For months, it has been on everyone’s lips. Labor shortage. Omnipresent, as much in Europe as in the United States and here.
Posted at 7:00 a.m.
Yet in 2019, the workforce was everywhere. In restaurants, shops, offices, public services, hospitals. We arrived somewhere, she welcomed us. We called somewhere, she answered us. Wherever we went, she served us. It had always been like that, and you never thought it was going to change.
Then the pandemic arrived. And the governments shut everything down. All. Restaurants, shops, offices. Arrange without! The workforce is laid off! But with salary! Paid to stay home. One week, two weeks, one month, two months, six months, one year, two years on the CERB, the Canadian emergency benefit, which has become the PCP, the permanent Canadian benefit.
Then the pandemic was gone. Well, not really, but we pretended. What do you want, we got bored! We always end up getting bored.
A pandemic is like a love affair, at first you just think about that. We are completely obsessed with it. Our whole life revolves around it. All our habits are completely turned upside down by this. Nothing is done the same way anymore. We leave him all the room.
She gives us an appointment at 1 p.m., we stop everything, we are there at 1 p.m. She gives us an appointment at 6 p.m., we stop everything, we are there at 6 p.m. She tells us that we have to stay locked up, in the house, just with her. We stay locked up, in the house, just with her. She tells us not to go out after 10 p.m. We don’t go out after 10 p.m. She tells us not to go to bars anymore and not to do the party. We don’t go to bars anymore, and we don’t do the party. She wants us to dress differently, to wear a mask. We dress differently, we wear a mask. She doesn’t want anyone sticking with anyone but her. We no longer stick to anyone other than her. She wants us to spend the holidays just with her. We spend the holidays just with her. We do all this obediently, because we are certain that nothing is more important than her.
But in the long run, we end up coming back. His name doesn’t thrill us so much anymore. She may continue to make waves, we want to go swimming elsewhere. We realize that there is not just her in life. We go back to seeing people other than her, even hugging them, even kissing them. Our existence resumes its normal course. It can’t last all the time, total self-sacrifice. The passion of love and the fear of contagion have an expiration date.
So after about 20 months, the governments reopened everything. Restaurants, shops, utilities. Go! Go! Go! Here we go again ! Ventilate yourself! We got stuck everywhere. Come on, come on, serve us! Boy ? Miss ?
Come on… There is no service! The workforce is no longer there. Labor did not return. The workforce is gone. Is it the fault of the PCU? Is Felix right? The best way to kill a man is to pay him to do nothing. Has labor become a dead hand?
Well no ! The workforce is still alive. It’s just that we no longer know where she has gone.
It should be noted that there are, all the same, still people in the companies. The bosses are all there. But the bosses are not labor. Bosses are leaders. Not necessarily masterpieces. But leaders. They work, but we don’t see them. We never see them. The workforce is the workers we see working. Well, we saw.
All the others who have jobs on the upper floors, well paid, are also back. Those who are missing are those who had the exhausting jobs, the not easy jobs, the less well paid jobs. These, we wonder why we lost them.
By dint of telling them to reinvent themselves, they did. And today, we would like them to return to our old inventions.
To justify the wages of goods paid for, it has always been argued that it was a question of the balance of power. There aren’t many people able to do the boss’ job, so treat him well. Now we realize that there are not many people able to do the work of the humble employee, so we should treat him well. Suddenly, we become aware of the usefulness of each.
The absent are always right. Never has the profession of nurse been so valued as since there has been a shortage of it.
We recognize happiness by the noise it makes when it goes away, said Prévert. The essential worker is recognized in the same way.
The labor shortage is making a lot of noise.
The only one that won’t, when it goes away, is the pandemic.