America's "toxic corporate culture" driving the Great Resignation

We used to have Institute Days annually, where staff from all the area facilities would get together for a day and network, see some relevant presentations, have lunch together, maybe have a few awards handed out by upper management, etc. Now it’s all presentations on what-they’re-doing-elsewhere, plus what-you’re doing-wrong-here and how-to-make-mgmt-happy.


That would be under the catch-all “other duties as assigned”. And while I’m no stranger to hard work and getting my reasonably nice dockers and button down shirt covered in dust and other muck in order to get the job done, after doing it for 20+ years, it gets a little old and tiresome, and the meat frame I’m piloting tends to complain rather a lot the next morning about it.


Yet, those few find themselves more miserable on the balance. It almost seems as if there some sort of middle ground between paying starvation wages and giving employees a chance at a quality life and snatching so much for yourself that you lose satisfaction in the simplest and best things in life and pass that misery onto your heirs.

It’s called a lateral promotion and you will be rewarded with “sweat equity”, which is really its own reward if you think about it.


Yeah, their generation figured out pretty early that they’d be struggling financially either way. The rest of us earlier generations were left with vague bullshit promises based on the “American dream” and “bootstraps” etc, etc and watched as our parents were left to spend their August years working at Lowe’s instead of suntanning at a tropical resort and avoiding going to the doctor because the copays and premiums on our garbage insurance plans are higher than our mortgages. Good for them for not buying the scam.

This is a massive part of it. Corporate America took women entering the workforce as a sign that they have to pay half the real wages they did before the '60s. Instead of getting choice and freedom we got obligation and entrapment.

They do, it’s just classified as “T&E” which nobody but the C-suite and middle management have access to so they can take vendors they’re already overpaying out to strip clubs when they’re in town. The good ol’ boy system is the dominant social paradigm in business in my experience.

I was attending an HR mediation with an employee who was… well, he was really shitty. The HR manager told him that his job was to “make his manager (me) look good”. It was a shocking peek into corporate mentality and this was at a company of ca. 25 employees!


They’re living with their parents well into their twenties. It’s a nice enabler to pick and choose who you work for when you’re not paying rent/mortgage. (For the most part.)

“Other duties as required” is one of the biggest management cop-outs ever. Try unstuffing a toilet in a dress because your janitor left early because reasons.


After years of boasting about how effective designed attrition is for them, Amazon is now running out of people to hire and begging them to come back.


mike yard no shit GIF by The Nightly Show


See also “being a team player”.


That’s why they need to replace you with someone younger. Cheaper, too.


(Beat the rich with sticks until they disgorge wealth to everyone else)


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I was entry level 30ish years ago. First job out of college, only summer job experience, etc. My degree was in the arts but I was comfortable with computers so I was a data entry person in a tiny bank. My wife’s and my combined income in today’s dollars would be just over 80k. Our first 1 bedroom apartment cost 25% of our gross income. Today, a 1 BR apartment in the same building costs $2500/month. A young couple would have to make a combined $120,000 for that same apartment to be as affordable as it was for me in 1989. That income today would put a couple into the 75th percentile for household income - a neat trick for a couple of 22 year olds in their first jobs right out of college. Add in the fact that the student loan burden has more than doubled over the same time period and a young couple today could EASILY spend more than half their income on rent + student loans. How long before they can even start saving for a home or for their retirement? How long until they can afford a bigger place and think about starting a family?

Final note, 30+ years before our amazing feat, my father went to college in the 50’s for $100 tuition per semester at a time when a minimum wage job paid $1500 per year. It took my parents 1 year of them both working to save up a down payment on a house that was 2.5 times Dad’s pay. A family was started and they became a 1 income household. The same house today costs $900,000.

Today’s system basically requires young people to be miserable and financially insecure with almost no end in sight (the very lucky/wealthy excepted, of course). And it’s getting harder and harder to accept when they see their European counterparts, who might work for the same multi-national companies, getting universal health care, subsidized/free tuition, 4 weeks vacation, higher pay and better job protections.


When people applaud their own house price skyrocketing I think, “So there’s no way your kid could buy a similar house in a similar neighborhood?”


And by the same token they expect the kids to leave the nest, rather than live together as an extended family the way folks do in other countries. :man_shrugging:


“Sir? How did you get to where you are now?”

“Mostly goofing off and occasionally having an idea. Would you like to learn how?”


Multi-generational and multi-family households were never uncommon in communities of color. It was done out of necessity, since incomes and opportunities were (and remain) a fraction of the average for the majority. This survival strategy has alternately been demonized by racists or used as fodder for class resentment, because it lowers costs of living and debt. The stereotype that most BIPOC are poor also helps to hide the ugly truth about poverty in the US and the American Dream myth.

The expectation was that lack of income, affordable housing, and healthcare would dramatically decrease the BIPOC population. When that failed, drugs, the draft, and the prison pipeline came along. Now, after a recession and pandemic we’re seeing increasing numbers of people who are unused to hardship getting a dose of what we’ve dealt with for generations. Historically, that doesn’t end well for us. This is why so many articles on Blaxit have been online since 2016.

Hopefully, the pendulum on workers rights and the war on poverty is swinging back in a way that lasts. Corporations have the courts and the legislators now. It’s going to take a lot of effort from the voters to get that power back.


I don’t think anything got me hauled into someone’s office faster than that.


After putting up with multiple sexual assaults at the work place for years in order to bring home that sweet fucking 50k salary so that maybe in my forties I could buy a home and start a family (oops) I’m shocked I tell you! I’m shocked that younger people are looking at their slightly older peers and saying “FUCK THIS.”


And it’s a perfectly ordinary “starter home”. A small split entry 3BR ranch on 1/4 acre with a 1 car garage. It’s in a nice town <10 miles from Boston with easy access to the highway and the commuter train (all of which existed when my parents bought the place).

Let’s keep in mind that new hires are up even more than quitting. In other words, people (mostly) aren’t opting out of the workforce, they’re moving to new jobs. Usually people do that because the new jobs are better for them. In other words, we’re actually, for the first time in over 20 years, starting to get a good labor market in the US we’re people have some agency to make their own lives better. I think it’s been so long that most companies have forgotten what it’s like to operate in a world where workers have choices.

Unfortunately I would also guess we can’t have nice things and the powers that be will move swiftly to do things like cut government spending and raise interest rates to bring the glimmers of improvement to an end as soon as possible.