This week I’ve been hearing a lot of politicians and pundits refer to the concept of “job lock.” I have honestly never heard this phrase before. Have you?
In a nutshell, the argument goes that Americans are “locked” into their existing 9 to 5 corporate jobs. They are locked because of their need for employer-provided health insurance. In this article, I’ll give you my perspective and explain how the virtual workforce is impacting this phenomenon.
Is “Job Lock” Real?
Yes, I think job lock is probably a real issue for many Americans. Let’s face it – the American experience has been built upon a track record of entrepreneurism. Many Americans feel this desire to pursue their dreams, however, existing obligations and bills prevent the leap. As we all know, healthcare can be one of the most expensive aspects of modern life. The uncertainty associated with taking full ownership of monthly premiums is enough to stifle the small business dream for many. Therefore, many Americans are indeed stuck in jobs they dislike in exchange for the certainty of their employer’s health insurance plan.
Here’s a debate I came across recently from C-Span – in case you’re looking for some really exciting YouTube content:
Do the Recent Changes in Healthcare Solve Job Lock?
I don’t think so. Having been an entrepreneur for many years now, I’ve been buying health insurance on the private market for a while. As I’ve mentioned on this blog, I’ve only seen rates increase – not decrease. Most objective industry forecasts project the Affordable Care Act will have mostly a negative impact on premium and deductible rates. Although I’m sure intentions were mostly for the good, I believe that job lock will only get worse in coming years.
What Should I Do If I Feel Job Locked?
If you feel “locked”, I wouldn’t wait around for Republicans or Democrats to solve your problem. You’re lucky, because you can stay job locked and simultaneously take the first step toward entrepreneurism – thanks to the Internet and marketplaces such as oDesk and Elance. Create your account, build your online profile, apply for some jobs, get some victories, and with hard work, you’ll become an Executive in Sweatpants like me. It can be a smooth transition for you, and you’ll find that you’re not dependent on anyone – neither the government nor a single employer. I’ve done it – and so can you!
Matt Keener is the original "Executive in Sweatpants." An author and marketer, Matt has built a highly successful online consulting business. His book and training products offer tips for professionals and small businesses looking to benefit from the outsourcing marketplace. Matt holds an MBA from the University of Southern Indiana.
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