Agent of Change

A Blog by Cory!! Strode, who really should write something interesting here.

We Are All Antonio Brown

A bit of context:

NFL player Antonio Brown quit in the middle of a game yesterday.

What the sports media and other media aren’t much talking about is that he was close to getting a massive bonus for the year because of his number of catches, yards, etc… So, they benched him for the rest of the game to ensure he wouldn’t get that bonus. So he, quite rightly in my opinion, he said screw this and walked.
You can bet this will be spun into how he is a spoiled, entitled brat and the rest, not that he saw he was being screwed over deliberately and decided if they were going to treat him like crap, he didn’t need that any more.

For years we have heard that burger flippers aren’t worth a livable wage. That if you don’t like your job, find another. That abusive customers is just something you need to take and don’t ever not smile at people even if they can’t see you.

Over the last few years, customers have gotten more aggressive and abusive, mostly because the public discourse has become about as gentile as a YouTube comment section. More and more people are deciding that the abuse they take on a routine basis isn’t worth the low pay front facing jobs get. When I last worked at a movie theater, we often had people who would seek out the youngest looking person working to scream at, knowing their actions would get them what they want, no matter how unreasonable.

So if someone sees an employer treating them poorly, or in this case going out of their way not to pay an agreed upon bonus, I don’t blame people for quitting. As someone in HR, I am seeing more and more industry articles about how “Employees are getting too much life in their work life balance” as companies feel like they are losing control. Employees are no longer putting up with being “on call” at all times, working terrible jobs for unlivable pay, and even with record profits, these companies think sharing those profits with the workers is untenable.

In the 90’s, there were more jobs that workers, and eventually, companies learned they had to treat people better. It immediately led to jokes about workers demanding stupid things like foosball tables and flexible hours, and any sort of perk is actively mocked in the media.

I think they aren’t ready for the coming changes. Baby boomers are leaving the workforce to retire in record numbers. There simply aren’t enough workers to replace them as it speeds up. Worker concessions that are called insane in the US are common in the rest of the post-industrial world. However, the US has always had a history of beating down workers, making them accept the worst conditions possible and told to be grateful they even have a job.

They can’t handle it if we all start thinking like Antonio Brown. Look for him to be vilified across all parts of our society.

The owners can’t allow people to think it’s OK to say “No more.”


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