Everyone else is writing on this topic, so why not me too?
What do people want to work for? Based on our pre-Covid economic model, it would seem people worked out of necessity, for their survival, to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables. It was barely working. Many people do not make enough money to even pay for those basic needs, much less a functional automobile, cell phone, clothing, health care, and many other near-necessities of daily life. If you have a college education, it is likely you are paying back non-dischargeable loans in monthly payments that resemble a mortgage and if you have children, the cost of childcare is in that range as well, if you can find it at all. In most cities in America, it would be difficult to imagine paying less than $3500/month in regular living expenses and many service industry jobs pay no more than $10-12/hour, without providing health insurance.
Oh, and you should also be saving for retirement. YEAH, RIGHT!
If there is ANY good thing that comes out of this period of forced shutdown, it is the reexamination of our collective priorities. If your near-minimum wage job gives you no way to take a step up, to advance, to grow in salary, position, responsibilities or wealth, why are you working? If you have any other means of supporting yourself, do it! Start a company. Gather with others. Form a co-op for childcare. Create art and sell it online. Hustle. It’s what we do.
We just no longer have to do it for companies that don’t see fit to give us opportunities to have a regular schedule, much less to grow, to build wealth, to create. If you want a job that inspires, you need to create it yourself. Build it from the ground up, within your community, while giving back to others. Our communities need all of us to be looking out for each other now. Politics has nothing to do with it.
That being said, those I know who are in positions of privilege and who really like it that way are not going to be of any help unless or until they feel the heat. Workers have more power now and if we band together, we may just be able to keep some of it.
So if you are a worker with a good job, extra money and a career that fulfills you, consider contributing to a community fund to help those less fortunate. Or start a co-op business in your spare time. If you have a 401k and/or own a home, whether you feel like it or not, you are rich, likely at least top quartile rich. We know the top 1% aren’t volunteering their time/energy/wealth, but we can and we should. Challenge yourself to see how much you can give away in service to others. You will not lose your middle-class status, but you may be able to help someone else attain it.
Let’s build a new economy that works for more than just the top. Let’s create systems to grow things other than JUST money. Let’s stop extracting resources from areas and people who can least afford it. We have choices, and the answers to those choices don’t always need to be that which makes the most money for yourself.