Friday, January 21, 2022

Americans are leaving their jobs in droves in what is now being labeled “The Great Resignation.” “We haven’t seen a quit rate this high since 2000 when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began the current Job Openings and Labor Survey data series,” says Lawrence Katz, Professor of Economics at Harvard. “Last month was the highest quit rate that we’ve observed in the JOLTS data.”

During the earliest months of the pandemic, companies scrambled to act quickly as the outbreak led to an unprecedented global lockdown. At that time, millions were permanently laid off or furloughed, executives ordered indefinite wage and hiring freezes, and everyone braced for global economic catastrophe. Some industries and businesses “pivoted” (the most overused word during the pandemic, in my humble opinion) and were able to reposition or reinvent themselves to navigate through the challenges. It was pretty scary for a while, and unfortunately, many companies didn’t survive the lockdown through no fault of their own.

Here we are almost two years later, and businesses are clamoring to hire, but to no avail. Americans are “in much better financial situations than in previous economic recoveries, so we’ve seen a slow return from unemployment given the job openings. Having a stronger safety net and having built up some savings means people can put more weight on their caregiving responsibilities or can look for something better,” says Katz. While I agree with many points that Katz noted in his recent interview in The Harvard Gazette, I wonder if this is merely about a national labor strike for low-wage earners. I also wonder if those on the sidelines have indeed built up an adequate savings “reserve.”

As we at Approved Funding are beginning an aggressive hiring campaign to expand our business, I have had a chance to speak with many “job seekers,” and it’s interesting to hear some of these perspectives. Many are aligned with our culture in seeking “quality of life” and “work from home” conveniences, but I feel what’s happening in the market is more than that. While many have been looking into freelancing or opening their own businesses, there are masses of unemployed people that are genuinely not looking to return to work for no justified reason.

I believe people now more than ever want to feel like they are “part of something.” The pandemic has had a psychological impact on people, the likes of which other recent economic events have never had. If that were the reason, I could appreciate and understand that. When hiring people, part of what I look for is to get a good feeling about their “why.” Motivation plays a critical role in the attitude, performance, and efficiency of a good employee. Working for a fair paycheck is, of course, a given, but if one merely works for compensation, they are doing themselves and their company a disservice. A person’s “why” will take them so much farther.

When we were forced to work from home, I was frightened about what was to be expected from our staff. Needless to say, I was humbled to see how capable and efficient they truly were. To their credit, and I hope mine, they were more productive than ever before. As we look to grow our company and add sales professionals, marketing specialists, office administrators, and relationship managers - I look for passion, integrity, and motivation more than experience and previous job responsibilities.

As General George S. Patton famously said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” I love that quote so much that it has been on the cover of our employment applications for over a decade. If you are looking for work and want to contribute to a company in ways you might never have had an opportunity to in the past, I encourage you to reach out to me.

Shout out and Happy Birthday to Nina Bieler, David Englard, Rachel Erdfarb, Robert Gloria, Maya Joyandeh, Sara Kaplan, Alex Kaye, Steven Lauderdale, Hadassah Lowy, Michael Meier, Evan Rottenstreich, Yan Rusanov, Jordan Silvestri, David Small, Francine Weisbrot, and Meredith Yager.

Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well as specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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