The "minimum wage job" misconception

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So I've been in a few conversation with some of my acquaintances, who seem to be downright determined to keep claiming that only heavy physical labor and McDonald's are "minimum wage". And thus, that working for minimum wage is something to be looked down on and ridiculed. The real kicker comes from the fact that several of those people never actually had to work to survive...sure, they've done some part-time jobs, but as weird as it sounds, those were actually leisure activities for them, not a matter of survival.

But these days, the employers are going to great lengths to pay you as little as possible and even try to guilt trip you into appreciating it.

Bit of a rant post, but just throwing it out there, maybe I get some intelligent discussion on just what "minimum wage" represents these days. Because surely it's not "the jobs nobody wants to do". If you ask me, those jobs should be paid a lot more than minimum wage...cause people need incentives to do jobs nobody wants to do.

At least where I live, minimum wage jobs are normally some combination of

A. Entry level.
B. Unpleasant, but not dangerous/noxious.
C. Large, or very small, business focussed.
D. Low skill.
E. Non essential.

So, for example, working in fast food... pretty much ticks all of them.

Working as a Garbage Collector, however, occupies many of them but is essential and could probably be considered dangerous and noxious.

They are also often minimum wage, because they always have been, and therefore are worthless, and therefore should remain so.. it's circular logic.

It's interesting to note that people still demand perfect service with a constant smile from minimum wage workers.

Well, in Sweden we don't have a minimum-wage, so around here it doesn't actually mean anything. But then again, we also have very high salaries on average here.

I do, however, feel quite bothered by the fact that some of the most important jobs are the ones paid the least. For instance, nurses and teachers, which both are employed by the local government, which should know better. Really, there is an extreme lack of teachers in Sweden, because nobody wants to study for some five years only to end up with a salary that you could top by mopping the floors in an apartment building. Well, not quite, but you get the idea.

Really, salaries for teachers, which are paid for by the government, should never have that problem. Surely, people responsible for educating our children are among the very last we should ever be cheap with, aren't they?

Craorach:
Working as a Garbage Collector, however, occupies many of them but is essential and could probably be considered dangerous and noxious.

That's something that is quite odd; around here, anyone, including youngsters needing a job for the summer, are allowed to work at the Recycling Centres. That job involves heavy lifting, working around heavy machinery, and handling very dangerous chemicals. Really, if someone comes by to drop off a few packages of concentrated sulphuric acid, you're just supposed to grab them and put them in the container for dangerous substances, something that actually happened to me, and nobody so much as batted an eye. And no, nobody told me in advance that I'd be expected to dispose of dangerous chemicals.

One of the problems i see with minimum wage jobs are that they are often dangerous to your health. This is disturbing as there is little incentive for your employer to offer health insurance. So if you are hurt on the job or get sick on the job, you are screwed as you don't make enough to pay for it.

Its one of the reasons why I push for universal health care is to protect the people who make minimum wage. Usually really dangerous jobs pay more than minimum wage, but not always enough to pay for insurance

Ridiculed? I have respect for anyone who works, especially if they work full time. I don't look down on anyone who goes out and works. Your acquaintances sound like spoiled brats.

Vegosiux:

Bit of a rant post, but just throwing it out there, maybe I get some intelligent discussion on just what "minimum wage" represents these days. Because surely it's not "the jobs nobody wants to do". If you ask me, those jobs should be paid a lot more than minimum wage...cause people need incentives to do jobs nobody wants to do.

I respect anyone working a difficult job, but you can't focus solely on two aspects of a class of jobs (low pay, unpleasant work) and conclude that something is off. If we assume all other aspects are equal, but one job is more dangerous or unpleasant than another, then that one should be making more money. Otherwise, why would anyone work there? But of course, there are other factors like training and skills required for the job, and the state of the job market as a whole.

kingpocky:

Vegosiux:

Bit of a rant post, but just throwing it out there, maybe I get some intelligent discussion on just what "minimum wage" represents these days. Because surely it's not "the jobs nobody wants to do". If you ask me, those jobs should be paid a lot more than minimum wage...cause people need incentives to do jobs nobody wants to do.

I respect anyone working a difficult job, but you can't focus solely on two aspects of a class of jobs (low pay, unpleasant work) and conclude that something is off. If we assume all other aspects are equal, but one job is more dangerous or unpleasant than another, then that one should be making more money. Otherwise, why would anyone work there? But of course, there are other factors like training and skills required for the job, and the state of the job market as a whole.

Well, my rant was more about the fact that employers these days go to great lengths to pay minimum wage for just about everything, including stuff like tech support, security, journalism and so on, and people in gilded cages not getting that fact. So no, a "minimum wage job" isn't simply a fast food restaurant, even if spoiled kids still assume so.

Vegosiux:

kingpocky:

Vegosiux:

Bit of a rant post, but just throwing it out there, maybe I get some intelligent discussion on just what "minimum wage" represents these days. Because surely it's not "the jobs nobody wants to do". If you ask me, those jobs should be paid a lot more than minimum wage...cause people need incentives to do jobs nobody wants to do.

I respect anyone working a difficult job, but you can't focus solely on two aspects of a class of jobs (low pay, unpleasant work) and conclude that something is off. If we assume all other aspects are equal, but one job is more dangerous or unpleasant than another, then that one should be making more money. Otherwise, why would anyone work there? But of course, there are other factors like training and skills required for the job, and the state of the job market as a whole.

Well, my rant was more about the fact that employers these days go to great lengths to pay minimum wage for just about everything, including stuff like tech support, security, journalism and so on. So no, a "minimum wage job" isn't simply a fast food restaurant, even if spoiled kids still assume so.

odd every minimum wage job i had was food related, mainly large chains like McDonald and burger king. my job as waiter paid below minimum but i made around 80-150$ in tips a night so it was balanced out quite well. when i worked landscaping i made 9$ an hour. and my friend who works at a grocery store gets paid 8.25$ an hour which is above the US minimum. the reason minimum wage is generally looked down upon is that the work it self is just boring and tedious. i often found it unreasonable, it was not hard work but was it boring. i never heard of tech support jobs paying minimum, security i know for sure pays more then minimum, i have no idea about journalism though.

Craorach:
At least where I live, minimum wage jobs are normally some combination of

A. Entry level.
B. Unpleasant, but not dangerous/noxious.
D. Low skill.
E. Non essential.

That's a good list. These jobs are min wage because they can take anyone, few if any skills required. It doesn't pay because anyone with skills would take something better.

Around me I'd add to the list foodservice/barservice staff. Both of whom work for a special lower min wage but are supposed to live off of tips.

I would comment that I would NEVER look down on someone for having a min wage job. I respect them for their efforts and not being the "sit on your ass and collect welfare" type. We each do the jobs we can do, and can find. We can't always find the job we want, and lets face it, not everyone is qualified to be the $1mil/year salary woman.

Kendarik:

Craorach:
At least where I live, minimum wage jobs are normally some combination of

A. Entry level.
B. Unpleasant, but not dangerous/noxious.
D. Low skill.
E. Non essential.

That's a good list. These jobs are min wage because they can take anyone, few if any skills required. It doesn't pay because anyone with skills would take something better.

Around me I'd add to the list foodservice/barservice staff. Both of whom work for a special lower min wage but are supposed to live off of tips.

I would comment that I would NEVER look down on someone for having a min wage job. I respect them for their efforts and not being the "sit on your ass and collect welfare" type. We each do the jobs we can do, and can find. We can't always find the job we want, and lets face it, not everyone is qualified to be the $1mil/year salary woman.

Food/bar service.. hell, any service industry, pretty much fall into those by default. Even where they are not.. disgustingly, imo... required to get tips to make their living, they are minimum wage jobs unless you can get into something fancy.

I worked for a fast food company for years, barely minimum wage, long antisocial hours, dangerous equipment, poor atmosphere and constant abuse.

To be honest, I don't have a lot of respect for the job of flipping burgers. That doesn't mean I disrespect the people who flip burgers. I've had my time in crappy, demeaning jobs just to pay for my schooling, getting mocked by wealthier people who never had to worry about greeting customers at Wal-Mart just so they can afford another semester of classes. So yeah, I think minimum wage jobs are crap. But that doesn't mean the people who work them are crap. Especially in the present economy, you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm extremely fortunate that I will probably never have to do those jobs again (though I was actually in a position where I aspired to one of them this spring while I was unemployed). If someone else isn't as fortunate as I am and has to work one of those jobs, well, that doesn't necessarily say anything about them. It only really says something about their circumstances, which aren't always a person's fault.

Vegosiux:
Because surely it's not "the jobs nobody wants to do". If you ask me, those jobs should be paid a lot more than minimum wage...cause people need incentives to do jobs nobody wants to do.

People not wanting to do the jobs is a factor, but a bigger factor I think is people's ability to do the job and people's ability to compete for better jobs.

The reason illegal immigrants get paid peanuts for farm work isn't because everyone wants to do farm work. It's because just about anyone can do it, so workers who want more are easily replaced, and because the people whom they recruit from are often unable to take better jobs. So basically, they're stuck with it.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Ridiculed? I have respect for anyone who works, especially if they work full time. I don't look down on anyone who goes out and works. Your acquaintances sound like spoiled brats.

In my experience, a large percentage of the "Occupy Movement" fall into that category. The "I have a degree so therefor I 'deserve' a high paying job". There are many jobs but much of the last couple of generations of kids believe that anyone who takes those jobs are worthless.

However, this is only a modern (last 30 years or so) view. In the past people were not looked down upon for not having a degree because in the past only the rich had degrees (they were the only ones who could afford them). Anyone could start a business with no degree (course things like taxes and bank loans were simpler).

In general, I agree with you. Anyone who is working full-time (or is actively looking for a job) deserves our respect.

EDIT: I work a job in the service industry. But my customers treat me very well. Why? Because I am a Dietary Aid (Not CNA cert.), working in a nursing home. All of my customers come from the greatest generation and are generally respectful of their fellow man or woman. I love the elderly because of their old world courtesies. Ah, to have been born 50 years sooner.

Kendarik:

Craorach:
At least where I live, minimum wage jobs are normally some combination of

A. Entry level.
B. Unpleasant, but not dangerous/noxious.
D. Low skill.
E. Non essential.

That's a good list. These jobs are min wage because they can take anyone, few if any skills required. It doesn't pay because anyone with skills would take something better.

Around me I'd add to the list foodservice/barservice staff. Both of whom work for a special lower min wage but are supposed to live off of tips.

I would comment that I would NEVER look down on someone for having a min wage job. I respect them for their efforts and not being the "sit on your ass and collect welfare" type. We each do the jobs we can do, and can find. We can't always find the job we want, and lets face it, not everyone is qualified to be the $1mil/year salary woman.

Sorry, but I'm going to have to take issue with your "sit on your ass and collect welfare" comment. People keep repeating statements like this as if they're gospel, but they're fundamentally incorrect - most recipients of welfare work, they simply don't earn enough for them and their dependents to live on. On top of that, fraud rates(ie, the proportion of welfare recipients who are undeserving but game the system) are typically very low - in the UK for example, more money is lost to clerical error than to benefit fraud. The vast majority of those who receive benefits for an extended period are either disabled, and so cannot be counted when considering this sort of issue, and the rest which are sometimes categorised as "long-term unemployed" are not typically there by choice.

Perhaps I'm overly sensitive to this issue at the moment thanks to the British Tory government currently conspiring with their chums in the City to carve up our public services and welfare state to sell off for their own gain, but the whole argument really irritates the shit out of me. Righties, Libertarians, or Liberal Free Marketeers all advocate for policies to be enacted, and those policies have consequences, such as a required rate of unemployment regardless of how well the economy as a whole is doing. Capitalist business practices combined with the drastic reduction in education funding such people often seem to support devastate whole communities, leaving them ridden with poverty and crime, and then the very people who advocated for the policies which caused this misery will blame those who were victimised by it for having the audacity to request that society ensure they don't starve to death or have to sleep in a doorway.

Poverty is every bit as much a product of capitalist economics as profit; why are advocates of the system so quick to claim responsibility for one, and so desperate to avoid being responsible for the other?

I can say that, at least where I live, people seem to getting paid less than they should. Even though the recession has been much lighter in Canada, it seems to me that a lot of companies are using this as an excuse to pay fully, sometimes over-qualified people less than they deserve. A lot of entry level jobs I have been looking at pay anywhere from 30,000 to 35,000 a year (not bad if you're single, but not great either at least compared to a few years ago) and require a few years practical experience. Makes going to college look like a good idea now.

Mind you, that is only in this specific city (Ottawa) and in my specific field, so it might be better elsewhere. Truth is, being overqualified and trying to enter into a field during a recession is a really bad thing to be doing, as I am finding out. This city can be a bit of an anomaly thanks to the whole French thing, but I am still finding it to be obnoxious none-the-less.

Magichead:

Kendarik:

Craorach:
At least where I live, minimum wage jobs are normally some combination of

A. Entry level.
B. Unpleasant, but not dangerous/noxious.
D. Low skill.
E. Non essential.

That's a good list. These jobs are min wage because they can take anyone, few if any skills required. It doesn't pay because anyone with skills would take something better.

Around me I'd add to the list foodservice/barservice staff. Both of whom work for a special lower min wage but are supposed to live off of tips.

I would comment that I would NEVER look down on someone for having a min wage job. I respect them for their efforts and not being the "sit on your ass and collect welfare" type. We each do the jobs we can do, and can find. We can't always find the job we want, and lets face it, not everyone is qualified to be the $1mil/year salary woman.

Sorry, but I'm going to have to take issue with your "sit on your ass and collect welfare" comment. People keep repeating statements like this as if they're gospel, but they're fundamentally incorrect - most recipients of welfare work, they simply don't earn enough for them and their dependents to live on.

First off you put words in my mouth. I never said everyone on welfare is a bum. I said people who choose to work instead of sitting on their asses are to be respected. Just because apples are fruits doesn't mean I said fruits are apples. Now climb back down off that high horse lol.

As for most people on welfare having jobs, not where I live. If you have a job, you aren't allowed on welfare, they take away your welfare cheque $ for $ after the tiny amount you earn. When they put that rule into effect my mother, who is on disability, had to actually give up her part time job because of that rule.

chewbacca1010:
I can say that, at least where I live, people seem to getting paid less than they should. Even though the recession has been much lighter in Canada, it seems to me that a lot of companies are using this as an excuse to pay fully, sometimes over-qualified people less than they deserve. A lot of entry level jobs I have been looking at pay anywhere from 30,000 to 35,000 a year (not bad if you're single, but not great either at least compared to a few years ago) and require a few years practical experience. Makes going to college look like a good idea now

I think this is true, some companies are definitely taking advantage of the US problems to cut back here even if they are in good health.

It's also true some of our past labour costs were out of control.

Vegosiux:
-snip-

When you're in junior high, everybody looks down on those little middle school kids who act stupid and don't know anything. When you're in high school, everybody looks down on those little junior high kids who think they're the shit. When you're in college, everybody looks down on the high school kids and how easy they've got it. I think that's the sort of thing that's going on. Unless you are so privileged that you didn't have to pick up a job in high school or college, pretty much everybody has had at least one of those entry level, minimum wage jobs at some point during their life.

Then after some time most of them manage to move up in the world, taking on "careers" and moving up into higher payscales. Once they get those sorts of jobs the way they see it, they've done their time and they never want to go back to those other jobs. They've worked passed that, they've earned that better job with higher pay. Some people even get a bit egotistical after that stage, going so far as to see that type of labor and the people who do it as beneath them. Which, if you think about it, is also exactly what happens to a lot of middle schoolers hit junior high, and when junior highers hit high school.

That arrogance stays with them throughout life, and so it gets imprinted on their children as they grow up. And it may not be just the arrogance, it could also be they simply don't want to see their children to have to put up with the same bothersome jobs. In any case, I think that's what is happening with this generation, because like you I'm seeing a lot of that in teenagers and college students now. Even Cracked has noticed this mentality floating around, and sees the parents as the cause of it. We grew up with them telling us all the time "you don't want to grow up and end up flipping burgers at McDonalds." And a lot of us took them at their word, to the point where many have become convinced that there's some sort of shame or dishonor in taking that sort of a job. As though not having a job at all is better than working at a fast food joint or WalMart. Which isn't what our parents were trying to tell us at all, but that's how many have taken it.

Minimum wage jobs right now seem to be entry/low level jobs where employers just need a warm body. The majority of people can do it and are easily replaced.

Craorach:

E. Non essential.

Quick question, do you mean the job itself is non-essential or the personal are non-essential(i.e. easily replaced, doesn't matter who does it)?

Minimum wage in the US is pretty fucked up to begin with because compared to most of the developed world it is pretty low. Just take a look at the minimum wage as a % of GDP per capita in similarly developed countries with a national minimum wage.

Australia - 52%
France - 53%
Netherlands - 48%
UK - 66%
US - 33%

There is also a large gap between median income and the minimum wage in the US. In 2005 for example the minimum wage in Australia was 58% of the median wage, 45% in the UK and 34% in the US. It is a similar story when compared to the average wage.

Minimum wage is the declaration that a persons time is worth a certain amount of money and wages above the minimum wage are because of the skills a person has. When you have a low minimum wage there is a stigma of worthlessness attached to it.

crudus:
Minimum wage jobs right now seem to be entry/low level jobs where employers just need a warm body. The majority of people can do it and are easily replaced.

Craorach:

E. Non essential.

Quick question, do you mean the job itself is non-essential or the personal are non-essential(i.e. easily replaced, doesn't matter who does it)?

Both, I suppose.

The companies that pay low wages tend to view staff as easily replaced.

The jobs they are doing are very rarely essential to the function of society.

chewbacca1010:
A lot of entry level jobs I have been looking at pay anywhere from 30,000 to 35,000 a year (not bad if you're single, but not great either at least compared to a few years ago) and require a few years practical experience. Makes going to college look like a good idea now.

And this is why the degree has lost value, people getting one just for the sake of it...

Gilhelmi:
In my experience, a large percentage of the "Occupy Movement" fall into that category. The "I have a degree so therefor I 'deserve' a high paying job". There are many jobs but much of the last couple of generations of kids believe that anyone who takes those jobs are worthless.

Well, that's the story, isn't it?

"Spend many thousands of dollars and several years working hard to get a degree, or you'll end up flipping burgers!"

So they do that, and the only jobs they can get involve flipping burgers and they're pissed off. I can sympathise with the painful realisation they've been lied to, but they've taken it upon themselves speak on behalf of lots of people, many much worse off than them they've not worried about until then.

pyrate:
Minimum wage in the US is pretty fucked up to begin with because compared to most of the developed world it is pretty low. Just take a look at the minimum wage as a % of GDP per capita in similarly developed countries with a national minimum wage.

Australia - 52%
France - 53%
Netherlands - 48%
UK - 66%
US - 33%

There is also a large gap between median income and the minimum wage in the US. In 2005 for example the minimum wage in Australia was 58% of the median wage, 45% in the UK and 34% in the US. It is a similar story when compared to the average wage.

Minimum wage is the declaration that a persons time is worth a certain amount of money and wages above the minimum wage are because of the skills a person has. When you have a low minimum wage there is a stigma of worthlessness attached to it.

Germany - 0%. Lol.

OT: We dont even have a minimum wage around here.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Germany - 0%. Lol.
OT: We dont even have a minimum wage around here.

Still there doesn't seem to be any serious problems with exploitative payment. None big enough to make it across the borders as far as media are concerned.

That's also the main argument opponens of a legally binding minimum wage provide, that it's not a problem.

Still, even if, it's no perfect solution. Our minimum wage lead to ways to dodge it. The sports centre where I teach for instance hires promotion workers, but then forces them to sign a volunteer agreement. They then get a volunteer's fee (€ 4 an hour) are asked to declare twice as many hours as they've worked. ...thus committing fraud for which they can be punished, but they're not informed of that, and obviously too stupid to figure out for themselves.

Another example is new post agencies. They've effectively lowered wages by not hiring people, but instead insisting they are freelancers. They get paid by the piece, something which comes down to some € 5 an hour (looking at time invested vs pay, I did that for a few weeks). Well below the minimum wage for everyone, except children. That freelancer-exploitation structure is also common in other businesses such as unscrupulous callcentres or phone advertising companies. Also they often have (illegal) terms such as a minimum number of succesfull sales, or they get a pay deduction.

And it works, because people are stupid and willing to let themselves be exploited. One telephone call to the Labour Inspection Service and the company gets fined to hell and back, but for some reason none of the people getting exploited have that idea.

Kendarik:

Magichead:

Kendarik:

That's a good list. These jobs are min wage because they can take anyone, few if any skills required. It doesn't pay because anyone with skills would take something better.

Around me I'd add to the list foodservice/barservice staff. Both of whom work for a special lower min wage but are supposed to live off of tips.

I would comment that I would NEVER look down on someone for having a min wage job. I respect them for their efforts and not being the "sit on your ass and collect welfare" type. We each do the jobs we can do, and can find. We can't always find the job we want, and lets face it, not everyone is qualified to be the $1mil/year salary woman.

Sorry, but I'm going to have to take issue with your "sit on your ass and collect welfare" comment. People keep repeating statements like this as if they're gospel, but they're fundamentally incorrect - most recipients of welfare work, they simply don't earn enough for them and their dependents to live on.

First off you put words in my mouth. I never said everyone on welfare is a bum. I said people who choose to work instead of sitting on their asses are to be respected. Just because apples are fruits doesn't mean I said fruits are apples. Now climb back down off that high horse lol.

As for most people on welfare having jobs, not where I live. If you have a job, you aren't allowed on welfare, they take away your welfare cheque $ for $ after the tiny amount you earn. When they put that rule into effect my mother, who is on disability, had to actually give up her part time job because of that rule.

No, you didn't, but that is what the phrase implies, and as I said, I'm tired of such sentiments being repeated endlessly as if they're factual.

Your second point rests, I fear, on a distinction between the UK and US understandings of the term "welfare". When I discuss "welfare", I am using shorthand for the welfare state, ie, the combined total of all benefits, supports, and entitlements funded through government taxation or insurances. You're talking about what I would call "jobseeker's allowance", a specific form of welfare. When you take the welfare budget as a whole; jobseekers, disability, net-benefit tax credits for low income earners, medical care and so on, the largest costs go, in order; the elderly > the working poor > the disabled >>>>> clerical errors >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> fraud.

By definition, unemployment benefits would not be payed to the employed. Nonetheless, unemployment benefits still account for far less of a nation state's expenditure on welfare than is commonly held to be the case, and is implied to be the case in the rhetoric of certain political groups or social classes, and further still the amount of government money which is lost making payments to the undeserving is a tiny proportion of the whole. Yet, it is this tiny percentage which is used as the measure of the success of a welfare state in the political arena and the media, and when we carelessly throw around comments about lazy people welching off the system, we are feeding that imprecise rhetoric.

Magichead:

Kendarik:

Magichead:

Sorry, but I'm going to have to take issue with your "sit on your ass and collect welfare" comment. People keep repeating statements like this as if they're gospel, but they're fundamentally incorrect - most recipients of welfare work, they simply don't earn enough for them and their dependents to live on.

First off you put words in my mouth. I never said everyone on welfare is a bum. I said people who choose to work instead of sitting on their asses are to be respected. Just because apples are fruits doesn't mean I said fruits are apples. Now climb back down off that high horse lol.

As for most people on welfare having jobs, not where I live. If you have a job, you aren't allowed on welfare, they take away your welfare cheque $ for $ after the tiny amount you earn. When they put that rule into effect my mother, who is on disability, had to actually give up her part time job because of that rule.

No, you didn't, but that is what the phrase implies, and as I said, I'm tired of such sentiments being repeated endlessly as if they're factual.

The phrase implies that in your head only. You are reading things into there that I never said, never meant, and require a leap of logic to derive from my statement. You are oversensitive and looking to jump on this.

Your second point rests, I fear, on a distinction between the UK and US understandings of the term "welfare". When I discuss "welfare", I am using shorthand for the welfare state, ie, the combined total of all benefits, supports, and entitlements funded through government taxation or insurances. You're talking about what I would call "jobseeker's allowance", a specific form of welfare. When you take the welfare budget as a whole; jobseekers, disability, net-benefit tax credits for low income earners, medical care and so on, the largest costs go, in order; the elderly > the working poor > the disabled >>>>> clerical errors >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> fraud.

By definition, unemployment benefits would not be payed to the employed. Nonetheless, unemployment benefits still account for far less of a nation state's expenditure on welfare than is commonly held to be the case, and is implied to be the case in the rhetoric of certain political groups or social classes, and further still the amount of government money which is lost making payments to the undeserving is a tiny proportion of the whole. Yet, it is this tiny percentage which is used as the measure of the success of a welfare state in the political arena and the media, and when we carelessly throw around comments about lazy people welching off the system, we are feeding that imprecise rhetoric.

We also have "employment" or "unemployment" insurance that covers people when they lose their job. Welfare is separate from that. By definition welfare here is for people not collecting income (beyond a tiny amount) from any other source.

Only you were making careless comments about lazy people welching off the system.

thaluikhain:

Gilhelmi:
In my experience, a large percentage of the "Occupy Movement" fall into that category. The "I have a degree so therefor I 'deserve' a high paying job". There are many jobs but much of the last couple of generations of kids believe that anyone who takes those jobs are worthless.

Well, that's the story, isn't it?

"Spend many thousands of dollars and several years working hard to get a degree, or you'll end up flipping burgers!"

So they do that, and the only jobs they can get involve flipping burgers and they're pissed off. I can sympathize with the painful realization they've been lied to, but they've taken it upon themselves speak on behalf of lots of people, many much worse off than them they've not worried about until then.

I forgot that they were lied to. No one ever told me that, my parents told me to pursue whatever job I wanted. All I want is a small business selling comics, video game, table-top, and card games. I have a ten year plan to accomplish this, manly saving up 75,000 or more dollars while gaining experience going to various conventions and collectable shows selling comics I bought online (usually in lots).

I say all that because I am showing that everyone needs a plan. Say if my dream is never realized for whatever reason. I will still have a lot of money in the bank to retire on and take pride in my life of simple prosperity.

Gilhelmi:
I have a ten year plan to accomplish this, manly saving up 75,000 or more dollars while gaining experience going to various conventions and collectable shows selling comics I bought online (usually in lots)

And what about people who don't make enough money to ever save anything?

There is a problem with how easy the job is to get. Now it's damn near impossible to get a job at Burger King in my hometown thanks to a shit economy and nobody wanting to quit. So it's a matter of being homeless, or sucking it up and flipping burgers. I am rooting more towards being homless because the burger flipping is not available.

I've seen more jobs around minimum wage than not. Hell, the local police officers barely make above minimum wage.

Craorach:

Both, I suppose.

The companies that pay low wages tend to view staff as easily replaced.

The jobs they are doing are very rarely essential to the function of society.

Well, just think of how quickly the white collar world would fall apart if we didn't have trashman and fryer operators. Think about how quickly society would collapse if a game developer stops existing.

Shivarage:
And this is why the degree has lost value, people getting one just for the sake of it...

I agree. It has become a big problem in Canada as far as I can tell, because now, everyone gets their arts BA (which everyone and their uncle already has) and no one wants to go into the trades, even though people are desperately needed in them, it pays well, and you have decent job security to boot.

Sadly, universities, at least here, are businesses. Pay your fourty, put in four years, do the requirements and here is your piece of authenticated cardboard you can frame up. These days, I've heard way too much that the MA is the new BA. And I can tell you, an MA doesn't even mean that much in the real world anymore. Shame we cannot raise the standards, and make a degree mean something again.

Bad state of affairs everywhere, it seems.

Gilhelmi:
In my experience, a large percentage of the "Occupy Movement" fall into that category. The "I have a degree so therefor I 'deserve' a high paying job".

To be fair these people have been told by their parents and society for the last decade "Go to college/university so you won't end up working in a dead end job".

LetalisK:
I've seen more jobs around minimum wage than not. Hell, the local police officers barely make above minimum wage.

Is that base pay or all-including? Because for my country anyway, the bulk of police pay (even though admittedly, it's low for what they do) comes from payouts for irregular hours, working in shifts, working at nights, in weekends, under hazardous conditions, and so on.

The pay scale for police officers is € 1.312 - € 2.036 (the first being below the minimum wage of some € 1400, for officers--in-training), but with another degree other than the minimum base degree, suddenly that figure becomes € 1572 - 2467 a month. And 87% of all police officers (probably meaning all except those with a fulltime deskjob) received an average of € 1250 in 'operational payout' for duty in the riot squad, or during nighttime hours. This almost doubles the income of a trainee, in increases the top starting salary by 50%.

That's basically the story of many unskilled/low-skilled jobs. The more dirty, difficult and harzardous it gets, the more you earn, and you can move quite a bit up the scale. At work for instance I sit next to two receptionists who answer calls and help clients, and a lot of the time I do most of what they do. The only real difference (outside of simple stuff like closing gates, switching off lights and walking rounds) is that when people get agressive, I'm expected to handle the situation. The amount of verbal abuse I take isn't significantly more than they do.

So for a non-skilled worker, a two-week course and the willingness to face potential danger can mean a much bigger payout.
Then again, big differences in that poential danger. Working the addict clinic is almost daily verbal abuse and regular agression. Being called up to patrol an industrial site at night is being paid to drive a car around and yawn.

But without a doubt, my favourite, for which I get far too few call-ups for my taste, is the overnight stay centre for addicts. In summer, it sometimes has none, or one or two clients, and nothing ever happens because nobody wants to get kicked out into the night. You only have to be around, and get a bed, so you're literally being paid to sleep. Yawn, wake me when my shift is over and I take another € 105 home with me okay?

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