Americans are refusing to work weekends and are demanding pay raises en masse – emboldened by empowering self-help videos on TikTok and time spent at home during the pandemic.
The revelations, aired in a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, depict a rapidly changing corporate climate where staffers are more actively drawing a line between their work and personal lives.
With the pandemic serving as a catalyst, staffers at respected firms where extreme hours have been the norm are now demanding increased pay when asked to increase their workloads.
Accounts collected from white-collar workers from all age groups illustrate this waning ambition, as well as staffers’ reordered priorities over the past three years.
Some firms fed-up of staffers’ demands say they’ve begun outsourcing roles to India and Canada as a result, raising the specter of a jobs crisis should the long-predicted recession be a deep one.
After watching self-help videos, Mary Waisanen, a 43-year-old structural engineering technician at a prominent firm in Virginia Beach, decided she should not need to work extra hours just to live comfortably, and demanded a raised from her superiors – which she received
Mary Waisanen, a 43-year-old structural engineering technician at a prominent firm in Virginia Beach, told the Journal of how during that span, she began watching TikTok clips that preached a healthy work-life balance – part of a movement on the platform tabbed ‘act your wage.’
Typically, she told the paper, she would concede when asked by her superiors to work overtime to meet deadlines – while making a pretty penny in the process.
But after watching the self-help videos, she said, Waisanen – who has roughly 20 years’ experience in the industry – decided that she should not need to work extra hours just to live comfortably.
She described to the Journal how she recently asked a manager to review her salary, as well as granter her a performance review – which would be her first in three years, just before the pandemic.
‘Until then, I would make more of an effort to “act my wage,”‘ said Waisanen, referencing the now-viral social media phrase that tell workers to do only what they are paid to do.
For her pluck, Waisanen was rewarded with a 12.5 percent raise, she said, set to take effect in 2023.
The attitude exhibited by the technician – who works in a field where all-nighters are not uncommon – is even more rife among recent graduates, with a recent prudential Prudential survey showing that nearly 50 percent of 4,796 respondents saying that their attitude toward work is to do only the bare minimum to get the job done.
Austin Wiggins, a 23-year-old certified personal accountant who graduated during the pandemic, told the Journal that he does not aspire to ascend to the executive level at his new posh, accounting job, and instead hopes to retire by the time he’s 40 and become a professor
Austin Wiggins, a certified personal accountant who graduated during the pandemic, told the Journal that he does not aspire to ascend to the executive level at his new posh, accounting job.
He told the paper that instead, he intends to retire by the time he’s 40 and become a professor – and by doing so avoid the same mistakes made by his father,
Wiggins, 23, described how his dad worked long hours as a manager at a grocery store in his hometown of Houston without ascending to the store-director level and making below six figures.
‘I know how many hours he’s put in, how much he’s given to this company,’ Wiggins said, revealing how he was surprised at his father’s salary after seeing it when he cosigned a loan to buy his first car. The salary was not much higher than his.
‘There’s not compelling enough correlation to make me become the person that’s going well above and beyond what I need to do.’
This lack of passion, prominent tech executive Sumithra Jagannath said, has forced her to outsource about 20 remote engineering and marketing roles to Canada and India, where she said it’s easier to find workers willing to go above and beyond
Already making close to six figures as an entry-level accounting program, Wiggins conceded that with his fathers’ mistakes in mind, he does not go above and beyond with his current role – doing what he is expected, but not much else.
He added that he told managers that he can work a 60-hour week if absolutely necessary, but that he generally leaves the office well before his bosses if there’s no work to do.
This lack of passion, ZED Digital President Sumithra Jagannath said, has forced her to outsource about 20 remote engineering and marketing roles to Canada and India, where she said it’s easier to find workers willing to go above and beyond.
‘The passion that we used to see in work is lower now, and you find it in fewer people- at least in the last two years,’ said Jagannath, who has presided over the prominent Ohio-based tech firm for just over 17 years.
Stephen Zubiago, chief executive and managing partner of blue-chip law firm Nixon Peabody, said that he also has seen a stark reduction in willingness form his workers, where previously staffers were happy to work weekends or long hours to meet deadlines
She added that since the start of the pandemic, an increasing amount of employees have asked for more pay when asked by their managers to do more work – which she remarked, for her, is a first.
‘It was not like that before Covid at all,’ the tech exec told the Journal.
Stephen Zubiago, chief executive and managing partner of blue-chip law firm Nixon Peabody, said that he also has seen a stark reduction in willingness form his workers, where previously they had been happy to work weekends or long hours to meet deadlines.
That is no longer the case, 30-year legal veteran Zubiago said, remarking hour associates now, more often than not, say no when asked to take on the extra time.
For time-sensitive work, the exec said, that can create a ‘huge staffing problem.’
US-based tech companies have scrapped over 28,000 jobs so far this year, more than double a year earlier according to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks such announcements
The U.S. added 263,000 jobs in November, despite a trend of rising layoffs
The shift in attitude, the Journal report indicates, stretches beyond fields commonly associate with lengthy hours and high workloads, while also spanning virutally all of the US’ 50 states and multiple generations.
The phenomenon was thought to be based in younger workers, but the various accounts and data collected by the Journal seem to suggest otherwise. It was criticized last week by 93-year-old Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus as a product of the Biden Administration.
‘Nobody works. Nobody gives a damn,’ the billionaire, who started the big box empire in 1978, said.
Inflation in the US continues to moderate, rising at an annual rate of 7.1 percent in November -the fifth-straight month of declines
‘Nobody works. Nobody gives a damn’: Billionaire Home Depot co-founder, 93, blames socialism for destroying capitalism
The co-founder of Home Depot slammed ‘woke people,’ said nobody wants to work anymore and called Joe Biden ‘the worst president in history’ for putting obstacles in the way of entrepreneurial success.
Bernie Marcus, 93, believes the success the company he began with Arthur Blank in 1978 couldn’t happen today because of people standing in the way of the business community.
‘We would end up with 15, 16 stores,’ he said in an interview with the Financial Times. ‘I don’t know that we could go further.’
Marcus added that he’s worried about capitalism and said thanks to socialism, ‘Nobody works. Nobody gives a damn. “Just give it to me. Send me money. I don’t want to work – I’m too lazy, I’m too fat, I’m too stupid.”‘
Bernie Marcus, the 91-year-old co-founder of Home Depot slammed ‘woke people,’ said that nobody wants to work anymore and called Joe Biden ‘the worst president in history’ for putting obstacles in the way of entrepreneurial success
Home Depot honchos CEO Bernie Marcus (L) and Arthur Blank (R) started their successful business in 1978
Marcus was unequivocal in calling Joe Biden ‘the worst president in the history of this country’ saying that ‘we used to have free speech here.’
‘We don’t have it,’ he said. ‘The woke people have taken over the world.’
He also listed human resources executives, government bureaucrats, socialists, Harvard graduates, MBAs, Harvard MBAs, lawyers and accountants as the obstacles to entrepreneurial success in 2022.
A vocal Donald Trump supporter and member of the White House reopening task force during COVID, Marcus said he’s given money to both Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump’s potential rival for the 2024 GOP nomination.
He said: ‘It’s going to be very interesting in ‘24 because I think that DeSantis will challenge him. And may the better man win.’
Home Depot is Georgia’s largest public company based on revenue and is having a successful 2022. In November, the home improvement retailer announced sales of $38,9billion for the third quarter of 2022, up 5.6 percent from the same period last year
Home Depot co-founders Bernie Marcus, left, and Ken Langone, pose for photos after their appearance on Fox Business Network
Marcus, seen here with Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, said: ‘We would end up with 15, 16 stores. I don’t know that we could go further’ if they started in 2022, because of people standing in the way of the business community
Home Depot has 2,300 stores across North America, a market capitalization of $300billion and an annual revenue of more than $150billion, according to Financial Times.
Marcus cites his charity, having joined the Gates’ family and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge promising to donate at least half his fortune to good causes, as how he gives back.
He also backed the construction of the Georgia Aquarium and has given $2billion to over 500 organizations through the Marcus Foundation.
The Marcus Foundation has also donated to autism, stem cells, cancer, stroke and military veterans’ PTSD causes.
In 2019, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ‘I want to live to be 100 because I want to be in a position to give it away to those things that I really believe in.
Home Depot has 2,300 stores across North America, a market capitalization of $300billion and an annual revenue of more than $150billion
The company’s net earnings for the quarter were $4.3billion, up 8.2 percent from $4.1billion. They’ve shown increases in sales in all three quarters of 2021
Home Depot hailed record sales in the first two fiscal quarters of the year, pushing over $80billion in the first half of 2022
Home Depot remains a wildly successful retail chain, with over 2,300 stores across North America
‘I’ve got all the houses I need. I live very well. My kids are taken care of. Everything I live for now is finding the right things to put my money into and that can give me a rate of return in emotion and doing good things for this world.’
On top of this, the philanthropist wants to build veteran care centers across the US and buy into medical treatment and research.
Home Depot is Georgia’s largest public company based on revenue and is having a successful 2022.
In November, the home improvement retailer announced sales of $38,9billion for the third quarter of 2022, up 5.6 percent from the same period last year.
The company’s net earnings for the quarter were $4.3billion, up 8.2 percent from $4.1billion. They’ve shown increases in sales in all three quarters of 2021.
Home Depot hailed record sales in the first two fiscal quarters of the year, pushing over $80billion in the first half of 2022.
The Sandy Springs, Georgia estate of Home Depo co-founder Bernie Marcus
Bernie Marcus and his wife, Billi at Autism Speaks fundraiser
Marcus cites his charity, having joined the Gates’ family and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge promising to donate at least half his fortune to good causes, as how he gives back
However, the Labor Department’s December report on the consumer price index showed inflation still remains uncomfortably high, but has fallen well below its recent peak of 9.1 percent in June.
The latest inflation report came as the Federal Reserve prepared to issue its next interest rate hike, a move that further increased borrowing costs for consumers and businesses.
November’s 7.1 percent annual inflation rate was lower than economists had expected, and marked the lowest 12-month increase since December 2021.
Wall Street cheered the new report, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising more than 550 points, or 1.65 percent, at the open to 34,546.65. The S&P 500 gained 1.98 percent and the Nasdaq Composite rose 3.58 percent.
Markets have struggled this year thanks to high inflation and the interest rate hikes engineered to combat it.
Marcus was unequivocal, however, in calling Joe Biden ‘the worst president in the history of this country’ and said: ‘We used to have free speech here. We don’t have it. The woke people have taken over the world’
Bernie Marcus, 93, cited Biden and many others as reasons that the success the company he began with Arthur Blank in 1978 couldn’t happen today
Higher rates slow business activity by design, but also risk causing a recession if they go too high, all while dragging down stock prices.
However, the central bank is expected to raise its key short-term rate by a smaller half-point, after four straight three-quarter-point increases. That would leave its benchmark rate in a range of 3.75 percent to 4 percent, its highest level in 15 years.
The new report showed that core inflation, excluding volatile food and energy prices, increased at a 6 percent annual rate last month, down from September’s peak of 6.7 percent.
‘Both topline and core CPI inflation slowed in November, showing some measure of progress in the ongoing struggle to tame inflation,’ said Kayla Bruun, economic analyst at decision intelligence company Morning Consult.
Grocery prices remain especially elevated, with food at home rising 12 percent in November from one year ago. Rent also rose uncomfortably fast, jumping 7.9 percent on the year in the new report.
But real-time measures of apartment rents and home prices are starting to drop after soaring at the height of the pandemic, changes that will not appear in the CPI report until next year.
Used car prices, which had skyrocketed 45 percent in June 2021 compared with a year earlier, have fallen for most of this year. In November, their year-over-year prices actually declined 3.3 percent.
Other goods, particularly electronics, showed strong signs of moderating, with television prices down 17 percent from last year, and smartphones dropping 23 percent.
PepsiCo, Walmart, Gap, Zillow, Ford and Stanley Black & Decker have recently cut their white collar workforce.
The industry-wide moves are leading to fears the US is racing towards a ‘white collar recession’.
In normal downturns, blue collar employees tend to lose their jobs first, but now office workers are facing mass culls.
Last month, Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, revealed that it will cut 13 percent of its workforce, while Elon Musk axed half of Twitter’s employees following his successful takeover of the social media site.
Experts have warned industries are facing a ‘triple whammy’ of a slowing economy, inflation and an end to pandemic-era stimulus measures.
Overall, US-based tech companies have scrapped over 28,000 jobs so far this year, more than double a year earlier according to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks such announcements.
In October, layoffs increased by 13 percent – the highest jump since February 2021. US employers also eased their hiring in November, with job creation slowing the most it has since January 2021.
Just 127,000 jobs were created last month, much less than analysts expected and nearly half the 239,000 jobs created in October.
Companies that enjoyed huge growth during the pandemic, particularly those in tech and e-commerce, are starting to pare back on spending ahead of what financial chiefs fear will be trying times.
However, the US unemployment rate in November remained near historic lows at 3.7 percent, according to the US Department of Labor statistics.