People managing is fundamentally different from product managing or strategic planning. It’s messy and emotional and hard to quantify. There’s no way to do it efficiently, at least not in the way we’ve come to think of “efficiency,” because it’s hard to automate or streamline the process of listening to and understanding the humans who work for you.
- But mostly because it is NONE OF ANYONE’S GODDAMN CONCERN if you choose to keep wearing a mask. Fuck off! Mind your own business!
We are at a point where several generations of businesses and business owners have never actually experience a tight labor market, and they literally have no idea what to do. Since the Reagan era, they have been in the driver’s seat, neutering labor unions, having MBA’s nickle and dime employees to death with suppressed wages, cutting away at medical and retirement benefits, shifting them to 401k’s while not providing commensurate pay increases, and so forth. They’ve spent four decades masturbating about being job creators while siphoning all the profit upward, treating employees like indentured servants eager to work 35 hours a week for 8 bucks an hour with no stable schedule, so with employees not willing to literally die during a pandemic to smell like french fries and walmart working the two jobs they need to survive, these shitlords finally find themselves without enough workers.
The one thing they can not find themselves willing to try to do is to try to pay them more. You’ll hear anecdotal stories about McDonald’s owners paying a whole 12 dollars an hour for an “entry level job,” sneering while saying it because everyone knows an entry level position shouldn’t pay enough for the serf to pay rent AND eat. So fuck them.
This tinfoil millinery is interspersed with a variety of more predictable and even more enervating rants. These precisely replicate the experience of going back to your parents’ for lunch and discovering that – oh Christ – they’ve also invited Brian, their embittered old bore of a neighbour, who, as usual, has a couple of drinks and starts holding forth over the chicken chasseur. Social media is for idiots and anyone on it should get a life (Why Are You on Facebook?); modern music is awful and it’s all made on computers (Where Have All the Rebels Gone?); most of these so-called doctors don’t know what they’re talking about (Psychoanalysts’ Ball); say what you like about him, but Nigel Farage is a man of his word (Double Bind). Your parents have invited Brian because he’s been on his own since the divorce, and, with a crushing inevitability, you hear a lot about that as well: the iniquities of the legal process (The Long Con), and the injustice of handing over money to an ex-wife “too lazy to work” (No Good Deed Goes Unpunished). It seems a miracle there aren’t songs called These New Speed Bumps Outside the Primary School Are a Disgrace, The People I Got In to Do My Patio Were a Couple of Bloody Cowboys, and Have You Seen The Repair Shop? It’s the Only Thing Worth Watching These Days.
It’s an album you listen to while metaphorically pushing food around your plate and biting your tongue: there’s no point in saying anything back to Brian, because you’ll get a response like Only a Song, effectively an indignant splutter of “I’m just having my say” set to music. But in truth, it’s not really what he says so much as how he says it. The tone isn’t anything as stirring or exciting as anger, just endless peevish discontent and sneering dismissal, the latter reaching a peak with Jealousy, on which Morrison announces that anyone who disagrees with him is envious of his nonpareil insight into the way things really are: “I’m not a slave to the system like you.”
If the importance of aerosol transmission had been accepted early, we would have been told from the beginning that it was much safer outdoors, where these small particles disperse more easily, as long as you avoid close, prolonged contact with others. We would have tried to make sure indoor spaces were well ventilated, with air filtered as necessary. Instead of blanket rules on gatherings, we would have targeted conditions that can produce superspreading events: people in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, especially if engaged over time in activities that increase aerosol production, like shouting and singing. We would have started using masks more quickly, and we would have paid more attention to their fit, too. And we would have been less obsessed with cleaning surfaces.
Our mitigations would have been much more effective, sparing us a great deal of suffering and anxiety.
A growing tension in the U.S. economy — the potential availability of new workers — could come into sharper focus on Friday morning when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its April jobs report.
The pace of hiring has picked up markedly in the past few months, a trend that is expected to have continued in April.
Hiring has accelerated so quickly, in fact, that some businesses have complained to the White House and lawmakers that they are having a hard time recruiting workers, particularly for low-wage, hourly jobs.
I’m definitely not the first to say it, but maybe the problem here is that low-wage, hourly jobs suck, and that employers need to treat their workers better and pay them more.
One thing that comes through in conversations with friends and family who hunkered down, masked up, and kept themselves and their families safe in the last year is the anger at having done the right thing at great personal expense while the rest of the country goes to Disneyworld and college football games. One close friend just asked “Are we suckers?” even though people like us are probably somewhat responsible for keeping our fingers in the dike long enough to get to the vaccines.
This question is one I have asked myself a bunch of times over the last fourteen months.