Shaquille O’Neal Wants Your Life to be Steady

Today at Collision conference Shaquille O’Neal made an appearance to promote Steady, a company that wants to help working Americans get a steady financial life. The company was founded by Adam Roseman a few years ago with the goal of making life more predictable for the average American. As nearly everyone knows, inequality has been increasing since the last recession and now companies like Steady are looking to stop that growth. Their platform helps people find work while also learning how to budget and other financial bits of wisdom.

Growing up in a single-parent home, Roseman saw first hand the daily financial struggles many Americans face. The vision for Steady came to Roseman after seeing the plight of his recently retired father. Like many Americans, his father found he didn’t have enough retirement savings and needed to work part-time to make ends meet. Roseman stepped in, suggesting his father look for flexible work opportunities that fit his needs, availability and interests. And through Steady, Roseman and his team hope to help millions more.

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I’m attending Collision at Home this week.

Working Less is What We can do to Repair the Economy

Collision 2019 - Day One

Before the pandemic too many people spent too much of the time working instead of living. Now, the opposite is true with employers in North America firing people left and right because companies didn’t save a rainy day fund. Indeed, some companies aren’t paying rent and getting away with it (unlike individuals). Maybe there’s a way to save jobs and our mental health. If we went down to a four day workweek we could see an increase in productivity in some jobs, while in other jobs it could open the door for more employment.

“The pandemic has created a moment for businesses to take stock and consider more radical reconstructions of the workplace. It is a time for experimentation and a reevaluation of what it means to be productive,” said Andrew Barnes, author of “The 4 Day Week” and co-founder of the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global. Barnes has emerged as a global ambassador of sorts for a four-day workweek, since switching his own New Zealand-based firm onto that schedule back in 2018 and finding it improved productivity and morale.

“By focusing on productivity and output rather than time spent in a workplace, the four-day week allows for better work-life balance, improved employee satisfaction, retention and mental health,” he said.

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Unions Bring Big Benefits to California

Foodora work

If you work in a unionized environment you’re likely doing better than a person in a non-union environment according to a study done in California. You’re also less likely to make use of the state’s welfare system. What’s more this means that the whole state benefits from unions as more economic activity is happening as a result with less costs imposed on the social welfare system. The pandemic has really made it clear that unions can make a big difference in how workplaces react to the economic troubles.

  • Workers covered by a union contract in California earn an average of 12.9 percent more than non-union workers with similar demographic characteristics and working in similar industries.

  • Overall, we estimate that unions increase workers’ earnings in California by $18.5 billion annually through collective bargaining.

  • Unions decrease by 30.6 percent the likelihood that a worker is in a family where at least one member is enrolled in a public safety net program, compared to non-union workers with similar demographic characteristics and working in similar industries.

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This Company Pays Everyone 70k and it’s Thriving

economic chart

A few years ago the CEO of Gravity Payments, Dan Price, decided to change the pay structure at his company to ensure a better and happier workplace. He decided to make the base salary $70,000 and it changed the lives of all employees for the better. The company has tippled its revenue since the change in 2015, employees are able to afford housing, and employee pension contributions are up. This is how you create a happy productive workforce!

Hopefully more companies will realize that actually paying workers what they are worth will make the entire corporation better.

Breathing in the crisp mountain air as he hiked with Valerie, Price had an idea. He had read a study by the Nobel prize-winning economists Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, looking at how much money an American needs to be happy. He immediately promised Valerie he would significantly raise the minimum salary at Gravity.

After crunching the numbers, he arrived at the figure of $70,000. He realised that he would not only have to slash his salary, but also mortgage his two houses and give up his stocks and savings. He gathered his staff together and gave them the news.

He’d expected scenes of celebration, but at first the announcement floated down upon the room in something of an anti-climax, Price says. He had to repeat himself before the enormity of what was happening landed.

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Successful People are “Lazy”

conversation

It’s ok to be lazy.

In fact, incorporating come lazy behaviours into your work might make you more productive. As counter-intuitive as that sounds, it’s true. There are certain tricks that you can easily incorporate into your day to day at work to enhance what you do, even though others might think those tricks are lazy. Sometimes it’s just a matter of saying no to work that isn’t yours to do and other times it’s taking a break.

6. Taking regular vacations.

“If you love what you do, every day is a vacation.” Nice in theory, lousy in practice. Even if you love your job, taking space from the work you do and having your mind elsewhere is essential to break out of the habit patterns that keep you stuck in your work.

In a discussion on travel between journalist Ezra Klein and economist Tyler Cowen, Klein remarked that he often feels exhausted from travel. Cowen responded that he is able to travel so much, because he treats travel with the seriousness most people apply to work. Instead of expecting it to be leisure, he sees it as an opportunity to expand his knowledge.

I agree with Cowen. Travel is not the only way to broaden your mind, but regularly going somewhere new—physically or mentally—is essential to avoid getting stuck in stale habits. Your routines eventually prevent you from discovering creative new solutions. Seeing and discovering new things is essential to prevent becoming inflexible in your thoughts and actions.

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