Thursday, April 16, 2015

Why The $15 An Hour Demands Are Delusional

Dental assistant, skilled construction laborer, emergency medical technician, security officer, window cleaner (the kind where you ride a scaffold up and down), warehouse associate...

These are examples of jobs in this country today that, depending on where you live, pay around $15 an hour. Each and every one of them require training - some require education. Some of these can be entry level positions for the person who really wants to move up and be more successful. Dental assistants often become dental hygienists. Construction laborers can become foremen - particularly if they work hard and study to improve their knowledge of the trade. EMTs often become paramedics, physician's assistants, even doctors. And I don't know anyone who works their entire career as a security officer or window cleaner - but I'm sure there may be some.

My point is - each of the jobs listed above requires some skills over and above being able to put a Big Mac together or put fries in the hot grease, set the timer and pull them out when the alarm goes off. Oh - and pouring salt on them doesn't take much skill either.

The demands for higher wages among entry level, minimum wage workers is getting ridiculous. Unless you move up into a position of more authority such as department lead or management, jobs at McDonald's, Burger King, and even entry level jobs at Walmart weren't meant to be a career. They're meant to be a stepping stone to higher paying, more responsible jobs. And to demand $15 an hour for them even as other people have to get an education and/or trade school training to get that wage shows the entitlement mentality of 2015 Americans.

Some of the statements of the protesters spell it out pretty well. Some of them took to Twitter yesterday.

"EVERY working American citizen deserves to be able to live comfortably."

"Everyone who works full-time in America deserves to earn a comfortable living."

"Everyone deserves to live comfortably if they work hard, and working in fast food is working hard."

Everyone deserves it? Really? Why is that, exactly? The Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The "pursuit" of happiness is guaranteed - not happiness itself. Nothing in the Constitution guarantees anyone the right to make a "comfortable living." That falls under the pursuit of happiness and is something you must do for yourself. Demanding that someone pay you more than you deserve is a form of that pursuit, I suppose - but it's an unreasonable form. 

Today's society, particularly young people, believe they have a right to whatever they want just because they want it. It shows in everything they do.

I got my first job working in a dairy store when I was 17. I earned minimum wage, which was $2 an hour. I worked there for a year before moving to a job with JC Penney Co at $2.10 an hour. After six months, because I was a good and faithful employee, I got a raise to a whopping $2.20 an hour! 

Following that I worked as a delivery driver for a small bakery. I was paid straight commission on everything I sold. It averaged a bit more than minimum wage but I often worked 12 hour days and those days began at 4AM. I was happy to have a job and happy that someone was paying me. 

I went into the Air Force after that and my hourly wage was $2.34. Of course, I did have the advantage of three square meals a day, clothing provided, and a place to live, but to get that I had to volunteer to serve my country and put my life on the line when necessary. I don't think there are too many McDonald's employees who do that on a daily basis.

In 2015, a person who enlists in the military gets paid just over $9 an hour. To average E4 with six years service makes $15 an hour. And many of them go to war. Again - the military person gets the benefits of housing, food and medical care - but he or she puts their life on the line every day to get those. They're away from their homes and families and often out of their own country. Somebody please tell me again how a soldier with five years military service should be paid less than some kid flipping burgers in a fast food joint. I'll wait.

One woman I heard on the radio yesterday said "I need my $15 an hour because $8.10 an hour just isn't enough!" Her statement alone - "I need my $15 an hour," shows here entitlement attitude. It's not her money. The money belongs to the company for which she works until she earns it. And if the company believed she believed $15 an hour she'd be getting paid that much.

I find it fascinating that people accept a job at a set wage then demand, without any other changes, a higher wage simply because they think they deserve it. It's similar to when I worked for the government. Subordinate staff would demand outstanding performance evaluations just for showing up to work. Each time a performance review or annual performance evaluation was due I would solicit information from all of those on whom I reported on any accomplishments I might not know about that they believed should be included in their evaluation. Rarely did I get a response. But when I rated their performance honestly many of them became upset because they believed they were better than average. When I asked them for specific examples they could provide none - yet they wanted the above average rating anyway. Entitlement mentality.

After 8 years of military service my pay, as an E5 Staff Sergeant, was $6.50 an hour. When I got out I worked three part-time jobs, all at minimum wage or below (one was commissioned sales) until I got hired by the federal government. I did what I had to do to support my family. I didn't complain about wages. I didn't demand I be paid twice what the job offered. I took the jobs willingly and gratefully because it was what I needed to do.

Forgive me if I have no sympathy for these crybabies demanding double pay for entry level work. What happens to the skilled/educated labor force if burger flippers get a 100% pay increase? Do they get it as well? How many companies will be forced out of business because they simply cannot meet that expectation? The crybabies don't care; not as long as they get what they want. Their signs say "We are worth more!" Says who?

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