Porsha Sharon, 28, is still thinking about the outbursts she witnessed from customers she served last year at Buddy’s Pizza in Troy, Mich. One woman came into the restaurant and just ordered a pizza, in which Ms. Sharon responded, gesturing to the extensive menu: What kind?
“Didn’t you hear what I said?” the customer responded, according to Ms. Sharon’s memory. “Are you close?”
Other customers mocked Ms. Sharon for wearing a mask. The eight-hour shifts ended with burning pain in her swollen feet. She received an offer in March to start working as an administrative assistant at a law firm, work she did temporarily at the college, and last month she left the pizzeria.
“The last generation, they were miserable in their jobs, but they stayed because they wanted to do that,” Ms. said. Sharon said. “We are not like that, and I love that for us. We are like, ‘This job makes me too much, I get sick because my body is shut off, and I’m over it.”
Katy Dean, chief executive officer of Buddy’s Pizza, a Michigan restaurant chain, said abusive customers were a “challenging component” of the current climate in food services. “If a guest refuses to calm down and treat our staff with respect, we give our managers the power to ask that guest to leave the restaurant,” said Ms. Dean said.
This moment in the workplace is referred to as one of anti-ambition. But for many workers, frustration gave way to an explosion of ambitious calls for better jobs: for promotions, industry changes, stable hours, sick leave, mourning leave, maternity leave, retirement plans, security protection, vacation time. “Nobody wants to work anymore,” read a sign outside McDonald’s seen in a viral TikTok. To which former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich answered: “Nobody wants to be exploited anymore.”
Last year when millions said “I stop,” the bill reached far beyond the boundaries of the companies and industry at its center. White collar workers did not leave jobs on the same fast track as those in hospitality and retail. However, they made bold demands on their employers, aware that unemployment is low and the competition for talent is fierce.