The r/antiwork subreddit continues to gather steam, reflecting studies that show a whopping 87% of employees feel ‘disengaged’ at work, which we’re told cost companies and economies billions in productivity losses.

But mostly the disengaged just echo this:

From what I’ve read, the antiwork movement has more than a single axe to grind, and while I have sympathy for one camp I have none for the other — subsistence v entitlement — it’s hard to tell the difference, given every redditor feels they’re worth more than they’re getting paid.

Perspective always helps. How about a US v AU comparison? Our PM just wrestled a 5.3% rise to the minimum wage, so something is clearly afoot!

Turns out Australia is 10.6% more expensive to live in than the United States. and among the most expensive countries in the world.

We pay more for restaurant meals (+13.5%), transportation (+7%), childcare (+16.9%), entertainment (+42.8%), and clothing (+21.1%). We pay less for groceries (-8%) and housing (-18.8%). By this measure, Americans should STFU and get back to work!

But cost of living is one metric, quality of life is another. While Americans are more likely to be obese (+24%) and die prematurely (-2.4 years), during their short, fat lives they make +18.7% more money, are -21.4% less likely to be unemployed, and pay 12% less income tax!

Disengagement can happen for a hundred reasons, not just laziness, apathy or dissidence. The subreddit is full of examples of employees treated horribly.

But what is sorely missing from r/antiwork is the perspective of an employer stuck with lazy staff. Their rights begin with the right to NOT hire future slackers. But how do you know that in advance?

In my former HR role, I often wanted to ask “Do you commit to giving more than bare minimum each day?” Of course I never did, knowing it would probably tear the fabric of some workaphobic’s emotional security blanket and lland me in hot water.

But surely it leads to ruin if we can’t ask somebody to work harder because we’re afraid they’ll complain that we made them feel “unsafe”?

Most difficult is the employee who initially gives 100% then realises their pay won’t drop even if their output does. How do you weed those fuckers out before they poison the water?

Which brings me to the entitled few who believe they are worth MUCH more than the industry-standard wage. What alternate reality do they inhabit?

I’m sure there’s an app for Oculus Rift which lets them sit at home and be CEO straight out of high school. Because you are so WORTH it, kids. Just stamp your feet.

An interesting sociological study would be to promote all the entitled subredditors to boss, and see how deal with 87% employee disengagement. But I already know what they’d do. After a frenzy of touchy-feely yet futile human resource management, the “voluntary redundancies” would begin and 87% of the workforce would be shown the door.

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