The Big Shutdown of 2021

Bob Goldman on

If you're having a run of really awful Bumble dates, don't blame your bad luck, or your decision to use photos of Khloe Kardashian or Chris Hemsworth on your profile. It's not you, it's your app.

In the middle of June, the dating colossus shut down for a week. It was part of a company-sponsored program to reduce burnout among its badly toasted employees. The same explanation can be applied to the reason why the only offer you received from LinkedIn in April was not based on your Harvard MBA, but the job site's description of your last position as a goat herder in New Mexico.

You guessed it! LinkedIn shut down for a week in April, allowing its employees to frolic while job hunters sat on their tuffets, waiting for the company to fix the glitches in their resumes.

And these are just two of the many companies that changed their focus from "How much work can we squeeze out of these slackers?" to "How much free time can we throw at these slackers?"

As Elon Musk so wisely said to me when we played pickleball at the Ale and Quail Club, "It's a hell of a way to run a railroad."

That workers are burning up and burning out is no secret. According to a recent Gallup Poll, "61% of women and 52% of men feel stressed on a typical day, both up from before the pandemic."


I gleaned this factoid from The Washington Post, which recently ran the Soo Youn article, "American workers are exhausted and burned out -- and some employees are taking notice."

It was COVID-19, of course. No surprise that the prospect of an early death tipped the scale for employees who had previously maintained a level of moderate unhappiness to become employees who are thinking, "I need to get the hell out of this job before I go totally moo-moo-goo-goo!"

What is surprising is that their employers actually listened.

Extra vacation days helped, but you know how it feels when you come back from the talcum-powder beaches of Bongo-Bongo to find a mountain of unanswered emails and threatening phone messages. For this reason, entire companies started closing up shop, so there was no one to send those annoying emails or receive those unsettling voicemail messages.


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