What comes after The Great Resignation? Restructuring


Dear J.T. & Dale: I saw an online article by J.T. talking about what she called “The Great Restructuring of 2022.” I’m wondering how this will impact someone like me, who’s in their fifties and still wants to work? – Rose

J.T.: Everybody has been talking about The Great Resignation of 2021. That’s because we’ve had record numbers of people quitting their jobs – back-to-back months of over 4 million. But, while we’re all distracted by that, I am already looking ahead to The Great Restructuring of 2022. Companies have been in a holding pattern for the past two years, surviving COVID-19. Many have been so focused on keeping their businesses afloat that they’ve not really thought about strategy going forward. Now, however, they need to make dramatic changes in order to stay competitive and survive. That’s especially true if they’re losing lots of employees and are struggling to replace them. Such companies are going to have to change their business models dramatically to be less reliant on employees. This means that many jobs will be eliminated.

DALE: J.T. has been out front on this issue, and she’s right. The forces of supply and demand in the labor market are accelerating the shift to artificial intelligence and other technologies. It reminds me of an old quote from the business writer Warren Bennis, who said “The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.” You can tell it’s an old quote from the “man” reference. So, the trend isn’t new, but there’s a recent sharp shift in the economics of humans versus automation, where humans aren’t the bargain that they used to be.

J.T.: And, if you are an older worker, it’s very possible that it will be more difficult for you to find another job at the same pay or level. And then there’s the problem of being overqualified for the jobs that are below your pay grade. Here’s my advice to anyone who wants to stay working for the next decade or so: Start focusing on your presence online. You need to brand your area of expertise and show people that you are very current and forward-thinking. That’s how you stay relevant and employed.

Dear J.T. & Dale: I refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine. What is the easiest way to identify companies that are hiring people that don’t require it? – Marv

J.T.: That’s a really tricky question because many companies haven’t fully decided if they’re going to mandate the vaccine or not.

DALE: A year ago, I would have said that this was an easy decision for employers. After all, who wouldn’t want to reduce the odds of employees being sick? But, it got complicated: You have employers who are personally anti-vax and you have executives who gladly got themselves vaccinated but who just don’t want to get mixed up in a debate that goes beyond health or science. Add to that the many employee shortages, and you have a lot of waffling going on.

J.T.: I will tell you the companies that absolutely require it will make it very clear in their job descriptions and on their websites. My advice is to look for jobs that you’re capable of doing and then research the company’s website to see what their position is on the vaccine.

DALE: Although, some of those companies without mandates may implement them after the first of the year, especially federal contractors and those in health care. Plus, there’s the probability of those new Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules on vaccines, and those will apply to companies with 100 or more employees.

J.T.: If you accept a job and then your new employer implements a mandate, you’ll just have to figure out what you want to do next. Many people are in your situation and there’s no clear-cut answer other than doing your homework and making the best decision you can at the time.

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2021 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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