Success for a Minimum Wage Job:
The Societal Damage of Considering Minimum Wage Jobs a Failure
When you walk out your door, there’s a string of systems put in place to help the world around you function. These functions are run for the people, by the people. Most importantly these functions will fail our entire societal system if they just suddenly disappeared. These pillars, to a bigger whole are absolutely essential for the well being of the rest of our system. What am I talking about, you ask? I’m talking about minimum wage jobs and how they affect the world. When growing up, it’s rare that you hear a child ecstatically exclaim that they want to be a waitress. No young boy dreams of being a pro valet driver. These jobs are socially frowned upon, and although we will all most likely have to participate in a minimum wage job at some point in our lives, it’s definitely not a place we like to think of being for the rest of our lives. So here’s my point: Just because the pay at a minimum wage job isn’t necessarily great doesn’t mean that these jobs don’t hold a high level of importance in our lives, and shouldn’t be treated as such. More often than not, employees treat minimum wage jobs with a lack of professionalism, employers use excessive tactics that fail to motivate workers, and consumers take minimum wage workers for granted.
In the fall of 2010, I got my first job for a minimum wage of $9.00 an hour. Living in Los Angeles and working in Hollywood, this barely got me through the week, and if it wasn’t for school loans, I wouldn’t have made it. I worked retail at a Forever 21 on the boulevard, and boy did I hate it. The pay was terrible, my hours were difficult, my bosses cared very little about me as an individual and customers took advantage of me. I would make a measly $200-$300 dollars a check, which I spent 100 of just on public transportation to get to work. Occasionally I would also get scolded for not “following dress code”, meaning we we’re required to wear clothing from the store. So I would spend a portion of my checks buying clothing for work. On a “special occasion” during the release of a new line of clothing for the store, I was asked to go home about a half hour into my shift because my shoes weren’t nice enough for the event. All this for a job where stuck up woman would make me carry their bags and follow them around the store while they picked out clothes was definitely not worth it. This drove me to become very miserable and uninspired during my work hours. That on top of times when I would get scheduled during classes, my bosses would forget or ignore my requests for time off, or wouldn’t consider, “I need to study for a test coming up” as an acceptable excuse of absence, led to my first and only firing from a job. I’ll admit though, I was extremely happy to pick up my last check.
This seems like just a really bad job, but I would go on to work at three other places after this that shared some of these serious issues, or some others not unique to a minimum wage job. with pay that makes a very small dent in a person’s life, it becomes harder to encourage employees to care about their jobs. Especially when minimum wage workers tend to be some of the most labor intensive jobs in the country. Take waiters for example; without a doubt, waiters and waitresses spend a significant amount of time on their feet, under a large amount of stress and treated pretty poorly. It’s as if people forget what it’s like to work a crappy job.