Figure it Out! Healthcare and Work have got to Change

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I have a big idea and don’t know what to do with it, but I know you know a guy who knows a guy and can turn it into a pile of money.

Do it, go crazy! The world will be better because of it.

Low unemployment doesn’t fully convey the health of the labor market. Healthcare is broken. How about a new business venture that (partially) solves for both?!

Let’s create Cuban Company, a business clearinghouse for workers with robust jobs that pay well ($50/hour +) and match talented experienced workers for a commitment of several weeks to several months or even years, but instead of upwork.com or freelancer.com or part-time roles, the jobs would be project-based, remote, corporate roles ranging from 2–20 hours/week, that would include benefits. The job seekers/participants would be talented, skilled, vetted, and crucially, (and non-negotiably) parents or caregivers.

Part 1

I’m tired of hearing about how companies want to hire but can’t find qualified workers. It’s bullshit, it’s not the workers, it’s the system that’s broken.

1) There are many many qualified workers out there who are being screened out by automated processes that are looking for #thisveryspecifickeyword and #notthisone. Unless you can demonstrate #theexactnumberofyearswiththistitleinthisindustry you’re #nolongerconsidered. What company wants to hire the same people they already have? That doesn’t contribute to innovation or diversity. It certainly doesn’t help a maturing industry evolve, a start-up compete, or anyone disrupt anything. It’s lazy and redundant. Start hiring for big brains and relevant experience and quit recycling everyone in the same industry since college.

2) There are many many qualified workers that don’t want what companies are selling. The typical job advertisement/position description is two-four pages, filled with an exhaustive list of tedious to important tasks, many of which require finesse, maturity, collaboration, and more work than can possibly get done in a reasonable time frame. And there’s no mention of salary, benefits, culture, advancement, or anything that matters to the job seeker. Why are we still doing that? Demanding transparency in so many aspects of business but keeping the people we are searching for in the dark?

3) If you haven’t looked for a job for a while, maybe you don’t know that you have to register on many sites to apply now, on the company’s site, and on the job board, or with a recruiter, that you have to give away a lot of personal data and even take psyche tests and screening tests before you get to determine if the posted position is a fit for you, if the company is right, or occasionally if the role is even still available. And don’t get me started about verifying which opportunities are legit, or how #companiespostjargonandacronymsandalltheotherthingsthatjobhuntersaren’tsupposedtouseontheirresumes further reinforcing the imbalance of #heresexactlywhatyou’llhavetodoforme even though #we’renotgoingtorevealhowmuchyou’llbepaid or #howmuchyou’llwork or #ifwehaveshittybenefits or a #disastrousculture.

Seems fair, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s a process that was implemented so long ago that it’s virtually irrelevant now, except it’s so pervasive and passively accepted that no one has the inertia to fix it. And it’s become even more irrelevant in a digital world because we told computers to do the stuff that wasn’t working instead of programming them to do better. Keywords — schmewords. Like #hashtags, they only tell part of the story.

Part 2

Healthcare is a problem for individuals, families, communities, healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, all across the US, and for the federal budget. It’s broken for many reasons, and a key problem is that the ones most familiar with the system are the very same that are profiting from it so they aren’t particularly motivated to improve anything. Sure, they agree it’s not ideal, it would be better if more people had access or didn’t die, but they also lobby like crazy to keep ridiculous aspects untouchable, and occasionally make insignificant changes so they can claim compassion.

Reportedly Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Warren Buffett are teaming up to do something about their workers’ health care. There hasn’t been a lot of detail released — they’re partnering on ways to address healthcare for US employees, to improve employee satisfaction and reduce costs. These guys are an exciting bet because they seem to have little tolerance for ridiculousness or status quo. Cheers for progress!

Which partly inspired the big idea because it has ramifications for both broken systems…

Cool, right? Tell you more? If someone is still reading at this point, awesome.

I’m not talking about solving unemployment, I’m talking about solving for families and “missing workers”, those who have simply opted out of working because childcare is too expensive, because their caregiving responsibilities prevent them from being away from home multiple hours/week, or because the part-time and freelance opportunities available are geared at entry-level workers or commoditized roles and paid accordingly.

Parents and caregivers are an extremely underutilized worker demographic with vast skills, a desire to work, and very significant buying power, but flexibility is vital as is a role that fits their circumstances. Oh, and they’re experienced, so companies don’t have to start from scratch or overly invest in them before they offer a return. Great for business.

For parents and caregivers, it’s ideal too. For those who want to be present for their kids’ childhoods or share their parents last years, or focus on what matters, currently, they have to make hard choices, often pitting the good of their families against financial viability. Parents and caregivers want to contribute, earn, continue to be marketable, and don’t want to opt out of the workforce completely but there are limited options.

However, if they could register with Cuban Company, build a profile, get matched up to a project, apply, get paid, and work more than 90 days, thereby qualifying them to participate in a benefits program of some sort, now we’re talking. It’s a driver for parents and caregivers to jump back into the workforce and reinvigorate the economy. Benefits are hugely motivating to this group as well as to freelancers, small business owners, and other self-employed who would likely participate as well to offset their self-employment healthcare costs, further invigorating the economy and even potentially taking some of the burden off the healthcare system.

Cuban Companies would obviously take a percentage of all of it, which likely would be passed on to corporations in the form of fees or rates, but the corporations can handle it because they need these projects completed for the future of their businesses. Right now they have a laundry list of significant projects and meaningful work that never gets touched because 1) it’s high priority, but not top priority 2) the current staff is already overextended or roles are too narrow 3) no one’s figured out how to monetize the idea yet so it doesn’t have widespread internal advocacy or 4) interns are currently being utilized.

No judgment against interns, they’re a free and brilliant source of labor, but they often lack experience. With experience comes good judgment, diplomacy, relevance and other valuable business skills. The advantage of employing a parent or caregiver that brings vast experience or expertise to the table is their vast experience and expertise. As a reminder, they’ve opted out for circumstances, not qualifications, and this neutralizes their circumstances, so they can opt back in. Win-win.

Yes, it’s complicated. Blah. Who knows if it’s viable? Blah. No one’s been able to figure it out yet. Blah.

Like everything else, it’s a choice. Are we prepared to endure what we have even though it’s not really working because change is too complex? No! Instead, let’s choose to simplify and improve the idea until it not only works, it becomes a money-making no-duh good-for-everyone why-didn’t-I-think-of-that idea. Yes!

Thanks for your consideration and Go Mavs (or insert your favorite billionaire’s team of choice here)!

Sincerely,

Kristi and Other Parents & Caregivers

Written by

Life coach for women. Writer for 29 publications. Happiness, success, productivity, balance, leadership, inspiration. Follow me on Instagram @coachformoms.

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