The "minimum wage job" misconception

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crudus:
Well, just think of how quickly the white collar world would fall apart if we didn't have trashman and fryer operators.

That's the thing though. If every trashman and fryer operator mysteriously disappeared on Monday, all those jobs could be filled again within a week or two.

Katatori-kun:

crudus:
Well, just think of how quickly the white collar world would fall apart if we didn't have trashman and fryer operators.

That's the thing though. If every trashman and fryer operator mysteriously disappeared on Monday, all those jobs could be filled again within a week or two.

There was a garbage strike here a cpl years back. Went on for a couple months. By day 2 or 3 businesses had already hired private contractors to take away their garbage and recycling. Within a couple weeks homeowners (often organized as a street or group of houses) started arranging for private pickups as well.

Lifting up bags or pushing a button to let the machine lift them for you is hardly high skill and can be replaced. Although where I live trash collectors are actually well paid - $50-60K/year PLUS OT and shift premiums, good benefits, etc, for city employees. $40-50K/year with minimal benefits for private collectors and city subcontractors.

Kendarik:
Lifting up bags or pushing a button to let the machine lift them for you is hardly high skill and can be replaced. Although where I live trash collectors are actually well paid - $50-60K/year PLUS OT and shift premiums, good benefits, etc, for city employees. $40-50K/year with minimal benefits for private collectors and city subcontractors.

Yes. And I'm not against paying trash collectors well. After all, part of the skillset of such jobs isn't just physically picking up the trash. It's things like reliably showing up to work every day for some years. Just because people can replace all the garbage collectors doesn't mean they should encourage high turn-over through crappy wages.

Katatori-kun:

Kendarik:
Lifting up bags or pushing a button to let the machine lift them for you is hardly high skill and can be replaced. Although where I live trash collectors are actually well paid - $50-60K/year PLUS OT and shift premiums, good benefits, etc, for city employees. $40-50K/year with minimal benefits for private collectors and city subcontractors.

Yes. And I'm not against paying trash collectors well. After all, part of the skillset of such jobs isn't just physically picking up the trash. It's things like reliably showing up to work every day for some years. Just because people can replace all the garbage collectors doesn't mean they should encourage high turn-over through crappy wages.

Agreed. My counterpoint on their wages was actually more a passing thought related to earlier comments in this thread about them being low paid.

Blablahb:

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?

Now that you've brought it up, I believe it's base pay. I'll have to look more into it, but it can't be too much better considering my friends who are or were local LEOs told me to gtfo out of my state and go to Oregon to be a cop(one of them is actually doing just that). I guess Oregon pays their cops decently.

chewbacca1010:
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.

True... I'm pretty sure humans aren't just getting much more intelligent ;)

just my two bits but my first job was as a labourer(ie.painting,shoveling)at a coal mine for long hard hours, an entry level job. sounds like a mimimum wage job right? but here is the kicker, i made about $220 per day. full health insurance,(but i live in canada so the insurance was just incase you couldnt work because of an injury)

oh the few benefits of living in a boom/bust industry town

Katatori-kun:

That's the thing though. If every trashman and fryer operator mysteriously disappeared on Monday, all those jobs could be filled again within a week or two.

Yes, but that isn't my point. My point was people would take notice (and be hurt) if all of the garbage men, fast-food employees, and servers go missing rather than all of the game developers. As a society we actually rely on those minimum wage jobs more than people like to think. Sure they could be replaced, but the point is they need to be replaced. Game developers? not so much.

crudus:

Katatori-kun:

That's the thing though. If every trashman and fryer operator mysteriously disappeared on Monday, all those jobs could be filled again within a week or two.

Yes, but that isn't my point. My point was people would take notice (and be hurt) if all of the garbage men, fast-food employees, and servers go missing rather than all of the game developers. As a society we actually rely on those minimum wage jobs more than people like to think. Sure they could be replaced, but the point is they need to be replaced. Game developers? not so much.

I'm saying that while this is true, all the garbage collectors, fast-food employees, and servers are far more replaceable than game developers are. Though you wouldn't know it to look at some games, game development is a skill. Collecting garbage is not. Anyone can collect garbage as long as they can walk and pick up say, 50 lbs. Anyone can work a fryer. I know, because in my high school job I worked with a cook who was out of his head on LSD one day and he still managed to get the job done.

Now that doesn't mean that garbage collectors, fast-food employees, and servers should be paid poorly. But regardless of how essential they may be, they don't have the bargaining power of an experienced game developer because the pool of people who have the skills needed to be a game developer is orders of magnitude smaller.

Blablahb:

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?

I make $1200/month @ 8.32/hour minus $120/month for fuel and $450 for loan repayment. I invest all my excess cash so it has been growing at an average rate of 5-6%. So I have a few thousand saved up working a min wage (or close to it) job. Anyone who has a will and willing to take cuts can do it. $20 for 3 month supply of rice, buying damaged cans of food at the store, not buying unnecessary stuff (I struggle with this one, I would have 5-8 thousand more if I did not buy any DVD's). Point being to get ahead hard sacrifices are needed.

WolfThomas:

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".

I know, I have started to feel slightly sorry for them. No one should be lied to like that. My parents never lied to me, so I am only starting to realize this.

Katatori-kun:

crudus:
Well, just think of how quickly the white collar world would fall apart if we didn't have trashman and fryer operators.

That's the thing though. If every trashman and fryer operator mysteriously disappeared on Monday, all those jobs could be filled again within a week or two.

Though here I will say that no, contrary to popular belief, not everyone can be a garbage collector, cleaner or burger flipper. Skillset required notwithstanding, quite many of those I ran into in the course of my life would need to be replaced because they did a sloppy job. And here's the kicker - they did a sloppy job despite actually trying hard to do it right. There was this one cleaning lady at the school I went to. She was a hard worker, she wasn't lazy, she took her job seriously...yet she still did a sloppy job. No idea how and why.

Katatori-kun:
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.

This - we shouldn't attack or demean those who work mindless service or hard labor jobs, but we also shouldn't go too far and start demanding that people pretend those jobs aren't in themselves kinda worthless.

As an economist, I can tell you that no one thinks minimum wage laws are a good idea. Economists universally revile them. It's a terrible terrible idea, even if it is well-meaning.

peruvianskys:

This - we shouldn't attack or demean those who work mindless service or hard labor jobs, but we also shouldn't go too far and start demanding that people pretend those jobs aren't in themselves kinda worthless.

I'm not sure Katatori meant they're "kinda worthless" when he said they're crap. Because, our current economic system has a thing for stomping out anything it considers "worthless" or to be more correct "valueless", and those jobs don't seem like they're going to be stomped out anytime soon.

Vegosiux:

I'm not sure Katatori meant they're "kinda worthless" when he said they're crap. Because, our current economic system has a thing for stomping out anything it considers "worthless" or to be more correct "valueless", and those jobs don't seem like they're going to be stomped out anytime soon.

I mean worthless not in an economic sense but in a quality sense; they aren't enriching or dignified or interesting or worthwhile to the person involved.

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