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Opinion Editorials

The ‘Great Resignation’ is here, MILLIONS are quitting their jobs – what’s going on!?

(BUSINESS NEWS) We’re seeing record numbers of resignations – some are calling it a labor shortage, but it’s a worker’s market as they are in demand. Employers need to rethink their culture and benefits to retain good workers.

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a record number of resignations in April (with the trend continuing in May). Over 2.7% of the workforce, or 4 million people in the United States, quit their jobs.

With millions of workers already out of work following the worst recession in U.S. history, and employers complaining about labor shortages, what’s behind this trend?

You can blame the “Great Resignation” on politics, the extended unemployment benefits, a 600K+ population decrease due to COVID-19, or low wages, but there may be something even more basic behind workers leaving their jobs – economics of supply and demand. Employees are finding better jobs in greener pastures because they have the upper hand.

Labor shortage or realignment?

Businesses pivoted their services when the pandemic struck. This has carried over to workers.

The hospitality industry practically shut down, giving many workers a chance to redefine their decisions about what industry they worked in. Many restaurants discarded their workers at the beginning of the pandemic. Even though the sector was hard hit and many had no choice but to lay off staff to stay afloat, is it any wonder that those workers do not want to return to places of employment where they felt disposed of, with physical jobs that paid low wages, little-to-no benefits, and harsh conditions?

Employees have the leverage to demand better, so they are taking advantage of that opportunity. Workers are re-examining their work-life balance, their commute, and their happiness.

What can employers do?

Employers would do well to re-examine their culture and to find ways to retain their best employees. Workers want better conditions, regardless of the industry. Essential workers have suffered alongside small business owners.

It’s not only about wages. It’s about opportunities for growth. It’s about preventing burnout. It’s about not getting penalized for needing a day off when you’re sick. It’s about having sick days to take care of kids or family members. It’s about regular schedules where you can take classes or plan for day care without worrying that you won’t get your 40 hours. It’s about healthcare and retirement benefits.

You can’t expect your workers to be loyal to your business without giving more than a paycheck. Work isn’t just about paying the bills.

People want their work to accommodate their life.

To stem the “Great Resignation,” employers need to wake up to giving their workers respect in meaningful ways, not just telling them they’re lucky to have a job, or adding a ping pong table to the office.

Dawn Brotherton is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. Before earning her degree, she spent over 20 years homeschooling her two daughters, who are now out changing the world. She lives in Oklahoma and loves to golf. She hopes to publish a novel in the future.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Paul O'Brien

    July 7, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Well let’s see…

    Keep the regulations and costs of starting a business high so that most people must work

    Balloon the price of University education by increasing demand and shaming alternatives so that people are over (or poorly) educated for many jobs while in debt for the privilege

    Lie to people, that it’s not possible nor productive to work remotely, or only 4 day work weeks

    Maintain zoning, mobility, and regulatory policies that artificially maintains higher home prices, forcing people to work to barely maintain a decent standard of living

    Keep a strangle hold on healthcare so that it remains unaffordable; providing employers a ready-made benefit that people would otherwise unlikely be able to have…

    Then, throw us into a circumstance in which it becomes abundantly clear that all of the above is bullshit and fabricated

    This is The Great Resignation, it’s a mini-revolution

  2. Don Don

    July 9, 2021 at 7:44 am

    Let’s see. Your answers are below
    1) Overwhelming the younger generation votes for liberal politicians who promise to regulate businesses
    2) The same politicians have taken money away from public education and diverted it to social programs that pay people not to work. Thus university have to raise tuition and boarding prices to meet their budgets
    3) Work from home as long as you meet your deadlines for deliverables and come to the office when a meeting requires
    4) Listen to what the politicians actually say, not the 5 second sound bite the media shares and see what they actually support and what regulations are on their agendas
    5) Everyone wants free healthcare, but tell me who pays for it? IF you are one of the idiots that advocate a government health care service then look at the lines at the DMV next time. So healthcare is not free. Telling healthcare wake up because there will be a payroll tax to pay for government healthcare instead of a payroll deduction for insurance. And recognize the efficiencies at the DMV as what you are advocating for healthcare. IS that what you want??
    6) The bullshit and fabrication you mention is just your recognition that the liberal crap they feed you in the overpriced university for the bullshit sociology degree does not prepare you for a career or life.
    Conclusion) The mini revolution as you call is (drumroll) Your dumbass finally become an adult and recognizing life is not utopia

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Opinion Editorials

AT&T hit with age discrimination lawsuit over using the word “tenured”

(EDITORIAL) 78% of workers are victims of age discrimination. As awareness arises, lawsuits show what may constitute discrimination, including verbiage.

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Older man at cafe representing age discrimination

According to the AARP, 78% of older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. As awareness of ageism increases, lawsuits that allege age bias can help employers understand what constitutes discrimination. A recent case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Smith v. AT&T Mobility Services, L.L.C., No. 21-20366 (5th Cir. May 17, 2022), should give employers pause about using other words that could potentially be a euphemism for “older worker.”

What the lawsuit was about

Smith, a customer service representative at AT&T, alleged that he was denied a promotion because of his age. His manager told him that she was not going to hire any tenured employees. The manager wanted innovative employees in the management positions. Smith took this to mean that he was being denied the promotion because of his age. He sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Texas law.

The district court found that Smith failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to one claim and failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination as to the other two claims. Smith appealed. The Appellate court affirmed the district court’s decision, but they did say it was “close.” AT&T did not discriminate against Smith by using the word tenured, because there were other employees of the same age as Smith who were promoted to customer service management positions.

Be aware of the verbiage used to speak to employees

This case is another example of how careful employers need to be about age discrimination, not only in job postings. It’s imperative to train managers about the vagaries of ageism in the workplace to avoid a costly lawsuit. Even though AT&T prevailed, the company still had a pretty hefty legal tab. Don’t try to get around the ADEA by using terminology that could screen out older workers, such as “digital native,” or “recent college grad.” Remind employees and managers about ageism. Document everything. Pay attention to other cases about age discrimination, such as the iTutor case or this case about retirement-driven talk. You may not be able to prevent an employee from feeling discriminated against, but you can certainly protect your business by doing what you can to avoid ageism.

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Opinion Editorials

Writing with pen and paper may mean your smarter than your digital peers

(EDITORIAL) Can writing old fashioned make you smarter? Once considered and art form, handwriting is becoming a thing of the past, but should it be?

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Writing on paper job titles.

When I was in college, in 2002, laptops weren’t really commonplace yet. Most students took notes by writing with pen and paper. Today, most students take notes with laptops, tablets, cell phones, or other electronic devices. The days of pen and paper seem to be fading. Some students even wait until the end of class and use their cell phones to take a picture of the whiteboard, so in effect, they are not absorbing any of the information because they “can just take a picture of it and look at it later.”

Is it easier to take notes on an electronic device? I think that largely depends on preference. I type faster than I write, but I still prefer to take notes on paper.

According to researchers at Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, students who take handwritten notes generally outperform students who typed them.

Writing notes help students learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques.

While most students can type faster than they write, this advantage is short-term. As the WSJ points out, “after just 24 hours, the computer note takers typically forgot material they’ve transcribed, several studies said. Nor were their copious notes much help in refreshing their memory because they were so superficial.” So while it may take a bit longer to capture the notes by hand, more likely than not, you will retain the information longer if you put pen to paper.

As I teach English Composition at the University of Oklahoma, I would also like to say that while I find this to be true for myself, every student has a different learning style. Typed notes are much better than no notes at all. Some students detest writing by hand and I understand that. Everything in our world has gone digital from phones to cable television so it makes sense, even if I don’t like it, that students gravitate more towards electronic note taking than pen and paper.

While I would like to see more students take notes by hand, I certainly won’t require it. Some students are navigating learning disabilities, anxieties, and other impediments that make taking notes digitally more advantageous.

I imagine the same is true for other areas as well: instead of typing meeting notes, what would happen if you wrote them by hand? Would you retain the information longer? Perhaps, and perhaps not; again, I think this depends on your individual learning style.

I would like to suggest that if you are one of the more “electronically-minded” writers, use a flashcard app, or other studying tool to help you review your classroom notes or meeting notes to make them “stick” a bit better. While I find this type of research intriguing, if you enjoy taking your notes electronically, I wouldn’t change my method based on this.

If it’s working for you, keep doing it. Don’t mind me, I’ll be over here, writing everything down with pen and paper.

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Opinion Editorials

5 reasons using a VPN is more important now than ever

(EDITORIAL) Virtual private networks (VPN), have always been valuable, but now, more than ever, entrepreneurs and businesses really should have them.

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Virtual private networks (VPN), have always been valuable, but some recent developments in technology, laws, and politics are making them even more important for entrepreneurs and businesses.

A VPN serves as an intermediary layer of anonymity and security between your computer and your internet connection. Your Wi-Fi signal is a radio wave that can ordinarily be intercepted, so any data you transmit back and forth could be taken and abused by interested parties. VPNs act as a kind of middleman, encrypting the data you transmit and protecting you from those prying eyes.

Top10BestVPN.com offers a selection of some of the best-reviewed VPN services on the market; there you can see the different approaches to security and anonymity that different brands take, and get a feel for the price points that are available. But why is it that VPNs are becoming even more important for business owners and entrepreneurs?

These are just five of the emerging influencers in the increasing importance of VPNs:

1. The rise of IoT. The Internet of Things (IoT) is already taking off, with a predicted 8.4 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the end of the year. All those extra connections mean extra points of vulnerability; hackers are skilled at finding tiny entry points, so every new channel you open up on your Wi-Fi connection is another opportunity they could potentially exploit. Using a VPN won’t make your network completely hack-proof—user errors, like giving your password away in a phishing scam, are still a potential threat—but VPNs will make your network more secure than it was before.

2. The popularity of ransomware. Ransomware is growing in popularity, seizing control of devices, sometimes for weeks or months before activating, then holding the device “hostage,” and demanding payment in exchange for releasing the files that are stored on it. These attacks are fast and efficient, making them ideal for hackers to use against small businesses. Again, using a VPN won’t make you immune from these types of attacks, but they will make you harder to target—and hackers tend to opt for the path of least resistance.

3. The escalation of attacks on small businesses. Speaking of small businesses, they happen to be some of the most frequent targets of cybercriminals. About 43 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses, in part because they have fewer technological defenses but still have valuable assets. Protecting yourself from cyberattacks is a must if you want your business to survive.

4. Political attacks on net neutrality. Politicians have recently attempted to attack and eliminate net neutrality, which is the long-standing guarantee that internet providers can’t violate user privacy by collecting and/or reporting on certain types of data, and can’t create “slow lanes” that throttle certain types of traffic. If net neutrality is abolished, you could face slower internet traffic and decreased privacy on the web. A VPN could, in theory, protect you from these effects. First, your web traffic would be anonymized, so internet providers couldn’t gather as much data on you as other customers. Second, you’ll be routed through a private VPN server, which could help you get around some of the speed throttling you might otherwise see. It’s uncertain whether net neutrality will ultimately fall, but if it does, you’ll want a VPN in place to protect you.

5. The affordability and diversity of VPNs available. Finally, it’s worth considering that VPNs are more affordable and more available than ever before. There are specific VPNs for all manner of businesses and individuals, and they’re all reasonably affordable. Inexpensive options can be yours for as little as a few dollars per month, and more robust, secure options are still affordable, even for frugal businesses. If you try a VPN provider you don’t like, you can always cancel and switch to another provider. This availability makes it easier to find exactly what you need.

If you’ve never used a VPN before and you’re confused, try not to be intimidated. VPNs sound complex, but connecting to one is a simple login process you can use on practically any device. The hardest part is choosing a reliable provider that suits your business’s need. With the influx of coming changes, it’s a good idea to get your VPN in place sooner rather than later.

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