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Thursday, January 9, 2014

The minimum wage job



Being paid minimum wage is a sure way to know the people you work for don't care or respect you. They'd pay less, but it's against the law.

Maybe the company you work for can't afford to pay more than minimum wage. That's only true if all the management also only gets minimum wage.

If minimum wage was such a good idea, your boss would work for it too.

Should companies that can't pay more the legal minimum wage deserve to exist? Are they badly run, or do they make a profit? Pay dividends?

Here's the thing that really freaks me out about minimum wage. Workers generally are not only paid badly, but also treated badly.

Maybe I'd accept a minimum wage job if the other perks were amazing: Full health care. Company car. Free meals cooked by professional chefs. Paid vacations in exotic locations. Free quality housing. Use of the company jet.

Nope. Odds are, if getting paid the minimum, your company treats you like crap in many other ways.

What about the nobility of work? Yeah, what about that? If it was so noble, it would be worth something, right?

Minimum wage jobs have changed. They used to be either jobs worked by kids living at home, or people at the bottom rung at a company they could move up in. My father-in-law started work at a gas station but worked his way up to being a company chemist. That kind of mobility is rare today.

Minimum wage jobs can be traps. By working two or three of them, you might scrape up enough money to survive. However, you don't have any extra time, money or energy to rise above that level. At one time it was possible to pay for college by working part time during the school year and during summer vacations. In real actual dollars, wages have gone down and education costs have skyrocketed.

Let's say you had a decent job that paid $20/hour. Then the job goes away. Maybe you collect unemployment for a while. Maybe you are too proud and take a minimum wage job because any work is better than no work. (that nobility of work thing again) Working that low paying job makes it harder to get another good one. Human resources have no respect for minimum wage workers so they will have no respect for you. They will think there is something wrong with you.

I've go no disrespect for people who work minimum wage. They get enough of that from everyone else.

If you are an adult trapped in a minimum wage job you have three choices. Do everything you can to get out. Everything. Learn a skill someone will pay money for. Start a business. Every spare moment you have should go towards that goal of a better job.

A second choice is to live in such a way that low wages are all you need to get by. Live in microhousing or shared housing, avoid having a car, garden -do everything to live as frugally as possible.

The third option is to just keep working those low wage jobs and hope for the best. Yeah, good luck with that.

-Sixbears


15 comments:

  1. What I think is laughable is wanting a $15 minimum wage. If you double the minimum wage, McDonald's will soon be charging $10 for a hamburger. How far do they think that $15 will go then?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know Gorges, but when the minimum wage went a lot further, everyone could afford a hamburger.

      Of course, the economy is different now. We don't build much here in the US anymore.

      Delete
  2. I don't agree. I believe some jobs are not even worth minimum wage. You should be paid for what your labor is worth, not what the government dictates.

    I started a nursery business in the early 2000's. We could not really afford to hire anyone but one person kept asking me for a job. I finally hired them part time. Then came the fact that I did everything legal. Matching everything I took from her check to send to the federal and state government. My husband and I took no salary. We barely broke even and put in 12 and 14 hour days. I had to pay this person almost $7.00 an hour just to water plants and put dirt in pots. That was it. When I tried to increase my prices to make up for what I was paying an employee, my sales fell. Then the economy went to crap and I closed the business in 2007. The only thing I got in 6 years was a Ford 150 truck I bought and paid for while I had my business. My employee ended up making more money than I and was treated very well. This person still remains a good friend. I have paid their garage bill to have their car repaired and just yesterday my husband and I went to her house and repaired busted water lines from our freeze here in Florida.

    I have worked jobs where the owner of the company did not draw a paycheck so the employees could get paid. I think some people and businesses are better than the category you have lumped them into.

    I agree with GS....You are not going to be very happy when you are paying $10.00 for a hamburger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Disagree if you'd like. That's fine. However, if more people were making good money, small businesses would have people to sell things to.

      It's a bit of a chicken and egg thing.

      Delete
  3. I don't think so. MC Donalds is not Old McDonalds .At 15$ no health care they do not make obscene profits for the slave masters.
    I know a beautiful mother who works two jobs and is for health care.She is hassled at her children school because she believes vaccines are a profit center for big Pharmaceutical and Doctors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At minimum wage, people use food stamps, WIC and many other government services. The government is making up the difference. Good welfare for big business.

      Delete
  4. One of the reasons that businesses struggle worldwide it high tax levels. Hidden taxes, permits etc etc all take their toll. Government never really shrinks and the US government is addicted to spending. Everything from pensions to pork barrel projects. The whole shebang needs cutting and cutting hard! State spending is the same. For every dollar robbed is a dollar less an employer has to spend on staff and investment. Slash hard abd a higher minimum wage would be easy to achieve. Mind you the public sector workers would be blubbering!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's complex. Automation has a huge impact too. Machines don't need wages or health care, but who'll buy the products if no one can earn a living?

      Delete
    2. In many european countries the taxes both open and hidden account for 60% of income. The ratio is not quite as high in the US but it is there. Halve it and people not reliant on the government teat will prosper, labour rates will rise. It's not complicated!

      Delete
  5. I think a worker should only be paid what he or she is worth to the employer, whether it be ten cents an hour or a hundred dollars an hour. No more and no less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As for myself I've refused jobs because it would cost me more money to go to work than to stay home.

      Delete
  6. Sixbear great post !!!!!! I have made no secrete i am 50 and any job i could get would be minimum wage to 12.00 an hour and part time.I will not do it !! I piddle and sell BBQ and make more.To most your readers this may seem ok but I CONTRIBUTE NOTHING i have become a non performing body but i take care of myself and my family.Here is a fact only 58 out of 100 people are employed.of the 58% over 15% are minimum wage.I have a friend who is a HR man for a large company.If you are hired by him and your last job was minimun wage he pays 800 a hour if it was over 10$ he startes you at 11$ company policy.

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  7. Sorry for ranting in your comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No need to say sorry. I think you get it. Rant away. :)

      Delete
  8. Washington state just enacted their $15.00 an hour jobs at SeaTac the airport in and around Seattle it takes more than $15.00 an hour to live in any part of Seattle if one wants to eat each day, one cannot purchase a fixer upper in Seattle for at least $325.000 and I mean fixer upper it is more expensive than say a burb of San Francisco that has $10.00 an hour for wages, in Washington state the minimum wage is $9.32 an hour the highest in all of the USA but many busineeses won't hire many people anymore, mostly part time even MacDonalds, the sense of entitlement by the very rich is just a bunch of CRAP, serious food hunger is here in our sweet tiny county, serious, I know I help out at a pantry a lot, I buy the food as I can turkeys, pork and sometimes, fish and chicken the people who stop by work many jobs and still have no money for food after they pay their gasoline nearly $4.00 a gallon I might add and rent and utilities, it is 200 plus days of inclement weather and these people are working like hell at jobs that pay little money if at best...so when people say that minimum wage at $15.00 is too much the cost of hunger and poverty to one's body & mind and soul is even higher... I love your blog you are fairminded and compassionate, as for uniforms for jobs I am with you on that, I worked like hell for the federal govt. and I wore maybe 3 outfits tops always the same, that was all I could afford and be married have a baby (one) pay for our mtg, utilities, food and still help the poor, I never paid much mind to clothing, I was always neat and clean, hair cut nicely, shoes that were comfy and immaculate clothing, I just never bought much..My hubs worked retail had to have aprons,shirts white, pants sturdy as hell and shoes that lasted, we paid union dues forever and now the union is mentioning something about the pension fund and its draining, oh, vey, one just does the best one can and hope for the best..ciao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete