THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MAY 14, 2022
“If you don't like your job go find another one.” How often have you heard that advice? Well, over the last couple of years many Americans have taken that wisdom to heart and that has led to record job openings. The world of work is changing at a furious pace.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Employers posted 11.5 million job openings in March, while 4.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs. There are two job openings for every unemployed person.” (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf)
Statistics, however, don't tell the entire story. There are some interesting aspects to what's going on in the job market. “Higher-paid workers are increasingly quitting their jobs, as the Great Resignation — also known as the Great Reshuffle — enters its second year. Earlier, the trend was led by younger, less-tenured workers in low-paying industries. Now, the main growth in quit rates is coming from older, more tenured workers in higher-paid industries. These workers say they are searching for less tangible benefits like meaning and flexibility. Between the first quarter of 2021 and 2022, the greatest growth in resignations was among people aged forty to sixty. Many of these workers, especially those who are older and more stable in their careers, now have the perspective to consider what they really want out of their lives and work.” (https://www.vox.com/recode/23042785/the-great-resignation-older-tenured-higher-paid)
Figuring out what “perspective” means is a bit more daunting than one might think. Finding the right fit can be tricky, “American business schools are more adept at training future managers to lower wages than to increase sales, according to a new paper circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Managers with a business degree oversee declining pay at their businesses.”
For a potential worker, knowing a bit about the managers of a business might be useful. “The researchers found that companies with business degree-wielding managers don’t see any increase in sales, productivity, investment, or employment compared to companies without business managers.” (https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/business-degree-study-declining-wages)
Another thing to consider during a job search is what a “workday” actually means. According to Microsoft Research, there’s a new pattern replacing the nine to five schedule.
“Traditionally, knowledge workers had two productivity peaks in their workday: before lunch and after lunch. But when the pandemic sent so many people into work-from-home mode, a third peak emerged for some in the hours before bedtime (6-8 PM).” This is now known as the “triple peak day.”
This new workday brings up intriguing questions. “What happens in the transition to hybrid work? Should there be new ground rules and guidelines that differ from other parts of the day? How can managers support team members who choose to work non-traditional hours? And what are the implications for well being when every spare hour is potentially on the clock? Is this about flexibility, or is it about work encroaching on someone’s personal hours?” The bottom line is: “If someone is regularly logging back on after dinner, it should be for one reason: because they work and live better that way.” (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/triple-peak-day)
Change in work schedules can be a challenge, but this is even more problematic for women. WalletHub points out: “Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and nearly sixty-eight percent of moms with children under age eighteen were working in 2021. Unfortunately, the share of women in the workforce declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dropping around 1.3 percent.”
There's also another aspect to this. “Working moms still face an uphill battle in the workplace, as their average hourly wage is only eighty-four percent of what men make. Such obvious inequality brings up not just financial questions but also deeply ingrained social issues.”
Some states are better than others if you're a working mom. WalletHub looked at seventeen metrics and ranked each state. The five best environments for moms were: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The bottom five states were: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and Idaho. Michigan finished in thirty-third place. See all the stats at: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-for-working-moms/3565.
You know, with all of this in mind, patience could be a major advantage. You could make a good living just standing around. It's said: “Good things come to those who wait.” A guy in New York is proof positive of this.
“Robert Samuel figured that out a decade ago when he began his career as a line-stander. He does this in all weather, at all hours, whatever it takes, and whatever you need (tickets, iPhones, doughnuts, COVID tests). He once sat in a French church for twenty-six days waiting for a euthanasia patient to die as part of a macabre art exhibit. This isn't just a gig; he's a pro.” (https://www.newser.com/story/320193/guy-makes-big-bucks-standing-in-line-for-others.html)
Chuckle if you must, but Samuel makes about $80,000 a year. Think of that the next time you're cooling your heels in a never-ending checkout line.
Best and Worst States for Working Moms
(Click on a state to see the ranking.)