By Erika Rodriguez, The Guardian

Despite quizzical think pieces on the motivations behind the Great Resignation, anyone who pays rent or a mortgage knows why this “labor shortage” is under way. After years of inflation and stagnant wages, the pandemic has revealed the value of labor, the worthlessness of commutes and office culture, and the importance of finding personal comfort in times of increasing precarity.

In other words, we are living in what labor economist Lawrence Katz calls “a once-in-a-generation ‘take this job and shove it’ moment” – which gives workers a once-in-a-generation upper hand.

signs saying

The potential of this cultural moment is not limited to the 2.9% of the workforce who have quit their jobs in the past few months. As CEOs scramble to maintain retention rates, those who have kept their jobs can express solidarity with resigning workers and contribute to the cultural shift by slowing the pace of productivity.

What I am proposing is not exactly a “slowdown”, but a “slow-up”.

Traditionally, a slowdown is a strike tactic in which workers remain on the job but slow productivity with the aim of negotiating for a particular objective, such as higher wages. In this sense, a slowdown is a highly localized and temporary effort.

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