BLOG: Why are people dropping out of the workforce? It’s not laziness


Barak Hernandez

If you keep knocking on the devil’s door long enough, eventually someone’s going to answer. Translation: Don’t tempt fate. This is exactly what has happened to the U.S. workforce. Long before the pandemic that began in 2020, the American worker was working frantically to find gainful employment and make ends meet. This was not always easy and many U.S. workers were not only working full-time but were also taking on additional work gigs like Uber, Lyft and Door Dash. The American dream was just that — a dream.

Then you have other variables that put the American worker against the wall like a toxic work environment, immature managers and a company that is not aligned with its vision and mission statements. When an employee does not feel valued or appreciated and starts to feel like a number on a productivity sheet, he or she will start to look for the door. The job market before Covid19 was bleak in terms of finding a really good, well-paying job with a company that would be around for the next decade and that you could possibly grow old with to retirement. Those days of a person being able to retire with a company are long gone.

Now enter the pandemic that put the entire world on pause. Every industry was impacted to the very core of its foundation. Now U.S. companies would do their best to stay alive by adapting to the new way of the world where there are no consumers, no open offices, no revenue and no American worker. The U.S. government would need to come to the rescue of American companies by providing government backed loans, grants and emergency financial relief in the form of payroll protection. One of the hardest hit industries has been the restaurant and hospitality sectors, many who were mom and pop owned companies.

This was a welcomed relief and would do much to help American companies navigate through the storm the pandemic caused. The American worker would not be left out in the cold either; the U.S. worker could now apply for pandemic unemployment, a stimulus paycheck and a pandemic food stamp card that would average $350 per child per household. This was needed help indeed. However, who would have thought that the very instrument used to help the U.S. worker would also be the catalyst in preventing the eager anticipation of the American worker to return back to the workforce?

Returning to the crime scene

The math is simple, why would an employee return to work if for the last 365 days they have had their bills paid for, had medical coverage, had rent and or mortgage put on hold and have their food provided for each month. And have plenty of time to spend with their children and loved ones? The answer is that they would not want to return anytime soon. It’s not laziness on their part. It is a matter of a changed perspective and a new level of expectation between employee and employer. Has not the American family been asked to do enough during the pandemic?

There was a time when a manager had power supreme and an employee would do just about anything to keep his job, even if it meant working late hours, holidays, and weekends doing a job that is dangerous and inviting the boss over for dinner and allowing him to flirt with his wife. Not anymore! The days of those types of working conditions are just about over and with good riddance. Currently there is a shortage of workers who are available to work and showing up for work. The term “ghosting” clearly describes this new phenomenon. Ghosting is the act of an employee who has been hired by a company and does not show up for their first day of work, or works for the company a few days or weeks and then suddenly never shows up for work again. The reason behind this is that they found a better offer somewhere else or they do not see the need to play ball with a company.

The future of the American workforce

Technology is a beautiful creation of man. It allows a person to start his or her own business out of the comfort of one’s own home. A person can create their own persona on YouTube and make money by having followers who simply click the “subscribe” button. The point of the matter is this, change has arrived and it’s not going anywhere. There is a generation that is alive and well who now have options of where they want to work because the silent desperation of wishing, stressing and wanting an organization to want you has been mitigated by the freedom of a changed perspective. The kind of change in perspective that changes the trajectory of an entire generation and history is defined by people — not agencies, organizations, or managers.

The spirit of the American worker is still very much alive. It is no longer afraid of not having work because it has seen the edge of the great void of having nothing and still being able to survive as if transported back to the early colonial days where you had to rely on yourselves to provide food and lodging. Instead of steel traps and log cabins, we have keyboards, screens, and cell phones that allow us to care for ourselves monetarily or at least give us the choice. Isn’t that the whole idea behind being free? Having the ability to have a say in one’s life, having the ability to grab the steering wheel and yell out, “I will decide where I will go, I will decide how my children will be raised, and I will decide how much I will work and how I will be treated by my employer.”


Barak Hernandez is the owner of Clean Master since 2018 and has 30 years experience in providing all cleaning and water restoration services. Born and raised in Fresno California Barak is the youngest of nine children. Barak attended Norseman elementary, Easterby Elementary, Kings Canyon Middle school, and finally Mclane High school. Barak was raised to work at a young age without pay. Coming from a large Hispanic family it was always expected that every family member contributed by doing chores and helping out with the family business. Both of Barak’s parents are currently deceased but live forever in his memory.

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