By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Fall is around the corner and I’m starting to see more leaves on the ground.
Also in early September 2021 I’m noticing the return of masks on people indoors. And another trend in my viewfinder is “now hiring” signs. No matter where I go, I’m feeling the effects of the lack of staff in multiple industries. Getting your car fix means getting on a waiting list.
Head out for a quick bite to eat turns into a marathon and war of attrition. Another side effect from the lack of workers in the workforce is price increase on all types of good.
This past spring the United States of America had 9.3 million job openings. So have you noticed your menu at a restaurant has gotten smaller and the dining areas. Please don’t try to rent a car in this current economy because it will cost you. The government decided to fight the lack of workers by cutting and reducing unemployment benefits.
Another social change that seems insignificant to the economy might actually help get our workforce back on track. Starting Oct. 1 the social media site OnlyFans will drop pornography off its platform.
In late August OnlyFans announced “secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community.” OnlyFans founder and CEO Tim Stokely put the blame for the porn ban on banks in an interview with the Financial Times published Aug. 24. So we can thank financial institutions JP Morgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon and the U.K.’s Metro Bank for cutting off the money stream for several “content creators.”
That recent news got me to thinking on how lazy our country has gotten prior to the global pandemic. Then when the virus swept our nation, it just exposed our need to get rich easily and our desire for instant gratification.
This week’s Best Sellers’ List will point our five trends since 2020 that has contributed to the worker shortage.
Back on March 27, 2020, the CARES Act became law. Now U.S. Americans don’t care to work. The CARES Act gives states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provided additional flexibility for state unemployment insurance agencies and additional administrative funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CARES stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security. In 2021, President Joe Biden put in a new law creating the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC), which provides an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting regular UC (including Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members etc. It is hard to keep up with all the changes when you work everyday and know you won’t receive any of the benefits.
Several of U.S. Americans received stimulus checks including me. I remember the short-term satisfaction I got from those deposits into my bank account. But once it disappeared, I felt an obligation to work harder to validate that “gift.”
I don’t ever want to have the mindset to wait on a check. I want to work and contribute to my country as much as I can.
4. Going to school
A recent visit to my Goddaughter Taliyah Chalmers on The University of Memphis campus, I thought there was a wave of professors walking around. But the zombie-like appearance of mature, graying people were students.
Taliyah knew adult-students was a thing from our talks. But she was kind of surprise by the rather large number this semester. I’m guessing some people who quit there jobs are going back to school to seek a better opportunity.
I see it was buying time and taking advantage of benefits while not having the stress of a 9-to-5.
Prior to the global pandemic, going back to school has been a method of choice for many people to get out of having a job. Now if an adult goes back to school to further their present career, that is a direct method to your madness. But when you up and quit your job and chase another career through school, you might be running into some problems while collecting debt.
3. OnlyFans Performer
OnlyFans came to fruition back in 2016 in London. Then it slowly made it way over to the States. Then with the surge of pandemic, and folks being stuck at home, OnlyFans took off as a money-making platform. OnlyFans says it had 130 million users and 2 million creators who have collectively earned $5 billion as of last month.
And what drove so many “creators” to the platform was sexual content. And that is an easy way to grab attention and develop a fan base.
“All I have to do is take off my clothes, sign me up.”
“Post some feet pics and get paid… OK.”
“Let me film myself doing the nasty. And get that bag.”
OnlyFans made it too easy for people, mostly women, to stay home and rake in the ducats.
I just received news across my desk, the higher ups at OnlyFans have caved into the demands of their “content creators.” They will not ban adult-material. I guess this platform will remain a way to make “easy money.” I just hope those who are taking advantage of this platform think about the longterm effects.
2. YouTube Star
Founded in 2005, I haven fallen in love with YouTube since 2008. It is my favorite social media platform and I contribute to it through West 10 Media. When YouTube started it was the place to watch classic TV, old commercials and funny memes.
But in recent years the platform has been regulated and modified with rules. Free speech is limited and it seems to have several copycat formats. Everybody is a commentator and talk show host.
YouTube has more than 2 billion active users. On a daily basis, more than 122 million clicks are on YouTube. We’re spending at least 18 minutes on the format each day.
With YouTube making $19.7 billion in 2020, people want a piece of that pie. So if they have to go around eating food slowly, spilling the tea on celebrities or reacting to all pop culture, they want the easy money.
Now are children are growing up hoping to be a YouTuber instead of a firefighter, police officer, astronaut, scientist or anything that will actually contribute to daily life.
Want-to-be comedians are popping up. Fake-news broadcasters are the rage. And the worst of them all, has-been celebrities are using their decreasing clout to steal viewers from unknowns. Nobody wants to get their hands dirty in the real world when you can hope on YouTube.
Now being listed on the few resumes circulating under job experience is “influencer.” That is now a real job. A preacher is an influencer. A musician is an influencer. A journalist is an influencer. A teacher is an influencer.
But pop culture defines an influencer as an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority. They also impact people’s daily life by the way they think, view social issues and even vote.
People without the proper education, experience and real-life tests are trying to get paid for sharing their opinions.
Oh wait a minute Thomas… is that what you’re doing right now?
Of course I am. After 20 years as a journalist and a degree in mass communication, I have earned the right to write a weekly column. I am trained to go talk to direct sources and examine both sides of an issue to get to the truth or a balance. I’m willing to hear the other side of a topic, discussion or argument.
And lastly, I have an understanding my opinion is just one of many. I want to have an influence on you but not be your influencer.
I would respect influencers more if they put in the legwork and not just wait at home to pick a part a clip for a news broadcast or dissect a newspaper article.
So to all the influencers please get off your butts and go do some real work. Our job market needs you back on that front line.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.