“Calls for unity?” “Forums?” “Panels?” How about you write the fucking check?

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I think you broadly understand what the headline means, but to clarify: In a capitalism, people need money to live a certain way. We try to downplay the money stuff and instead focus on the “mission” or the “purpose” of our work and the subsequent “values” of our company, but meanwhile people job-hop for a mere extra $3,000 every day. The money matters. We don’t always discuss it, no, but the money matters. Don’t believe me?

Example 1: When a company constantly talks about purpose and people being its greatest asset, and then lays off x-percentage of its workforce, does that — to you — send the message that people matter, or money matters? (Or, at the very least, keeping the lights on matters, which is more a money issue than a people issue.)

Example 2: In your life, have you met a lot of people who have been fired and come back to work the next Monday because they love the work that much? Do you know anyone who has done this? I am sure somewhere in the canon of human history, this has happened. Is it common? No. So people don’t do jobs just because they love the purpose and mission. That’s nice, but they volunteer because of those things inherently. Work is work. You expect to get paid, and hopefully fairly.

The money matters.

Wrinkle 1: The cost of goods and services has been rising for years. Decades. Centuries? Here’s some data. That, plus student debt, is why many people globally are “rent-burdened” or, even more generally speaking, “poor.”

So … the money matters and stuff is going to keep getting more expensive.

You care about diversity, you say?

Well then, why wouldn’t you hire more diverse people?

I know the challenges around them not applying, sure. Part of that may be your problem in terms of your job descriptions, however. And your recruitment approach. And your website. And everything else.

I know that you have a specific “culture” which means white guys who went to similar schools, live in similar neighborhoods, have similar interests, have children in similar schools, and have wives who also look similar. The other word for this is “homophily.”

I know all the stats — it’s too many to link — about African-American, female, Asian, etc. involvement in things like finance or venture capital or even tech, although admittedly women is rising there (somewhat) and Asian is OK statistically.

But from 1990–2016, black Americans accounted for less than 1% of the entrepreneurial and venture capital labor pool.

OK, so here’s where we’re at now →

  • Money matters
  • Costs are rising
  • People need good jobs, within reason and background
  • Companies are not giving these good jobs to minorities, in the aggregate

“A call for unity”

These are words. They sound nice and it’s good to check the right boxes on The Gram and LinkedIn, but they are ultimately meaningless, much like the old CEO pledge was.

Corporate vocabulary has long been about “suitcase words,” i.e. words that mean everything. When a word means “everything,” it really means nothing, because all employees will contextualize it somewhat differently and, with the passage of time, we’ll get back to tasks and projects and stand-ups and deliverables and KPIs and all that. These discussions will fade.

On Instagram, half the influencers posting black squares will be posting about beet juice recipes for the summer by next Tuesday. You know it, I know it. It’s just a question how openly we can discuss it.

Let us level-set. Now we’re here:

  • Money matters
  • Costs are rising
  • People need good jobs, within reason and background
  • Companies are not giving these good jobs to minorities, in the aggregate
  • Companies are instead using words that don’t mean much

A relatively basic solution

Why don’t you just hire more POC and stop only paying high salaries to guys who look like you, attend the same clubs, and have wives who look like each other?

Wouldn’t that do more for minorities than “seeking unity?”

Write the check.

There is a long-ago SHRM study that the №1 thing that matters for employees in jobs, logically, is (a) having the job (good start!) and (b) opportunities for growth.

So instead of your vague forums and statements, why not just act with money? We need money to live (for better or worse). People want money. I’m not saying you need to make every POC into an executive, but … wouldn’t providing jobs and opportunities matter more than these empty, meaningless words?

Write the damn check.

Almost every white-collar business problem is “solved” by some middle-aged dude writing a check to someone. So why can’t we solve this problem, or start to, the same way?

Write the damn check.

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Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

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