I saw a quote yesterday that I thought was a pretty good statement of the times that we live in today…
People are no longer doing the things that they don’t want to do anymore.
I’m pretty sure it was meant as a jab at workers along the lines of “Nobody wants to work anymore!” but I actually took it to be a little more inspiring than that, like, “Nobody wants to work for you anymore!”
As challenging as it is for some businesses and industries right now, I think it’s a good thing that employees are finally standing up for themselves and demanding better treatment. If a corporation is going to make billions off of selling burgers and fries, the people serving up that fried food deserve to be able to pay their rent – this whole notion of “unskilled work” driving some of the biggest companies towards record profits has got to come to an end.
And yeah, it’s going to mean that some businesses are going to go under if their business model that made sense at $8/hour for clerks and shelf stockers no longer works at $15/hour.
Some interesting statistics – over 627,000 small businesses are created each year in the United States, but 20% of them will fail in their first year and ten years in, that number rises to a whopping 70%! It’s hard to create a new business that can stand the test of time, but underpaying your workforce because your brain is stuck in the days when you started out at $5/hour thirty years ago isn’t going to fly anymore.
It’s great that people are putting their feet down and saying, “If I’m an essential worker, you need to treat me like it!” Work that was done in an office a few years ago can just as easily be done from home and greatly improve the quality of life for those workers, and if companies want to dig their heels in and insist that “We’re better together!” they’re going to find themselves with a dwindling talent pool to choose from as more and more workers prioritize their own wellbeing over the demands of the business that would lay them off two weeks before Christmas if the bottom line demanded it.
At the end of the day, driving people to focus on the things that they do want to do is ultimately better for our society as a whole because workers should feel valued and appreciated for the things they do, and their employers will get better work out of them for it! Sure, you can argue that there are some jobs that nobody really wants to do, but paying a living wage and helping people feel better about their jobs instead of like expendable numbers will go a long way.