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

HOW BADLY DO YOU WANT IT?

HowBadlyDoYouWantIt #attitude #perseverance #GoForIt #desire
It’s easy to feel down when you observe what’s going on around you.
Sometimes, you have to look hard to find the good.
Sometimes, when you are in a bad mood, you have to look at what’s good in your life to pull you out of it.
You may want something that you think might be out of reach. Perhaps, it’s not.
So ask yourself these three questions: How badly do you want it? What are you willing to do to get it? When are you willing to start going for it?
There is always hope.
But hope doesn’t get you what you want. You have to add effort and desire to that hope.
So, a quest begins with desire. You have to really want something to achieve it.
Then, you have to determine how willing you are to do what it takes to achieve it.
That may be the toughest question of the three. Once you have the desire, you need to think that it’s possible. If you want it, and determine that it’s possible, the needed effort should come.
That brings us to the last question: when will you start?
If you want something badly enough, you’ll want to start doing what you need to do as soon as possible – never mind how busy you think you will be.
If your goal involves helping others, it’s always a good time for that.
Now also may be a good time to reflect on what you want to do with your life. We’ve been through, and are still going through, a pandemic that has changed many aspects of our lives.
It has provided time to reflect – to analyze what we were doing and whether it was worth it to keep doing it.
If what you were doing before the pandemic was not fulfilling your goals, it may be time to think long and hard about how much effort you want to keep putting in, without getting the results you want.
It may also be time, if you like and appreciate what you were doing, to perhaps find new ways to do it.
Regardless, keep the three questions mentioned above in mind. Use them to determine not only what you will do now, but what you will do next.
What’s next, if you do things correctly, could be just exactly what you want.
Peter

REMOTE WORK BECOMING A TREND?

#RemoteWork #WorkingRemotely #coronavirus #COVID-19 #FlattenTheCurve
If you thought working from home, or, at least, away from the crowded office was a temporary solution to combat a contagion, think again.
Now, 40.7 million Americans expect to be working remotely by 2026.
Meanwhile, 86.5 million freelance workers are expected by 2027.
Those statistics come from Upwork Inc. Statista data, and were part of a Bloomberg News article also published Sept. 30, 2021 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The article says that businesses, in a survey of 1,000 hiring managers, have increased their willingness to use freelancers.
The coronavirus pandemic was a catalyst for this trend. But it probably has been building for a long time.
If you are in business, it’s better to pay for tasks than hours. When employers hire people as employees, there is a tacit, if not written, agreement that the employee will work, and be paid, for however many hours they are hired for.
Sure, employers can cut, or add to, an employee’s hours at will, in most cases.
But the employers are essentially paying for time. It means more security for the employee, and more obligation for the employer.
Sometimes, that security and obligation also comes in the form of non-salary benefits, adding to the employers’ costs.
When employers hire freelancers, there is no such obligation. The freelancer performs a task(s) and gets paid for that task. That’s much less secure for the worker, but, at the same time, provides more flexibility for the worker to do other things.
The ultimate flexibility for the worker is the ability to work from home. He or she may not get as much from the employer in this arrangement, but the tradeoff (no commuting to a work site, for example) may be worth it.
For some, the fear of loss of secure employment may not be desirable. Some depend on an employer’s benevolence. But, for others, being one’s own boss, essentially, provides coveted freedom.
Given issues with child care, inflation and the increasing costs of commuting, being one’s own boss, in the long run, may be a great tradeoff to the old time-for-dollars, strict schedule model.
To work successfully from home, however, you have to be sure that distractions, like children, won’t hurt your productivity. You still have to give the boss what he or she wants, when he or she needs it.
In short, the trends toward more freedom, flexibility and freelance work are coming. That may not suit everyone, but there may be little anyone can do about it.
It’s best for everyone to prepare for those trends now. That may mean staying with your on-location job and work a gig on the side. Perhaps that gig could be your answer to following the coming trends.
Peter

PROTESTS, PANDEMIC AND FRUSTRATION

#TruckerProtests #CanadianTruckers #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve
The trucker protests in Canada amount to a few ruining the livelihoods of many.
The truckers seem to be protesting vaccine mandates. Yet, most of them – more than 80 percent – are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, protesters have been basically cleared from blocking the Ambassador Bridge, linking Windsor, Ont., to Detroit, Mich., the most widely used border crossing in North America. But reports say other protests, including those in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, are continuing.
So, the question becomes, why?
We’ve all experienced frustration, sadness, anger and, perhaps, every other volatile emotion during the last two years.
The virus has done a number not only on some of our bodies, but also many of our psyches.
That anguish, combined with divisive politics that has emboldened a few, perhaps is at the center of the trucker protests.
The good news is the border egresses are being unblocked, and, hopefully, the manufacturing supply chain disruptions can be eased.
A second manifestation of the virus-provoked frustration and anger is in U.S. schools. Parents, probably still frustrated over opening, closing and reopening of schools during the past two years, have taken to challenging the curriculum, reading materials etc., that probably have been used in their schools for years.
If the parents and schools don’t work out their disputes in a fashion that allows students to learn history, and other undisputed lessons, properly, schools will not only lose teachers and other educators in large numbers, but the ultimate penalty could be schools losing accreditation.
Loss of accreditation could mean that graduates of those schools may not be admitted to colleges, or other higher forms of education, regardless of how intelligent they may be.
The lesson here is that we all want freedom of speech. We all want our grievances heard. As parents, we all want to help make our schools the best they can be.
But, we all must remember that the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not permit us to yell “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire.
The right to free speech is not unlimited. Those who wrote the Constitution EXPECTED us to avail ourselves of our rights with some care and respect. They EXPECTED us to know not only our rights, but also right from wrong.
Therefore, leaning on the Constitution to justify wrongdoing is not what the founders intended.
In short, we have rights to be exercised. We, therefore, should exercise them. But we should do so responsibly.
How does one define responsible? If exercising your rights is causing harm to others who are not part of the dispute, one should think twice about how one exercises those rights.
Consider the person who calls out sick to work when he or she is not sick. That person may have a grievance with the employer. But his or her coworkers are most likely to suffer more punishment than the employer.
Speaking of illness, you may feel you have the right to conduct Activity X during a raging pandemic without taking available precautions. You may feel that if you contract the disease, so be it,. But you do not have the right to contract the disease and spread it to others. That’s why mitigation measures and vaccines may be necessary.
It seems as if the protesting Canadian truckers realize this, and have gotten their shots in large numbers. That makes the reason for protests all the more baffling.
Peter

THE COSTS OF GOING TO WORK

#jobs #workforce #JobsNumbers #COVID19 #coronavirus #FlattenTheCurve
The 467,000 new jobs created in January 2022 were many times more than expected. Yet, “The Great Resignation” is leading people to quit jobs in large numbers. Perhaps, many are going to better jobs, or, at least, different ones.
Despite this good economic news, many have framed the current work/job environment as a case of generous benefits keeping people from looking – or taking – jobs. The January report should dispel that notion.
First, let’s dispense with the idea that people who are not in the job market are lazy.
For most, that’s hardly the case.
What people are doing now, that they may have not done before, is look at the costs, and the risks, against the rewards, of taking a particular job.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be waning – we could face a surprise new variant at any time, there are still risks to being up close and personal with others, especially where there are no rules or mitigations against viral transmission.
A sick worker is no good to either his or her employer or family. An unvaccinated worker is more likely to get sick and spread the virus. Not knowing whether the person next to you is vaccinated presents its own risk.
Secondly, presuming you have no ability to work from home – most in lower-paying jobs cannot work from home, you have to get to work.
You have to calculate how much of your paycheck is going to commuting. If it costs you a lot to get to work, and you don’t have enough left over after commuting costs to cover your other living expenses, that presents a disincentive to take a job.
Thirdly, if you have young children, and no means to care for them while you are at work, that presents yet another risk to taking a job.
Though most schools are staying open, some have periodic closings prompted by the virus. Perhaps too many students, teachers and staff are ill, or have exposure issues, and cannot be in school.
When too many people are absent, schools close, or go to online options. Of course it’s temporary, but it’s still a problem for a working parent.
The smaller number, and higher cost, of day-care options enlarge the problem for parents.
In short, the labor “shortage” we see is more complicated than government benefits that are too generous.
For some workers, particularly those whose spouse may earn a relatively high income, a worker may also find that his or her lower-paying job is generating an income that primarily pays taxes, and little else. There may be other reasons to hang in a job, i.e. benefits, pension credits etc. But, in some scenarios, one can easily put an entire paycheck into taxes alone.
Just as it may be hard for some employers to get enough people to keep his or her operation going, it may be just as hard for a worker to decide whether it is worth his or her effort to take a job.
In the long term, as birth rates decline and people make life choices that give them more flexibility, there will actually be a labor shortage. In that case, the only solution could be to allow more immigrants, refugees and others to come into the country. In fact, a recent U.S. Census report says the largest segment of population increase is coming from immigrants.
It’s no easy fix, but it is one that we all may have to fix together as a society. Jobs have to be more attractive. Services and solutions need to be available so workers can go to work without fear or worry.
Both employers and employees need to be part of any solution.
Peter

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

#HappyNewYear #NewYear #2022 #COVID19 #coronavirus #FlattenTheCurve
It’s been an interesting year, or two.
Will 2022 be any better?
That’s up to each of us.
COVID-19 may be around longer than we want it to be. In fact, it may never go away entirely.
As we have with seasonal flu and other diseases, we have to learn that precautions may forever be in order. If everyone eligible got vaccinated and boosted, it would go a long way toward mitigation.
If we begin the year with that premise, let’s move on to the promise.
Things are getting better, as unemployment is dropping, and wages, in many cases, are rising.
Here’s the rub: going to work isn’t what it used to be, in many cases.
More customers/clients have become, for lack of a better word, abusive.
If you are on the front lines, you get paid to resolve disputes. But you do not get paid to take abuse. You may have no control over the situation, though some would have you believe you have absolute control to resolve their grievances.
You have to remember that the situation is not your fault, in most cases. While the pandemic and accompanying restrictions have brought out the worst in some, they have brought out the best in others.
Yes, it’s easier to say that when one is not being abused.
Let’s resolve this year to be kinder. Let’s resolve to understand why we might be frustrated, even angry. Let’s resolve that what’s making us frustrated and angry may not be what, or who, is in front of us, and not take out our frustration and anger on that thing or person.
Again, it’s easier said than done, but if we can all give it thought, perhaps we can minimize disturbances.
Remember, too, that not only you, but everyone around you, can be affected by your behavior. The next time you may feel inclined to disrupt an airline flight over, say, a mask, remember it’s not just about you, and your “rights.” And remember that the flight crew is there to keep you, and those around you, safe. You have a part to play in that effort. Play it graciously and cooperatively.
That brings us to what you may want for yourself, and others, in the new year. Is your situation ideal for you?
Do you want to take a different route, or direction, in 2022? Now is a good time to think about that.
Know that there are many programs out there that can improve your situation, financial and otherwise, without having to change what you are doing now.
These programs require no specific education, experience or background. They only require an open mind to check them out, a desire to change your own circumstances and a willingness to help others.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Meanwhile, whatever you decide to do in 2022, do it with kindness, humility, integrity and generosity.
Remember that what you do will not just affect you. And remember that the person who you think is persecuting you may be there to save you.
Happy New Year!
Peter



JOB MARKET FAVORS WORKERS THESE DAYS

#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #workforce #QuittingYourJob #workplaces #jobs
The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot about our attitudes toward our jobs or workplaces.
But, as Tom Baxter, columnist for the Atlanta-based Saporta Report, puts it: it’s been a long time coming.
Baxter categorizes the explanations for the high availability of jobs and the relatively high level of unemployment as ”low end” and “high end,” in his column published Oct. 11, 2021.
Low end: There is too much in federal benefits, so people get used to being on the dole.
High end: Workers are more thoughtful about what they want to do with their lives.
We’re starting to see more strikes, or threatened strikes, by unionized auto workers at John Deere and behind-the- scenes movie and TV workers at production companies. The movie production folks settled their dispute with the studios this past weekend.
Baxter argues that much of the so-called Great Resignation is actually ambitious people moving from one job to another, because they now have the flexibility to do so.
He explains that just-in-time manufacturing – allowing companies not to have to store inventory for a long time – and outsourcing – having gig workers and other companies handle chores that employees used to do – has led to what the pandemic unleashed.
These things led to greater job insecurity, reduced or eliminated benefits etc. So, if a gig worker does what you used to do, then become a gig worker. Baxter says many such workers are getting used to unsteady paychecks and no benefits – which they probably weren’t getting anyway as employees.
Job security has long been a thing of the past. People go into work every day not knowing when the next reorganization will eliminate their jobs. At least, with the frequency that it happens, people should be more prepared for it. That doesn’t mean it still won’t be a shock.
Baxter also points out that the stay-at-home spouse, with the other working, is also becoming a trend – again. The roles may be distributed differently between men and women now, but they are happening.
The column predicts that a combination of higher wages, economic necessity and workplace innovation eventually will draw some back to the job market, if they had left it by choice.
“Many of them will be better off for taking their time, and so will the businesses that hire them,” Baxter writes.
What he doesn’t point out is that there are many other programs out there that enable people to devote a few, part-time, off-job hours a week to potentially earn more money than they could make in their jobs.
No specific education, experience or background is required to take advantage of these. In short, anyone can do them.
The only two requirements: be open to looking at them if you are presented with them, and, if you decide one of them is for you, find the few hours you will need to work at them. As a bonus, you’ll get to help others do the same thing.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Things are looking relatively bright for labor at the moment. Certainly, we are all paying more for what we buy, but that may be a good trade-off to get workers higher pay , more benefits and more flexibility between work and life.
Employers are indeed competing for help. But, if you give the right people what they want and deserve, ultimately you will have no problem finding them.
Workers can pick and choose more freely what they do, and where they do it. Consider as many options as possible before choosing.
Both employers and employees should choose wisely.
Peter

WORK SHIFTS: PART 1

#work #workplaces #jobs #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve
Work, and the workforce is changing. Thank COVID-19 for that .
Anna North, in an article for Vox.com published July 13, writes that the five-day workweek is dead. More on that later.
A LinkedIn article says the pandemic has introduced three trends that are redefining the modern workforce: 1) Remote and hybrid models are quickly becoming the “new normal.” 2) Workers’ sense of possibilities is expanding. What people think of as a “good Job” has shifted, with flexibility rising to prominence. 3) The geography of jobs is realigning in ways that may have multi-decade implications. Job seekers are going to smaller places to live, rather than larger cities.
Finally, an article by Llewellyn King, executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle,” on PBS, says it’s time for “old bonds to be loosed and for new energy to be released” into the workforce. The article, written for InsideSources.com, was also published July 16, 2021, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
So, what’s happening and how is it affecting you? Are you still doing what you were doing before the pandemic hit? Did the pandemic make you rethink your life, or life’s work, and encourage you to try something different?
In the Vox article, the five-day workweek, which workers fought hard for during the Industrial Revolution, has been debated for decades. The early 1970s featured articles that said more leisure time was trending for workers, as jobs were scarcer than they are today.
One can debate whether one needs to go into work five days a week, as the other articles discuss, but it’s unlikely that most employers will allow their workers to spend any less time doing their jobs.
The LinkedIn article says what people thought of as a “good job” is changing. What do you see as a “good job?” Do you have one? Or, better yet, are you working just for money and nothing more?
King’s article takes the trend head on. He talks about how people found out during the pandemic that commuting was a drag. He also discussed how some people find life better without a boss, and are creating income through “gigs,” or starting their own businesses.
These trends are being labeled by some as just laziness, with too many prospective workers turning down jobs because of too much available government aid. They’re not seeing what’s really happening. People are beginning to re-evaluate what a job should be, how much of their time they should spend at it, and whether they should do it in a place dictated by someone else.
They are also re-evaluating whether a job that they had prior to COVID-19 is worth going back to, or is even available to go back to. There are certainly available jobs, but there seems to be more of a variety from which workers can choose. Someone may prefer to make widgets than wait tables, for example.
There is good news here, especially for those who are looking for something different, but the available alternatives they have seen just aren’t suiting their fancy. There are a number of programs out there that allow you to take, or keep, a job – if you are just working for money — and spend a few, part-time off-work hours building a potential future income that could dwarf anything you could find in the job market.
The best news: these programs can be done from home, or not, and you don’t need any specific education, experience or background to do them. Yes, there are no bosses either. To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
The coronavirus has spurred workforce changes we will see for years, or decades, to come. Companies have to adapt. Workers have to adapt. The workers, though, may find more options than they ever thought. But, they have to be willing to look.
Peter

IS AN ECONOMIC BOOM LOOMING?

#EconomicBoom #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #MothersDay #WomenInWorkforce
Some experts are predicting a post-pandemic economic boom.
And, after we have just celebrated Mothers’ Day, experts are saying that women workers were hurt the most by the pandemic recession.
Fareed Zakaria predicted on his GPS show May 9, 2021, on CNN that he sees the beginning of an economic boom because of the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and things getting back to normal.
He said that the money put into the system through government aid packages, plus our learning how to do things differently because of the pandemic, is producing conditions that could send the economy soaring.
Certainly, we’ve seen signs of that as businesses reopen and beat the bushes to find help.
The aid has helped businesses and individuals stay afloat during the pandemic, allowing, as they get back to normal, for the potential to prosper.
Meanwhile, ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” featured a Mothers’ Day panel discussing how the pandemic recession affected women in the workforce.
One notable statistic from the recent jobs report says 165,000 women have left the workforce since the pandemic.
The panel, including Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, Lareina Yee, chief diversity and inclusion officer at McKinsey & Co., and Fatima Goss Graves, CEO and president of the National Women’s Law Center, discussed how women have had to make hard decisions and sacrifices during the pandemic.
As pandemic restrictions ease, the panel said the choices women have had to make was to go back to work – many cannot work from home – or stay home with their children, who may not yet be back in school full time.
The women also discussed how the trend of women leaving the work force has increased since 2000, well before the pandemic, largely because of a “care crisis” that leaves many with no one with whom to leave their children while they work.
As we watch these trends emerge, or continue, many of us will have decisions to make. If you are not seeing the potential for an economic boom from where you sit, you may want to look at other ways to earn an income – even one that could dwarf whatever income you could make at a job.
Or, if you are a woman who hesitates to go back to work because of child care or other issues, there are many programs out there that can allow you to earn a potentially sizeable income from your home, particularly as technology improvements make that task easier.
To check out one of the best such programs, message me.
Obviously, the economy’s performance will depend on whether the pandemic subsides enough to kick everything back into high gear.
It could also depend on whether resources could be provided to enable more women to work outside of the home.
It will depend on how many people get one of the proven vaccines against the coronavirus.
It will still be an individual decision on whether, and what type, of work you could return to. The good news appears that there are more options out there than anyone may realize.
It may also depend on whether you see yourself as an optimist or a pessimist. Here’s a hint: optimists are more likely to succeed.
Peter

MANY JOBS LOST DURING PANDEMIC MAY NOT RETURN

#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #jobs #LostJobs
The pandemic is hastening a new normal.
As Microsoft founder Bill Gates predicted in November 2020, half of business travel and 30 percent of “days at the office” will go away forever.
Heather Long discussed this trend in an article for the Washington Post. It was also published March 1, 2021, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The article also points out that some jobs that were destined to be automated – in other words, robots and other machines doing the work of some people — will progress sooner than anticipated because the pandemic discouraged people working in close quarters.
Technology also permits people to do some jobs from anywhere, be it home or on a tropical island.
The McKinsey Global Institute says that 20 percent of business travel won’t come back and about 20 percent of workers could end up working from home indefinitely, the article says.
That has an impact on hotels, air travel, commercial real estate and neighborhood businesses that depended on clientele working in confined office buildings or manufacturing plants, the article points out.
The article even talks about a worker at Walt Disney World who had hoped to get her job back after the pandemic, now trying to learn how to code (computers) watching YouTube videos.
Though the article talks about people needing to be retrained, that has its pitfalls. You can be retrained to do one thing, only to see that retraining become obsolete in the near future.
So what does one do in this situation? Even if your job came, or will come, back, how long will it last? Was the job you had even worth going back to? Sure, you may need a paycheck in the short term, but where will you be in a year, five years, 10 years?
Fortunately, there are many programs out there that allow a person to devote a few part-time, off-work hours a week to start, that could put extra money in one’s pocket. Eventually, if one stayed with it and worked diligently, he or she could potentially earn an income that would dwarf what he or she would make on the job he or she once did.
As a bonus, there is no specific education, background or experience needed. And, if you find that such a program is for you, you could introduce it to your friends and help them do the same.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Meanwhile, you can help mitigate the disease by diligently following the public health guidelines and getting vaccinated when your turn comes up.
You can take time to evaluate your situation and determine what your new normal will look like. However, it’s dangerous to presume that someone, or something, will come along to bail you out. Though some short-term help may come, it will not solve your potential long-term problem. That will entirely be up to you.
Being cooped up at home for extended periods has its advantages. It gives you many moments to appreciate what you have, and think about what comes next for you.
As an example, what if you could work for Company X in a big, expensive city, but live in much less expensive outskirts – or, live nowhere near where your employer is?
Or, what if you could be your own boss, work from anywhere – pandemic or not — and help many others do the same?
This is a time of change and choices. Change carefully and choose wisely.
Peter