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By David Harder on August, 16, 2010

Full employment – A real culture revolution

In 1990, the United States was in a significant recession and that was also the year we launched Inspired Work. The business was founded on a seminar that focuses on building the best possible relationship towards work. The full insights in how to build that relationship are more important than ever. At Inspired Work, the last twenty years have taught us a great deal in how to build that great relationship. Now, mover than ever, having that awareness is critical to a person’s overall success. While we encourage anyone who has the resources to come to our programs, we also encourage those same people to reach out to the community and find ways to help our un- & under-employed friends, family and colleagues get back to work.

In the last two months, I joined an initiative between the city and a major university. We are exploring how to cut unemployment throughout Los Angeles by fifty percent over the next three years. It is an ambitious and worthy agenda that will make Los Angeles a much better place to live. To begin, let’s start with the truth. Unemployment levels are published by the government, the government is run by elected officials. The current published unemployment rates are 9.3% for Los Angeles City, 12.3% for the State and 9.3% for the United States. Our long accepted methods for measuring unemployment are politically driven, antiquated and don’t take into account all of the people who’ve given up on looking for work, whose unemployment benefits have ended or who couldn’t find a job so they started a business without the skills to make it successful. When these figures are added, we have well over twenty to twenty-five percent “real” unemployment. 

Someone once asked me what would have kept the planes from flying into the towers. I responded, “Jobs.” The middle east leads the world in unemployment, especially with young adults. Rightly so, there are high expectations that children get a higher education. However, when they graduate, only a handful find employment. When there are no jobs, many young people join gangs. It is the same in all parts of the world. If we really want peace, find ways to get people into valuable work. This topic isn’t just an issue of abundance, it is a road towards peace.

For years, we’ve whined that America is not competitive. Why is it that under two years of pressure, General Motors can post a profit, pay off its debt and build cars that are taken seriously in Germany and China? If you don’t believe it, go to Google. America is a diverse and innovative continent. We’ve demonstrated an ability to raise our expectations, get education and lead the world. But our success story can be seductive. We can settle with survival or we can make a stand to find the lives we are capable of having and inspiring our communities to become better places to live. It is impossible for us to live like that if we are surrounded with people who want to work but can’t seem to find their way. Why not insist to our politicians that we pull money out of anything that creates little value or harms anyone into finding ways to lead our world into full employment? This can’t be done from scarcity and from belly aching about outsourcing. That is an extension of the old, old story about competition of “us against them.” Full employment can only take place within a radically different view where we find a solution for all.

In our community, the unemployment situation is cannibalizing lives and time. Los Angeles, Pasadena and many other cities have more police sitting on corners with radar. Our communities need the money. I got two tickets for going ten miles over the limit and was debating if I ought to take that 400 hour traffic school for two-time offenders. First, I decided to take the hit and just pay for the ticket online. The website didn’t work. Almost an hour was consumed trying to reach a telephone representative. Finally, I went to the courthouse only to discover a line circling the huge building. We stood there for two hours. When we got to the front door, I asked a Sheriff about the phone numbers listed for the call center on the door. “Oh,” she said, “they’ve been laid off.” I responded, “In my neighborhood, I don’t see parking tickets anymore.” She shrugged, “Probably laid-off.” My voice went up a notch, “So how much revenue is being lost by all of these people standing in line who could be working and all of the call center people staying at home?” She smiled and said, “Pretty %$%$ up!” By the time I made it to the cashier window, justification had taken over and I asked for the appearance with the judge to request traffic school. Several stamps were made, the paperwork was handed back and the appearance date read, “March, 2011.” I said, “Well let me pay for the ticket.” He gave me a hurried look and responded, “You don’t have to pay anything until March.”

If you believe it is time to take action:

1. Write to your representatives from mayor to governor to congress to President. Tell the it is time to devote spending where it belongs – in building infrastructure and jobs around industries that have a future versus more subsidies to industries in decline.

2. Contact local jobs programs at the Unemployment Office, Universities and homeless organizations. Sign-up to become a mentor to someone who really wants to get back to work.

3. If you are part of your company’s budgeting process, examine if it is really in everyone’s best interest to hand out more bonuses to secure executives or find innovative ways to grow the company by funding entry level work in new markets, technology, green energy, customer retention, education…the growth list is a long one.

4. Find the resources to make yourself as informed as possible in how to not only stay competitive but to become more successful, valuable and fulfilled.

We love feedback! Please, if you have any suggestions, thoughts or innovative ideas about getting full employment in LA, please send them to us.

Thank you.

All the best