03 Oct Bonus Episode: Is America full of bad behavior?
And if so, is it really because of the pandemic?
Not to let us down, Fortune.com gave us another gem: “The ending of the pandemic is revealing an America full of bad behaviors, in and out of the workplace.”
✔️ Is this even true? Is it true that the end of the pandemic has revealed an America full of bad behavior?
✔️ And if so, is it really because of C*v!d, or is it because people are stressed out by inflation and economic uncertainty and they’re mad as hell? 🤔 You put people in a hot summer with prices exploding and you’re gonna get a pressure cooker.
✔️ Things I do not miss: offices, cube farms, long commutes, the digital panopticon, business lunches at bad restaurants, schmoozing sessions, etc. We need to stop this narrative that Gen Z is the only generation that doesn’t want RTO. Get real.
✔️ So… once we’re “officially” told than unemployment is not at 3.7% with 2 open legit jobs for every 1 unemployed person, do you really think Corpo America and fat cats are gonna care about workplace morale and mental health? Really? This is like the idea of “do gooder fatigue.” LOL.
Links I mention in this episode:
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Transcription by Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos!
Welcome to the Causey consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. And now, here’s your host Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Full disclosure. Before I get started, I am doing battle with a sinus infection. Downtown ta my seasonal allergies slash hay fever that I always seem to get late summer, early fall decided to go into a full on sinus infection and it has not been pleasant. So I do have some hot tea and a throat lozenge. To get through this. If I really do start to have like some bad sneezing or coughing, I will try to edit that out. In the meantime, bear with me, it is what it is fortune.com Yet again, treasure trove, no pun intended of information, sometimes not good. Recently, they released an article titled The ending of the pandemic is revealing an America full of bad behaviors in and out of the workplace. Of course, I will drop a link to it so that you can check it out for yourself. Make up your own mind about it. But I thought well, okay, is that true? For First things first, let’s just dispense with that immediately. Is that even true? And secondly, in and out of the workplace. Hmm. I feel like there’s something business slash RTO related to all this. So let’s dive in. Not only to Joe Biden say the pandemic is over a week ago but Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chair whose hawkishness is roiling markets said shortly afterward, that the economy is now moving towards a new normal, I’m just going to stop reading right there. Because I think there are a lot of people who are tired of the so called New normals. During the pandemic, it was being shut up in the house, and having to wash the groceries or have things delivered your the DoorDash person would just leave it on the front porch, so that you didn’t contact them and they didn’t contact you. And there was a lot of fear mongering everywhere. It was like that was a tumbleweed rolling down the street. Like think think of the old westerns. Oh, wow. Like that was just going through the streets looking for someone to jump on. Like the Scripture about a roaming lion looking for someone to devour. That’s, that’s how it was portrayed. So it’s like nobody really wanted that new normal. And I shudder to think about in insane inflation. And this RTO versus work from home battle and just constant I mean, constant price increases, and constant political turmoil, feeling like you get lied to left and right by the left and the right. Who the hell wants that as a quote, new normal? Oh, I’ll continue to read. If you grant that the pandemic is ending, and that a new normal is here. What does that look like? The early signs are not very good. The pandemic forced many Americans into constrained ways of working and socializing. Interactions generally became more limited outside of zoom, and occasional confrontations over mask policies. Americans now really are interacting more and holding back less proving both Biden’s and pals words true. And the results aren’t so pretty. From the remote work wars to crisis levels of automotive violence. I guess what they mean by that is road rage. And the new STD infections to the well documented sense of burnout inside and outside the workplace. The pandemic is pulling back to reveal and America are rife with bad behavior coming apart at the seams. So I mean, for everybody who likes to say that individuals within the emergency preparedness community are just fear mongers and they just want to put out fear porn. I mean, hello, what is this sounds awful. And America rife with bad behavior coming apart at the seams. I’ll continue to read. In the workplace, bosses and employees increasingly spar over what the place should be. CEOs often from the boomer generation, tend to demand workers returned to the office, if not straight back to pre pandemic routines, then at least clocking in a few days a week. The hybrid approach draws complaints to with Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman in June calling it the hell of half measures and the worst of the three options. Many workers led by the vocal Gen Z demand fully remote work in response countering that they’re more productive at home without the office distractions and time consuming commutes and much of the working portion of Gen Z only knows a remote work world of work. Try saying that three times fast a remote work world of work, middle managers for their part resent getting hit by the Crossfire and quote, so several things just in that one little section to unpack for one thing. It’s like generational clickbait generational warfare. If your boss wants you to RTO It’s probably some crusty old Boomer. If you want to work from home, then you’re probably a young avant garde Gen Z kid for whom the office has never been relevant to your life. What I’m a Gen X are we know this, I’ve talked about it frequently. I don’t ever, ever want to go back to a cube farm. I don’t ever want to go back to an office. It has no appeal to me. And I’m not on the Gen Z side of things where I don’t have any frame of reference for what the office was like. I spent a majority of my career more years than I’ve worked from home. I had a long commute and I had to work outside the home. I do not miss it. I have no desire to go back. And I think some of these articles that are just puff pieces trying to glorify the office. Oh, it’s nostalgic. Oh, don’t you miss it? Oh, it’s like taking your medicine. Even though you don’t want to do it and it might taste yucky deep down. You know, it’s good for you. No, it’s not. It’s really not. Excuse me, I need to wipe my nose. But it’s like I don’t miss the snide comments, passive aggressive people, bosses from hell, weirdos, sexist, creepy Zoids? No, just no thanks. I was listening to a video earlier today on YouTube where this guy was talking about going out to eat at a restaurant, having a terrible experience there and then finding out that the very next day the restaurant closed due to health code violations and how grossed out he was to think about I was just there. No wonder I had a bad experience. The place just got shut down for health code violations. And it gave me a flashback to these times when I would have to do business development lunches and schmoozing. Whether it was trying to beg a client for business will not client a prospect trying to beg a prospect for their business, or taking an existing client out to try to schmooze them. Hey, thanks for working with us. Maybe we can get some more out of you, yada, yada. And stop and take a drink, yada, yada all that sometimes people would want to eat. I like the worst places. I remember this one lady that was adamant we needed to eat at this hole in the wall. And she was like, she didn’t have any delusions of grandeur about the location. And she told me it’s a hole in the wall. But listen, it’s the kind of place that it looks scuzzy and nasty on the outside. But the food is amazing. It’s gonna be like the best food you ever had in your life. And I’m like, Okay, I mean, she was the client. I was the business development peon. You know, I’m my opinion didn’t matter. I had to do what I was told, right? Because that’s what it all comes back to sit down, shut up and do what the company wants you to do. So I take her to this hole in the wall as per her request. Oh, she ordered a bunch of food and ate it with gusto. I on the other hand, was appalled The place was filthy dirty. I did eat some of the food to be polite. Most of it, I tried to just kind of push around on my plate. It tasted horrible. It tasted awful. The place was gross. It’s kind of place where like you walk in, and your shoes stick to the floor. You know, like when a movie theater hasn’t been cleaned very well. And people have just dropped their Soda Pops and candy and crap all in the floor. And so your sneakers get stuck to the floor. It’s how this place was it was so gross. And I was so sick that night, even though I had hardly eaten anything there. I was so sick. And I’m like, I don’t miss any of that. I don’t miss the commute. I don’t miss going to the office. I don’t miss these ghastly client lunches where it’s like, okay, I’ll meet you there and I’ll foot the bill. Here’s here’s a secret. You know, that’s not really a secret. If you have a lick of common sense. Some of these people are never going to give you their business. They’re just happy for you to take them out for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’re happy for you to stroke their ego and make them feel good. They’re happy to lead you down a primrose path and play pretend that they’ll give you some business but they’re not going to. So I just to me as an introvert it always felt uncomfortable and it really by and large felt like a waste of time. I know, I know, I’ll get hate mail from bizdev reps and account managers who were like, well, I landed a 15 bazillion million dollar candidate client, whoever, Joe Joe Schmo by taking him out to lunch. Well, good for you. I’m glad that that happened. I’m glad that that happened. Please know that you’re probably the exception and not the rule. So I think we’re Returning now to the fortune article. It’s like trying to pit Boomers and Gen Z kids against the other 10. We already lived through this Didn’t we already have the big battle royale between the boomers and the millennials? I guess now the millennials are not the shiny new toy anymore. So we have to be focused on Gen Z. For the record, I don’t think they’re wrong for not wanting to return to the office. I just think that like when we get into the generational clickbait it’s as if saying, No baby boomer wants to work from home, and no Gen Z or is willing to go to the office. But we don’t really know that we’re, we’re painting in such a broad brushstroke here that it’s like you’re you’re not counting on people who maybe they don’t fit the norm. Or maybe they don’t fit the stereotype. I’m trying to lose my voice. They don’t fit the stereotype of their generation. So it’s like stop trying to pigeonhole everybody and stop trying to do this generational clickbait. It’s ridiculous. I completely agree with what Jeremy Stoppelman says about hybrid work, calling it the hell of half measures and the worst of three options. 100% Who wants to do that? I’m sure there’s somebody somewhere, maybe they think it’s great. Maybe they think that going into the office two or three days a week, that’s kind of fun. It’s a diversion. It’s different than being at home. The rest of the time is nice. Maybe so. But I would think for a lot of people. You’re gonna have to figure out childcare and or eldercare and or pet care on those days. Maybe you can finagle it around so that your spouse or partner is home when you’re not and vice versa. But if you’re single than one, if you’re like a single mom or a single dad would, how are you going to handle it? I agree with Jeremy it does seem like a hell of half measures in the worst of three options. Pick aside and let’s roll. B RTO or B W. F h and let’s just stop jacking around with this pill of half measures. I’ll continue to read trying to be heard over the fray our public health officials worried about the possible emergence of new dangerous COVID variants. We have so little experience with Corona viruses and how they play out Dr. Michael Osterholm. And infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota told fortune this week. We’re kind of in limbo land right now. Which Okay, to me, that’s what the hell of half measures hybrid is it’s Limbo land. It’s sort of like you have this group of people, not generationally, okay. But a group of people, I would say Wall Street fat cats and the corporate America, CEOs and executives and the politicians that are like, No, we need people to cross pollinate. We need you back in the office. We want 2019 to come back. But then you have the average person who’s not a fat cat or a billionaire hedge fund manager or Wall Street, high high roller that’s like, No, I don’t, I don’t want to RTO I don’t want to have a long commute. I don’t want to have to pay 1000s upon 1000s of dollars and childcare. And by the way, I’ve seen more and more stories about childcare deserts, places that once had enough business to stay afloat. But after everybody started working from home, there was distance learning in the school systems, they could no longer keep going. So they shut their doors. And some of the parents now if they’re having to RTO they’re not finding that a daycare that they knew and liked and trusted is even still in business anymore. But I guess we’re just all supposed to forget about them. Forget about the little guy. Why Why won’t someone think of the Wall Street bankers and the corporate fat cats? Good God. I’ll continue to read if I can. Meanwhile, headline grabbing clashes between corporate bosses and union organizers, including Amazon and Starbucks enhance the sense of confrontation. In some cases, unions are helping to fight return to Office mandates, and Americans increasingly view them in a favorable light. This week, Federal Labor regulators accused Amazon of singling out union organizers for discipline while the company called the allegations completely without merit. And an employee who helped lead a union campaign at Starbucks accused the coffee giant of forcing her out in retaliation. workers united accused the company which denied the charge of applying scheduling and availability policies in a discriminatory manner against jazz brysac, leading to her separation from the company. Outside of work, Americans are letting loose more Oh boy. One upshot is an uptick in sexually transmitted to diseases. People are feeling more liberated Mike sag and an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham told The Associated Press this week that followed a speech Monday by Leandro Meena of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in which he called expanding STD prevention in America imperative with the rate of syphilis cases last year reaching its highest since 1991. A surge in monkey pox cases further highlighted the worsening problem of diseases spread mostly through sex. The situation is out of control. David Harvey, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD directors told The Associated Press it’s a little bit difficult for me to wrap my mind around that. I mean, when you think about cases of syphilis, I mean, the first thing I think about is like a disease of yesteryear. I’m thinking in particular of like the second Earl of Rochester, who was portrayed by Johnny Depp and that movie, The libertine I think he died of like complications of unchecked syphilis and alcoholism. Back in the 1600s. You think about that as being a disease from yesteryear. I mean, for those of us in Gen X, because of HIV AIDS, a lot of the confusion and the fear and paranoia around that back in the 80s. It was like, you had a message of safe sex constantly. I mean, it was almost like sex became a very scary topic, like, well, you could die. You know, if you decide to become sexually active, you could die. Is it really worth your life? And it’s like, Wait a minute. What? So I think generationally, for me looking at this, it’s like, what are people doing? What, what what kind of sexual practices are happening here that we’re having the most syphilis cases we’ve had, and all these years. I don’t get it. I’ll continue to read. Also out of control. The National Transportation Safety Board said this week, our roadway deaths in the US, which it said are at crisis levels despite a slight second quarter drop, nearly 43,000 people were killed last year, the greatest number in 16 years as Americans returned to the roads after pandemic stay at home orders. The agency recommended Tuesday that all new vehicles in the US be equipped with blood alcohol monitoring systems that can stop an intoxicated person from driving a significant portion of roadway deaths or alcohol related about 30% and 2020. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we need to make sure that we’re doing all we can to save lives, said NTSB Chairman Jennifer homendy Accident surge during the pandemic as less congested roads spurred riskier driving. Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit center for auto safety told the AP this week, what it what it may be is that we’re seeing an easing of some of the issues that were caused by the pandemic speeding, open roads, risky driving issues, traffic is returning to normal, but the fatality rate is still very, very high. And quote, I’ve heard a lot about road rage. I don’t know about unsafe driving in general, if people really are taking more risks, because I’m not out on the road that much. And that’s how I like it. I don’t miss commuting. I don’t miss bumper to bumper traffic. No thanks. But I have heard a lot of road rage incidents, that there’s been an uptick and people just being on it. That’s why in some of the Saturday broadcasts I’ve talked about don’t start no rush with people don’t get don’t go out looking for a fight because there are people out there who are looking for a fight, trust and believe it’s like the least little thing will set them off. I’ve also heard about situations where somebody will stage something like a very slight fender bender, and then when the other person gets out of the car to exchange insurance information, they get robbed and or carjacked. So I understand the the road rage part of it. And I do think that that’s probably less to do with the pandemic and more to do with inflation. When you have a hot summer, combined with high inflation. People are having economic difficulties. It’s like you put everybody into a giant boiling pot. This is not anything new. It happens. A mental health time bomb. Meanwhile, after years of prioritizing workers well being during the pandemic, some corporate leaders are suffering from do gooder fatigue. And as one executive Headhunter described it to the Financial Times adding the feeling is we need to get back to business. Yeah, that’s I talked about in an earlier episode. I mean, do you feel like your boss is the ultimate do gooder? How many people out there like let’s say a show of hands. Put your hand in the air if you feel like your boss’s Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer and just the best person ever. I don’t know that I ever had that burnt. But overlooking burnout and mental health among employees could backfire. While remote work became the norm during the recession and also blurred the lines between home and work life leading to burnout as employees juggle their workload with childcare and other challenges. Tulia Hanson I hope I’m saying that right. LinkedIn Chief People Officer warned earlier this year that organizations need to make mental health a top priority as employee burnout reaches historic levels and the great reshuffled workers reconsidering not just how they work, but where and why transforms the workplace. According to research from global recruiter Robert Walters, three major living crises will further drive the great reshuffle. The rising cost of living the post pandemic mental health time bomb, and the prioritizing of purpose over profession. The crucial act here is for employers to listen and play an active role in alleviating some of the personal issues in employees lives before they reach that irreversible crisis point, said Chris Hickey, CEO of Robert Walters, North America, companies need to be more in tune with the issues impacting their employees, if they want to avoid the great reshuffled in quote. Yeah. I’m just not sure that that’s going to happen. I don’t I’m sorry. So sorry, gloom maneuver, that’d be the downer. I have not been shy in saying, I think that once were finally allowed to know that unemployment is higher than any 3.5 or 3.7%. There’s not two legitimate open jobs for everyone unemployed person. Whatever jobs are out there probably are service sector jobs. So it’d be very difficult to make a full time living wage on once we’re allowed to know really how bad it is. You’re going to get even more of the stick. We’ve already transitioned away from the carrot to the stick. A lot of companies are like just RTO or it’s your job. You can self select out of here. We’re going to put you on a pip. I’m worrying about those pips and performance plans earlier this summer. Don’t wait to be told by somebody on tick tock, Oh, crap, this happened to me and I didn’t see it coming. Wake up, up, up up. Keep yourself aware. Stay alert. I don’t see these companies saying you know what, we don’t want to be a victim of the great reshuffle. We want to really double down on why people work. They’re going to look at the unemployment rate and they’re going to tell you get your ass back in here. It’s your job. I don’t see it shaping up any other way. I’ll continue to read. detecting those issues isn’t always easy. Lime group, a health insurance firm has warned about pleasant tea ism, a phenomenon in which workers when returning to the workplace, put on a brave face and present the very best versions of themselves. That says the company can undermine efforts to promote an open dialogue about mental health in a work setting. Businesses are sleepwalking into a mental health crisis the firm warned the well being of employees is central to the bottom line. Ariana Huffington CEO of consulting agency Thrive global said during fortunes reimagine work summit earlier this year. Companies need to be more flexible with not just wear but also when employees work. She said, we are now beginning to realize that the human operating system is different downtime for the human operating system is not a bug. It’s a feature in quote, well, yeah, no, duh. Of course, of course, people should be flexible with not just the wind, but also the wear, not just the wear, but also the wind. That’s why I personally will only work with clients who are like, as long as the result is delivered. I don’t care doesn’t matter to me if you work at 2am or 2pm. I don’t care if you’re on a beach somewhere or you’re on your farm. I don’t care. I just care about the end result. Because I just don’t have the desire to work for the mic. The micromanagers Ned, the needy Nancy the nitpickers. Again, if we’re talking about doing what the crisis demands, and a half to situation unforeseen expense, unforeseen medical bill, unforeseen home repair, and it’s like, I may have to hold my nose while I’m doing this project, but I’ll go ahead and do it because I want the money. So be it sometimes when you freelance or you own and operate your own company, you have to make those kinds of decisions. But for the most part, I actively avoid the micro managers and the nitpickers and the needies because it’s just not worth it. The amount of stress and frustration that you’re going to have trying to please someone who’s fundamentally unfeasible. It’s just not worth it. But I think it might be a little bit Pollyanna sunshine, Suzy cream cheese to imagine that these offices are going to give a damn about wellbeing and mental health. Sorry, just I don’t really see that happening. Okay, because I Again, but you that Charlie? Yeah, yeah I vase i Sure i sure vase. Yeah, I remember what it was like during the great recession and the global financial crisis. And, you know, I told the story about the company Big Shot, getting a sports car and a boat and a toy barn. You know, you guys get your reward is you’re not fired, you get to stay here, but no more profit share no more bonus, no more raises no more 401k. So now shut up and do your work. I find it really difficult to believe in the event that we had another great recession slash global financial crisis 2.0 I find it really hard to believe that we wouldn’t see that same kind of callous attitude coming out of corporate America. I hope I’m wrong. Time will tell. But I just don’t see them being these do gooders that are going to prioritize everybody’s health and well being I think that may turn into a hard fought battle for a lot of people. In terms of the article title, is America full of bad behaviors in and out of the workplace? Well, I guess it depends on where you are. And it depends on the situation. I told the story in one of the Saturday broadcasts about this woman who looked like she was getting ready for a party. And instead of standing this plethora of soda bottles up that she had, she laid them all out lengthwise so that I could not put anything on the conveyor belt until she was basically done. Yeah, it was rude. I thought it was kind of tacky and illogical. But I’m not going to say anything to get in a fight with that woman. I’ll just wait a little bit longer in the line and think to myself, thanks a lot more on and keep my opinion in my head. I’m not I don’t go out looking for trouble. I’m not interested in stirring up drama. Same thing with driving. In my opinion, don’t do things to make yourself a target for road rage. If you can possibly avoid it tailgating, driving aggressively flipping people off, flipping your lights, Adam, I’ve even heard just don’t honk the horn. Just shut up, get in your car and hush and don’t do anything to make yourself a target. We can argue that that’s terrible. But it was that way before the pandemic. I think again, just kind of based on my own life experience and the way that it goes when you have high prices, the job market sucks. You have inflation, you have prices getting worse and worse. people by and large, are feeling economically pinched. Then on top of that you have boiling hot cauldron summertime temperatures, there’s an increase in crime and domestic violence and people not getting along with one another. That’s not the it’s not like that’s just something brand new. That only happened because of COVID. There was a period of time in the 1970s, where instead of referring to New York City as the Big Apple, the nickname for it was fear city because of rapes, robberies, murder. So it’s not like a crime wave is something that’s brand new because of COVID. You talk about negative economic circumstances, people not having enough and being very pissed off about it. Oh, plus incredible cauldron flaming heat, you really have a pressure cooker. And I think a lot of people are just on edge. There’s a lot of economic uncertainty still yet plus health uncertainty mean, what’s going to happen next? Will there be another surge of Will there be some other illness that comes down the pike where we’re told we need to stay home for two years to flatten the curve? I don’t know. I have no idea. And I think because of that uncertainty, and the fact that you can’t just sit back and say I pretty much know day in and day out what my rights are. As an American, I pretty much know how my life is going to play out over the next few years. That scares the crap out of some people, and I get it. I think maybe if there’s any takeaway, the more that you can try to keep your own nose clean, stay out of trouble. Don’t try to pick fights with anybody. Remember that other people are struggling to. It’s not just you that suffering. It’s not just you that’s having a hard time a lot of us are, I think the more that we can be compassionate and just, you know, maybe have to bite your tongue. Maybe you really want to give that person a dirty look. Maybe you really want to pop off and say something smart allocate. Maybe you just keep it to yourself. Once you get home, say it to the wall. I have this little thing called a dammit doll. And that’s exactly what it is. If you if you want to really have it out with somebody, but you can’t. Maybe you want to tell your boss off or maybe there’s some idiot in traffic that cut you off and it really made you mad. You can go home and tell it to the damn adult. I think that would be a better strategy than getting yourself into a situation where you might be in harm’s way. Stay safe. stay sane. I’ll see you in the next episode. Bye Thanks for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. We’ll see you next time.