Glad we took the time to meet today.
Is this newsletter just a union fan account now? If the alternative is being an employer fan account, then yeah, probably. UIC faculty and administrative staff struck (stroke? strooketh?) to great effect this week, finally reaching a tentative contract after almost a year of trying to engage the university’s administration. The hardball demands they were making? A minimum salary of $60,000 for nontenure-track faculty and $71,500 for tenure-track faculty. If that seems low for the responsibility of preparing the next generation to take over your profession, buddy, we have some bad news about professors who haven’t secured a union contract yet.
So yeah, welcome aboard Steppenwolf front house staff and select La Colombe employees. Unionization is really worth trying. Especially because it tends to make workers’ rights the norm for everyone, including nonunion workers.
And, just a quick reminder, the alternative to a union job, is, say, working for a company that is being cited for OSHA violations, delaying the opening of a promised warehouse and committing to laying off 18,000 people. Did we mention the company also ended its charitable program, which, despite running for 10 years, has donated only $500 million to charity? On a platform that did more than $100 billion in sales during that time? And that has made so much money total that the ex-wife of the founder has personally donated $14 billion to charity in three years?
Look, we also don’t want to lean on the rhetorical incredulity of sentences stretched into questions either, but come ON. At what point does it crossover from greed to gaslighting?
Google parent Alphabet is joining in on the unreality, laying off 5% of its workforce in response to the twinkle of a recession in financiers’ eyes. Northern Trust, too, is laying off 1% of its workforce, or 400 people, though it’s not clear what percentage will take place at the bank’s headquarters in Chicago. If you’re wondering about the reasoning behind the layoffs, just know the logic is sound: Due to the current economy, leadership no longer feels like paying people.
All great reasons to re-raise the idea for a graduated income tax, honestly. And with cartoonish business baron Ken Griffin taking his record-breaking hedge fund profits and moving out of Illinois, maybe the tax has a shot this time.
Jobs, Glorious Jobs
Director of Operational Innovation at Hyatt
OK, we will admit that our first thought upon seeing this job title was of the little robot butlers, and it would be so very fun to think of unwanted new ways to introduce technology into the simple act of sleeping in a shared bed. But that is not what this job is about. This job is to use analytics to find all the possible efficiencies in hotel management. Part of that is fun, like finding ways to make guest interactions more seamless, and part of that is not-so-fun, like finding ways to reduce hotel staff. Before you agree, get a clear answer on whether success will be measured more by the former than the later.
Director of Corporate Communications for Methode Electronics
We love a sneaky-successful company, and this is absolutely that. The job is basically to be the company voice — both internal and external — which is a lot of work for one person, so ask about resources and how often the company would want to be talking. Also, fair warning that while the job is technically in Chicago, it is on the thin strip of highway leading to O’Hare Airport. Not exactly the central business district.
Inspiration of the Week
“We know no one joined Shopify to sit in meetings.”
—Replace “Shopify” with “the workforce” and you have yourself a truism from Shopify VP of Product and COO Kaz Nejatian. Shortly after returning from the holiday break, Shopify leadership went on a little cleaning spree, canceling all recurring meetings with more than two people and generally trying to rid employee calendars of the kinds of meetings where your only contribution will be saying “Thanks all” at the end of the call. Truly inspirational stuff.
Forward this email to anyone who wants to do more than sit in meetings. They can sign up here to get a little help with getting out of nonsense.