Great Resignation is to motivate workers to quit or do better jobs.
Workers are fed up and struggling with low wages, unfavorable conditions, and the general idea that work is the center of their lives.
That struggle takes many forms, from performative to transformative. Posts about standing up for abusive bosses have become their own genre on TikTok, Reddit, and other platforms. Some workers are participating in collective actions, and union approval is at the highest rate since 1965. Others are looking for alternative sources of income or promising to shrink. Perhaps, most directly, people quit their jobs record rates in the so -called Great Resignation.
Many expect people to return to working for the most part after federal unemployment benefits end in September. While it has already happened to some degree – the economy added more than half a million jobs last month – there are many more Americans going on, thanks to a variety of factors, from savings to lack of child care of ongoing pandemic risk.
Importantly, the pandemic – as well as government social safety nets such as extended unemployment benefits – gives people the time, distance, and vision to re -evaluate the workplace in their lives. . This is especially unique for Americans, for whom work is considered a part of their identity and for whom it is placed. more hours than in most other industrialized countries.
There is also an element of retaliation against workers who struggle. When Covid-19 hit, millions of Americans were suddenly found unemployed. Companies that give people years of their lives and work drop them off suddenly. Now, as the economy recovers and these companies are hiring again, many Americans are angry and don’t want to go back.
“The sources of anger today are not lacking,” Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, told Recode. “It’s against the backdrop of your employer making all sorts of profits, and we’ve all been through absolute hell. I think this is the cause of the anger. ”
There are more than 4 million fewer people in the workforce than if labor participation were at pre-pandemic levels. there 10.4 million open jobs and basta 7.4 million unemployed, according to the latest data. Trouble, many of these open jobs are not good: They have poor salaries, dangerous working conditions, or are not far away (remote LinkedIn positions get 2.5 times more applications than not far away, according to the company).
The result is a situation where many employers – especially those in industries with notoriously poor wages and conditions – find it difficult to find and retain workers. on against it, they raise wages, offer better benefits, and even change the nature of their work. Depending on their intensity and duration, these different actions could have a lasting impact on the future of employment for all Americans.
How the workers fought
The most obvious sign of worker power is how many of them quit. In September, a whopping 4.4 million people quit their jobs, according to latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks this data since 2000. That’s 3 percent of all employment and follows the summer in retirement numbers. Retirement is especially prevalent in low-wage, low-status jobs such as entertainment, hospitality, and retail.
Stops also show up elsewhere. Searches for various resignation-related topics have erupted recently. At one point, searches on how to send a resignation email in the past three months increased about 3,500 percent, in English and Spanish, compared to the past three months, according to Google’s fashion newsletter .
And watching how others quit their jobs and respond to bad bosses has become a real fun online. Posts about quitting are proliferating on the internet, including TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter. That is, a TikTok product manager recently went viral on YouTube in his post on why he left. Reddit groups are also using the platform to mobilize.
The subreddit Antiwork – whose tagline is “Unemployment for all, not just the rich!” – grew from just one hundred thousand subscribers at the beginning of the year in excess of 1 million in November. The popular forum is full of screenshots of people talking about bad bosses and expressing their own worth as workers. Some of it most upvoted posts are screenshots of employees talking back to ridiculous employer demands, and they provide clear illustrations of why these workers want to quit. The members, called “Idlers,” give each other the confidence to leave their perceived toxic work environments. The Antiwork community is also organizing a Black Friday boycott, urging retail workers to “restrict their work” and consumers to “restrict their purchasing power” on the usual biggest retail spending day of the year.
This is evidence of how, instead of just quitting their jobs or complaining about them online, more and more people are actively fighting to improve their jobs.
By 2021, approval of labor unions will grow to 68 percent of Americans, highest rate in over 50 years. This happened because many American workers tried to unionize their workplaces. New unionization efforts include Starbucks, Amazon, and meal-kit delivery service HelloFresh. Last month was called “Striketober, ”As more than 100,000 workers across the industry, including John Deere workers and film and TV crews, participated in a variety of work actions. It’s one of many worker trends reinforced by social media, which is widespread with support for unions.
Shelly Steward, director of the Future of Work Initiative at the Aspen Institute, views social media unionization efforts as a more modern version of how workers have always organized: by communicating with each other. But the scale of social media, he said, could contribute to doubling unionization efforts that could have a more permanent impact on employment.
“In the long run, the focus is on individual problems and individual solutions, so if your job isn’t good, walk away from it – it’s the worker’s responsibility to get training and get a better job, “Steward told Recode. “But a change in the overall situation, a change in the dynamics of power between workers and large owners, will set everyone up for more lasting change.”
while in 2020 Only 11 percent of Americans are part of a union-a statistic that has been declining for decades-Steward believes that declines are slowing and that we can start to see union numbers. which will increase when the 2021 dataset is released.
Some workers use the lengthy (though not very tasty) tactic of procrastination to fight against their employers or to say that work is never the most important aspect of their lives. Called “millionaires of the time”Steal time from their employers by pretending to work or otherwise avoiding their responsibilities. They use that time to pursue what they consider to be the more important things in life, such as family and recreation. People holding a lot of remote work but just put in a work amount of work is to do something similar.
And then there are people who are looking to opt out of work entirely by finding alternative sources of income. Many Americans are embracing life trends like FIRE (Financial Freedom, Early Retirement) – a financial activity in which people use a combination of severe cost cutting and passive investment to leave workers early. One can also see the rise of WallStreetBets, where regular people talk about using free trading platforms such as Robinhood in the sale of stocks, as a rejection of typical forms of employment.
These trends as well as the fact that more Americans are quitting their jobs than are recorded signs of a strong labor market in favor of workers. How long the situation will last depends on many factors and whether workers will be able to make long-term changes in the near future.