5 Simple Reasons Why People Don’t Want to Work

Don't Want to Work.
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“Why don’t people want to work!?”

Does anyone else hear that phrase from managers, business leaders, or older generations and are completely tired of it? To me, it’s an overblown misconception. 

No, it’s not that people don’t want to work, it’s that the majority won’t settle for the employer nonsense anymore. And we saw a big shift with the great resignation that began in early 2021 as well. 

So why does it appear people don’t want to work? There are a few reasons that I see and even some cold hard truths that employers, managers, and generations need to understand. 

Why People Don’t Want to Work

As younger generations wise up to the traditional workplace, more are not accepting the way life has been set for employees. 

Hell, there is a massive Reddit channel called Antiwork with over 2 million followers pushing back at the way we work and the nonsense they deal with. 

You may think this is a sense of entitlement, but I see this as a workplace awakening. 

And as more new generations of managers and leaders rise up in the ranks, more will hopefully put forth better work conditions and wages. 

It’s why we are seeing continued growth in remote companies, better time-off policies, and even 4-day workweeks. So let’s get into the reasons today.  

1. Weak Salaries and Raises

How often do we see companies getting record profits each year? Or like the CEO receiving a million-dollar salary and bonus every year? More often than we may realize.

And then the company pays low salaries or gives raises of 1-3%, which doesn’t even keep up with current inflation rates. And 63% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, according to CNBC

The vast majority of workers are over it. Period. 

And much of what would solve getting people back to work is paying salaries that allow people to afford to live and enjoy life. As well as a meaningful raise for a job well done. 

Yet for some reason, it’s the lower consideration on how employers can find talent or keep people working. That’s a bit of sarcasm, we know it comes down to corporate greed.

2. No Flexible Work Options

Although working remotely is not a new concept, its popularity soared when a majority of office workers were forced to work from home during lockdowns. 

And many discovered the benefits and productivity without needing to be in the office. 

Plus there were plenty of organizations that had very little disruption in business results by being remote and there were also companies with record profits! 

Today, people want flexible options. This can mean a hybrid schedule, being able to easily take off for an appointment, or working varying hours when you are most productive. 

Many talented folks are looking for remote jobs or hybrid options and won’t consider a job without having some options. 

3. Bad Managers and Leaders

Layoffs can happen and are tough situations when it happens. But many organizations handle it poorly and treat people like they are just a number. 

And somehow those employers are surprised at the reactions? People work hard and give the company everything to get fired via a Zoom meeting with little honest sympathy. 

Now there are other companies where this happens, offer support in many ways and handle it with grace. Like Airbnb during 2020 and how they handled it with transparency and honesty. That’s how it should be done, even during unfortunate times. 

But why don’t people want to work? Bad managers and leaders are a common thread, plus stories of companies in the way they handle and treat employees. 

4. Lack of Work/Life Balance

83% of U.S. workers suffer from work-related stress, with 25% saying their job is the number one stressor in their lives, according to The American Institute of Stress. Yuck!

One of the interesting things that have come from the pandemic is people prioritizing how they spend their time. I think a fuse was lit in a lot of folks who started realizing that there is more to life than work. 

And while some companies may require longer working hours, like those in FAANG, people are looking for better work/life balance. 

Yes, hard work is important. But not to the point where you are missing family time often, have a lack of personal interests and hobbies, or have it impact your mental and physical health. 

For a long time, older generations work long hours and in tough conditions. And you have to respect the sacrifices people made to put food on the table. 

But work has changed so much and new generations should not have to face those same conditions. A big reason people don’t want to work is companies not having or offering a great work/life balance. 

5. More Ways to Work For Yourself

Thanks to technology, social media, and new platforms, there are so many ways for people to make money on their own. 

As long as you have some reliable internet and a computer, you can make a full-time living without having a boss. 

Working for yourself isn’t for everyone and there are plenty of challenges going this route too. But more people have been exploring ways to be their own boss. Some options include:

  • Freelance or Consulting business
  • Starting an e-commerce business
  • Launching a software product
  • Dropshipping for Amazon FBA

And you can also easily buy pre-existing businesses with sites like MicroAcquire, Empire Flippers, and tons more. 

I’ve noticed a much larger interest in my generation (millennials) to start businesses or side hustles with the intent to become full-time. And I don’t think that trend is slowing down as younger generations grow up too.

Post from Reddit as to why people don't want to work.

Also Must Factor in an Influx of Retirees

Many people during the height of the pandemic in 2020 decided to retire. When there were a lot of uncertainties, it opened people up to want to enjoy life instead of continuing to work. 

And even others retired early if they had the means to. Although, it appears some of them are heading back to work too. 

But there is a massive shift as different generations are now in the retirement age bracket, so there has been a large influx of retirees happening. 

So it’s not that people just don’t want to work necessarily when jobs are hard to fill, it’s also can be that millions in the United States, for example, are now retired or retiring. 

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Final Thoughts

Look, there are of course lazy people out there too or those also looking to take advantage of government programs. Some folks are allergic to work and having a work ethic.

But saying “people don’t want to work” or “no one wants to work anymore” is a bit of a generalized stereotype. 

The overwhelming majority of people are totally fine with work. Just that now more than ever, people are standing up to the 1920s mainstream 9-5 and the B.S. that comes with offices and factories. 

It really comes down to better pay, improved working conditions, having a work/life balance, and finding a purpose for the work we do. 

And pretty funny how companies with top salaries, and great benefits, that treat people well have no problem being successful, have happy and engaged employees, and attract people who want to work for them. 

Imagine that! 

Yet, it’s easier for many to still say people don’t want to work or rather play ignorance instead. Viva La Work Revolution is what I say!

But if you are a “Back in my day…” and “You don’t know the meaning of hard work..” person – take a step back and realize working 60+ hours a week and devoting your life to a company willing to replace you at a moment’s notice, isn’t really something to be bragging about.  


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About Todd Kunsman

Todd is the founder of Remote Work Junkie and has been featured in numerous publications like Business Insider, HuffPost, CNBC, and more. He’s been a remote work advocate for close to a decade and has been working remotely full-time for 5+ years. He’s also a marketing, personal finance, and music nerd 🤓

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