Where Have All the Workers Gone?

It seems like every restaurant and retail establishment I go to has a Help Wanted sign on the door.

Earlier this week I called a doctor’s office to check on an upcoming appointment. After 15 minutes on hold, I had to hang up.

Service times at restaurants and grocery stores seem to be getting longer and longer.

With apologies to Pete Seeger who wrote the first three verses and Joe Hickerson who added three more, I created my own verse to the classic song, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Where have all the workers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the workers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the workers gone?
We need you back everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

It’s a relatively easy song to add a verse to. I just had to change the word flowers to workers in three places, and then come up with a new fourth line, but keep the word everyone at the end of the line. Other than that, the verses are identical.

And here are Peter, Paul, and Mary singing the original song. I am sure they would have happily added the workers verse, if they were still singing today.

50 thoughts on “Where Have All the Workers Gone?

  1. It confuses me, esp now that the extra unemployment benefits have ended. And at the same time, I couldn’t find work despite being highly skilled. Two different opps which claimed to be desperate, are both still open months after I interviewed. I have no idea what fantasy they’re seeking. I wonder if other employers are doing the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Always liked this song and your new verse fits perfectly in today’s times! It is crazy! Our Chipotle is back to only Carry out, due to staff shortage. Our Arby’s were closed for a short time due to not having enough staff. My friend who is a waitress at Cracker Barrel says they are operating on 50 percent less staff. I don’t understand it either.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That does explain some of it but a LOT of people want to work for cash now days. I think it’s about 3 trillion dollars going untaxed. Plus, people found out that they had a life and didn’t want to give it up, so they are working part time or started their own kind of business. That’s want an article I read said and it makes sense. People liked enjoying life with their family and just living for a change. They are trying new ways of making money that doesn’t involve working until they die for minimum wage, when the government rich guys vote themselves huge raises. Working two jobs doesn’t always feed their families, when people are making 15 dollars an hour.. There are help wanted signs EVERYWHERE, in every store and restaurant. And the shelves are bare in some spots because the grocery stores aren’t getting their deliveries. Cat food is hard to find, it’s so weird.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We are desperate for workers at all entry-level positions. I see signs or internet pleas for workers and think, “Yeah. You and everyone else, buddy!”

    I can only assume people are not getting offered enough money to work those sorts of positions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess it’s a reaction to the pandemic, people not wanting to risk being out. We have a massive problem here, huge shortages of truck drivers leading to problems in deliveries to supermarkets and petrol stations. The tabloid press have played up the story in their usual totally irresponsible way, and we now have huge queues of people trying to fill their cars up whether they need to or not, and supplies running out in many places. A combination of the pandemic preventing new drivers being trained and licensed, plus a major effect of Brexit making EU drivers feel unwelcome here. As usual, the government is clueless, blaming everyone else but themselves: they had plenty of warnings but did too little, too late. SNAFU.


    1. we have the same issue with delivery drivers as well, just not enough of them, which throws everything off. and the panic buying drives me nuts as well, whether it’s gas or toilet paper.

      And you have the added problem of dealing with the aftermath of Brexit.

      SNAFU indeed…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. At least you now have a competent government in charge. We have a bunch of incompetents whose only qualification is that they supported Brexit – which shows how poor their judgement is. There isn’t one of them fit for their job, as you’ll see from our new Foreign Secretary, who is a complete idiot.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. one of the issues may be that people are not as willing to work for so little anymore, to be underpaid, or in the old ways they used to work. they’ve seen that there are other ways to work (remotely), that they don’t have to be stuck in a profession they didn’t enjoy, or that they had to find other work due to covid as their job was not happening due to covid. some will always game the system, as a matter of course, but it can’t be attributed to this for the majority. some who were not well paid may not be willing to be underpaid anymore, some may not want to be in public during covid – there could be many reasons, but it is definitely something seen across the country.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I agree with Beth that the dynamics have changed since Covid. Certainly pay scale is an issue for entry level workers, but that is not the entire problem. I think this is one of the situations that has so many facets it is almost impossible to quantify. I do agree that, although of legislature did nothing to improve the minimum wage, workers are expecting to be valued more highly. I, for one, cannot afford not to work, but I am single with only my income to rely on so I am not in the best position to judge or clarify what is happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It isn’t just extra unemployment benefits that have allegedly kept people out of the workforce. Individuals making less than $75,000/year, and couples making less than $150,000 per year are receiving an extra $300 per month for every child under 6 years old, and $250 per month for older children. This began in July, and is expected to last through December (unless Congress extends it). If Congress doesn’t extend it, it will be interesting to see what effect this will have on the labor shortage after December.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, it seemed that when those extra unemployment benefits ended, it didn’t have much effect on people going back to work.

      It will be interesting to see what happens when the child benefits runs out…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Here in Massachusetts, people are still getting paid more from being laid off than they would going back to work. So, there is a work shortage. It makes me sick. Where is wrong and right in this picture? My parents and grandparents would want to take them behind the woodshed.

    I loved your modern rendition of the song. I was lucky enough to hear Peter, Paul, and Mary sing on stage, probably ’65 or ’66. So, I got a ukelele and learned to play the song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess a rational person would choose whatever option brings in the most money; so if that is through unemployment, then that is what they will choose. I think those extra payments need to stop.

      How nice that you got see Peter, Paul, and Mary perform live. They were terrific. And a ukelele!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I see the “Help Wanted” signs all over. So far, I haven’t been tempted to jump off of my moving horse (car) to rope one of these jobs. I appreciate your poetic wit. Now I know where I can seek some extra poetic inspiration when I need it. After all, I am sure your talent will work into a retirement gig, writing songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it seems like if anyone is looking for a job, they should be able to find one.

      and I can handle changing one word out of 100 in a song; beyond that, forget about it…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s