Back to the Office… Or Else!

The Weekly Wave Career Newsletter

January 11th, 2023

This week, employers require more on-site office work, real wage growth in the US is negative but there are glimmers of hope, and Generation Z is in crisis.

Don’t miss the new ‘Dad Joke‘ section of this newsletter. Scroll down all the way to the end to see it.

Don’t forget to Subscribe with your email to get all of this content delivered directly to your email inbox weekly. You can also view previous newsletters from the Deep Dive Careers Archives.

Let’s get started.

In the News

Real Wage Growth is Negative: A December 2022, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report reveals that real wages in the US decreased 1.9% between November 2021 to November 2022.

  • Real wages measure wage growth against the countervailing force of inflation, making it a reliable metric of the true purchasing power of wages for US households.
  • Despite the bad news, signs of hope are there for those who wish to see them. Inflation has decreased in recent months and this has resulted in a 0.5% increase in real wages month-over-month, from October 2022 to November 2022. (New York Federal Reserve)

Back to the office… Or Else: Employers have increasingly taken a more hard-line approach in requiring employees to work on site. (HR Dive) One report from Resume Builder suggests that 90% of companies will require a return to the office for at least part of the week. (Resume Builder)

Should employees work primarily in the office or primarily remote? Different companies have handled the question differently. (Hubble)

  • Netflix and Goldman Sachs are two prominent champions of the “office first” approach.
  • Shopify, Deloitte, and Coinbase offer a “remote first” approach.
  • Lyft, Meta, Google, Apple, and many others have chosen a “hybrid” approach.

Most companies surveyed seem to offer remote work flexibility.

US Job Growth Beats Expectations: 4.5 million jobs were added in the year 2022. (LinkedIn News) This is the second highest number since 1940.

However, a couple major points of concern remain relevant. (Wall Street Journal).

  1. The labor force participation rate remains below pre-pandemic levels at 62.3%.
  2. Non-farm payrolls are closing in on the pre-pandemic average, suggesting that the jobs that were lost from pandemic policies have been refilled.

6 in 10 economists still predict a looming recession. (Bank Rate)

Other News

Unionization Mirage: A series of recent headlines creates the impression that unionization is on the rise in the US. Microsoft is the latest to join other high-profile players like Starbucks and Amazon as the latest big-name companies to experience successful organization efforts. (BBC

  • Unionization has actually been on the decline over the time, and dramatically so, as this handy, interactive map shows. (NPR)

Relief on Hiring for Small Businesses: Hiring is getting just a bit easier for businesses who have recently struggled to find workers. (ZeroHedge)

  • Surveys show that in November, 18% of employers surveyed by Vistage Worldwide Inc. said it was “getting easier” to hire people. In December, that number increased to 25%. (Greater Baton Rouge Business Report)

A Deeper Dive

The National Crisis of Generation Z: Social Psychologist, New York University professor, and author, Jonathan Haidt sat down with the Wall Street Journal to discuss the trends he has observed within America’s Youth.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • 25% of female teenagers reported having “a major depression.” Only 9% of male teenagers reported the same.
  • Surveys show the comparable rate for millennials was 13% for girls and 5% in boys.
  • Haidt speculates that this generation will have less impact on the world because they spend more time in “defend mode” than in “discover mode.”

The number of people who are experiencing mental health disorders has skyrocketed in recent years, especially among the young and the trend shows no sign of slowing. (Amen Clinics) The implications this could have for workplaces in the US, UK, and Canada could be extensive.

Quote to Consider

(On female teenager usage of social media)

“It seems social because you’re communicating with people. But it’s performative. You don’t actually get social relationships. You get weak, fake social links.”

– Jonathan Haidt

What I’m Reading

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for FailureJonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff

Since one of the co-authors, Jonathan Haidt is in the news, I thought I’d highlight this book here. It is on the short list for the most impactful books that I have ever read.

The book describes a trend known as ‘safetyism’ which refers to how youth are being raised more carefully in contemporary America. Despite good intentions from just about everyone, today’s youth are more fragile, anxious, and risk averse.

The book notes that social institutions, especially US colleges are inadvertently exacerbating mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches one method and as the authors show, social institutions may be teaching our youth the exact opposite.

Articles of the Week

A New Year’s Anti-Resolution: That’s right. Instead of generating a lofty goal to optimize life, why not remove some things that make life harder. (Wall Street Journal)

The Pros and Cons of Pay Transparency Laws: Here are some important nuances that have been overlooked in much of the literature on recent pay transparency laws. (XPertHR)

Productivity vs. Busyness: Intention is the difference. (A Life in Progress

Deep Dive Blog Post of the Week: Where are You Going? The Road to a Better Job Search

  • Your career path is like a road, but its one where there are many routes that can be taken. On the career path, lost time is merely a learning process. Relax and enjoy the ride.

Other Fun Stuff

The Internet Runs on WordPress: The internet ‘runs on’ WordPress. An estimated 43% of all online web pages are powered by WordPress. (The Verge)

Dog or Human: Enter your name to find out if your name is more popular with humans or dogs. (Washington Post)

Dad Joke of the Week

Dada says:

“Teach a wolf to meditate and it becomes…

Aware wolf.”

Thanks for reading. I’ll catch you next week.

Be well,


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