WORKPLACES ARE CHANGING; WORKERS’ ATTITUDES ARE, TOO

#workplaces #workers #pay #benefits #childcare #COVID19 #coronavirus #FlattenTheCurve
The pandemic changed everything.
First, it gave workers a bit more leverage in how they deal with work/life balance.
That has good, and bad, effects.
Workers are leaving jobs that paid little, with no flexibility in their lives, to either stay home with children – day-care costs are rising and options are limited – or moving on to jobs that pay more and, perhaps, offer some of the flexibility they want.
A story by Marc Fisher for the Washington Post, and a “This Life” column by Nedra Rhone tackle this issue in detail. Both were published Dec. 30, 2021, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Post story focuses on Liberty County, Ga., along the state’s coast. Liberty is a small county, with a major military institution, Ft. Stewart, as its biggest employer.
But the county is growing by adding big warehouses. These allow people to leave the small, mom-and-pop hotel and restaurant jobs for higher-paying, and often more flexible, warehouse work.
That hurts the lower-paying sole-owner businesses, causing them to cut back on hours, service etc., for lack of help.
Some employees had been laid off when many of these operations shut down. When they reopened, many of the workers did not return, for various reasons – not the least of which is the risk of being infected with COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Rhone’s column discusses the differences among various generations in how they react to changing workplaces.
The youngest generation of workers had their world turned upside down. Many now want to be entrepreneurs, meaning they may never work for anyone but themselves in their lives.
(What these young folks may not realize is that working only for oneself may have its own pitfalls. They still have to serve clients, who will be their ultimate employers).
So, all of this begs the usual question: where do you fit in this changing workplace?
Is the idea of going back to work too risky? Or, is it going to cost you more to go back to work (commuting, day care etc.) than you would make?
In summary, workplaces are changing. Workers no longer feel forced to take, or go back to, jobs that put them at risk, will cost them more to work than not, and not get a good return from the employer(s).
Employers currently are adapting by cutting back on things that could decimate their businesses. They have to find more creative ways to entice people from multiple generations, who have different hopes, dreams and attitudes toward the workplace.
To quote Donald Lovette, chairman of the Liberty County, Ga., Commission, from the Post story: “It’s not that people are lazy. It’s that some of them are better off financially by not paying for child care, staying home for a while … It’s simple economics.”
Employers, even those in basic businesses like hospitality and restaurants, have to come up with new ways to get and keep workers.
Peter

WACKY WEATHER A WARNING

#weather #ClimateChange #coronavirus #COVID-19 #FlattenTheCurve
Last winter, Texas froze.
This past winter, Alaska temperatures were in the 60s (December) and other places with normally cooler temperatures are in the 70s and 80s.
Tornadoes and wildfires erupt more frequently. This past winter, wildfires occurred in Colorado, which is normally covered in snow. (The snow came AFTER the fire).
The climate is changing. Inconvenient as that sounds, it’s happening. COVID-19 is inconvenient, too, but the virus isn’t going away.
Yes, we need to act, as a nation, a world, a community and as individuals to combat these phenomena. Unlike a common cold, which eventually goes away with rest, fluids and medication, we can’t rest and wait for the climate to get back to more normal, or for the coronavirus to disappear.
We have to do things to help create that disappearance. We have to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Then, we have to wear face coverings in confined public spaces where lots of people you may not know congregate.
We have to curtail our use of fossil fuels, and work toward the day we can eliminate them entirely. We can’t do that yet, as we have to wait for the technology to catch up. And it will. We are just not there yet.
Our individual mitigating activities are inconvenient. Most of us hate wearing masks. But, if we ALL do, and we ALL (who are eligible) get vaccinated, we can do our individual parts.
If we ALL curtail our use of fossil fuels – today’s high gasoline prices may help us do that — we can buy time for technology to allow us to eliminate them. That’s a tall order now, as electric cars and other clean energy innovations are being developed, but are either not quite perfected or are lacking the infrastructure to allow their widespread use.
Still, we can stop neither the virus nor climate change. The coronavirus may be here for the foreseeable future, but our individual actions – collectively – can help us live with it much easier.
Climate change is a bit different. We can’t stop severe weather or fires, but we can help by NOT living in the most vulnerable places. It’s nice to have a forest view out your back yard, but it may make your house a sitting duck for wildfire.
The same may go for houses on the beach. As nice as they are, as sea levels rise, they could get flooded to the point of no return.
The lesson here is not to blow off these things as inconveniences, and believe they will go away on their own.
After all, in the case of climate change, we, as humans, created it with our “progress.” The coronavirus, on the other hand, is a force of nature we have to fight.
Meanwhile, it’s urgent that we fight these phenomena and get our world back to somewhat normal ASAP. It won’t happen simply because we complain about inconveniences. It will happen by acting resiliently, collectively and individually to do the right thing.
Peter