It’s Time to Reclaim the American Workplace

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Several reports from Silicon Valley describe some of America’s most storied workplaces as now cold, dark, and lifeless spaces.  

This shouldn’t be a surprise. The Bay Area’s hotbed of innovation has, in recent years, become a prime dispenser of toxic workplace ideas. You know, things like ditching accomplishment and merit and promoting skin color and gender preference.  


It’s not just the tech sector. There are hundreds of examples, like Boeing, where insiders say the company’s workforce has “lost the love of building airplanes.” What’s replaced that? DEI. “It is the thing you embrace if you want to get ahead. It became a means to power.”  

A 25-year National Public Radio senior business editor wrote in the Free Press that “diversity—on our staff and in our audience—was the overriding mission” and that “Race and identity became paramount in nearly every aspect of the workplace.”   

The net effect is that these ideas have hollowed out America’s workplaces, displacing the value of work with the value of one’s demographics.   

And America’s workers are suffering for it.  

Look at Gen Z – America’s up-and-coming workforce. Study after study finds that the workplace is causing Gen Z tremendous mental health issues.    

One study found that 55% of Gen Z “report having received a diagnosis and/or treatment for a mental illness at work.” According to the Freedom Economy Index (FEI) survey of 80,000 small business owners, 71% of employers say Gen Z are the most likely group to have a workplace mental health issue, and 62% say Gen Zers are the most likely to cause division and toxicity in the workplace.  

Gen Z should be the canary in the coal mine. Is it any wonder that phrases like “quiet quitting” and “the great resignation” have become a thing? 


What ails the American workplace? Simple: the loss of focus on why work matters. Merit, accomplishment, personal growth, and achievement have been displaced by skin color, gender, and sexual preference.   

Now, nobody is happy.   

Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace survey found that 60% of workers are emotionally detached at work, 50% feel stressed daily at their jobs, 41% say they are worried, 22% are sad, and 18% are angry. Nineteen percent describe themselves as being downright “miserable.”   

Gen Zers are reacting by quitting—over and over again. Bankrate’s 2023 job seeker survey found that Gen Zers are more likely to quit their jobs in the first year than any other generation.   

The solution?    

Employers must reclaim the American workplace with an understanding that work is meaningful and a part of what makes us who we are. Simply, work has worth.   

The up-and-coming generation needs to learn these truths. And employers must return to a system that rewards accomplishment and excellence in the workplace, following the old adage that “what you subsidize, you get more of.”  

This starts by ending the DEI madness, which has been one of the biggest drivers of workplace divineness and dissatisfaction. As long as workers are treated differently based on race and gender, there cannot be a true restoration of a merit-based American workplace. 


From recent news reports, it looks like the American people are beginning to understand. In recent months, there’s been a growing call from workplaces, newsrooms, social media, and centers of higher learning (yes – even them) that DEI isn’t delivering on its promises.  

But ending DEI alone won’t get the job done.  America has an entire generation of workers who need to learn about the meaning and value of work. Workplace culture must be strong and nurturing, with available mentors and abundant training and other resources.  

Mission alignment is also critical. Inspiring Gen Z with the goals and aspirations of the company is essential to helping them take greater pride in their accomplishments.   

Why does Apple make iPhones? To improve, with better means of communication, the quality of people’s lives across the globe. Why does Tesla make electric cars? To usher in the next generation of travel for people throughout the planet. Why does Boeing make airplanes? To help businesses and families connect, no matter how far apart their geographies. None of these inspiring missions involve dividing people by gender or skin color.  

America has long been known as the land of opportunity. The American free market was considered unique in its first 200 years, bringing opportunity and prosperity to people of all classes, regardless of ancestry.     


Through the free market, Americans have invented more life-changing technology than any other nation in history. Ideas created in the workplace thrived and grew because of the meritocracy that leveled the playing field.   

The American marketplace must rediscover these truths – that all men and women are created equal. The workplace must treat them as such, restoring the joy of work that comes with accomplishment and merit.    

If you give Gen Z this fertile soil in which to plant their careers, there’s no limit to what they can accomplish. 



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