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Mike Tasos: Businesses can’t find people to work for them
Mike Tasos

I’m not kidding folks, we’ve got a genuine, full-blown crisis in America.

Forget the loonies in Washington (protesters and liberal Senators), NFL kneelers, gubernatorial candidates throwing haymakers at one another, this problem could bring us to our knees.

Instead of: “Sir, can I have a job?” many business owners, trying to serve customers and sell an excellent product, have seen millennials and others channel their inner Johnny Paycheck with a “Take the Job and Shove it,” mantra.

Don’t believe me? Think back a few years when there was someone else living in the White House. Jobs were scarce. Make that, they were disappearing.

I got caught up in the mess when a product wasn’t approved by the FDA and I was handed my walking papers on Dec. 24. Having worked since I was 14, the putrid economy and job market hit home when, for the first time in my life I was on the public dole.

I was drawing unemployment, where a worker taught us poor souls how to interview for a job. In my 30 years as a manager, hiring and recruiting talented salespeople was a forte. 

I said a silent prayer (or maybe I yelled it) asking God to give me another chance. This was after a fellow student raised his hand and drawled: “I got a question. Pacifically (he said that), who do I need to talk to about the state paying for my truck-drivin’ lessons?”

I stifled a laugh and said: “Good question, Leroy. I was just about to ask that myself.”

Today’s job market is like the Wild West. It’s wide open and there is a dearth of candidates with degrees who can afford to hold their noses and make a stink face if they don’t feel the offer is sweet enough. 

As for me, I’ve been with my current company for going on 10 years. I started a job for far less salary, but in retrospect, it was a great move and the earnings have increased along with solid performance by my team. 

I recently got an up-close-and-personal glimpse of how frustrating the worker shortage is impacting small businesses. Ivan, from Coco’s Cuban, serves a fantastic Cuban sandwich. You walk in, and you might think you’re on Calle Ocho in Miami. It’s got everything except guys in guayabera shirts playing dominoes and smoking cigars. Oh, and there are no shootings.

Ivan has had a devil of a time getting anyone to work. At least work steadily. Apparently, the younger workers aren’t real compatible with showing up on a regular basis.

Then there’s poor Tony at Sal’s Place on the square. I described the frustration from a previous visit. Tony even had to close shop to train a fresh staff. 

I went back to Sal’s and am glad I did. My first visit was a swing and a miss. Last Friday, Sal’s hit it out of the park. 

Again, we only have two other restaurants besides Sal’s in downtown Cumming. My bet is if Tony can keep a staff, the place will be packed.

There might be a debate raging at some homes. Some parents may not want a teenager to work a few hours at a job, for fear of grades suffering and not having enough social time.

A study done at The Mike Tasos College of Hard Knocks revealed: One skill that is taught sparingly, if at all in high school is time management. A teen who works learns the value of having their own money, how to make time to study and gets them off Fortnite. 

And make no mistake, teenagers will always find time for mischief, mayhem and driving parents to the brink.

There are endless opportunities out there. And I’m not sure general business is offered any more. I still remember Mrs. Slick who taught us how to balance a checkbook. I know the boys have no idea how to balance a checkbook because they have no checks. Don’t need ‘em.

And before you wonder: Yes, I still pay some bills with checks. 

Let’s put our heads together. How tough, yet valuable, would it be for school administrators and employers getting together and formulating a plan to offer credit for students who work. A good work evaluation equals a good grade. The proprietors teach the kids, who learn and make some money.

This might be going on now, but it appears to be as scarce as the teenage worker force. 

Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday. Mrs. Slick was old back then, but a good sport.  He estimates asking her at least 10 times if she was related to Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane. He asked her if she could sing “Somebody to Love” or “White Rabbit” for the class. She just looked at him and shook her head in pity. Comments can be sent to He is also on Facebook.