What if we told the people we cared about just what we thought of them more often, and not just the bad stuff either, but also the good. Secondly, how about we did the same for ourselves? Take a moment to pause and consider the complete picture of the context in which we live. What is it that makes us do the things we do and feel the way we do?
Maybe that’s just what workers have done in this forced pause of the pandemic. They’ve gotten a bit of a sense of the duress they’ve been experiencing at work, the unsafe conditions, the culture, and just how hard it’s been, and maybe they actually want something else. In this season around Labor Day as employers are bemoaning the lack of workers and talking about how hard it is to fill some vacant spots, it’s clearly not just about extended and increased unemployment benefits. The states that have cut those off early haven’t seen the massive return to work that they expected. No, there are bigger, deeper questions being asked about our culture and the safety of our workplaces from home health situations to manufacturing, and one Ohio employer told the Wall Street Journal this month that he realizes now he had rested for too long on the recession. He said he’d “milked” that recession for one or two years too long, to suppress wages and to reduce improvements in the workplace. He says he’s seen the error of his ways. He’s increased wages for his staff, and guess what? He’s not having a problem filling spots and he’s retaining workers longer and they’re happier to boot. So if we had a more complete picture, maybe we’d make some different choices. Have we gotten that complete picture?