This week's topic-how is the new normal working out for you was my suggestion. As things open up and restrictions are lifted, how are things shaping up and what changes are happening? Are those changes temporary or permanent?
Frankly, I am beginning to doubt we will ever be completely free of Covid as it mutates into more dangerous variants and we remain so split in this country. Too many people think the whole pandemic is a vast government conspiracy and too many people refuse to be vaccinated for various and sundry reasons. Too many people see wearing a face mask as a serious assault on their privacy and they could care less about protecting other people by simply wearing the mask.
I think many businesses have discovered flexibility in workplace rules and regulations is beneficial, I would not be surprised if up to 30-40% of their workforce remains working from home - just as some have discovered the only smart thing to do is have a central workplace because open interaction makes a difference. I think telephone customer service work will flourish in the USA again because it is so much more efficient to have people working from home. People in the USA always prefer to speak to support staff they know are USA-based. If I was not retired, I would definitely consider working from home again with a flexible schedule.
There are still plenty of kinks to be worked out in the education system, as I suggested in last week's blog. Many people discovered being able to teach effectively online requires an entirely different skill set than does classroom teaching. Too many people consider the last school year to have been a waste of time. If we do not learn from our mistakes, that will be true, but there is still time to get it right.
One good thing that has happened is that entry-level jobs seem to pay much better now. There is a print ad running around here offering Jack in the Box jobs starting at $12.00 per hour. When I worked there I made a rousing $1.05 hourly. Other places are offering even more.
To accompany the new salaries, inflation is poking around and looking to put a damper on the festivities. If you think your money does not go as far as it did the last time you bought groceries you are correct. Food prices are rising for a variety of reasons - labor shortages, product shortages, increasing gas prices, and more. How long will this continue? We will have to wait and see. Of course, regardless of the real reason, this is all being politicized. The left blames the right and the right blames the left. Mitch McConnell promises to do everything within his power to block everything the Democrats propose. The Democrats refuse to stand up to the GOP. Democrats want to pass national voting reforms, the GOP chooses to restrict open voting state by state. The schism widens and deepens. The bottom line? Our system of government is in jeopardy. The peaceful transition of power? One side sent their minions to the capitol on 01/06/2021 to stop that transfer. They failed this time but continue to insist the election was stolen regardless of the fact that fraud was not found by the Barr justice department.
Things are certainly in a state of flux. Dylan was never more correct than now.As we baby boomers pass the mantle to the millennials and gen xers, I hope they are up to the task. Only time will tell, and we boomers have very little of that left. Somehow, I think their avocado toast fueled brains are up to the task. The new normal will shake itself out and be fine.
Be sure to read what Ramana and Sanjana have to say on their blogs. And to my late friend Phil - AKA Philly Cheesesteak - you've got some ball to play up there so lace up those sneakers and remember - nothing but net!