Social pundits keep telling us Americans are refusing to ‘go back to work’ as the Covid pandemic subsides. Employers are scrambling for workers but no one’s applying.
I can see why, I am a proud refusenik myself. But I had the financial resources to do this, a retirement pension and Social Security. I did not WANT to retire, but it was clear my employers were eager to see me go so they could replace me with a younger worker at a lower salary. I may be mistaken, but after a long and productive career in high tech, I suddenly got the impression my boss was doing everything he could to to get me to leave. In my judgement, this did not seem to be solely a consequence of my personal situation; I felt it was happening all over to aging Boomers like me. I knew if I lost my job I would never be able to replace it with a similar one. Thirty years ago, I was laid off from a posh Silicon Valley programmer position; it took me over a year to get a new job, and another five to get my career back on track. This kind of recovery is no longer possible, not just for my demographic, but for anybody.
So in 2010 I took early retirement, as soon as I was legally and financially able to do so. I realized that at 62 I would no longer be able to get back up on the treadmill. Still, the ‘average’ worker does not have my resources. So how are these people supporting themselves? Have they moved in with their parents? Are they relying on their wives’ income? Or are they surviving on their savings? Are they ALL going to grad school, or becoming entrepreneurs?
Everybody is talking about how people are dropping out of the work force, but no one seems to know how they are paying the bills.