The parties reached an agreement to avert a national strike of railroad workers. A good thing! Also, as necessary as the deal was, the press coverage leading up to the agreement was also significant. That coverage was “the great reminder” that some workers must show up for work, and they want the same quality of worklife as those who can work from home (WFH).
While people like me can work from anywhere, other “essential workers” must show up at a place, so those who can work from anywhere can enjoy that flexibility. We noted this in another blog, “The Great Confusion.”
Remember that essential workers, like railroad workers, want meaningful compensation. benefits, and lifestyles just like those who don’t want to return to the office.
During our era of quitting, quiet quitting, and anti-work, the trains must run, and on time.
Also, someone must pick up our trash, stock our groceries, deliver health care services, teach our kids, fix our roads, “serve and protect us,” extinguish our fires, deliver food and meals, and care for our kids and others — among other things.
I’ve worked from home since 2002. So, I know WFH’s value.
But also, I realize that I can work from anywhere because there are people who must show up somewhere. We rely on other people. Because of them, we can.
“Unfortunately, we’ve gone from celebrating our “essential workers” during the height of the Pandemic to demonizing them.”
Here’s The Great Reminder: “Labor” is an important “factor of production” and when we don’t have enough and the right types of it, we all suffer. Non-placed-based and place-based workers have important roles to play, and their compensation and working conditions should reflect that. Make every day “labor day.”
Workers “disappeared” from the labor market during the Pandemic. One alternative formulation was they went on “strike.” However, except for older workers, most workers have returned to work. However, while folks are back to work, what’s trending is that many are “quite quitting.” They’re back, but they’re not interested in the old hustle. Also, we find that we have an overall labor shortage as an economy. We need more people in the labor market.
“The Great Resignation” Is a Great Exaggeration (April 18, 2022) The Nation
Workers are quitting their jobs in record numbers, but it’s not a turning point for labor power.
The Office’s Last Stand (August 28, 2022) NY Times
It’s either the end of the era of flexibility around where work takes place — or the beginning of outright rebellion.
Many workers who “disappeared” reappeared because their resignations were hasty. They found they needed more money or social interaction. “Regret” appears to be one reason many workers ended their “strike.”
The Great Resignation Is Turning Into the Great Regret. Employers Are Joining In Too
Inc. Many employees who joined the Great Resignation are discovering the grass isn’t greener. (And the companies that hired them have regrets as well.)
Workers were not resigning as they were reassessing the meaning of work for them and their worth. Workers were looking for meaningful work. Many were looking for a better work/life balance—some for additional compensation. Consequently, there has been The Great Churn as they quickly seek jobs that meet their criteria. As a result, the number of self-employed people has increased.
The Re-Enchantment of Work: The Great Resignation, Realignment, And Reassessment
Some exited the labor market, including retiring early, negotiated higher pay, left jobs that were deadening before and during the Pandemic, and lost any allure they had for work, even when they didn’t have options
Buddhist Economics & The Great Reassessment
“Right Livelihood” is one of the requirements of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. It is clear, therefore, that there must be such a thing as Buddhist economics. E.F. Schumacher’s opening lines of his 1966 essay “Buddhist Economics” provides us with a lens to examine “The Great Reassessment.”
Trust & Returning To The Office “Don’t Return to the Office for Your Boss. Go Back to Yourself.”
That’s the online version’s title of a New York Times opinion piece (August 6, 2022) by Edith Cooper in which she shares a question a potential employee asked her during an interview: “Can I bring my whole self to work?” That question correlates with our concept of “self-awareness trust,” which is one of our six dimensions of trust. The other five are (i) trusting, (ii) trustworthiness, (iii) trust relationships, (iv) trust structures, and (vi) systemic trust. See our book, Making Trust Happen!
The Pandemic accelerated the movement to work from home (WFH). Workers began to work from anywhere. Major employment centers lost workers as they fanned out further from jobs. In some cases. They move to different parts of a region or the country. Some moved to other countries. Consequently, there’s been The Great Dispersion. The coronavirus pandemic caused a shift to more remote and hybrid work. These forms of work are quietly reshaping American economics and demographics.
The Remote Work Revolution Is Already Reshaping America (August 19, 2022) Washington Post
The coronavirus pandemic caused a rapid shift to remote and hybrid. As a result, there’s a not-so-quite reshaping of the American economics and demographics landscape.
“The Great Resignation” has morphed into “The Great Confusion.” Today workers and employers are navigating a bewildering terrain where the match between employees, jobs, and work is constantly changing. Will the “old” prevail, or will the “new” win? That is the question.
We know we’re in a New Normal when our organizational and individual responses that helped us thrive are no longer helping us attain our desired outcomes.
The increase in Unionization activity reminds us that all workers want a quality of life that includes adequate compensation and good working conditions.
The Death of the Job (August 24, 2021)
Vox. What if paid work was no longer the centerpiece of American life?
What if the Office Isn’t the Problem? (April 15, 2022) Curbed
The fantasy many employers have of what the office was — the story of why we must come back — is currently running up against reality. The office isn’t the problem — it’s work.
Workers Say Railroads’ Efficiency Push Became Too Much (September 15, 2022) New York Times.
Employees say the inflexibility of scheduling upended their personal lives. As a result, the companies say they maintained service while using fewer resources.
Worker shortages are fueling America’s biggest labor crises (September 16, 2022) Washington Post.
Exhausted workers in education, healthcare, and the railroad industry are pushing back after months of staffing shortfalls
Why People Are Industry Hopping September 7, 2022, BBC.Com
More and more workers are switching sectors and often seeking careers that offer a greater purpose. This mass movement tells us a lot about how people view their jobs.
Bank of America Memo, Revealed: ‘We Hope” Conditions for American Workers Will Get Worse,” (July 29, 2022) The Intercept.
The financial behemoth privately fears that regular people have too much leverage.
After ‘quiet quitting,’ here comes ‘quiet firing’ (September 1, 2022) Washington Post.
Employers a “clapping back.” After “quite quitting,” there is “quite firing.” Some employers avoid providing all but the bare legal minimum to their workers in the hope they will take the hint and quit