One of the most puzzling issues cropping up in the last year has been the labor market. There’s been a lot of ink (digital and print) on the Great Resignation. How there’s a tight labor market, particularly in the service industries. Then in the last couple of months came the issue of quiet quitting – or the idea of just doing the minimum requirements of the job.

I still don’t fully understand what is happening. I don’t even think the experts fully understand. They probably won’t until the autopsy is done in a generation. What I do think is that all of this is part of a great realignment of the labor market. Workers are reevaluating not just what jobs they want and how they do their work, but what is the new work ethic for the coming decades. Management and owners are going to have to determine how to do work in this new environment. What work needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and if it needs to be a human doing it.

Like so many things, the pandemic and the resultant shutdowns have forced issues to come to ahead much faster and sooner than expected. It jumped started these kinds of conversations well before we had the underlying conversations and decisions. So, now we’re forced to deal with the aftershocks. What concerns me is where we are on the “thesis-antithesis-synthesis” model. I don’t think we’re at synthesis, and I fear we’re at thesis. Which means this new labor world will probably be shaking things up for the better part of a generation.