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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Second Job and the Underemployed

After yesterday's blog, I was talking to some friends about low wages and working low skill jobs.

One of my friends works at a local fast food restaurant.  It was the only job in this economy that she was able to find.  She is a fairly eloquent speaker and presents herself well.  Still, fast food was the only job she was able to find.

The hours that she had bee scheduled for generally only will add up to two days a week.  Recently, she asked her manager about being scheduled for more hours.  "Get a second job" is what she was told to do.

It was such a frustrating thing to hear.  She never knows what hours she will be scheduled, it may be mid-morning to afternoon one day, and close the next.  It may be Monday and Friday one week, and Tuesday and Saturday the next.  There is never any consistency.

So, she is looking for a second job.  But, she knows that if she gets a second job, her manager won't give her a consistent scheduling to accommodate it.

This brings to mind the idea of a New York Times article that I read recently regarding Starbucks and employees there who are struggling for consistent hours.  Starbucks it seems is at least trying to do the right thing and is in the process of trying to change their policies according to a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article.

Sadly, few employers show such respect for their employees.  The mentality for the past number of years has been that anyone is replaceable and retention of good employees has ceased to be a priority for the vast number of these jobs.

This is something that needs to change.  If an employer is not going to respect their employees and treat them as equal human beings, then those employees in turn will not respect their employers.  If my friend is able to find that second job, verses being able to stay at her current job with maybe a few more hours a week, I don't doubt she will run into the same problem that others at her workplace have run into and find that her managers won't work with anything but a completely open availability.

It's sad, but it's the way things are.  It's time for all employees to be treated with respect.  These may be low skill jobs, but that doesn't mean that these are less human beings.