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Monday, August 25, 2014

Hard Work Is Not the Key to Success Anymore

Low wage job is just that...low wage. Want to earn more money? Get an education and get a better job.
Low wage job is just that...low wage. Want to earn more money? Get an education and get a better job.
"Low wage job is just that...low wage.  Want to earn more money? Get an education and get a better job."

That was the first comment in a recent article that I read about an 81 year old McDonald's maintenance who is joining the fight for a fair raise (McDonald's maintenance worker Jose Carillo, 81, won't let his age keep him from waging the fight for fair wages for fast-food workers).

Too often, I believe that people forget that not everyone can earn that college education.  Life isn't fair, and perhaps they never had that opportunity.  In this case, this is an 81-year old man.  As I am thinking of it, how many of our grandparents have college degrees?  Life was different then, and college wasn't something that was touted as the key to moving up in the world.  Hard work was considered the key to a successful life.

Today, the idea that hard work is going to get you a job that will pay your bills is becoming a thing of the past.  Now, the only way to find that job that meets cost of living is to go to college.  I am not for paying everyone the same thing, but there has to be a point where we pay for the services that we want as well.  Maintenance workers and low skilled workers shouldn't be treated as being lesser people simply because they haven't been able to afford to go to college.  They should be able to make a livable wage, which absolutely differs depending on where in the country you live.

These jobs aren't necessarily as low skill as one may think.  I've flipped burgers at McDonald's and had to run and be on my feet all day.  Many of these jobs are hard on the body, exhausting and require other skills of dexterity, organization, memory, all the while keeping that smile on.  Maintenance jobs take a lot of knowledge of mechanics, and common sense that not everyone has.

I am behind workers like Jose Carillo, who deserve the opportunity to make a livable wage.  Wages for the low skill jobs haven't been going up with the cost of living in this country, and it's about time they do.

Minimum wages need to be tied to the cost of living for a particular area.  But, most importantly, workers need to be treated with respect and fairness.  If you have a good worker, treat them as a good worker.  Just as if you do a good job at your middle management job, you would expect a raise, why doesn't a good worker who serves your food deserve a raise?