I personally had thought that the Great Resignation was something that writers had made up for a cheap writing point and a “shocking” clickbait headline. I had heard from several people that formerly easy to fill jobs were not filled, at least to the bare minimum for normal operations. I had not thought anything from it. (There is a huge amount of people around me hitting retirement age. This was at many of my former workplaces and my current one). I wouldn’t call it “The Great Resignation” but I had a series of conversations that bother me. Many takeaways of these conversations were Greatest Generation or Boomer parroting/lies. I wanted to share some underlying things that many of my older members of the community miss.
- Company culture and the workplace family has been decimated.
I had a conversation with a coworker that has been in our work area for 35 years. He had mentioned that it was one thing that he had struggled to get pay bumps at work, but his biggest beef was that many of his coworkers didn’t look forward to going into work altogether. The coworker in question mentioned that their work center used to have a morning pow-wow/morning smoke and often had biscuits/breakfast as a defacto family. This meal was often the lighting off point of the day. A widely known asshole member of management put an end to this.
- Work is a grind when you don’t recognize people you work with.
I had a problem with this also. It was one thing that someone was able to find something that was more in line with an actual career goal but I saw people leaving at a 5 to 6 year point. Not for career expansion but for the fact that there isn’t anything there for them. I was one of those people. I couldn’t get into a program, work center, or semi permanent project. I had stagnated and work was dry, unfulfilling. This pushes people I have known to do other things outside of the lie that I call the “Golden watch workplace”.
The people that I had seen replace them were well meaning but even they ended up feeling lost because of the strange feeling running through the air. This was on top of the mentions of dealing with contractors, both sides that I knew well. I know people that work with certain other companies, often orchestrated by capital investment groups, that bemoan the lack of connection with others. Considering everyone is so clannish and no one is actually employed by the same people. No one likes dealing with anyone else unless they knew them outside of work, which is a different ball of worms.
- Front office to field workers divide is getting larger.
I had seen this personally from the front office/admin set. We increasingly went from having a physical point of contact “on site” to having an across town, big office contact. This turned into a contractor that no one knew how to talk to and in some circumstances; a 1-800 number. Cutting margins turned into depersonalization and a feeling that “we” didn’t matter. The feelings didn’t stop as newer coworkers replaced retirees. It made us feel alone and that the name on the sign was an empty idea with no pride.
- Mediocre pay/benefits w/ no culture is not greater than poverty + a piece of mind.
I know of plenty of people that find it better to gamble and have a sense of freedom than work at many positions where I live. Many people will work to feed what they feel is a lifestyle; (I often argue that for many people this is consumption or keeping up with whatever their local trash millionaires are). But a sense of nihilism has defeated this for many, work is so unappealing that many can overcome their need to buy bs. Many I know of would rather live at home and curtail spending than become a drone for chickenfeed.
- Twenty to Thirty Years
I don’t know anyone under 35 years old that could dream of working at any place for twenty to thirty years. We might have had a grandparent or great grandparent pull it off but it is not a common place idea. It isn’t even the “gold watch” idea but the fact that someone is always cutting margins, selling out, or not planning on making a long term investment. Loyalty of the workers existed when most companies had some long term investment. Now that no one is in it for the long haul, it is hard to think that I might have an actual career for more than five years at a time.
I am sure that I missed something and I wasn’t trying to rant, but my coworker had seen it all. Work didn’t serve as a purpose as it once did, but as a funding mechanism for his love of cars/car culture. I work to support for what I am obligated to. Work is work. I had turned away my head from the culture put together by the distributed talking points years ago. The Great Resignation/Checkout is a side effect of what I mentioned and dramatic generational changes not seen by everyone. It should be alarming but no one is willing to look past the “truisms” echoed by many around me.
Excellent article. My son-in-law has worked for the same company for twenty-five years. Most marriages don’t last that long. He’s a graphic artist and the company he works for has an ever-changing environment which keeps him fresh and challenged. He has worked his way up to Director of the Art Dept. and gets a cozy paycheck and serious Christmas bonuses. I have a niece that has worked for Marriott for over twenty-five years and is a Vice President in her particular area of endeavor. My other niece, a chemical engineer, changed majors (so to speak) and works at a Naval Base in the northeast and is in charge of something she’s not allowed to talk about except it has something to do ‘nuclear’. She’s also almost 25 years. But those are the only three people I know with seriously long-standing employment.
I did my best but fell short. “Sometimes your the windshield, sometimes your the bug”. I have been “reincarnated” on an Interstate every year.
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I’ve been known to be ‘foreign object damage’ myself, lol.
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