Yesterday’s big news that 3% of workers quit their jobs in August, mainly in retail and food, has inspired all sorts of speculation about the ongoing “great resignation”. As a full service blogger, I provide far more than empty speculation — I have anecdata!
This sign is from a men’s room toilet in a Cenex in Western Minnesota, but it could have been from any small business on the two lane highways I traveled in Western Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota. Help wanted signs were everywhere. I wish I had taken a picture of one in the convenience store in Michigan that promised a wage under $10/hr with a promised $0.50 raise after working there a few months. Another memorable one was on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Eastern South Dakota: “Manual Labor – $15 – 20 Hour”. I’m sure that farmer was going to pay for transportation from anywhere populated to his place for that wage.
What’s the mystery here about folks quitting shit jobs like these during a pandemic? The closeness and ubiquity of debilitating illness and death brings clarity about precious time, and these quitters don’t want to waste it on a job that provides no benefits, no security, and slight, if any, enjoyment.
To employers, I say: welcome to the wild world, brother, sometimes it’s gonna rain on you. Sometimes applicants don’t want to take a drug test for a part-time shit job where they could be maimed or killed because they ask a Trumper to put on a mask. Perhaps your desire to never have a full-time employee, and never pay benefits, with your 35 hour a week jobs that occupy all the hours a parent can spend with their child, clashes with a potential employee’s desire to have their kid remember their name and smile when they walk into the room.
So, if you work HR at a billion dollar corporation that pays so poorly that your employees are all on Medicaid, and those employees have almost nothing left over after they pay for daycare, maybe you should take the advice of one of your motivational posters and walk in your employees’ shoes for a few days.