One of the running themes being heard and seen around the nation is the at-times high-minded and self-righteous phrasing of “get a job”. The millions of unemployed along with the wide array of openings have spawned a sad exercise in who can be more arrogant when it comes to labeling the unemployed.
The fact is a massive reconfiguration of the workforce is underway. It can be rightly seen in a very positive way. Following the many components to this national story can be uplifting, but as I note from Northern Wisconsin it can also be dispiriting.
What can not be dismissed is that almost tectonic shifts in the workforce are underway.
For instance, a record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August alone. As has been widely reported women are quitting their jobs at a faster pace than men. CBS News reports the biggest reason for the upheaval in the workplace can be summed up in one word.
There is empowerment being felt by workers coast to coast as they assess their lives and desires. It does make for an interesting lesson to watch play out.
For so long many politicians had refused to address the minimum wage and refused to acknowledge the need for a living wage in the county. The pandemic unleashed a series of dynamics in the work world where workers can now demand from employers better wages and benefits. And in some sectors they are getting them.
Some workers have left their jobs for better pay, while others have moved to new areas with the ability to work in a remote-friendly fashion. The other interesting aspect of the flux in the work world is the number of workers who have quit a job, and started their own business.
In the midst of all the changes underway there is, however, a nagging sore spot that continues to abound. On social media this weekend it was noted by a woman that she “Went to a bar for some lunch and as we were leaving I noticed a sign out front that said “money isn’t free” and “get a job it’s the American way”.
That did not sit so well with her, and for obvious reasons, so she did some research on the business concerning the federal relief dollars that it had received. The business in Northern Wisconsin had received $88,900. The loan was forgiven in April 2021.
I am mighty glad the federal government injected funds into the economy, assisted businesses and workers as the country waged war on the pandemic and its broad-based attack on the economy. The bar in this story had every reason to get a loan. And be grateful that the nation cared to see the survival of small mom and pop establishments.
But to assign blame for problems, as the sign strongly infers, on one villainous party, that being the so-called lazy portion of the American workforce, is simply awful.
What is not registered in the posting on that establishment is what is playing out for the first time in decades, by my recollection, where workers feel like they have options ahead of them. And with that power, they can quit a job they hated. We must simply reject the rhetoric that people are lazy and they do not wish to work.
Rather they wish to be valued as employees. paid a decent wage, and have benefits that make their lives better. Perhaps employers will need to up their game on how to keep their workers and attract new ones.
Meanwhile, the wrong-headed notion that Americans are not interested in working can be chalked off as wrong. The data proves why.
Millions of people struck out on their own and started a wide array of business ventures with 4.3 million new business applications filed in 2020 and 3.8 million so far this year.
There are many aspects to this larger story that continues to play out. I have a friend who quit his job in a large financial institution. The reason was a severe mismatch in the corporate offices thinking they could demand a return to all in-person working. He had worked there for over 25 years, took a severance package, and will now use his skills in a new pursuit.
Workers are in the driver’s seat. Businesses need to understand that fact.
And so it goes.