By Carol Tannenhauser
Monday, September 5, 2022
Afternoon showers, high 83 degrees.
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Labor Day Thoughts
Maynard G. Krebs is a cultural icon. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, Maynard was the beatnik best friend of the title character on the sitcom called The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which ran from 1959 through 1963, but found a wider audience on cable TV later on. Played by the late, great Bob Denver before he left for Gilligan’s Island, Maynard’s claim to fame was his reaction to the word “work.”
“Work?!” he would yelp in response everytime it was mentioned, as if it were the most horrifying pursuit he could imagine.
Was Maynard prescient? Did he foresee the so-called “Great Resignation” of 2021, when 49.4 million American workers quit their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics? Could he have imagined the trend that followed in the second half of 2022, an alternative to complete severance, known as “Quiet Quitting”?
“Quiet quitting is the trend of employees choosing to not go above and beyond in their jobs in ways that include refusing to answer emails during evenings or weekends, or skipping extra assignments that fall outside their core duties,” cnbc explained. It was popularized as many things seem to be today: on TikTok, as seen below.
@zaidleppelin On quiet quitting #workreform ♬ original sound – ruby
“Love and work…work and love, that’s all there is,” said Sigmund Freud, the 20th-century neurologist who founded psychoanalysis. In the 21st century, prompted mostly by the pandemic, Freud’s premise and the proportions allotted to life’s pursuits are being questioned — mostly by Millennials and Gen Zers, seeking a “better balance,” CNBC said, last month. Concurrently, “the rate of U.S. productivity is raising some concern.” Reuters reported. “Data on U.S. worker productivity posted its biggest ever annual drop in the second quarter [of 2022].”
Could Quiet Quitting lead to Frustrated Firing?
Not as likely in the current labor market. “Booming jobs creation has also meant fierce competition between employers for a limited labor supply,” The Washington Post wrote in September. “There continue to be roughly two open jobs for every job seeker, according to the July job openings report, and workers continued to quit their jobs at an elevated rate in July, in [the] phenomenon dubbed the ‘Great Resignation.'”
Anthony Klotz, a professor at Texas A&M University’s business school, coined the phrase “Great Resignation.” “I knew from talking to my students, workers, and business leaders that the pandemic had changed how many people felt about work,” he said, in a school publication.
“Workers saw that quitting their jobs gave them a chance to take control of their personal and professional lives….In broader terms, [the Great Resignation] describes how COVID-19 upended the centuries-old notion of what work is and how it should be done.”
Happy Labor Day!