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BuzzFeed’s great ‘Great Resignation’ enlightenment: Jobs are about making money

BuzzFeed just discovered that jobs are centrally a means of making money. It’s kind of a late discovery. But what would you expect from a generation of journalists that labeled a great upward mobility event “The Great Resignation”?

BuzzFeed published a piece that looked at a Pew study [1] that broke down the “unprecedented churn in the U.S. labor market” that progressive journalists dubbed [2] the “Great Resignation.”  

“Widespread job losses in the early months of the pandemic gave way to tight labor markets in 2021,” Pew said.  

And you know what BuzzFeed concluded from the study? 

“Low pay and lack of opportunities for advancement (in other words, low future pay) were the top two reasons cited, with 63% of respondents saying these were major or minor reasons they quit last year” and found better-paying jobs, said BuzzFeed. [3]

Leave it to BuzzFeed to finally figure out that jobs are about making money and that a tight labor market is how you make your way up in the world, not an advanced degree in medieval orthography. 

Turns out, said one economist which BuzzFeed quoted for the piece, that “The ‘Great Resignation’ is more a story about strong demand for workers, rather than a rethink of work among higher-income workers.” 

And, get this: “College graduates were more likely to have increased their earnings,” and “27% [of people without college degrees] said they are actually making less money in their new job,” said BuzzFeed.  

But that’s not what the purveyors of the social chatter, one of whom named the labor churn “the Great Resignation,” were saying, as they became idols to journalists at places like BuzzFeed [4] who worships all things “revolutionary.” 

“From organizational research, we know that when human beings come into contact with death and illness in their lives, it causes them to take a step back and ask existential questions,” Anthony Klotz, a psychologist and professor at Texas A&M, who coined the term “Great Resignation,” told Business Insider [5]. “Like, what gives me purpose and happiness in life, and does that match up with how I’m spending my right now? So, in many cases, those reflections will lead to life pivots.”

But as it happens, no, not really. 

All the psycho-babble about a work revolution, perspective, values and life needing to be lived differently turned out to be just the normal and natural money-grab that all workers make when presented with a buyers’ labor market, albeit, an unprecedently good one, prompted by the dislocations of the pandemic.  

It’s reminiscent of those old stock brokerage commercials, where every retiree ended up running a bed and breakfast. Or those commercials for Ameriprise, where actor Dennis Hopper [6], who first made his mark as the drug-dealing motorcyclist in “Easy Rider,” retires to the beach to build boats thanks to his amazing stock trading skills he attained by following his Ameriprise plan [7]. 

It was great marketing but it turned out to be just a tad unrealistic, fueled by a buyers’ market in stocks, and not the inherent investing genius of Boomer actors. 

Those commercials, it might be noted, were about two years before that other “great” event, the “Great Recession,” which, in part was brought to you by the unrealistic expectations made possible by Ameriprise and Dennis Hopper.   

You might remember the “Great Recession”. 

Unbelieve advances in real estate prices—kind of like today’s– were wiped out as record-surging oil prices created a shock to the financial markets and erased all the financial gains made by workers. 

Back then, people were happy to just have a job. 

Because a job, after all, is still—and was back then– primarily, how people make money. 

And now BuzzFeed knows that.