Every Friday for the past 5 years we have a weekly “Call call with the Publisher”. All members of The Good Men Project Premium Community are welcome to participate. We are, after all, a participatory media company.
Below is a an edited and paraphrased version of what The Good Men Project Publisher Lisa Hickey discussed on the April 14, 2017 call”
“I want to start with a story—a very small story that leads to a much bigger insight.
I was in Walgreens late Thursday night—I had worked at the office, biked home, and stopped in at 10 p.m. just before it closed because I needed shampoo.
As I was waiting on line for the cash register, there are two employees there chatting. Both are young (well, everyone is young to me), but these were probably in their early-mid twenties. One was a man, one was a woman. Both were people of color, although I was so engaged in the conversation at first that didn’t really register til later.
But the female was talking about a new “job app” she had just downloaded. The idea behind the app is that she runs errands for anyone who wants an errand run. And she was describing the app to the other clerk, but the person ahead of me in line was all excited about it too. As was I—the new-world economy and how it works is always of interest to me. So we all jumped into the conversation.
And they were all talking about how — yes, they all have jobs, the two clerks obviously work at Walgreens. On top of that—they all drive for Uber. One drives for Lyft also. It’s kind of a condition of today’s economy, right? You have whatever job you can find—but even if you have a “typical” job, the hours are no longer set. Retail establishments often send people home or cancel shifts if business gets slow. But this girl was explaining about this new app — she can be a delivery person or a personal assistant or a personal shopper — whatever is needed. As she described it, someone could order something online at Forever 21, this girl would go pick it up and deliver it to the person. Or food delivery. But the person could also say “go to Forever 21, find me a black sweater on sale, send me a picture of it before you buy it”. And this girl was SO excited about integrating this new way of earning money into her schedule— on top of working at Walgreens and driving for Uber.
Now, let’s consider this.
Lyft (Uber’s competitor) just raised $600M at a $7.5B valuation — in part because it allows people to work at these token wages at scale.
Couple that with this article from the Harvard Business School: We Tracked Every Dollar 235 US Households Spent For a Year, and Found Widespread Vulnerability.
The HBS paper found that family earnings are very volatile — much more volatile than previously thought. Even when people are working full-time jobs — 5 months out of a year the income is either lower or higher than average.
The paper explains how, in jobs like retail — Walgreens for example — you no longer get a guarantee of 40 hours of shifts. If you are lucky, you get 40, but if the store isn’t doing well — they send you home. This is also a real life example of how laws that continually side on the side of corporations can impact the quality of live for people in the real world who are struggling to make a living.
Now let’s go back to the kids in my story.
They work at Walgreens but have no idea how many shifts they are going to get.
When they don’t have a shift, they turn on their Uber App, AND their Lyft App AND their Task App — and see which one has a job available.
One Uber driver told me he also sells real estate. So he will sit in his car in his driveway, working on his real estate paperwork until an Uber job comes in. then he’s off.
So say this girl gets a job picking up a sweater at Forever 21 and delivering it. She turns off the Uber App, delivers the sweater. Now she is in a town 20 miles away from her house. She turns on the Uber app puts in her home address, so she will find someone wanting a ride that will get her back to where she lives. And then she repeats the process.
Now—If anyone thinks this all sounds pretty hard—-you are right.
And what I really wanted to point out is the overcoming of stereotypes.
Look at how hard those kids are working.
They are not sitting around playing video games — although what they are doing to earn money IS like a real life video game if you think about it.
They are certainly not lazy.
They are being super-creative with the economy being the way it is.
And they are doing it while smiling and laughing and being excited about the future. No one was complaining.
Working that way might be scary to most of us—but it was not scary to this group of people.
When we opened it up to the group, Thaddeus Howze coined a phrase none of us had heard but we all gravitated to immediately: The Algorithmic Economy. Productivity is maximized through the use of algorithms so that the people on the top can earn more money than the people actually doing the labor.
The discussion then became spirited, provocative and insightful as everyone jumped into figure out whether this type of economic system could actually bring liberty to the masses.
Multiple “aha’s” ensued.
Want to join next weeks call? Become a Premium Member. Just $5 a year gets you access to our Friday calls—-$50 a year gives you an all-access pass and you can attend every call, group and class that we offer.
Register New Account
*Payment is by PayPal. Your membership begins when you receive the welcome email and click the link to return back to The Good Men Project. You do not need a PayPal account to pay using PayPal.
**If you are already a writer or contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (You can request a new password if needed at this stage).
Your ANNUAL PLATINUM membership includes:
1. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to participate in ANY of our new Social Interest Groups. < 2. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to ANY of our live classes, calls and other exclusive content.
3. Invitation to the MEMBERS ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook.
4. An ad-free experience on The Good Men Project website!
5. Weekly conference calls with the publisher and other community members. Our weekly calls discuss the issues we see happening in the world of men in a friendly group setting.
6. A listing on our “Friends of The Good Men Project” page.
7. PLATINUM member commenting badge.
ANNUAL PLATINUM members will also receive a FREE copy of The Good Men Project anthology E-Book.
Price for ANNUAL PLATINUM membership is $50/year.
Your ANNUAL GOLD membership will include:
1. Free access to participate in any ONE Special Interest Group.
2. Free access to any ONE of our live classes.
3. Invitation to the MEMBER-ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook and weekly conference calls with the publisher and community.
4.A listing on our “Friends of The Good Men Project” page.
5. GOLD commenting badge.
Price for ANNUAL GOLD membership is $20/year.
Your ANNUAL BRONZE membership will include:
1. Invitation to the MEMBER-ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook and weekly conference calls with the publisher and community. Connect with other members, network and carry the conversation no one else is having one step further.
If you want additional exclusive access to our trainings, classes and live events, choose the Platinum or Gold level above.
2. A listing on our Friends of The Good Men Project page.
3.BRONZE member commenting badge.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable. Our mission is to challenge the stereotypes around masculinity, to advocate for equality, and to be a voice and a catalyst for change in the issues that disproportionately affect men. Our heartfelt gratitude for believing in our mission and wanting to be a part of this important conversation at The Good Men Project.
Photo credit: Getty Images