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Sun May 29, 2022, 07:25 PM

Ten Reasons for the Great Realignment



This was going to be a response to another thread, but I'm curious to see what people here believe about the Great Realignment, with my own thoughts about the primary reasons behind it.

1. People in the 55-65 age group went into semi-retirement during Covid, realized they don't miss the stress and have some opportunities that don't involve the 9-5 grind.
2. People of all ages that are not convinced (with reason) that Covid is over, and given a choice between going to work in a job with no health care and crappy wages vs. simply staying away from work and finding WFH equivalents, much prefer doing the latter.
3. Better wages and WFH is also reducing the available "full time" workers.
4. Gas prices are becoming too high. Most delivery and related service companies do not compensate for gas, which again makes working at too low a wage no longer viable.
5. Birth rate peaked in 2000 and started declining mildly until 2008, when it began a long, fairly steep decline that is still underway. People usually start working between 16 and 21. This means that we're now about 6 years into the first leg of the decline and its impact on people starting in the workforce. 2008 + 16 = 2024, which means that we enter the second, more significant, decline in two years. The 16-25 age group makes up the bulk of the unskilled service market. Companies that make their profits largely by exploiting these workers are going to find their business models collapsing within the next two years, especially as many of them are staying with their parents longer (into their late twenties) where there is comparatively little NEED to work for many of them.
6. The cost of housing and vehicles has risen so dramatically that getting married is no longer a real option until couples are into their early thirties. The flip side of this is that 20-somethings aren't buying cars, and as such are less mobile than they used to be. Take out the cost of house and vehicle and reduce or share the cost of food, and people can get by with remote work even if they pay less. You're also seeing much more communal living, with multiple people sharing a house or apartment,
7. Not all (or even the majority of) WFH gets reported to the IRS or gets picked up by the BLS.
8. WFH also makes side hustles feasible, where a single person might end up taking two or more jobs because they have better control over their time and revenue streams. This way they can make more collectively than they would make with a RTO near full time job, which often involves wage theft for hours not clocked for one reason or another. Given that, RTO jobs are simply no longer as attractive as they once were.
9. Women are leaving the workforce in greater numbers than men, and are also shifting to WFH in greater numbers. Since women have traditionally been paid about 70 cents on the dollar compared to men, this is showing up in expected wages being forced up in general.
10. Finally, there's just the corporate fatigue factor - people are recognizing that the game is stacked against them, especially if they are not wealthy to begin with - unfair wage imbalances, limited career paths, toxic bosses, abusive co-workers, lack of control over hours, arbitrary hiring/firing, etc - and they are simply refusing to play the game anymore. Ironically, I think that the digital economy helps with that - fewer people need fewer physical things, especially big-ticket items, and this manifests as a calculus where you realize that you can be productive and can survive doing what you prefer rather than simply making other people wealthy at your expense.

I'm including a poll with this. Please comment or clarify it you have additional information you want to add.

In the last two years, have you:
34 votes, 0 passes | Time left: Time expired
Not changed my employment status at all
25 (74%)
taken a work from home (WFH) job fully intending not to return to the office (RTO) if that becomes necessary
2 (6%)
taken an WFH job with the expectation that you would return to the office eventually
0 (0%)
taken an RTO job after having done WFH
0 (0%)
taken on multiple WFH jobs while keeping an RTO job
0 (0%)
taken on multiple WFH jobs while not seeking an RTO job
0 (0%)
retired early (before age 65) (Male)
4 (12%)
retired early (before age 65) (Female)
3 (9%)
Show usernames
Disclaimer: This is an Internet poll

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ten Reasons for the Great Realignment (Original post)
Metaphorical May 2022 OP
brooklynite May 2022 #1
JanMichael May 2022 #2
cachukis May 2022 #3
crickets May 2022 #4
tinrobot May 2022 #5
ymetca May 2022 #6
Ms. Toad May 2022 #7
Iggo May 2022 #8
CrispyQ May 2022 #9

Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 07:58 PM

1. Why does retiring before 65 constitute retiring "early"?

I retired at 62 when I completed the management of a work project and didn't anticipate a truly engaging work assignment to follow. COVID had nothing to do with it.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 08:05 PM

2. Stayed in the same FT job but would love to retire early, but have 2 years to go.

Right now looking at one last really good FT job and if I get it will probably last 6 more years until 60 (full retirement in my defined benefit system). If I don't we are contemplating a 2 year plan to both retire early and make that work through hook or crook. That will cut my pension by almost half which sucks but we both hate our jobs and want to drop out.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 08:13 PM

3. Very interesting from a very retired.

Have always worried about mandatory contributions to the safety net and the long term health of the citizenry.
There are a lot of people enthralled with the autocratic panacea bandied about today, but I suspect those are people into instant jollies.
Appreciate your capturing a real world evaluation.
The tide erodes gradually with occasional fits.
Suspect only the social scientists will notice the trends before the fits.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 08:51 PM

4. K&R for visibility.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 09:28 PM

5. I dislike the word "retire"

Makes me think of my grandfather playing shuffleboard in Sun City.

I'm fortunate to have built up enough resources so I don't have to work. That gives me the freedom to pick and choose if I work or not.

I left a full time job last year. It was always WFH so the pandemic didn't affect me that much. It was a great job until management changes made it not-so-great, so I bailed. It felt good to be able to walk away.

I chose to do lot of skiing this winter, and that was great. Now some interesting freelance work has come my way and I'll do that for a while. So, I'm not "retired", just being a lot pickier.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 09:45 PM

6. You might add

accelerating change to the types of "work" actually available, and sustainable. Lots may be available temporarily, but few will be sustainable.

Factory work took a hundred+ years to whittle down, while IT work took less than half that.

All that's left now is transportation sector, and automation is gonna have a heyday there.

I'm with R. Buckminster Fuller, in agreeing that the whole point of technology was supposed to be to free us from labor, and allow us much more leisure time to relax, create, innovate and not be strapped to arduous, monotonous jobs anymore.

Instead, all the productivity gains have been siphoned into the billionaire class, while letting the industrial era artifacts rot.

The objective is to eliminate labor, not preserve it.

Hence, labor unions are on the decline because those long sustaining jobs are not there anymore. "Tertiary sector" equates with "Temporary sector".

But, truly, no one should ever have to work anymore. That's the goal.

Work for work's sake is just nonsense. I work for the money. If I can have the money without all the work, yes please, sign me up!

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 09:56 PM

7. I marked retired early - even though I retired at 65.

I had planned to work until 72.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 09:57 PM

8. Same job, 40 a week.

Moved from an office in L.A. to my bedroom in Whittier back in March of 2020, but itís still the same 40 a week job.

My department of six just ditched our desktops for laptops last week, and I noticed a whole rack of laptop compatible work stations when I went to pick up my new machine last Monday. Looks like hybrid will be an option sooner or later. But according to my guy-in-the-know, thatíll be later than sooner. We just had our two best years in the companyís 80+ year history, and this yearís looking to make it three.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Mon May 30, 2022, 12:31 PM

9. #10 alone did it for me back in 2008.

I took my skillset & went freelance. It cost me on my SS retirement, though, so would I do it again? IDK. I was miserable in the corporate world for every reason you listed in #10.

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