Anyone who is serving the public, or has, in any capacity will tell you the same thing. People can ruin your day in a hurry. If their individual unique requirements are not specifically met to their utmost satisfaction, their “servent” is subject to a severe lambasting for what probably wasn’t their fault, to begin with.
A food server gets verbally accosted because the chef, who has little to no public contact, overcooked a steak. A grocery store cashier catches the brunt of complaints about rising food prices, and may the good Lord help the poor kid working part-time at McDonald’s should they serve a customer cold fries because the Manager said not to throw them out.
Teachers, cops, firefighters, social workers, and the majority of salespeople, are but a few examples of career choices requiring the thickest of skin. But more and more workers who have chosen these often grueling paths, have had enough. The public is getting worse and the pay isn’t getting any better.
They’re burnt out and covered in bruises from being stretched to capacity as a result of their constituents tossing their hands up and either resigning or taking early retirements. And new applications aren’t exactly flowing in these days. This has resulted in a slowdown of service in virtually all pubic-related jobs. Nobody wants to work yet people expect the identical level of service they are accustomed to receiving.
First Responders have been hit especially hard. They’ve experienced record numbers of suicides and mental breakdowns, and substance abuse has skyrocketed. Cops from NYC to Seattle are turning in their badges leaving smaller forces to deal with growing problems. The bad guys know there aren’t as many of them on the street so they’re taking advantage and pushing crime rates through the roof.
Many teachers have gone bald from pulling their hair out because a parent expects their “Little Johnnie” to still receive individualized attention, you know, being special and all. But because classroom sizes are growing due to teachers bailing out, parents now have to take a more active role in their children’s education, and to them, it’s all the fault of the teacher who has yet to resign but who is probably on the edge of doing so.
It would be too easy to blame the shortage of public workers on the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, prior to the pandemic, researchers who polled America’s public servants found that well over half of them were experiencing feelings of thanklessness and were beyond the burnout stage. Of those polled who were not serving the public, only 20% expressed dissatisfaction with their jobs.
Younger workers who have already experienced society’s sting, or still are, and their friends who have observed it happening, are avoiding public service jobs like a moldy loaf of bread. Around 45% of the federal government’s public workforce is over the age of 50, while those younger than 30 only account for roughly 6%. So who’s going to fill the gaps when the older workers start retiring? We have no answer. Nor does anyone.
The pandemic has certainly made a bad situation worse so it still shares equal responsibility, if not more. Behavioral scientist and public management scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, Elizabeth Linos, who studies the public sector said, “The workload is up. Financial security is down. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
A portion of Linos’ research deals with physicians and their mothers who know them well, as well as 911 operators who face life and death situations almost daily. She found the anxiety level of such workers to be greater than 20 times that of those employed in the non-public sector.
In some cases, the very Unions that are supposed to be helping their members are letting them down. Tim Deegan from Waterford, Michigan, who runs a pizza parlor without enough workers said, “They protect bad behavior, and they punish good behavior.” He’s been putting in 60 hours a week to stay afloat because he has no guarantee that anyone from anywhere will come to his rescue should he slack up.
In a recent online discussion, educators received plenty of support for their decisions to retire early or resign. certainly had their supporters in the online thread. But others, including Deegan, were angry. He told the story of his girlfriend’s son – how they’d switched him to another school district because he felt the online teaching was so poor. Some teachers, he said, have “phoned it in” for years, with few repercussions.
One of the attendees, Bill Mathis, said he was giving up his teaching career due to health risks and low wages. His girlfriend of many years suffers from lupus and can no longer work, making it impossible to pay their bills on what he brings home. Plus she stands a greater risk of contracting the virus that he could easily and unknowingly bring home with him.
America’s public-serving workforce, the one we’ve come to rely on, is dwindling to a crisis level, but because the reasons are multi-fold, it making the problem harder to solve. The perplexing thing about all this is how the Biden administration appears to not be making even the slightest attempt to right the wrong.
Is this all part of Biden’s plan to eventually introduce a full socialist agenda? The signs are everywhere.