If you've been out and about in Lawton, Fort Sill lately you've probably already noticed longer waits in restaurants and a lack of customer service in most local stores and retail outlets. This is due to the staffing shortage that a lot of local and area businesses are struggling with. There are even some places in town that are having to shut down temporally for a day or two a week just to give what little staff they do have a much needed break. There's a sign on the door at Mike's Sports Grille announcing that they would be closed Tuesday to give the staff a break. Like many places they're having trouble finding people willing to work.

If you're looking for a job just about every place in town is hiring right now. So why are there so many jobs available right now? Some say it's due to the extra pandemic unemployment benefits people are getting. Basically they're making more money not working. Oklahoma will be ending the extra cash benefits coming up on Saturday, June 26th (06-26-21). The extra benefits include an additional $300.00 per week on top of the regular unemployment amounts. Governor Stitt has also offered a $1,200.00 bonus or incentive to the first 20,000 Oklahomans who find jobs and get off unemployment assistance.

Now that things are opening back up and going back to normal some businesses are facing a new challenge, getting staff or re-hiring positions that ended due to the pandemic. The big argument is that if state and Federal assistance and unemployment pays more than working, then employers should pay more and provide better salaries and a living wage. This is only true if you add in the extra benefits that were paid during the pandemic, the same can not be said for regular unemployment. Don't get me wrong, people should be paid and compensated for their time and efforts. However, expecting a lot more money from an employer without the skills, background, training and education necessary is completely unrealistic. In other words, paramedics and fry cooks shouldn't be paid the same amounts.

The old saying "It's hard to find good help" is especially true in 2021. I'm betting once those additional unemployment benefits are cancelled more people will return to work. It was a necessary thing at the time, but now that things have improved it's time to get back to work and earn a living. I know, I know, it's not a nice thing to say and it certainly isn't politically correct. But if you want more money try earning it! Get some training, education, develop skills and work your way towards your goals instead of expecting someone to paid for it. The hard truth is this: "Your income and quality of life is up to you. Everything is tied to the decisions you've made, or not made." So, if you don't like where you're at...Change it yourself!

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