After the Work Revolution

As posted on Switch and Shift

Recently, I was irritated and surprised to find myself in a meeting where I was asked to join a health product multi-level marketing company. As I sternly refused to participate, I said, “While this may be your passion, this is not my passion.” I was then asked, “What is your passion?”

“Good question,” I replied. “I am a devotee of the work revolution. I believe passionately in changing the way people work,

and the way they survive. That is my passion.”

I’m a member of the 99%. These are the millions of us who don’t have the means to capital. The sinking majority who are making headlines are doing so because our wages don’t keep up with our needs. Compare us to the 1% who own the majority of the world’s wealth.

I am also an entrepreneur. I believe that I can have more challenge, control, creativity, and cash in my own business than I can in someone else’s. I’ve done that for my entire adult life. However, for most people, this is not the case. Most of the 99% work for someone else and most of those people hate their jobs.

I am an entrepreneur. I believe that I can have more challenge, control, creativity, and cash in my own business than I can in someone else’s.

Most of the people I know don’t even know there is a work revolution. It hasn’t touched them yet. Other people I know believe they are living the dream because they “work for a good company,” or have “work / life” balance. Others think that living the “American Dream” means makes loads and loads of personal, residual wealth, paying staff and contractors as little as possible.

However, a movement is growing all around us. A tectonic shift that is eliminating traditional and industrial, twentieth century work habits. It’s the momentum behind telecommuting, virtual offices, and open office space. It’s happening around foosball tables, webinars platforms and, yes, multi-level marketing companies. It is happening in freelance cultures, fast food restaurants and with mobile credit card readers. It really is exciting. Everywhere you look, you can see signs that the revolution is on.

This revolution is and should be completely open source. But for better or for worse, there is no agreement as to the desired outcome of this revolution. This begs the question: What will it look like if this revolution is successful?

The answer: The elimination of disempowering work for insufficient pay. Period.

A movement is growing all around us. A tectonic shift that is eliminating traditional and industrial, twentieth century work habits. Everywhere you look, you can see signs that the revolution is on.

We will have accomplished something great when even the most menial work becomes empowered, aligned and sufficient. Don’t worry, entrepreneur friends, I’m not talking about skating or subsidies here. I’m talking about putting real meaning and prosperity into everyone’s lives.

Labor unions brought us collective bargaining, sick time, and weekends, but now it is time to take it to the next level. I suggest that we embrace these four guiding principles to create a great, open source outcome:

  1. Consensus: Everyone at every level of any organization – no matter how big or small – is brought to the table as a meaningful part of the decision-making process.
  2. Shared Profits: Everyone at every level of any organization is sharing, in a meaningful way, the profitability of that organization.
  3. Flexibility: The end of “work / life” balance and the implementation of a healthy, sustainable life.
  4. Creativity: Everyone is a part of creating the culture they want within any organization they touch. Everyone. All gosh darn 100% of us. Valued for who we are, what we know, and our contribution.

If adopted, these four guiding principles could create the backbone of a successful revolutionary outcome.

In a recent interview with Elisa Parker of See Jane Do, she and I were discussing the rise of woman-led entrepreneurship and how that was changing the work landscape. We reached an agreement in that discussion: each woman was bringing an individual, creative element to the businesses they are creating.

Now we’re talking. The result of the work revolution is that every business will collectively make their own rules, their own culture, their own values, and their own mission. When each organization created is unique, prosperous, and sustainable for every person who touches it, we will have recreated work.

In the Ted Talk, “Radical Wisdom for a Company, a School, a Life” Ricardo Semler discuss how he began to question everything. In the same way, I challenge you to look around yourself and challenge everything. Once you start doing that, look at your work and imagine the result of creating it the way you and the people you work with really want it to work. It can be meaningful and prosperous for all. That is transformational and revolutionary.

The only foundational guidelines are the following: Decide collectively. Share the wealth. Be flexible. Be creative.

Imagine what the world will look like after that revolution.

 

Ruth Schwartz is the author of "The Key to the Golden Handcuffs". She is a high performance business consultant and leadership coach. Connect with Ruth to participate in the conversation. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube .

Posted in Entrepreneurship