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Why “no one wants to work anymore” is simply false (Op-Ed)

Intergenerational and interclass debates and divides have always provided plenty of entertaining, outlandish, and downright frustrating takes from one person to another on why issues stand the way they are, and how to fix them. 

In a workforce that was rocked to its core by a global pandemic, hybrid-remote revolution, Great Resignation, and economic recession, it’s no surprise that there are differing attitudes as to the cause and solution to these issues. 

In early 2021 nationwide, as society and the economy began to gradually transition back into “normal” day-to-day functions, countless individuals called it quits due to months, if not close to a year at least of unreasonable management and customers, manifesting through unlivable wages, unrealistic working hours, and a lack of respect and legal support for employees and their opportunities for advancement in multiple industries from food service to general retail to specialized trades. These individuals, dubbed “essential workers” from a nation desperate to keep their services intact, no longer saw the value in remaining at their current positions. 

As a result, the Great Resignation occurred, wherein an average of 4 million individuals per month left their current roles through mid-to-late 2022 in search of livable wages, flexibility, more autonomy and room for advancement, and other perks not received in their previous positions. 

While these individuals did often find improved working conditions in their next role, these public-facing industries scrambled to not only justify the lack of workers, but survive in an increasingly fragile economy. Printed signs on fast food drive-in windows, storefronts and more all rang the same messages loud and clear.

“Sorry, no one wants to work anymore.”

“Closed. No employees came into work.” 

“Regular hours adjusted due to short staff.” 

While the first instinct to view these signs may be annoyance, inconvenience or frustration, we must ask ourselves why these conditions are taking place. Is it, as some business owners and corporate leaders claim, the moral failings and laziness of these individuals that have caused such a drastic shift? Or could it possibly be any of the listed reasons that provided a breaking point for a struggle taking place long before the so-called “essential worker” was dubbed so? 

One could argue that certain individuals, companies, and corporations outright refusal to provide the benefits so often requested by their employees is their own downfall in the name of greed or shortsightedness. These employees, most likely providing to the economy in an alternative way, are simply not taking the heat any longer. 

If the result of their decision is as inconsequential as not having any more 24-hour Walmarts, so be it. 


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