One of the truly unexpected silver linings to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic has been the cultural re-negotiation of the workplace status quo. For the first time in living memory, millions of people were able to experience a lifestyle that wasn’t centered around commuting to work, dealing with workplace politics, and managing entitled customers. While this experience came at the cost of millions of layoffs, furloughs, permanently closed businesses, and other economically traumatic nightmares, there’s no getting around the fact that the cultural expectations around work have changed dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic. Workers across all industries now expect more. Not just more money — although that part is important — but also more in terms of respect, support, and protection.
A company that enables an abusive boss or manager will now lose workers. Plenty of places are hiring, after all. If customers are disrespectful of their employees, managers now have to decide what they value more, a good worker or a bad customer. The customer isn’t always right, particularly if the customer won’t meet the basic standards of common courtesy, such as wearing a mask or observing social distancing rules. This plague has reminded us that everyone deserves respect, support and protection from their employers. Not receiving these basic minimums is a perfectly good reason to leave a job immediately, even in the middle of a shift if need be. Loyalty is a two-way street.
Still, some employers don’t yet understand the new paradigm, and many workers aren’t yet comfortable exercising their right to be treated with dignity by their employers, coworkers, and customers. This sigil is for them.