Driving back to my office from a client, a trip of just a couple of miles, I encountered eleven “Help Wanted” signs. Eleven. I counted each of them as I passed by. Feather flags, vinyl banners, yard signs, banners on poles, window clings, digital monuments… It’s a sign company’s dream-come-true. America needs signs right now.
Do you know what it needs even more?
As worried as we are today about what’s contagious, who’s vaccinated and who’s wearing their mask, there’s another pandemic at play in America right now. We’re in the middle of a help wanted crisis of epic proportions.
The Depth Not Width blog was never intended as a platform for stirring up negativity or venting. The world has enough of that, from the nightly news to what you find on any social media platform today. There’s enough darkness to go around. I don’t intend for this to be a rant – these are simply my observations, and if you think I am off base, you are free to disagree. This is America, right?
I’m frustrated, though, and thrown off by what I am seeing and hearing from business owners, small and large. Those eleven signs I drove past… They represented opportunities at industrial manufacturers, med device companies, fast food and restaurants, food and beverage plants, retail shops, and a marketing firm. Some jobs required some skilled labor; others didn’t. Most of the ones that did require a skill would provide training. Many also offered handsome wages and hiring bonuses.
The land of opportunity is full of opportunities.
And still, I keep driving past all these signs and banners…
I grew up in an era when conversations revolved around whether or not countries like Japan would pass America by as business superpowers. There was always this conversation about who would step up their game and take over market share. I grew up believing that America would always hold its ground.
Today, driving past all these signs, I’m not so sure.
If we don’t turn this around quickly – if people don’t get back to work and start to support these businesses that make up America’s strong foundation – we will get passed by. Small, mid-sized, corporate… businesses across this country need people. If they don’t get them soon, the United States’ position in the world will slip, all because our people won’t get to work.
That mindset, where work is optional, is not American.
So what gives me hope?
Here are two things…
First, coming around the corner to my house, three girls greeted me with their lemonade stand. They were probably eight or nine years old. That’s the America that I love, and yes, I did buy some lemonade. In fact, I bought all of their lemonade and left them a good tip.
Second, I have two fifteen-year-olds in my house that are at work today, both at different restaurants. They are making a way for themselves, serving small businesses and their community, and contributing to America.
As long as there are kids out there hustling, exhibiting some grit, and showing up… I have faith in America.
Now, we just need to get everyone else back to work. We need to support those entrepreneurs and business owners who are trying to keep their doors open. We need to create an environment where working is once again elevated as the good and right thing to do, not optional. As a country, we need to show up.
I’m not looking for any political comments or observations on this, so if that’s going to be your response, just don’t. There’s enough division in the world today without adding more, and this should not be a right or left issue. This impacts all of us in America, not just one side or the other. What I do want is for people to wake up, see the tipping point we’re at, and encourage one another to get back to work.
Let’s get rid of all those “Help Wanted” signs together…