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Thoughts on Labor Shortage September 26, 2022

Posted by shaferfinancial in workers.
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My son worked this summer in several restaurants. He worked 60-70 hours a week in order to save enough to head to Europe for a few months. He did well. Averaged over $26 hour. He entertained working in retail and was offered $16-$18 hour. Saw the other day that McDonalds is paying $20 hour in my area. His restaurant work was hard work, made harder by bad management (except Applebee’s) and a small number of crazy customers. In many ways he should have been an ideal employee for restaurant managers. He was motivated to make money, eager, smart, and customer focused. However, one restaurant labeled him as a poor team player, got rid of him and closed for lack of employees the next week. Took him 24 hours to get another job. Apparently, he upset some people by being eager to wait tables and do customer service (had the highest tip percentage of all servers), but questioned some decisions being made. Had to have a discussion with him about keeping his mouth shut and why some managers couldn’t handle a lowly employee criticising decisions.

After observing my son and his friends there is a different vibe from young workers. Its not that they won’t work hard. But the days of saying “do it because I told you to” are long gone. Managers have to be less autocratic. The labor pool has power they haven’t had since the 1960s-70s. Businesses need to accept that. Jobs that could be automated have pretty much been. (Still some more to come, but the majority of the change has occurred) I think this is a time of great change and the young workers are going to benefit mightily from it. Demographics will dictate it going forward. The incoming worker demographic is the smallest since the baby boomers (still not as bad as Europe, Russia, China, etc.) Admittedly I am talking about the bottom set of jobs; restaurant work. I think the attitude though and a different, less permanent oriented work ethic is here to stay.

Think that businesses/government need to rethink their systems for time off and retirement savings. 401Ks make little sense to these young workers. They are much more experiential than step onto the treadmill types. They will work hard, but then leave when they want. They recognize loyalty is a two way street and as such will not put up with typical employer attitudes toward workers. They have seen their parents get laid off, lose jobs, get divorced, etc. and think in much more temporary ways. They fully expect to do a variety of jobs in a variety of industries. All this will add up to a interesting next couple decades. What it means is anybodies guess, but it will be different than how earlier generations build there lives.

Not the Aquarius Age? May 2, 2008

Posted by shaferfinancial in Uncategorized.
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There has been fundamental changes in our economy that have created a very different environment than existed for workers last century. I know the politicians like to talk about globalization and the loss (or not) of jobs to foreign countries.  And certainly there is some truth to the movement of jobs to lower pay scale countries.  But there is a much greater movement that goes unnoticed, at least by the political class.

This new movement is to increased skill and cognitive abilities for workers.  No longer does a worker slave away at simple movements.  No longer does a worker have the opportunity to not use their intellectual faculties at work.  If you read Marx, you will note that his observation of workers (circa 1850’s) is of totally dehumanizing work, using up their bodies, freezing their brains and this was undoubtedly right well into the 20th century.  But now machines do much of the actual work, while workers need to control the machines.  And even this work, because of the increase in productivity is slowly disappearing across the globe.  In short, the work of this century is cognitive, brain based work.  We are in the COGNITIVE AGE.

So when I point out the imperative of understanding wealth building, it is not simply to help people become millionaires, but to get them to understand these things themselves, or they will not do well in the cognitive age. 


This age requires of us to use our mental faculties in every part of our lives.  And this also requires us to move beyond simple formula’s for understanding finance or our retirement needs.  You can input data into a retirement calculator all day long, but unless you can see into the future, then you need to constantly recalculate your plan.  And if you are depending on someone else to do this for you, then you are at the mercy of folks who have their financial future ahead of yours.

Maybe you should make it your business to take a fresh look at your financial life, now, before it is too late!