REFLECTIONS by Jeremy Alger

We are hearing about the work shortages. Wait, not the work shortage, the worker shortage. I saw an article last week about the service industry and how people (young people mostly) are quitting their service jobs. Plenty of folks want to blame the stimulus money for people not wanting to work. I guess the talking heads sharing those opinions aren’t aware that the stimulus unemployment has actually stopped. I have heard people mention the new child tax credit that is coming in the form of monthly checks as the new catalyst for people not wanting to work. I am receiving checks for my two kids, but let me assure you that I won’t be able to live off of that money, no one could in America.

But all of that is actually not what I want to write about today.

In the discussion of people quitting service jobs is the fact that there are non-service jobs that are paying as much or more than waiting tables and they are hiring these service employees. That is upward mobility. That is climbing the employment ladder. That is the progress that we all want. There are no parents of these former waiters who are cursing their kid’s choice to get ahead.

In the narrative there is also the reasoning that is being stated clearly, people working in the service industry get treated terribly by people like you and me. For some reason the folks that are mistreating these employees like to yell about how it is called the service industry, they are supposed to serve us. But I haven’t heard or seen any people who finish a shift in the service industry and then go yell at their peers in the industry. The people who are creating this problem are people outside of the industry. Self-important, arrogant, rude folks who treat employees at stores and restaurants as if they are worthless and dumb. They make people hate their jobs. It isn’t hard to understand. We all have been mistreated at work at some time or another; we all know how difficult it is to put on a happy face and do our jobs while we feel disrespected or unappreciated.

There is no advice that I can put in this column that is going to fix the worker shortage. I can’t really address the minimum wage issue. I can’t even help one employee have a better day with the words that I type. But if I find myself in a restaurant or shop today I can help multiple employees have a better day, and so can you.

Kindness and respect are choices that we make. And when we choose to be kind and respectful it not only makes for a better work environment for people in the service industry it also speaks volumes about the type of people that we are. When we choose to be better people in our interactions with others we help make a better world. A better world means a better tomorrow, and isn’t that something that we all want?

Jeremy Alger is the pastor of the New Cumberland Church of the Nazarene. They meet in person and online every Sunday. You can also watch their services on Ruko, search for New Cumberland to find our channel. For more information please visit