WR 21 | The Great Resignation

 

In many Western economies, workers of all stripes and sorts are punching out, seeking meaning and purpose outside the confines of employment, or leaving to pursue jobs that are more flexible, bosses who are more supportive, and organizations that are more aligned with their values. In this episode, Debra and lisa analyze the reasons behind “The Great Resignation,” drawing on their experiences in organizational change, leadership development, and career transition, adding what they are learning from positive psychology and neuroscience along the way. Tune in to discover what is causing these mass resignations—and what companies need to do if they want to retain their talent.

Listen to the podcast here:

The Great Resignation

Why a Record Number of US Employees are Quitting Their Jobs and Companies are Having Difficulty Filling Vacancies

In this episode, lisa, we are tackling a very topical topic that we’re seeing written about a lot, which is the Great Resignation. Why are so many people at this time quitting or leaving their jobs, while there is also, especially in the United States, a record number of vacancies, jobs that are going unfilled? You and I have both read a lot of articles about this. If anybody’s not familiar with what we’re talking about, google the Great Resignation and you’re going to see tons of articles coming up about this. There’s a lot been written about it. We thought we would give our perspective on this now, both having worked in various aspects of organizational design and HR talent. Why is this happening? What do you think?

Part of me wants to get on the rooftops and shout ‘hallelujah’ because we’ve needed to rethink work for quite some time. With all the difficulties, losses and challenges people have had with COVID-19, there is also an opportunity here to rethink what it means to earn a living and what it means to have a purpose—and meaning in your life.

When I think about the Great Resignation, the words, the other things that come to mind for me are the great rejection. It started off with the Industrial Revolution with working long hours at a fixed period of time for a particular rate of pay, that doesn’t apply to the many jobs that people do who now use their brains more than their hands, for instance.

We wholesale, at one point, decided that what worked for labourers was going to work for knowledge workers. Burnout started long before the pandemic, but the pandemic put a big spotlight on people’s sense of being overwhelmed and overworked. I also think that I would call it the great reprioritization. What is important to people in their lives?

Now people have spent more time with their families and they’ve had more time for their hobbies, the things that enrich their lives. It’s a big question as to why I would want to spend the prime hours of my in service of a job that may or may not be contributing to my wellbeing or the wellbeing of my community or planet.

The third one, which is my most hopeful one, is the great renaissance. How can we now think about work in a way that makes a difference, not only to ourselves in which we’re doing work that feels that we’re making a legitimate contribution, but that we’re taking this pause that COVID-19 has created, and we’re thinking about what this planet needs? How can we think about ways to bring life to the parts of our worlds that are not healthy, dysfunctional and that might be dying? When I think about the Great Resignation, I think it’s one way of describing a whole bunch of phenomena that are happening at the same time.

I think this was a slow burn prior to the pandemic and the pandemic has both accelerated and exacerbated to some degree these things that I’m not that terribly surprised by, a lot of the things that we’re seeing. You spoke to a couple of things that speak to meaning, purpose and values. Also, this idea of overwork and burnout… One of the things when we talk about the Industrial Revolution and that timeframe is that the way that work was designed then worked a lot better when you had one spouse going off to work and another spouse at home doing free labour and free childcare.

Work is typically designed to maximize the returns for shareholders. It hasn’t been designed with the idea of sustaining people’s mental health.

That’s how that system was designed. What we have now doesn’t fit modern-day people and certainly not the modern-day family. It wasn’t designed to. That, in and of itself, is creating this stress and strain. Generally speaking, work is not that healthy for a lot of people. There are a lot of people who are out there that love their jobs, but you can love your job and what you do, and still have way too much of it. Even for people who don’t work, let’s say in a labour type of job where you’re using a lot of your body, work is still physically unhealthy if you’re sitting all day. Sitting is the new smoking. We’ve heard that term.

How many people are having back and neck issues, developing a hump? You have to go to the chiropractor, get physiotherapy and go for regular massages to keep yourself upright. Developing things like carpal tunnel syndrome. There’s still a physical price to pay for office work. We’re not meant to be sitting in a chair all day. It’s not healthy. The other aspect of that is the mental wellness aspect, which we are seeing so much now that’s come to light in such a profound way over the past several years. This was a slow burn before. There were lots of talk about mental stress, burnout and all of those things.

This attaches to a couple of things. It attaches to the hours that people put in and to be successful in a career now requires to put a lot of discretionary effort and it requires a lot of additional time. There are two things at play. We know there’s a price to pay for that, often a health-related price to pay. There’s a price to pay in our relationships with others. What about having some joy in my life and some happiness?

Our lives are not meant to be just going to work and doing the minimal amount that we do to take care of ourselves like bathe, brush our teeth, go to a few medical appointments, get our kids to their stuff (if you have kids) or help your parents. That’s the bare minimum, but what about what fills us up as people that make life worth living? We’ve compromised a lot of that in our working lives.

People are beginning to see more and more that they want that purpose and meaning. I think we could dive into that one because, to me, that is a prime driver here, and whether it’s deriving meaning and purpose from stuff that I get out outside of work, but I don’t have the time and energy for those things because I’m working all the time or I want to have that in my work too. No matter how you get it, it is part of the human condition to connect to that meaning and purpose.

I want to start a bit with the mental health piece because you’re right. Work has typically been designed to, whether it’s in the for-profit world or elsewhere, maximize the returns for shareholders. It hasn’t been designed with the idea of sustaining people’s mental health. Organizations have done this interesting bait and switch around wellness, where instead of looking at the conditions of employment and what they’re doing to burn people out, they’re now offering wellness programs.

WR 21 | The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation: With all the difficulties, losses, and challenges people have had with COVID, there’s also an opportunity here to rethink what it means to earn a living, what it means to have purpose and meaning in your life.

 

They’ll pay for your gym membership or your Calm app on your phone. They’ve made it your problem. They’re going to work you to the bone, and if you’re suffering from any strain or sense of stress, or you can’t meet your family obligations, that’s because you can’t manage your workload and we’re going to generously offer you some side benefits to help you with that.

I am deeply offended by organizations that take that approach around wellness because we’re not machines, but what makes a company and organization great, whether it’s for-profit and nonprofit, is the way that people come together to do something with meaning and purpose. I do want to add a little caveat to doing work that is meaningful and has a purpose because part of that does speak a bit to privilege. Not everybody has the opportunity to do work that has deep meaning by virtue of entrenched sexism, misogyny, racism and ableism. There is some stuff there I wanted to mention.

Then there’s this whole mythology that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Some of the things that people love to do our society doesn’t value, for instance, teaching or childcare, the arts. I’ve had full-time jobs that paid well, sat in meetings and felt like tearing my hair out. I’m thinking, “Why is what I’m doing worth making X number of dollars an hour versus somebody who’s educating the next generation, who’s making way less than I am and who’s doing something more meaningful?” We’ve got this weird distortion about purpose, meaning and what it means to make a contribution.

The last thing I’ll say on that is there’s a moral hierarchy. If you were fortunate enough to do work that has meaning and purpose, somehow you’re better than somebody who’s earning enough money to put food on the table and to raise a family.

I’m also offended by that idea because that is put on an individual. It’s like if you didn’t find the thing that you loved and you’re not devoting your career to it, A) You’re a failure and, B) If you have managed to do that as a side hustle, or maybe you’ve decided that you’re going to take the financial hit and do it if you’re not successful, you’ve also failed.

This idea that we’ve distorted the idea of productivity, meaning and purpose, I find sad. It’s one of the reasons you and I want to have this show is we want to dispel some of these bad ideas or come up with new ways to think about them because, as we’ve said many times, “The way things are working right now at work, do not work.”

One of the things that you said that I think is important is when you talked about how we value different work. I’m thinking back to Mira Brancu and her talk about you got to know the system you’re in. This was the episode we did on being politically savvy. When you work in a company, you’re part of a system but we are a part of a societal system and an economic system. In that economic system that we all are trying to earn a buck in and earn enough of a living to get our basic needs met and then plus some. Maybe earn enough to retire one day.

It is part of the human condition to want to connect to your meaning and purpose.

I’ll take this one little sidebar for one moment, which is one of the things that I think is at play here in the Great Resignation is this realization of a couple of things. First of all, this realization that earning a whole bunch of money and accumulating a whole bunch of stuff doesn’t make us happy. More people are realizing and waking up to this.

Why am I killing myself for it? That’s an aside that we could dive into a little bit more, but back to the systems piece of this. Why do we have work that is considered a high status and where you can earn a lot of money, and we have other work that is considerably lower status and where you can hustle for your worth every day and do important work.

This is where the pandemic has made a shift because what is more valuable to you, your accountant right now, or the person who’s taking care of your elderly parents in a home? What’s more important to you? Someone who’s an investment banker, a corporate real estate person, or the person who’s teaching your child who is talking about the fact that they’re not sure that they’re a boy?

They’re struggling with things like that. We are going through a huge shift and change in our world at large right now and the other thing that we know about change is that our brains are naturally change adverse to some degree. We’re hard-wired to have some difficulty with change, and especially uncertainty.

We’re in a time where there is so much uncertainty. People are maxed out by it. The pandemic has brought on more uncertainty in people’s lives and I think that’s adding to the stress component of it. How many adults do we know who were steered by their parents into a profession, a real job? You can be a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer, a banker, and I’ve heard parents talk about this in reference to their kids. I know you’ve said that your parents wanted to steer you and your siblings down to certain paths as well.

This isn’t necessarily changing in a huge way. One of my teenage sons some of his friends are experiencing this. Why do we do that? It’s because we don’t want our kids to live in poverty and we want them to have status in this system that we live in that was not designed for people’s lives nowadays. We have healthcare workers who are valuable and are not treated that way in our society and economy.

WR 21 | The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation: The way that work was designed then worked a lot better when you had one spouse going off to work, and another spouse at home doing free labour and free childcare.

 

Why do I say that they’re not treated that way, because it’s not a path to wealth for the most part? Yes, some doctors, but most people I’m thinking of nurses in particular who work in difficult conditions and have a cap on what they can earn. They have to hustle for their worth from the government because there’s a cap. I’m talking about right now in Ontario, but this is a unionized environment. They have to negotiate with governments and so forth. It’s the same with teachers. You mentioned teaching. It’s the same idea. These tend to be female-dominated fields and they are not appropriately valued and why is that? Because there is a bias built into our system.

This feeds into why people are resigning. In a way, the curtain’s been pulled back and we can now see some of the mechanisms that we’ve either been too busy because we’ve been run off our feet and we can’t see who’s pulling the levers and how it’s happening. For many people who worked in jobs that were eliminated during the pandemic, they discovered that they were living with high degrees of abuse on the job. People who work in direct service lines. This is going very early in my career. I remember being either in retail or food service. Unhappy people will make it known to you, the person who’s the lowest person in the hierarchy in those companies and organizations and it’s become even worse.

Why would I subject myself, or why would anyone subject themselves, to low-paying jobs with abusive owners and/or bosses who don’t know how to create a healthy and safe work environment when there are many other things we can do for little to no money that has a lot more meaning? I saw this sign in a doorway. I’m in Montreal and it was in French, but it read, “Please be kind to us. We’ve been short-staffed for the last six months.” I thought, “Do we even have to say that?” It made me think, “What kind of world have we created here?”

The one thing I wanted to add, as I was listening to you talking about the broader system things, is the great resignation, or the great rejection I’m seeing around me, and the people who I know who’ve been working and who left jobs, is that they’re tired of the arbitrariness of work.

This is going to sound like a stupid example, but it’s the one that popped into my head where I worked in an organization where you were only allowed to wear jeans on Fridays. There were times of the month in which the only thing that was comfortable for me was a pair of stretchy jeans. I remember being reprimanded for wearing jeans.

Right, so the only thing that made me productive and innovative was the fact that I had nylon stockings and heels on? The idea that working from home is not something that means that you’re being productive. What we’ve learned, that’s not the case. Productivity has gone up in a lot of fields during the pandemic. The arbitrariness of business being 9:00 to 5:00, the world doesn’t operate that way and many organizations have held on to dear life to these systems of control over workers.

One of the responses people have had during the pandemic is to say, “I’m not going to take it anymore. This doesn’t fit with my family life and with my sense of values. You’re asking me to do things that maybe are going to shorten my life because of the stress I’m under or going to make me ill.” Somebody said to me the other day, it hit home to them.

People are coming to an awakening where they don’t want to abandon so much of themselves in order to fit in and compromise things like their health.

It was a woman and she’s like, “My husband and I have agreed that we’re both working and we’re going to have our child in childcare. It occurred to us with the pandemic and having spent a lot more time with our kid, that we were leaving our child in the care of other people for ten hours a day. I felt a sense of shame that I wasn’t there more for my child but on the other hand, I would be called out if I worked any less than 8 or 9 hours a day.”

I can certainly relate to being the person who’s last to pick up your kid and not that often. I developed a good community of support to call people up and say, “I’m running late. Can you help me out?” Likewise, there are lots of people for who I did that for. Often it takes two people going flat out, especially if you both want to have a career.

There’s this rigidity around the hours and how you can structure that, which means fitting all these other things in very challenging. People are coming to an awakening where they don’t want to abandon much of themselves in order to fit in and compromise things like their health and for what purpose?

That brings me a little bit back to the purpose and meaning part, because if the purpose of doing that beyond gaining a certain level of wealth where you are secure, your needs are met, you and your family are all okay. Beyond that, if the meaning behind it is to make a billionaire richer or to serve some phantom shareholders somewhere and if that’s what you’re doing it for, people are rethinking that. One of the stats I read in some of these articles was that in the US, in particular, entrepreneurship has significantly increased. People saw this as an opportunity.

I’m thinking about the US now because of our friends in the United States. Here in Canada, we have more of a social safety net around some of these types of things. Some of these things are a little more relevant in the US. Some people who are more cynical about people than me will say, “Wait until those things are taken away.” People will go, “Get those shitty jobs again.” There’ll be forced as if that’s a good thing. What I’m seeing is that a bit of support gave people the opportunity to look for something better. To either fill themselves up in a way to take a course, to reassess, to get that maybe a slightly better job.

There are a couple of things that I’m picking up on, but tangentially, not directly. One of the things is you’re reminding me of a theory that I learned way back when I was doing my Master’s Degree in Organizational Development. This guy is named McGregor. He posited Theory X and then there’s Theory Y that he came up with later. People are motivated. They care, want to make a contribution and are interested in work. It brings meaning and it matters. Theory Y is that people are inherently lazy and all they want to do is sit around, drink Diet Pepsi and smoke Doobies.

WR 21 | The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation: When your mentality is to constantly question people and not trust them, you’re going to have a view of the world in which people are taking advantage.

 

These are competing philosophies about the core nature of humans. A lot of the time, what we see is that leaders, managers, company owners, etc., hold the view that people are inherently lazy if you let them work from home. You’re not monitoring, not counting how many hours of training did they go to be… the harassment and discrimination training, for instance, and make sure that’s on their record because if it isn’t, then we’re going to dock their pay, etc. When your mentality is to question people and not trust them constantly, you’re going to have a view of the world in which people are taking advantage.

What I find so ironic about this is that we’ve created political and financial systems in which people with money are always taking advantage of the rules and regulations in order to save their money and not pay taxes. There is this persistent mythology that people lower down in the socioeconomic rungs of our society are inherently not interested in working, which I would have to say what I witnessed during the pandemic (and people who were considered essential workers): a dedication, people are working hard, thoughtfulness, kindness in the face of incredible abuse that I witnessed a couple of times.

We need to get rid of this idea that if you have money and have a prestigious job that you’re hardworking, and that if you’re in a more what we would consider a menial or lower-paying job, that you’re lazy, this is a wrong way of thinking about people. The facts don’t bear it out.

I’m going to change gears completely here and talk about something that I think is important for us to know, and you and I believe in science. We talk about neurobiology, how our brains are wired, designed, built, constructed a certain way. When I think about the Great Resignation, people’s brains have been overloaded cognitively. Maybe the commute wasn’t that enjoyable but we might’ve had that hour and a half on the way into or out of work to decompress, read a blog. Maybe some people were checking their email, but the pressure was off. Give people a bit of respite. Now, when you’re working from home, you’re on all the time, or more than we have been before.

I was reading some research around, particularly if you have a job that is not like working with your hands, like not a factory job, that basically your brain peaks at about 5 or 6 hours of work. After you spend any more than that, your brain is saying, “I’m done.” You’re not accomplishing more, being more productive, adding any value to your organization. You’re reaching your breaking point a lot faster.

When people are now saying, “I’m not going to do this job anymore.” It’s partly because their brains cannot function at the level of intensity that we’ve been trying to squeeze out of people. Many countries are experimenting with this. In Iceland, for instance, four-day workweeks. The productivity is exactly the same as the longer weeks and the longer hours, but people are more focused. They’re feeling more satisfied with the overall quality of their life. They’re not rushing at 7:00 in the morning to get a dentist appointment in before getting to work at 9:00. There is time to manage your life in a way that’s holistic so that when you are at work, you’re focused and contributing at your best.

There are some real advantages to treating people, particularly knowledge workers, as the brains that they have. I don’t mean their thinking brains, but their emotional brains and their whole beings so that we’re working, all of us, in ways that are healthy for us and sustainable over time. The less that we get on that bus, the more we’re going to see people leaving and rejecting what we call work.

The bottom line is, work should not have to be painful and abusive.

I would add to that we want people’s best work. We want their best creativity and ingenuity. We want them to develop to the furthest extent, ideally that they can. We need that because we need at a rapid pace now to do everything that we’re doing better and companies will get the best out of people when they invest in their development and create an environment where they can develop. Part of that is understanding this piece about the human brain and what its limitations are and what helps our brains along the way. Our brains are being maxed out right now.

The pace of change and the degree of uncertainty is creating a real challenge for a lot of people. How many people have you heard say, “I can’t listen to the news, I can’t watch?” It makes it difficult for us to pay attention to all the things. How many people have you heard say, “I can’t listen to the news/ I can’t watch?”

It makes it difficult for us to pay attention to all the things that may be around us that we would ideally like to or feel like we should be paying attention to because there is only so much that we have to filter how much we can take. I’d like to bring in another piece on the science part that speaks to human behavior. What are some primary drivers of human behavior?

For that, I’m going to bring up the SCARF model by David Rock.

David Rock is a neuroscientist. His work might be familiar to many people. Other readers maybe haven’t read of it, but it has become quite popularized. It’s not hard to find information is what I’m saying about this piece. The SCARF model, it’s an acronym. It stands for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness. I did talk about this a little bit in a previous episode with Dr. Carlos Davidovich on The Psychology of Job Loss.

Status is a primary driver for people. People don’t want to lose status. That’s a prime driver of human behavior. Certainty, knowing what our world’s going to look like tomorrow. These are the things that, when we sense a change, can send us into that threat response. Autonomy, people want control over their day, control over how some say. This is the human condition. This isn’t about knowledge workers versus blue-collar workers. Everybody is the same in this regard. Giving up control, handing it over and letting people have a say, how and when they go about their work would go a long way.

WR 21 | The Great Resignation

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory

Relatedness, we need people, connection and community. We need a connection. Some people less than others. I get it. There are people out there going, “One thing the pandemic has taught me is I don’t need as many people as I thought I did.” There are people who have said to me, “The pandemic is good for me. I don’t need to be spending as much time with as many people as I used to.” That’s okay but at the same time, even if they feel that way, they’ve rethought the relationships that matter.

Also, we’re hard-wired for fairness. When we perceive things as being unfair, that can be a real trigger. For different people, these things might be at play to varying degrees but they are all at play. You can see how the pandemic has played with a lot of these things for people. It would be easy to conclude from that than that there is no wonder we’re seeing such a massive shift. One of the things I did make a note of that I saw in one of the articles is that quitters quit because they sought out jobs with meaning, purpose, flexibility and choices.

Where does meaning come into this meaning and purpose? You said before that it’s a bit of a privileged thing to think about. I think there are some shifts in the way we live. People go to church less and aren’t as involved in their communities as maybe they once were. The meaning and purpose are universal, it’s just where do we get it from. For immigrant parents, maybe meaning and purpose are coming to a new place to make a better future for their children. You’re going to do work that maybe doesn’t bring you a lot of meaning and purpose but you’re still connected to the broader meaning and purpose.

For others, work maybe play a more direct role in that. I think what we’re seeing is now this realization that the work a lot of us have been doing is devoid of that meaning and it’s becoming more problematic. It’s a privileged spot to be in and to be able to do something about it. That’s the part where not everybody is in a place to make a shift based on that but they will still not necessarily give a lot of discretionary effort if they feel that is not there. In the future of work, it’s going to be a real challenge for organizations to think about how they’re connecting the meaning and the purpose piece.

You’re reminding me of a book that I didn’t finish because I kept getting angrier as I read it. I needed to set this book down because it was resonant with me. This is going to cause our show to have an X-rated rating because of the title of the book. The book is called Bullshit Jobs, written by this guy, David Graeber. He talks about how many jobs that we have in the current systems that we work in are pointless, meaningless and trivial. Interestingly, many of them are HR, which I laughed at when I read that but I realized that was true. How do you get purpose and meaning when you’re hired to do something that doesn’t make a difference?

I can’t even think of any clear examples right now because I feel myself getting angry, the fact that there are these bullshit jobs, to begin with, but that leads me to something else I want to say. I don’t know why I’m all big on the organizational development theory in this particular episode, but I do want to talk about one other thing that touches on what you said when it comes to purpose and meaning. Herzberg had this thing called Motivators and Hygiene Factors.

I don’t mean cleanliness, but the things that are at play when we work. If you imagine a line, which is the surface. There are the things below it that keep us from being unhappy. Decent pay, safe conditions to work in, some fair level of benefits, all the things, that if I have those things, I’m not going to complain but they don’t give us a sense of meaning, purpose, contribution, etc.

If we can find ways to maximize profits for shareholders, we can find ways to pay people adequate salaries and give them meaningful work.

If you think about what we can have above the line, those are the things that you’re talking about, Debra. A sense that you’re doing something important, meaningful, and I don’t necessarily mean in your day-to-day work. You might have a job that is okay, and you enjoy it enough, but the sense of purpose and meaning you derive from it is that you can contribute to your children’s education. You can do things with your life that you might not be able to do because of whether the income it affords you or the closeness, the proximity of your home to the work that you’re doing. There are many other benefits or even the social benefits of work.

I found that when I went from working in jobs to working on my own, I missed the day-to-day connection with people. I found other ways to do it, but I got huge social benefits and connection benefits from a job. Sometimes the job itself doesn’t provide you with this giant dose of like, “I’m doing something extremely important and meaningful,” but the circumstances and the ingredients around the job do. As I look at some of the reasons why people are leaving their jobs, the pay might have been okay. There might’ve been these hygiene factors that were met, but the things that you’re talking about people are starved for. Through COVID, people have died, lost family members and become sick. There’s a sense of our own mortality as well.

There are some questioning about why would I continue to do work? Either in a situation that I don’t like the work, environment, leadership and organization I’m working for. There must be another way to get through life, and there are plenty of examples of how people are doing that. I’m in full support of people leaving workplaces. Work should not have to be painful, abusive and you have to ‘get through’ your workday. Even difficult physical jobs or jobs that require incredible emotional labour. Some jobs in social work can be quite exhausting. You can have a job that’s hard without it taxing you in ways if you’re exposed to disrespect or lack of kindness.

People will work hard at things they love to do. I’m not saying that I’ve concluded from that, that everybody should do something they love to do, although I do believe that. It’s just that there are so few paths to that based on what we talked about earlier about the system. If your only path to financial security and status is through these narrow choices, that means that if I love music, improv, arts, humanities and whatever else it is, that might fill me up and that I might be able to bring a lot of gifts into the world, those things might never get explored because I’m in a system that only values these other avenues. If I’m a great caregiver, it’s not a path to financial security.

I often use the word wealth but when I use the word wealth, I don’t mean like becoming a billionaire, I mean having a good life. All that below-the-line stuff you talked about is taken care of. When we say that we attach meaning to the system that we’re in, it strips away the ability to find that meaning if the way you’re going to connect to it is a path to poverty. I come back to that systems piece as being so critical in terms of where do we place value and why are we placing value?

I think the reason why the system is the way it is, is because it’s based on some archaic ideas. It’s based on patriarchy and hierarchy. The result of that is devaluing a lot of what people could potentially bring to make life better for all of us. Not only do we need to do things better, but we could also live in a much more beautiful world and we could live sustainably on this planet if we didn’t think that investment banking was more important than dance, music or whatever else or caring for people.

These are all systems that we created, and anything that can be created can be dismantled. The people who benefit from the systems that we have in place aren’t going to be happy with the idea that people like you and I are questioning them, but the truth is they are already starting to crumble. Way more people are rejecting what it is that we’ve come to take for a fact around what it means to work, have a job, earn an income. I’m finding it interesting right now. One of the things I’m hearing a lot is, “Why aren’t we posting the salaries for jobs?” You’ll often see, “We need five years of this and a master’s degree.”

WR 21 | The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation: Not only do we need to do things better, but we could also live in a much more beautiful world and live sustainably on this planet.

 

Let’s say I’m somebody who’s looking for a job and then I find out at the end of all of this, it only pays $15 an hour as an example, which would be lovely if we could get the minimum wage to that and places in the world where it’s not. We want people who want to work and people who want to do things. Let’s set all the credentials aside. If we can find ways to maximize profits for shareholders, I think we can find ways to pay people adequate salaries and give them meaningful work.

We’re are smart, all of us, business owners, leaders, workers, people who contribute their labour in unpaid ways. There are ways to find alternatives to what isn’t working. I think that needs to be front and centre, because where we’re headed right now looks like it’s pretty downward. I’m heartened by the fact that people are leaving those jobs, that they’re rejecting those cultures, that they’re saying ‘no’ because sometimes that’s the only thing that’s going to bring change is by people en masse, stepping away from what they’ve known and what we’ve all agreed or colluded in.

Welcome to the new labour movement. I feel we are at the beginning of a new type of labour movement and it’s not going to be a labor movement of blue-collar workers. I think it’s going to go across many industries at all different levels because even people who have succeeded in this system if we measure success by wealth and status. Remember I said, “Status is important to people and people are afraid to lose status.” Fear is what’s motivating a lot of people. People are clinging to those things. There are a lot of people accelerating at banks who would have rather studied music or what are these other things that we talked about?

They’ve abandoned bits of themselves to pursue those work that would be more stable, financially rewarding and have that higher status. Those people are suffering too, in many cases, because, as we said, all the things we talked about, there’s a price to pay. I think we’re at the beginning of a new labor movement. I don’t know. I could be crazy. Time will tell.

That’s why we’re asking people to join The Work Revolution.

Thank you to our readers. I hope that made some sense. It wasn’t like rambling it all over the place, but there are a number of things that I think we can dig into a little deeper as we move forward, and you can see that lisa and I get riled up about some of these topics.

We would love to hear from you. We started our Ask Us Anything Series and we are looking for your challenging situations, the things that you’re not sure about how to handle on your own or how to approach. Get in touch with us through our website at WorkRevolutionPodcast.com, or you can reach us through social media. We’d be happy to help you and all do this together! Let’s create the changes that we know are needed and that are going to bring life to our working lives.

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