"Minimum Wage Jobs aren't careers"

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 NEXT
 

There's been a lot in the news lately about McDonalds and its treatment of employees, some who have worked there for 10 years and are still working minimum wage or work over 40 hours a week yet still need welfare. Many people I see start in on these stories by saying that "These jobs are for teenagers", "Minimum wage isn't meant to be a living wage", and "Get an education, fast food isn't a career".

I began to ask if that concept, the last one especially, become a societal stigma. Do we demonise the concept of working at a fast food place? I remember being told frequently growing up I need to go to college because if I don't I'll end up at a burger joint my whole life, and as I started looking for work I began to try and avoid such jobs because I felt as if they would make me less worthy as a person.

Thinking about it now though, I have to ask why I thought that. I know too many people that are overqualified for that sort of work that are currently sitting behind a counter taking orders or in the back flipping patties. It was also worth asking, "Why can't this be a career?". Doesn't a person that genuinely likes the work they do and finds satisfaction in it have the right to work where they want and still be paid a decent wage? Not saying 6 figures or anything, but enough to live comfortably and not have to spend 70% of their monthly income on rent alone?

I feel this is going train of thought at this point but I just wanted to bring up the discussion since it hasn't been brought up yet as far as I've seen.

what is needed is "a living wage" so that anyone in work exists outside the benefits system.
atm we (in the UK at least) have a situation where the state is basically subsidising (literally) poor wages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_wage

there is nothing inherently wrong with flipping burgers if you want and like to do that.
in fact finding something you (honestly) like doing is probably one of the secrets of a happy life.

i used to make burgers in the buffet car of a steam train and it was a great job because "everyone" kinda likes being on a steam train especially the kids so almost "everyone" was in a good smiley mood and it kinda rubbed off as you worked.

but the word "career" is usually taken as to suggest personal advancement over time and there is precious little in such an "unskilled" and "dead end" job.

a job such as that, while it might supply a decent amount of spending money in a persons youth when they are free of many of the dreaded "responsibilities" ultimately usually only pays enough to one person to enjoy a subsistence living with a few bucks for spending spare and simply put society sort of expects that people get actually richer as they get older.

a persons "prime working age" is from 25 to 54...if you come out of that with very little to show for it...well then its not going to be good going forward either for you or society as it will probably have to support you as you age...

Sleekit:
what is needed is "a living wage" so that anyone in work exists outside the benefits system.
atm we (in the UK at least) have a situation where the state is basically subsidising (literally) poor wages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_wage

there is inherently nothing wrong with flipping burgers if you want and like to do that.
in fact finding something you (honestly) like doing is probably one of the secrets of a happy life.

i used to make burgers in the buffet car of a steam train and it was a great job because "everyone" kinda likes being on a steam train especially the kids so almost "everyone" was in a good smiley mood and it kinda rubbed off as you worked.

but the word "career" is usually taken as to suggest personal advancement over time and there is precious little in such an "unskilled" and "dead end" job.

a job such as that, while it might supply a decent amount of spending money in a persons youth when they are free of many of the dreaded "responsibilities" ultimately usually only pays enough to one person to enjoy a subsistence living with a few bucks for spending spare and simply put society sort of expects that people get actually richer as they get older.

a persons "prime working age" is somewhere between their 20s to 50s...if you come out of that with very little to show for it...well then its not good going forward...

I often see people in a situation where they have no other options, really. They can't afford school or they tried and didn't get anything out of it aside from massive debt, or they can't afford to quit the job because of other time constraints. Recently I read of a guy that was working 80 hour shifts every week and he still doesn't make enough to cover his rent and expenses, and he's not living in a particularly expensive part of the city.

makes me sad that people fall into such a (non) life. "Work to Live, Don't Live to Work" is one of my personal mantras.

i will not comment further as ofc i don't know specifics but if he was one of my friends i would probably be trying to help him find doors to walk through.

I'm a single guy without many work related skills. I have support from my family to help me survive. A living wage for me is tiny at best. In fact, I may not even actually need one right now. I would rather not have to compete that hard for a job, I just want to get one. I'll get some experience and a bit of spending money. I am far less concerned with minimum wage being low than I am with unemployment being high. I don't want competition for shitty jobs.

What I'm saying here is that I really don't want those jobs to be careers. I don't want people to go to them expecting to be able to put their kids through school. I want them to suck. Those jobs not being considered careers is not all bad. There are perfectly good reasons for having jobs exist which a family of four could not live on. Shoot, perfectly good reasons for having jobs a single person could not live on.

Now, the first fallacy many people fall into is the false dichotomy that it's either burger flipping or a management position. Honestly, the job market is way more complicated, more different jobs exist you don't know of than those that you do know of, in case of the majority of people.

And the entire concept of the "reward" for being a competent and hard worker being a management position down the road is utterly and completely ridiculous. But hey unless you covet those positions, unless you look up the corporate ladder with awe and envy, unless you hate your job and want to get out to a higher level in the corporation, fuck you, you're a drone and deserve to be disrespected and exploited, amirite? And that's before the entire "Peter principle" kicks in.

As for people's attitudes toward your job? It's easy. If they ever had to actually work in their life, then they will appreciate the work you do for them and treat you accordingly. If everything was served to them on a silver platter, and if they got everything for granted, then they're more liable to be assholes to all them "lesser drones".

I mean, we all know that a normal human being shouldn't ever be happy with whatever job they have unless they're in upper management.

America is a cruel country. Everyone knows we need garbage men and burger flippers, but we don't respect (or even refrain from disparaging) these positions. The only conclusion to be drawn from this: we're going to look down at someone no matter what happens, and you better hope it isn't you.

In some countries, it is considered rude to ask a person what he or she does for a living. Here in America, this is usually the first thing people talk about in any social setting. "Nice to meet you, Gary. And what do you do for a living?" Most people here have this burning compulsion to categorize everyone by their professions. When you've been on both sides of the "economic divide" and seen the reactions to this supposedly benign question, you know exactly what people are doing: sizing up your relative importance in order to attribute appropriate value to this and any further interactions. If you're a pizza guy? Fuck off. If you're upper management? Time to dial in, "network", and see how you can possibly turn this conversation into future gains for you and yours.

It's all supremely dehumanizing and insulting, but that's the country I live in.

Revnak:
I'm a single guy without many work related skills. I have support from my family to help me survive. A living wage for me is tiny at best. In fact, I may not even actually need one right now. I would rather not have to compete that hard for a job, I just want to get one. I'll get some experience and a bit of spending money. I am far less concerned with minimum wage being low than I am with unemployment being high. I don't want competition for shitty jobs.

What I'm saying here is that I really don't want those jobs to be careers. I don't want people to go to them expecting to be able to put their kids through school. I want them to suck. Those jobs not being considered careers is not all bad. There are perfectly good reasons for having jobs exist which a family of four could not live on. Shoot, perfectly good reasons for having jobs a single person could not live on.

I have to ask, do you work at the minute? You say you have the support of your family but many do not. You don't want there to be competition for "shitty" jobs, why not? What jobs should there be competition for? And where are these "perfectly good reasons" for a single person working a job that they can't survive on?

Semes:

Revnak:
I'm a single guy without many work related skills. I have support from my family to help me survive. A living wage for me is tiny at best. In fact, I may not even actually need one right now. I would rather not have to compete that hard for a job, I just want to get one. I'll get some experience and a bit of spending money. I am far less concerned with minimum wage being low than I am with unemployment being high. I don't want competition for shitty jobs.

What I'm saying here is that I really don't want those jobs to be careers. I don't want people to go to them expecting to be able to put their kids through school. I want them to suck. Those jobs not being considered careers is not all bad. There are perfectly good reasons for having jobs exist which a family of four could not live on. Shoot, perfectly good reasons for having jobs a single person could not live on.

I have to ask, do you work at the minute? You say you have the support of your family but many do not. You don't want there to be competition for "shitty" jobs, why not? What jobs should there be competition for? And where are these "perfectly good reasons" for a single person working a job that they can't survive on?

The people who need more money from their job should ask for more and take jobs which ask more of them. I don't want there to be much competition for certain jobs because I don't want to have to seem like the best candidate for a job against people who have twelve years of experience. I do not plan on keeping a bad job. I plan on learning some from it and getting a bit of spending money for myself. Getting some work experience to put on my resume. And not everyone needs to survive on their salary. I don't, millions of teenagers and college kids don't, lots of people don't. People who want jobs and are quite willing to work for less than minimum wage, but are having a very hard time getting them because the current economic climate is leading to a bunch of overqualified people applying to work at McDonald's.

Revnak:
I'm a single guy without many work related skills. I have support from my family to help me survive. A living wage for me is tiny at best. In fact, I may not even actually need one right now. I would rather not have to compete that hard for a job, I just want to get one. I'll get some experience and a bit of spending money. I am far less concerned with minimum wage being low than I am with unemployment being high. I don't want competition for shitty jobs.

What I'm saying here is that I really don't want those jobs to be careers. I don't want people to go to them expecting to be able to put their kids through school. I want them to suck. Those jobs not being considered careers is not all bad. There are perfectly good reasons for having jobs exist which a family of four could not live on. Shoot, perfectly good reasons for having jobs a single person could not live on.

Question though: is the job shitty because of its pay or because of the work it entails? While the people at McDonalds are doing things you could consider as unimportant or trivial, they're still doing a job that millions of people a day are involved in as customers to the business.

Vausch:

Revnak:
I'm a single guy without many work related skills. I have support from my family to help me survive. A living wage for me is tiny at best. In fact, I may not even actually need one right now. I would rather not have to compete that hard for a job, I just want to get one. I'll get some experience and a bit of spending money. I am far less concerned with minimum wage being low than I am with unemployment being high. I don't want competition for shitty jobs.

What I'm saying here is that I really don't want those jobs to be careers. I don't want people to go to them expecting to be able to put their kids through school. I want them to suck. Those jobs not being considered careers is not all bad. There are perfectly good reasons for having jobs exist which a family of four could not live on. Shoot, perfectly good reasons for having jobs a single person could not live on.

Question though: is the job shitty because of its pay or because of the work it entails? While the people at McDonalds are doing things you could consider as unimportant or trivial, they're still doing a job that millions of people a day are involved in as customers to the business.

It would ideally be shitty because of the pay, which ideally would match the effort required (a very small amount). I'm not actually the type to think that service workers are trivial (I am one after all), I'm more arguing from a hypothetical standpoint that a job which is not a career is not necessarily a bad thing.

FieryTrainwreck:
In some countries, it is considered rude to ask a person what he or she does for a living. Here in America, this is usually the first thing people talk about in any social setting. "Nice to meet you, Gary. And what do you do for a living?" Most people here have this burning compulsion to categorize everyone by their professions. When you've been on both sides of the "economic divide" and seen the reactions to this supposedly benign question, you know exactly what people are doing: sizing up your relative importance in order to attribute appropriate value to this and any further interactions. If you're a pizza guy? Fuck off. If you're upper management? Time to dial in, "network", and see how you can possibly turn this conversation into future gains for you and yours.

I think you're reading way too much into common social norms for small talk. It has more to do with how in America you are supposed to start conversations with strangers about semi-personal topics so that you can get to know each other.

And you may be generalizing a bit too far. I've never had anybody greet me that way.

Revnak:

Vausch:

Revnak:
I'm a single guy without many work related skills. I have support from my family to help me survive. A living wage for me is tiny at best. In fact, I may not even actually need one right now. I would rather not have to compete that hard for a job, I just want to get one. I'll get some experience and a bit of spending money. I am far less concerned with minimum wage being low than I am with unemployment being high. I don't want competition for shitty jobs.

What I'm saying here is that I really don't want those jobs to be careers. I don't want people to go to them expecting to be able to put their kids through school. I want them to suck. Those jobs not being considered careers is not all bad. There are perfectly good reasons for having jobs exist which a family of four could not live on. Shoot, perfectly good reasons for having jobs a single person could not live on.

Question though: is the job shitty because of its pay or because of the work it entails? While the people at McDonalds are doing things you could consider as unimportant or trivial, they're still doing a job that millions of people a day are involved in as customers to the business.

It would ideally be shitty because of the pay, which ideally would match the effort required (a very small amount). I'm not actually the type to think that service workers are trivial (I am one after all), I'm more arguing from a hypothetical standpoint that a job which is not a career is not necessarily a bad thing.

That's part of the point, though. What if a person genuinely likes the work they do and are content with it? If they spend years at a place and get to know it inside and out, shouldn't they be paid a notable amount more than someone who just started?

It's similar situations with retail. Some companies treat their people very well (costco) while others will have people barely scrape by and the only benefit they'll ever get is a discount card (Wal-mart). I didn't even get the discount card.

Plus there's the fact that McDonalds costs taxpayers. 1.2 billion is spent every year on welfare for McD's workers alone because they're still qualified to receive it, even working full time shifts because most (if not all) of their money goes to rent.

I don't remember anyone (aside from college students) disparaging fast food work around me. Then again, my Mom worked at a fast food place and she was also a waitress for a time. My Dad never worked in fast food but he did work in a grocery store. So I have no problem with kind of work. Aside from entitled people I do not know anyone who does have a problem with that kind of work.

As for the wage, minimum wage is a livable wage. A friend of mine did the research and he found that at current minimum wage, working 8 hours per day for 250 days (an approximate full year, subtracting weekends and federal holidays) a person can make about $15,000 per year. Average rent for a one person apartment in the US is $700 (and of course it can get a lot cheaper). That leaves $6,600 for food, clothing, and other necessities. We college students know damn well how to make a food budget last (see the Daily Texan article on a $20 per week food budget) but even without that kind of budgeting you can get by. A $50 per week food budget is more than adequate for one person and that leaves about $4,000 for other expenses. Even if you throw in a car payment (around $100-200 per month depending on what you get) you still have over $1,000 for clothing and other expenses. It is all about how you budget your funds.

So, okay, welfare is bad and every single one of those people need to work at a burger joint to get some money, but on the other hand those aren't real careers and only for young people?

This isn't really a response to the OP, just some bullshit I've been hearing on the news lately.

Vausch:

Revnak:

Vausch:

Question though: is the job shitty because of its pay or because of the work it entails? While the people at McDonalds are doing things you could consider as unimportant or trivial, they're still doing a job that millions of people a day are involved in as customers to the business.

It would ideally be shitty because of the pay, which ideally would match the effort required (a very small amount). I'm not actually the type to think that service workers are trivial (I am one after all), I'm more arguing from a hypothetical standpoint that a job which is not a career is not necessarily a bad thing.

That's part of the point, though. What if a person genuinely likes the work they do and are content with it? If they spend years at a place and get to know it inside and out, shouldn't they be paid a notable amount more than someone who just started?

It's similar situations with retail. Some companies treat their people very well (costco) while others will have people barely scrape by and the only benefit they'll ever get is a discount card (Wal-mart). I didn't even get the discount card.

Plus there's the fact that McDonalds costs taxpayers. 1.2 billion is spent every year on welfare for McD's workers alone because they're still qualified to receive it, even working full time shifts because most (if not all) of their money goes to rent.

They could work at a more demanding restaurant? If they get good at flipping burgers and frying food then they can work line most anywhere.

Also, that's not how Welfare works. They get welfare based on income and family size, and the levels are based on food costs actually.

Racecarlock:
So, okay, welfare is bad and every single one of those people need to work at a burger joint to get some money, but on the other hand those aren't real careers and only for young people?

This isn't really a response to the OP, just some bullshit I've been hearing on the news lately.

Worst part is McDonalds employees are often still on welfare. Business Week reported that it costs upwards of 7 billion a year for people with jobs at fast food places, McD's taking up to 1.2 billion a year.

Revnak:

Vausch:

Revnak:

It would ideally be shitty because of the pay, which ideally would match the effort required (a very small amount). I'm not actually the type to think that service workers are trivial (I am one after all), I'm more arguing from a hypothetical standpoint that a job which is not a career is not necessarily a bad thing.

That's part of the point, though. What if a person genuinely likes the work they do and are content with it? If they spend years at a place and get to know it inside and out, shouldn't they be paid a notable amount more than someone who just started?

It's similar situations with retail. Some companies treat their people very well (costco) while others will have people barely scrape by and the only benefit they'll ever get is a discount card (Wal-mart). I didn't even get the discount card.

Plus there's the fact that McDonalds costs taxpayers. 1.2 billion is spent every year on welfare for McD's workers alone because they're still qualified to receive it, even working full time shifts because most (if not all) of their money goes to rent.

They could work at a more demanding restaurant? If they get good at flipping burgers and frying food then they can work line most anywhere.

Also, that's not how Welfare works. They get welfare based on income and family size, and the levels are based on food costs actually.

You are right, I misread the paragraph in the article. It is worth noting that 52% of families of fast food workers are on some form of welfare, though.

Vausch:

Revnak:

Vausch:

That's part of the point, though. What if a person genuinely likes the work they do and are content with it? If they spend years at a place and get to know it inside and out, shouldn't they be paid a notable amount more than someone who just started?

It's similar situations with retail. Some companies treat their people very well (costco) while others will have people barely scrape by and the only benefit they'll ever get is a discount card (Wal-mart). I didn't even get the discount card.

Plus there's the fact that McDonalds costs taxpayers. 1.2 billion is spent every year on welfare for McD's workers alone because they're still qualified to receive it, even working full time shifts because most (if not all) of their money goes to rent.

They could work at a more demanding restaurant? If they get good at flipping burgers and frying food then they can work line most anywhere.

Also, that's not how Welfare works. They get welfare based on income and family size, and the levels are based on food costs actually.

You are right, I misread the paragraph in the article. It is worth noting that 52% of families of fast food workers are on some form of welfare, though.

That is... disappointing. I... I'm just gonna give up on this. Playing Devil's Advocate for such an unrealistic situation is... difficult. You shouldn't work and still need welfare, and 52% is freaking crazy. The economic condition of the modern world just doesn't work that way. At one time burger flipping was not going to be anybody's career, now it is the career of a large number of Americans, and they don't have other plans.

Revnak:

The people who need more money from their job should ask for more and take jobs which ask more of them. I don't want there to be much competition for certain jobs because I don't want to have to seem like the best candidate for a job against people who have twelve years of ndidaexperience.

Why would you seem like a better candidate than someone with twelve years experience? I must have missed that bit.

Revnak:

I don't,

you said your family support you.

Revnak:

millions of teenagers

Millions of children live in poverty

16 million, 22% of children live below the poverty line. 45% live in 'low income families'
http://www.nccp.org/topics/childpoverty.html

You still havent given a reason why people shouldn't expect to earn enough to survive.

This is very strange to me.

Here in the UK, working in McDonald's is pretty much the definition of a career. Sure, it's minimum wage (at least, starting salary) and potentially quite unsociable, but they treat experienced staff extremely well and there is a definite career pipeline into management. Actually, McDonalds here have this very strong ethos of recruiting managers from the floor rather than bringing in external graduates.

The reason so many teenagers and students do it is partly because it's an excellent CV builder. I know a couple of people who are paying 45p tax now who still put McDonalds on their CV.

I can't say there isn't quite a negative perception of fast food workers in popular culture, but a lot of that seems to be imported fairly uncritically from the states. Actually, it's a really good job, and has far better prospects than most "unskilled" jobs.

farson135:
I don't remember anyone (aside from college students) disparaging fast food work around me. Then again, my Mom worked at a fast food place and she was also a waitress for a time. My Dad never worked in fast food but he did work in a grocery store. So I have no problem with kind of work. Aside from entitled people I do not know anyone who does have a problem with that kind of work.

As for the wage, minimum wage is a livable wage. A friend of mine did the research and he found that at current minimum wage, working 8 hours per day for 250 days (an approximate full year, subtracting weekends and federal holidays) a person can make about $15,000 per year. Average rent for a one person apartment in the US is $700 (and of course it can get a lot cheaper). That leaves $6,600 for food, clothing, and other necessities. We college students know damn well how to make a food budget last (see the Daily Texan article on a $20 per week food budget) but even without that kind of budgeting you can get by. A $50 per week food budget is more than adequate for one person and that leaves about $4,000 for other expenses. Even if you throw in a car payment (around $100-200 per month depending on what you get) you still have over $1,000 for clothing and other expenses. It is all about how you budget your funds.

I took a look at your math.
$15,000 Gross Income
-$8400 Rent
-$2600 Food
Gives us the $4000 you are talking about. Broken down monthly, it's $333. Which must cover gas, car (and other) repairs, clothes, laundry, internet, hospital bills, and all other living expenses, expected and unexpected. And that's assuming that you work full time, each and every week, without every taking a vacation. If you get downgraded to 32 hours a week, the gross falls to $12000, the leftovers to $1000 yearly or a mere $83 per month. Technically, you can survive, yes. But get sick a few days or need a doctor or get in an accident and your whole financial life can fall apart in an instant. After all, how much can you possibly save against disasters when the margin is so thin? And it is very thin for many.

farson135:
I don't remember anyone (aside from college students) disparaging fast food work around me. Then again, my Mom worked at a fast food place and she was also a waitress for a time. My Dad never worked in fast food but he did work in a grocery store. So I have no problem with kind of work. Aside from entitled people I do not know anyone who does have a problem with that kind of work.

As for the wage, minimum wage is a livable wage. A friend of mine did the research and he found that at current minimum wage, working 8 hours per day for 250 days (an approximate full year, subtracting weekends and federal holidays) a person can make about $15,000 per year. Average rent for a one person apartment in the US is $700 (and of course it can get a lot cheaper). That leaves $6,600 for food, clothing, and other necessities. We college students know damn well how to make a food budget last (see the Daily Texan article on a $20 per week food budget) but even without that kind of budgeting you can get by. A $50 per week food budget is more than adequate for one person and that leaves about $4,000 for other expenses. Even if you throw in a car payment (around $100-200 per month depending on what you get) you still have over $1,000 for clothing and other expenses. It is all about how you budget your funds.

This would also make for a very cruel and stress filled society, with no time for self actualization or any leisure. Not to mention that even in the bleak "ideal" situation there are expenses that haven't been properly calculated for a basic lifestyle. Taxes for garbage, water and electricity are ball parked $250 to $350 per month for all utilities and I'm being generous.

You will also have to discount health services and if you live on 5$ for food a day is not enough and you will eventually have health problems. The average rent in the U.S is also 804$ per month. Since there's 12 months a year, 9648$ would be gone due to rent.

Let's do the math.
-9648 for rent
-3000 for utilities and I'm being very generous
-50$ per week is around 2600$ per year.

15248$ is already sunk and that's only for the very minimum. This is not taking into account money for house furnishings, health or anything else really. What is your friend doing?

With barely enough to make savings, people would have to live paycheck by paycheck, due to the very weak social net of the U.S. I suppose this explains why the U.S has one of the lowest life expectancies in the Western world. I don't even have to elaborate on what it will also do to long term social mobility and social fabric as a whole to have a class of people always on or below the poverty line.

image

A higher minimum wage could lead to lower turnover rates, improvements in organizational efficiency at businesses, small price increases and wage reductions for higher earners. Such adjustments would allow businesses to pay lower-wage workers more without resorting to layoffs.

EDIT: An adult person doesn't live like a college student.

Veylon:

farson135:
I don't remember anyone (aside from college students) disparaging fast food work around me. Then again, my Mom worked at a fast food place and she was also a waitress for a time. My Dad never worked in fast food but he did work in a grocery store. So I have no problem with kind of work. Aside from entitled people I do not know anyone who does have a problem with that kind of work.

As for the wage, minimum wage is a livable wage. A friend of mine did the research and he found that at current minimum wage, working 8 hours per day for 250 days (an approximate full year, subtracting weekends and federal holidays) a person can make about $15,000 per year. Average rent for a one person apartment in the US is $700 (and of course it can get a lot cheaper). That leaves $6,600 for food, clothing, and other necessities. We college students know damn well how to make a food budget last (see the Daily Texan article on a $20 per week food budget) but even without that kind of budgeting you can get by. A $50 per week food budget is more than adequate for one person and that leaves about $4,000 for other expenses. Even if you throw in a car payment (around $100-200 per month depending on what you get) you still have over $1,000 for clothing and other expenses. It is all about how you budget your funds.

I took a look at your math.
$15,000 Gross Income
-$8400 Rent
-$2600 Food
Gives us the $4000 you are talking about. Broken down monthly, it's $333. Which must cover gas, car (and other) repairs, clothes, laundry, internet, hospital bills, and all other living expenses, expected and unexpected. And that's assuming that you work full time, each and every week, without every taking a vacation. If you get downgraded to 32 hours a week, the gross falls to $12000, the leftovers to $1000 yearly or a mere $83 per month. Technically, you can survive, yes. But get sick a few days or need a doctor or get in an accident and your whole financial life can fall apart in an instant. After all, how much can you possibly save against disasters when the margin is so thin? And it is very thin for many.

And heaven forbid you have a kid or a medical condition...

OT: I'll be brief. The difference between a job and a career is whether you wanted to end up there. Not in the "I need a job" sense but "here's want I want to do to earn a living." Sure you could flip burgers at a McDonald's for your life, but wouldn't you rather flip burgers at your own place or for a wage that you can raise a family off of? You don't need to be Emril Legasse (or, even better, just don't be him), but the modern economy prizes two things: automation and intellect. The former replaces jobs with machines while the latter makes jobs that (for the most part) can;t be done by machine.

Anyone can flip a burger. But can anyone make that burger into an art? That is the difference between two hot dogs I've eaten. One was in Times Square in NYC: a bland, predictable hot dog on a bun. The other was down the street of my apartment: a beautiful creation of premium sausage, fresh mozzarella, a number of vegetables, and crushed potato crisps. Guess which one looked on their creation with pride?

Yeah...people like to have a go at those kinds of jobs, and tell people to get a good education to avoid that, but it doesn't work like that in the real world.

You get people who've got a degree, so if the copier breaks, they aren't going to be the one to fix it. Doesn't matter if they are the most junior person in the office, they are above that sort of thing. Everyone has to start somewhere, you're not supposed to go straight into having a great job.

Hell, you get lots of people who get a degree, rack up huge debts, and can't get a job. The go join Occupy protests and complain that the police are treating them like, you know, Those People the police are supposed to beat up.

FieryTrainwreck:
America is a cruel country. Everyone knows we need garbage men and burger flippers, but we don't respect (or even refrain from disparaging) these positions. The only conclusion to be drawn from this: we're going to look down at someone no matter what happens, and you better hope it isn't you.

In some countries, it is considered rude to ask a person what he or she does for a living. Here in America, this is usually the first thing people talk about in any social setting. "Nice to meet you, Gary. And what do you do for a living?" Most people here have this burning compulsion to categorize everyone by their professions. When you've been on both sides of the "economic divide" and seen the reactions to this supposedly benign question, you know exactly what people are doing: sizing up your relative importance in order to attribute appropriate value to this and any further interactions. If you're a pizza guy? Fuck off. If you're upper management? Time to dial in, "network", and see how you can possibly turn this conversation into future gains for you and yours.

It's all supremely dehumanizing and insulting, but that's the country I live in.

woah woah woah, lets not put garbage men on the same list. At least in my state, they make more than starting engineers (around 50k a year), not to mention great benefits on top of that for being a state worker.

While not the most glorious position, they have a better life than even college graduates.

FieryTrainwreck:
America is a cruel country. Everyone knows we need garbage men

I've never lived in America, but garbage men get paid fairly decent wages in most developed nations. Are you just using the "garbage men are trash and are poor!" stereotype or do American garbage men actually not get paid well?

I would have thought they would be on between 50-60K a year. In fact I'm pretty sure they are. If they aren't, America is very unique that way.

And what is this nonsense about not respecting their positions? How the hell were you brought up? The removal of waste is hugely important. Have you ever missed garbage day and had to struggle through the next week with two full bins? It's hell!

SillyBear:

FieryTrainwreck:
America is a cruel country. Everyone knows we need garbage men

I've never lived in America, but garbage men get paid fairly decent wages in most developed nations. Are you just using the "garbage men are trash and are poor!" stereotype or do American garbage men actually not get paid well?

I would have thought they would be on between 50-60K a year. In fact I'm pretty sure they are. If they aren't, America is very unique that way.

And what is this nonsense about not respecting their positions? How the hell were you brought up? The removal of waste is hugely important. Have you ever missed garbage day and had to struggle through the next week with two full bins? It's hell!

It depends on the state and county, but on average in the US they make around 35 to 40K a year. New York has an average closer to 50K. West Virginia has the lowest at 22k a year.

The Gentleman:

Veylon:

farson135:
I don't remember anyone (aside from college students) disparaging fast food work around me. Then again, my Mom worked at a fast food place and she was also a waitress for a time. My Dad never worked in fast food but he did work in a grocery store. So I have no problem with kind of work. Aside from entitled people I do not know anyone who does have a problem with that kind of work.

As for the wage, minimum wage is a livable wage. A friend of mine did the research and he found that at current minimum wage, working 8 hours per day for 250 days (an approximate full year, subtracting weekends and federal holidays) a person can make about $15,000 per year. Average rent for a one person apartment in the US is $700 (and of course it can get a lot cheaper). That leaves $6,600 for food, clothing, and other necessities. We college students know damn well how to make a food budget last (see the Daily Texan article on a $20 per week food budget) but even without that kind of budgeting you can get by. A $50 per week food budget is more than adequate for one person and that leaves about $4,000 for other expenses. Even if you throw in a car payment (around $100-200 per month depending on what you get) you still have over $1,000 for clothing and other expenses. It is all about how you budget your funds.

I took a look at your math.
$15,000 Gross Income
-$8400 Rent
-$2600 Food
Gives us the $4000 you are talking about. Broken down monthly, it's $333. Which must cover gas, car (and other) repairs, clothes, laundry, internet, hospital bills, and all other living expenses, expected and unexpected. And that's assuming that you work full time, each and every week, without every taking a vacation. If you get downgraded to 32 hours a week, the gross falls to $12000, the leftovers to $1000 yearly or a mere $83 per month. Technically, you can survive, yes. But get sick a few days or need a doctor or get in an accident and your whole financial life can fall apart in an instant. After all, how much can you possibly save against disasters when the margin is so thin? And it is very thin for many.

And heaven forbid you have a kid or a medical condition...

OT: I'll be brief. The difference between a job and a career is whether you wanted to end up there. Not in the "I need a job" sense but "here's want I want to do to earn a living." Sure you could flip burgers at a McDonald's for your life, but wouldn't you rather flip burgers at your own place or for a wage that you can raise a family off of? You don't need to be Emril Legasse (or, even better, just don't be him), but the modern economy prizes two things: automation and intellect. The former replaces jobs with machines while the latter makes jobs that (for the most part) can;t be done by machine.

Anyone can flip a burger. But can anyone make that burger into an art? That is the difference between two hot dogs I've eaten. One was in Times Square in NYC: a bland, predictable hot dog on a bun. The other was down the street of my apartment: a beautiful creation of premium sausage, fresh mozzarella, a number of vegetables, and crushed potato crisps. Guess which one looked on their creation with pride?

It should also be noted that that $15,000 a year is before taxes are taken out, so that's another $100 - $200 a month that has to be accounted for, which you may or may not see returned come tax time depending.

Revnak:
I think you're reading way too much into common social norms for small talk. It has more to do with how in America you are supposed to start conversations with strangers about semi-personal topics so that you can get to know each other.

That was kinda the point. In my time overseas, virtually no one led off a conversation with "what do you do for a living" or some equivalent. Here in the States, that's almost always the first thing someone asks.

And you may be generalizing a bit too far. I've never had anybody greet me that way.

You've never been introduced to someone at a party and the first question they ask is "what do you do?"? Seriously?

This topic reminds me of a couple of UK news stories I read recently.

First off is the factory owner who couldn't get a single applicant for the 50 new jobs he created. On the face of it we might be tempted to say this is indicative of a benefits culture that rewards laziness and unemployment, but look at the terms of his job: night shift, minimum wage, and no premium for working antisocial hours. The take-home pay is less that is provided by jobseeker's allowance and other benefits, which is perhaps a separate issue, but I don't blame the local unemployed for turning up their noses at this unattractive and exploitative "job". Money's money, but human dignity (not to mention pragmatism) is worth something too, and the piss was clearly being taken here.

On the other side, we have a bloke who spent four years "hunting" for jobs by standing on a central reservation with "employ me" written across him. Now, the job market is fairly crap these days, and it's difficult for even (or especially, depending on your POV) graduates to get employed. But this fool is a case study in Doing It WrongTM. Four years pissed away to make a faux-quixotic statement about how he considers himself too good to do office temping, or retail, or maybe use his graduate-level intellect and resourcefulness to do something freelance? What a twat.

A few observations from my own life: minimum wage is most certainly not a living wage, certainly not after you've moved out of your parent's house, and heaven forbid you have dependents of your own or aspirations of owning a car or paying for education. One of my friends works for a church and what's notable is that they have a policy of actually paying a living wage, regardless of position or contract hours - so, the guy who mops the floor in the evenings makes enough to live on, as do the women in the office. It's very commendable and, I have to admit, and example of a religious organisation sticking to its espoused ethical principles. Another of my friends works as a dustman, and I can confirm they're paid very well indeed.

Isn't a 'career' just 'any work with the possibility of promotion'? Fast-food work certainly qualifies.

I, for one, respect fast-food workers more than I respect several other work-group. The amount of crap they have to take, the shitty wage, the awful hours, and still they manage to not hang themselves? I'm in awe.
I personally wouldn't touch such a job, and I know I wouldn't be able to pull it off for more than a week even if I did.

Revnak:

Semes:

Revnak:
I'm a single guy without many work related skills. I have support from my family to help me survive. A living wage for me is tiny at best. In fact, I may not even actually need one right now. I would rather not have to compete that hard for a job, I just want to get one. I'll get some experience and a bit of spending money. I am far less concerned with minimum wage being low than I am with unemployment being high. I don't want competition for shitty jobs.

What I'm saying here is that I really don't want those jobs to be careers. I don't want people to go to them expecting to be able to put their kids through school. I want them to suck. Those jobs not being considered careers is not all bad. There are perfectly good reasons for having jobs exist which a family of four could not live on. Shoot, perfectly good reasons for having jobs a single person could not live on.

I have to ask, do you work at the minute? You say you have the support of your family but many do not. You don't want there to be competition for "shitty" jobs, why not? What jobs should there be competition for? And where are these "perfectly good reasons" for a single person working a job that they can't survive on?

The people who need more money from their job should ask for more and take jobs which ask more of them. I don't want there to be much competition for certain jobs because I don't want to have to seem like the best candidate for a job against people who have twelve years of experience. I do not plan on keeping a bad job. I plan on learning some from it and getting a bit of spending money for myself. Getting some work experience to put on my resume. And not everyone needs to survive on their salary. I don't, millions of teenagers and college kids don't, lots of people don't. People who want jobs and are quite willing to work for less than minimum wage, but are having a very hard time getting them because the current economic climate is leading to a bunch of overqualified people applying to work at McDonald's.

So, correct me if I'm wrong but you want a system where less competent people can get jobs easier, so that you can get some pocket money, at the expense of driving down employment rights and benefits for people who need the job to live on.

Bit selfish no?

Revnak:

They could work at a more demanding restaurant? If they get good at flipping burgers and frying food then they can work line most anywhere.

Also, that's not how Welfare works. They get welfare based on income and family size, and the levels are based on food costs actually.

Working at McDonalds does not equal a degree in culinary arts. Many line cooks in America (from the ones I have met), are paid prevailing wage. Which is generally 1 or 2 more dollars than minimum. With the recent tax increases being higher than the minimum wage increases, they're not only making less now than they were before, but one or two dollars more than minimum wage, is not a wage you can live on. Want to get into a decent restaurant as a chef? Culinary arts degree. That means massive college debt. And you know what's not in high demand? Anything that isn't a technician. So most college graduates, spend a couple of years working minimum wage at shitty jobs. That's what a huge portion of the Wallstreet protest was filled with. People who grew up being told to go into debt to a college so they wouldn't have to bust their hump flipping burgers 10 hours a day just to keep a roof over their heads. And they went into debt. And you know what happened? They STILL had to bust their hump flipping burgers for 10 hours a day just to keep a roof over their heads.
Also, working at McDonalds isn't just flipping burgers. You don't get dirty, sweaty, covered in a mixture of filthy grease and nasty ass mop/dish water just from handling a spatula all day.

And whomever spouted a bunch of math statistics on how much you can get working full time at minimum wage: Good luck finding a minimum wage job in America that guarantees 40 hours a week and a health plan. My friend and his girlfriend worked at McDonalds for 4 years in Florida. When they moved up to Washington, they began working at the local one. Their manager who has been there for 15 years isn't guaranteed 40 hours per week. And he's the manager. You CANNOT rely on 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job.
Most places will work you part time to avoid having to provide a healthcare plan, or will classify you as a "flex" employee so you can't earn healthcare no matter what you work and don't earn PTO.
And don't forget everything that comes with rent, like groceries, utilities, reliable transportation to and from work. Your math also requires that you live on less than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich per day.

Minimum wage jobs aren't considered careers because in America, and with a constantly rapidly increasing population, as a minimum wage employee, you are considered expendable, replaceable, and sub-human. Don't like the pay? Ask for a raise? 99 times out of 100 you will be told no. If you don't like it, there are countless teenagers who will. And many states, mine included, you can still be fired in the first 90 days for literally no reason at all. Businesses here are protected like that. And I worked at a Burger King for my first job, that fired you no later than day 85, guaranteed. The only person who had been there for more than three months that wasn't the manager, was someone who was there before the lady was a manager. And, there is a social pecking order sadly. Work a grill? Well you break your back day in and day out making people's lunch, but you're at the bottom of the social totem pole. It's society, and in America, society is kind of fucked.

Captcha: Find the lowest rates
Commentary.

Batou667:
This topic reminds me of a couple of UK news stories I read recently.

First off is the factory owner who couldn't get a single applicant for the 50 new jobs he created. On the face of it we might be tempted to say this is indicative of a benefits culture that rewards laziness and unemployment, but look at the terms of his job: night shift, minimum wage, and no premium for working antisocial hours. The take-home pay is less that is provided by jobseeker's allowance and other benefits, which is perhaps a separate issue, but I don't blame the local unemployed for turning up their noses at this unattractive and exploitative "job". Money's money, but human dignity (not to mention pragmatism) is worth something too, and the piss was clearly being taken here.

Made worse by the fact that he was only giving four hours notice before shifts. Significantly varied shift work can be rough, but being unable to plan your sleeping pattern or meals in advance because you didn't know when you'd be working would be just hideous. Even when I was on the dole I'd have turned that job down, and describing such roles as 'unattractive and exploitative' is spot on.

Batou667:
On the other side, we have a bloke who spent four years "hunting" for jobs by standing on a central reservation with "employ me" written across him. Now, the job market is fairly crap these days, and it's difficult for even (or especially, depending on your POV) graduates to get employed. But this fool is a case study in Doing It WrongTM. Four years pissed away to make a faux-quixotic statement about how he considers himself too good to do office temping, or retail, or maybe use his graduate-level intellect and resourcefulness to do something freelance? What a twat.

Yeah, I'm not one to vilify the unemployed (I was claiming JSA for about 9 months myself) but that does seem a bit... off (though it is at least creative enough to get him employed eventually). 4 years on JSA is taking the piss a bit. If I'd wanted a job in marketing and was unemployed, I'd probably get some other job (even part time) to support myself in the meantime, and keep such escapades for my free time. He's obviously capable.

Batou667:
A few observations from my own life: minimum wage is most certainly not a living wage, certainly not after you've moved out of your parent's house, and heaven forbid you have dependents of your own or aspirations of owning a car or paying for education. One of my friends works for a church and what's notable is that they have a policy of actually paying a living wage, regardless of position or contract hours - so, the guy who mops the floor in the evenings makes enough to live on, as do the women in the office. It's very commendable and, I have to admit, and example of a religious organisation sticking to its espoused ethical principles. Another of my friends works as a dustman, and I can confirm they're paid very well indeed.

I think minimum wage is ok if you're careful. I was on it for about a year and still managed to move out and so on. But I'd agree that it certainly isn't optimal, and if you add kids or other dependants to the mix then it quickly becomes extremely hard.
Kudos to that church, that's an admirable employment principle. I think that overall minimum wage has its place for jobs designed to be short term, or when starting at a company before working your way up, but it isn't fit for purpose as a sustained wage. Ideally, businesses would be 'encouraged' to either offer a living wage, or at least a kind of progressing wage that increased with length of employment or gave really good opportunity for promotion or something.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked