I warned you about hybrid ➡️ RTO

I warned you about hybrid ➡️ RTO

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

So . . . how’s that nationwide rebellion against RTO coming along? Has all of Gen Z rebelled against it and stayed home? Have all Boomers and Xers taken an early retirement to protest it?


If you ignored the hot air & hopium crowd that wanted to live on teddy bear hugs and unicorn toots, good for you.

“Earlier this month, JPMorgan senior leaders asked hybrid workers to continue coming in three days a week at minimum and managing directors to start coming in full-time. Workers would still have flexibility to work from home for things like family issues or doctor’s appointments, but it seemed there was an ‘or else’ implied for those who wouldn’t comply.

The memo, which Fortune reviewed, said that failure to come into headquarters when required would result in ‘appropriate performance management steps, which could include corrective action.'” –https://finance.yahoo.com/news/jamie-dimon-says-understands-workers-201144236.html

Carrot, meet stick. Stick, meet carrot.

“They pushed back on what they called a ‘tone deaf’ and ‘divisive’ order on the company’s messaging platform, Reuters reported in an exclusive published Thursday.” -Yahoo Finance, Ibid.

😆 Like Corpo America cares. Gimme a break. The stock-in-trade is control, compliance, obedience.

“They vented about being stuck in a ‘Zoom culture,’ in which in-person staffers are yanked into virtual meetings and conference calls. They also, per Reuters, expounded upon the logistical difficulties of balancing commuting with other responsibilities.” -Yahoo Finance, Ibid.

Ahh. Interesting. Divide and conquer. The people in the office don’t want to deal with incessant Zoom calls to accommodate the people at home. (And let’s be real: most of these idiotic meetings could have been an email anyway.) The people at home don’t want RTO and probably don’t actually want to be on Zoom all the time.

Hmm. It’s almost like someone should have warned you a long time ago that hybrid was a stepping stone to full RTO. Oh wait! I did!

➡️ The article itself says people who want to RTO hit an all-time low last month, then turns around and claims that hybrid work is best. Sorry, I don’t buy that. This is the same work style being dubbed a “hell of half measures.” I have predicted this before and will do so again: I think for offices not wanting to be as mercenary as Lord Elon, we will see a push towards hybrid work. Then when most people aren’t happy with it and it feels disjointed, those offices will say, “OK, fine. No more remote work. You are to be here, butt-in-seat, Monday through Friday or there’s the door.”

Here’s what I see playing out. I think a lot of these companies- some of them will just say, “Look: RTO or it’s your job.” They’re gonna go the Elon Musk route and just say, “Look, you either come back full time, eight to five, Monday through Friday, butt in seat in the cube farm, or there’s the door. Oh, and by the way, we’re in a recession. So choose wisely.” They’re either going to do that, or they’re going to do this hell of half measures hybrid bullcrap of, “Well, OK, come on back two or three days a week, we’ll give you some flexibility. We’ll let you choose some of those days or all of those days, but you know, we’re going to be butt-in-seat two or three times out of the week.” When everybody starts to complain about how that’s not working – it’s too chaotic, it’s too weird – sometimes Sally’s here. Sometimes she’s not. Sometimes I see Billy on Tuesdays. Sometimes I see him on Fridays. Things are just chaotic. They’ll say, “OK, great. Come on back permanently. There’s no more work from home. There’s no more remote.”
https://www.buzzsprout.com/1125110/11144066  published August 20, 2022

Hybrid work, IMO, will likely be used as a stepping stone to full-on RTO. Wait and see.

https://causeyconsultingllc.com/2022/08/23/i-told-you-so-%f0%9f%8e%b6/  published on August 23, 2022.

Told ya! 🤷🏻‍♀️

“Less than a day after the committee shared the memo and scores of workers reacted, comments were reportedly turned off. JPMorgan declined to comment to Fortune, but Dimon said in an earnings call this month he understands his workers’ concerns—but stands by his stance. He sent the memo, titled ‘The importance of being together,’ because, ‘some people weren’t following the rules.'” -Yahoo Finance, Ibid.

Look, we all know this has eff-all to do with being together. That’s a lame, flimsy excuse. It might appeal to the highly extroverted and/or to people who have an absolute garbage home life, but for everyone else: we understand that the emperor isn’t wearing clothes.

And speaking of an emperor:

“What Dimon says, goes
Despite pushback from his workers, Dimon is often the rock that redirects the course of the river on Wall Street.

As the chief executive of the nation’s largest lender, his word tends to create a ripple effect among his peers—and detractors. That holds true on financial matters as well as cultural ones. You can’t miss Dimon. His annual shareholder letter is an industry event, and he was the one to rush to First Republic’s rescue after it stumbled during the implosion of Silicon Valley Bank.

Because Dimon, who has helmed JPMorgan for nearly two decades, cuts such an influential figure in Wall Street culture, his beliefs and mandates about the future of work will likely set the tone for New York’s entire banking landscape; he has shepherded JPMorgan from triumph to triumph while many of his peers have struggled—or been wiped out.” -Yahoo Finance, Ibid.

You can LARP that this is not reality, my friends, but indeed it is. If you want to get some additional perspective on WHY this particular individual is so powerful, you can check out Whitney Webb’s research on the matter. For my purposes in this post, suffice it to say: if Corpo America and these fat cat bankers and the mayors of large cities say, “You’re goin’ back,” then you’re goin’ back. In the absence of another pandemic, a lockdown, a declaration of martial law, etc., YOU’RE GOIN’ BACK.

IMO, you’d be wise to exercise skepticism with his sort of thing:

“‘There is a growing concern that…they may informally start asking the juniors to be in there as well,’ one employee told Reuters. That might be enough for them to leave the high-paying company altogether; for most American workers, flexibility in a role is more important than pay.” -Yahoo Finance, Ibid.

During a recession? No. In 1970s-esque stagflation? No. In high unemployment? No.

The average person living paycheck-to-paycheck and dealing with personal debt is not gonna scream, “Take this job and shove it” and then stomp off due to RTO. Flexibility is more important during a boom cycle, which we are no longer in. In a downturn where every penny counts, money is more important.

“Unfortunately, recent mass layoffs equal more competition for you as a job seeker. That means you may need to compromise on your remote work requirement — or at least delay asking about it — to stand out from the other candidates. A 2022 GoodHire survey revealed that three-quarters of managers want employees to be physically present at least part of the time. And some CEOs, like Elon Musk, explicitly tell workers that coming to the office is ‘not optional,’ per Business Insider. Moreover, Matt Higgins, CEO of RSE Ventures, told CNBC that if it comes down to it, there’s a ‘real chance that the other job seeker [who’s willing to come to the office] will be perceived as more committed.’ Whether that perception is valid or not (the GoodHire survey also found that 73% of managers saw the same or better output from remote workers), it can still hurt your chances of getting hired.” –https://www.gobankingrates.com/money/jobs/why-expert-says-remote-work-request-could-kill-your-job-interview/

We could easily substitute the word “committed,” for words like obedient, compliant, and conformist. You go along to get along so we’re interested in you. 

Unfortunately, this information matches what I’m seeing in the job market. Trying to convince hiring managers to consider kicking the geographic boundaries out to look at WFH workers is very difficult. It’s like you hit an immediate brick wall for even bringing it up. Again, it’s like, “OK, we’re done playing pandemic now. The current means of compliance is RTO, so do that or else.”

“If working remotely is a non-negotiable for you, Higgins advises you to wait to inquire about the employer’s stance until after your first interview. That way, you have the opportunity to impress the hiring manager and other stakeholders before you make the ask.” -GoBankingRates, Ibid.

Wow. So you’re not only gonna waste your time but you’re gonna waste the interviewers’ time as well by suddenly slipping in the info that you actually want a remote arrangement. 🤦🏻‍♀️

In my estimation, this is terrible advice. All you will do is tick everyone off and they will wonder, “Why would this candidate apply for an in-person job and then hit us with a WFH request? WTF?”

Please be judicious about who you listen to and why. You’ll know the tree by the fruit it bears. If the commenters you’ve listened to have consistently steered you in the wrong direction, why are you still giving them your time?

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