What is Antiwork? (and why you need to embrace it)

Tune out the noise and depravity and try to reach those who are making it.

If The Great Resignation gave you heartburn, antiwork may cause a coronary. It doesn’t have a positive ring to it for a reason. Antiwork is a “movement” that has gained momentum in the last several years as a community on the social media platform Reddit. It now boasts 1.7 million followers in its community and was the fastest growing community on Reddit in January 2022.

In short, r/antiwork seems to be against just about everything including getting out of bed in the morning, especially when it comes to having a job. The forum says that work is pointless and humiliating. If you’re an employer, this is a mind-numbing journey down the rabbit hole of madness. But don’t lose sight of the forest in the trees.

Gen-Z and Millennials are consistently blamed for the labor shortage. r/antiwork is also taking its fair share of blame. The community isn’t defined by any political ideology that may exist on Reddit. The founders “simply” argue for a utopian employment system that deprioritizes output and/or production. “Unemployment for all, not just the rich!” That’s the catchphrase of r/antiwork. Sounds fair.

On January 25th, Fox News interviewed the moderator or “mod” of the community, Doreen Ford. It did not go well. It went so poorly, in fact, that the community retreated to a private sub-reddit, and Ford was terminated as moderator of the forum. This may be the smoking gun that proves the community was fan-fiction and under blistering cross-examination, not a serious movement that has any lasting impact.

But, where do the misguided go now?

If you’re unfamiliar with Reddit, it is a network of communities each with their own front pages. Reddit is sometimes referred to as “The Front Page of the Internet” and is the tenth most popular social network. It’s demographics skew young and male. 36% percent of adults 18-29, and 22% of adults 30-49 use Reddit regularly. Just under half have a college degree. Almost all have a high school diploma. They’re venting anonymously against all the forces of life pushing in on them: student debt, housing, wages, inflation. They’re not all lazy, and not against having a job, even if the loudest comments say otherwise. They just want to feel some positive momentum. They’ve seen the rich get richer, while they themselves have not.

You’ve increased wages, reduced overtime, offered more flexibility, and improved your workplace culture since the pandemic took hold. What more can you do? Weirdly, why not embrace r/antiwork…or at least the platform choice of the youth who have recently guided toward their beliefs before they went underground. (again)

Manufacturers should create pathways to tomorrow’s jobs today. Left unabated, the manufacturing skills gap — which is now anticipated to leave 2.1 million jobs unfilled by 2030 — could cost the U.S. economy as much as $1 trillion.

Utilizing Reddit is an opportunity to present yourself to a still impressionable demographic to show them what makes you unique. Find creative ways to show those pathways to success for those who are looking for a way forward after years of frustration treading water personally and professionally. Changing their minds about what it means to work and who you are as an employer may be the only way to save the future. You can start your own Reddit profile. Join communities also known as “subs”. Create an ad campaign (called Promoted Content). Beware though, unlike Facebook or Instagram, non-promoted branded material that feels like a generic advertisement could get downvoted or marked as spam. Here is a great guide to how to develop content on the Reddit platform without pandering to those on the platform. Users will always respect honesty.

Create memorable content to post and advertise to grab their attention. Take time to listen to what they want. Both the antiwork crowd and Employers are going to have to give a little to solve this massive problem of unfilled jobs coming over the next eight years. Manufacturing can help with their incentives and flexibility, and workers can help with willingness to kickstart their output. As a business, the best ways to show this very deliberate demographic that you have a great culture worthy of their time is to celebrate your diversity, your commitments to the community, your commitment to their values, and a digital evolution in your operations that only they can solve. Empowerment comes from the knowledge that we are not victims of circumstance.

The people who are going to fill these jobs are on this platform and you can’t ignore them. There’s just too many of them. Be authoritative—yet gentle, transparent, self-deprecating, unique, funny, and compassionate. Showing this young generation that your business sees them as part of their future, is going to be part of your successful growth. The time to plant the seed is now…even if it is on Reddit.

How Long Until I Get My Tax Refund?

This year could be more complicated than others when filing your taxes.

Tax time is intimidating to a lot of people. The dread of owing the IRS money looms on a lot of taxpayers minds. But, if you’re a middle-class worker (especially with dependents), tax time should be a time where you are eager to file your return and get a sweet refund check from Uncle Sam. Last year, 167 million tax returns were filed, with 122 returns entitled to a tax-refund. In 2021, the average refund was just under $2800. How soon will you get that refund this year? It will depend on several factors.

Taxpayers with income of less than $75,000 are projected to have, on average, no tax liability after deductions and credits when they file their returns this spring. They also will get money back from the IRS, according to recent estimates from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.

While having a zero tax bill is not a new phenomenon, it may be more pronounced this year due to a variety of temporary tax code changes, said Elaine Maag, principal research associate in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.


The first thing you’ll need is your W-2s. A 2015 law requires employers to make sure that they have W-2’s out to employees by January 31st or risk facing fines from the IRS. WSI delivered electronic W-2’s to all of our associates on January 24th. Paper copies were mailed. The first day the IRS will start taking income tax returns in 2022 is January 26th , 17 days earlier than last year If you had other income sources from last year, like driving for Lyft or DoorDash, you’ll need a 1099 showing that income. Any receipts from health coverage, unemployment compensation, and a copy of last year’s tax return will also help you speed up your tax return.

Tax Credits

Taxpayers should first focus on three tax credits:  – the child tax credit,  – the earned income tax credit,  – and the dependent care tax credit. Each is refundable, meaning you get money back if the credit exceeds your taxes owed.

Filing your taxes from 2021 could be a bit more complicated this year, in part thanks to the Child Tax Credit and stimulus payments that most Americans received last year. President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivered $1,400 checks last March and the Child Tax Credit delivered $250 – $300 a month per child for six months. If parents want to 

Before You File

The IRS advises to not start your tax return until you’re ready. Have all your W-2’s and any other necessary paperwork ready. Incomplete or inaccurate filings will delay your tax refund. For instance, errors like math problems or incorrectly stating how much you received from the advanced Child Tax Credit payments could get your tax return flagged, leading to delays of weeks or even months. Here’s an easy way to get your phone to scan paper documents for uploading.

The IRS is sending letters this month to taxpayers who received the third federal stimulus check in 2021, as well as the advanced Child Tax Credit payments. These letters will inform each taxpayer what they received through these programs in 2021 — they are important documents to hold onto because you’ll want to refer to those amounts when filling out your tax return. 

File Electronically For Speedy Refund

Filing electronically and having your refund direct-deposited is the fastest way to get your money. Remember, the labor crunch is hitting everywhere—from restaurants all the way to the federal government. Some people who filed last year are still waiting on their returns to be processed. As of December 23, the agency had 6 million unprocessed individual returns. But tax experts say that you can get that refund in an average of 21 days if you e-file. 

If you’re ready, you can use an online tax service to help you file. The IRS Free File Program is a public-private partnership between the IRS and many tax preparation and filing software industry leaders who provide their brand-name products for free. This service is for incomes of $73,000 a year or less. To partner with a tax-service provider, set this up through the IRS website. TurboTax left the IRS program last year, but you can still use them to file for free if your return is simple. (TurboTax defines “simple” as “Form 1040 only.”) These cover W-2 income, limited interest and dividend income, the standard deduction, the earned income and child tax credits, and student loan deduction. 

Need help?

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a program that offers free tax help from IRS-certified volunteers. VITA services are available to people who generally earn $58,000 per year or less. They also offer free tax help to people with disabilities and people who speak limited English. Use the VITA site locator to find a site near you. Check with your local site for dates and times you can get help with your taxes. You can also check with your financial institution and ask if they offer a discount for tax preparation services.

None of this is professional tax advice; just some notes of how to be the most efficient and cost-conscious when filing your tax return, if you’re entitled to one. If you have significant tax questions, seek the help of a professional tax advisor. The deadline to file your tax return is April 18th, 2022.

How to Make Friends with a Robot

Preparing for the eventual overthrow of the human race

Experts agree that robotics and AI are the drivers of oncoming Industrial Revolution 4.0, so positioning yourself as a professional will turn you into an indispensable employee well into the future.

It’s been said since the 1950’s: the robots are going to take over. How many times have you heard that automation and robots will take all the jobs in the future? Sure, they don’t need a lunch break or two weeks vacation. They offer little drama in the workplace, rarely steal your food out of the work fridge, and usually don’t drag themselves into work after a long night of video games and snacks. 

Industrial robots help to remove workers from the hazardous environments and back breaking labor that has befell low-wage workers for generations. They can lift heavy payloads, prevent injuries, perform accurate and error-free repetitive tasks, and have a generally overall pleasant disposition. Yet, with all these triumphs, robots have yet to replace humans in the workplace. In fact, workers are becoming a robot’s best friend as technology advances.

The first manufacturing robot was used in 1960. “Unimate” as it was called, was used in a GM plant in New Jersey. Unimate pulled die-cast molds and welded them to automobile bodies. The noxious gases could’ve poisoned workers or involuntarily removed their limbs. Believe it or not, today’s industrial robots incorporate many of the designs and functions of the original industrial robot.

Robots have created new jobs for those who were once on production lines with programming. They have pulled employees from repetitive, monotonous jobs and put them in better, more challenging ones. They also allow US companies to remain competitive, keeping jobs local and helping the best employees see growth in their careers. 

Robots are user-friendly, intelligent, and affordable. As more industries adopt robotics in automation, the more roles the machines are finding to fill. It’s not just manufacturing. Robots are used in healthcare, farming, transportation, construction, and the military. Even the Amazon Alexa in your home is a robot. In the next decade, your Amazon Alexa might be making you breakfast. And hopefully, it can help with other tasks around the house

In an industrial setting, robots have to interact with humans in some form or another. This has created Cobots. Robots and humans interacting with each other to accomplish a task. Cobots can work side-by-side with human workers, improving their output and consistency and allowing them to support more in-line processes in a single work-space. While traditional automation requires an all-or-nothing approach. Assembly, quality inspection, dispensing are all part of the simple uses for industrial robots.

The surprising opinion is that programming robots isn’t so complicated and hard to learn. In actuality, there are few lines of code you need to make a real-world industrial robot do what it needs to do to accomplish simple tasks such as sorting and dispensing. There are many ways to get a leg-up on robotics. The idea of purchasing your own robot and learning how to program it was a fantasy just a decade ago. But robots are omnipresent these days, and the ability to learn their ways and stay ahead of our future slave-masters has never been more readily available. There are paid courses to help you learn the basics of robotics and programming. MIT’s open courseware and Stanford Engineering free video courses on robotics are the pinnacle of robotics education, and are absolutely free.

If you find yourself on the factory floor working alongside a robot friend, ask your supervisor or your mechanical engineer how the robots work and how they are programmed. Learning to control its functions and finding use for the robot in your job can only lead to positive things if you are the robot’s master. Just keep those friendships professional with your robot. You don’t want to hurt its feelings. That’s when things could get scary. 

Five Ways to Improve Your Employment in 2022

Easy tips and advice to get more of that money and personal satisfaction

If you’ve made the resolution to improve your employment in 2022, congratulations! Whether it’s a new job entirely, a promotion, a wage increase, growing your skills, or finding more balance between work and life, there are many ways to gain positive momentum at work. Take one small step each day and reward yourself for it.

Nothing comes easy, but here are five simple things you can do to up your job game in 2022.

The Intangibles

The Late John Madden had two rules: Show up on time and Work hard. Some actions you can take immediately include being punctual, positive, considerate, organized, and honest. Dress a bit nicer if you can. Even if it’s a nicer pair of jeans or shoes on the floor. Show confidence and celebrate your co-workers and their success. Help out wherever necessary. It’s the simple, yet little things, that can go a long way in being recognized as a great employee. 

Find a Side Hustle

More money means more opportunities. Diversifying your income streams can give you more confidence to make a jump to a new job if you’re ready to make a change. Some people sell makeup to their friends online, or maybe do odd jobs, or DIY projects for others. Some will drive for DoorDash or Lyft, and some will work for Wings Stadium a couple of evenings a month. No matter the source, if you can create a separate income stream, it will provide opportunities for employment growth. You can use the money to pay for education, or to relieve debt and stress, or to help bridge a gap if you’re ready to quit a job. Just remember, a side hustle is just that…on the side.

Network / Volunteer

Successful people network. How is anyone going to know how great you are if you never put yourself out there? Joining professional groups in your local area is a great way to start expanding your networking circle. Another simple way is to volunteer for an organization near to your heart. You’ll be able to showcase your dazzling personality and help others at the same time. In addition, you’ll meet like-minded people who are also looking for networking opportunities. Just showing up to volunteer says a lot about your character and who you are as a person.

Back to School

For a more traditional role, community colleges offer many degrees online with in-demand skills, certifications, and diplomas in as little as 18 months. By the end of the year, you could be on your way to graduation. 

Easier said than done for most people. But the richest man in the world, Elon Musk, said it best: “Anything you want to learn, you can learn for free on the internet.”  The best bang for your dollar is finding skills and certifications you can learn at your own pace and are low cost. There are many opportunities to learn valuable and employable skills. Sites like Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy offer full courses, software training, certifications, and more. It takes dedication and discipline. The courses can be had for as little as $12. Annual memberships to learn valuable on the job skills can cost as little as $159 a year. How much could you learn during a 30-day free trial?

There is also a large market for ‘boot-camp’ courses. These full-immersion courses are accredited by major universities and meet online several times a week in a full classroom environment complete with projects and homework. These courses usually have a high job placement rate, as the skills gained are quite in-depth in a specific field such as data analytics, and cyber-security. You can graduate from these 18- or 24-week courses with certifications in your new field as well as build a portfolio of projects you produced while in class. Both will be very helpful in finding a new career path. These courses can be very expensive, costing thousands of dollars, but loans, scholarships and grants, and flexible payment options are available.  Weigh your choices for what works best for you.

Add Value to Your Current Position
If you like where you work, make yourself more valuable by gaining skills that help you grow in your current position. Since certifications aren’t usually required by your employer, it shows them you’re serious about the quality of work you produce. Acquire Certifications like Certified Manufacturing Associate , Certified Automation Professional, Certified Manufacturing Technologist, or Certified Manufacturing Engineer.

If you work in an office, you could grow your skillset by learning tools in digital marketing, business leadership, CRM management, HR, data analytics, Google certifications, and more.

Talk to your employer about your intentions and ask for advice on what they would like you to learn specifically to help the operation. Ask for reimbursement. There are websites that specify in manufacturing courses to advance your career. No matter where you are, take some steps to improve your work life in the new year. Incorporate any or all of these tips to put you on a path to workplace happiness, which of course, enhance overall happiness.