WoD – Employer’s “hammer”

Have you ever watched the show Dirty Jobs and wondered why the hell someone would clean septic tanks for like 26 years, or work in the San Francisco waste management facility for 32 years cleaning out the pit that collects the residue and juice from all the garbage dumped there? Yeesh…!

When you boil it all down, one of the major reasons why we don’t move jobs more often and leave our “beloved” employers, or why we put our job up on a pedestal almost like it is a sacred cow, or why we don’t push back more as employees, or why we take the huge amount of shit we all take from our employers I think comes down to one thing:  health insurance.

Think about it.  If we all didn’t live in such fear over what we might do for health insurance for ourselves and our families without a big employer there to pay for it, we might be a lot more apt to change jobs, or strike out on our own, or be entrepreneurial.  I actually think people can make peace around not having a paycheck for a period of time while they tried something new or on their own, but not having health insurance feels like you’re playing Russian Roulette.

What’s interesting here is, employers have been complaining incessantly over the huge burden placed upon them by having to provide such costly health insurance to its employees.  And rightly so!  I mean, in truth, a GM car is four wheels and a health plan.  So don’t get me wrong, I totally think it is rather unfair on the private sector to have to bear the huge burden of healthcare costs for its employees (especially since it’s just a vestige of some short-sighted tax legislation passed way back in the mid-20th century.)

But at the same time, it also may be a huge competitive barrier or mechanism for keeping one’s employees around over the longer term.  In this way, it is like an implicit “hammer” that our employers have over all of us.  Striking out on your own is dangerous, scary, and perhaps overly risky due to the open-ended question of what you might do if you get sick.  Also in this way, it is perhaps a pretty darn important asset to those employers who properly view their employees as essential to their long-term success.

This wasn’t supposed to be about the whole healthcare debate, but the other side of this is that perhaps one benefit of having a bit more of a safety net of some kind relating to health insurance (and one benefit that is certainly not being talked about at all) is the fluidity to the job market, the transferral of skills, and perhaps even the new entrepreneurial spirit from which our economy might benefit, if we all didn’t live in such fear of where we’d get our health insurance.



Ants in the pants (literally: pins and needles)

The opening kickoff is in ten minutes.  Football season is starting – I got shpilkes!


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