Fast food and other low wage earners are often under-appreciated and misunderstood.
But they are an important part of the economy. Not only do they make breakfast and coffee for other people in the workforce, they can also inspire us to work hard and be successful. 🙂 There are different types of success. Making $100,000 a year as a lawyer could be one measure of financial success. But there are also success stories of very ambitious people who work in the lower paying service industry.
I don’t get why some critics make fun of fast food or blue collar workers as if their jobs are somehow less valuable to society than a corporate desk job pushing papers. At least burger flippers have found a way to make money there, unlike myself who only go there to stuff my face with greasy, unhealthy food, lol. Besides, it’s just lame to ridicule someone’s career choice while demanding a service from them. Without the hard working employees at McDonald’s there would be no Ronald McDonald House Charities, Big Macs, Happy Meals, or all the investment returns to MCD’s shareholders.
But not all low wage earners have the same positive attitude towards hard work and money. Instead of going to work and making sacrifices to save up for a better education some workers would rather protest for a higher wage, while spending what limited amount of money they have on the newest gadgets and electronics, instead of investing, or paying down their debts. 😕
Most fast food workers fall somewhere in the middle between these two kinds of extremes. It’s unreasonable to expect someone to work 95 hours a week without burning out eventually, but we also can’t expect governments to fix all our problems if we don’t even try to live within our means. Complaining is okay. Everyone does it. But if we want real meaningful change to get out of poverty once and for all, we have to improve our human capital and count on our own abilities.
Random Useless Fact
From what I hear night shift workers at McDs make BANK.
That said I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how hard it is for a certain class of worker, like this one. Zero hour contracts, being on call, all kinds of crazy shifts, needing a vehicle to be able to get to those shifts, probably not being able to afford a reliable vehicle, moving closer to work not being an easy thing to do (financially etc), having quite strict rules imposed on you at work and no flexibility. My partner is currently in a job that is quite strict (in regard to clocking in and out, as well as things like having phones at work or even taking photos inside – production area sure but lunch area!) and things like interviewing for other jobs would be really hard, unless the company was just down the road, because their breaks are pretty short and restricted.
The design company I work for doesn’t allow taking photos inside as well. Thanks for the tip about the night shift workers. I’ve applied to work for McDonald’s in the past but they didn’t want me.
Kind of a timely article as I did a fast food round up a few days ago. But your post does make a good point about our attitudes towards fast food workers. Whether we intend to or not, we often do look down on these workers and assume that most “would rather protest for a higher wage, while spending what limited amount of money they have on the newest gadgets and electronics, instead of investing, or paying down their debts.” I know that the two types of workers you highlight are on each extreme end of the spectrum however the reality is that many others, not in the fast food game, earning $100K, $200K or $300K a year also blow their money on gadgets, don’t save and are equally in as bad financial shape as the fast food employee. A change in attitude towards money, saving and investing is really what’s needed.
There are people who are bad with managing their money in all income brackets, lol. How we spend money shouldn’t really be tied to how much we make. I think the two should be related but doesn’t necessarily have to be in sync.
Considering 80% of the economy is derived and dependent on service-orientated jobs…one could imagine the scary scenario if all those low-wage workers pulled a John Galt.
It’s amazing how much the rest of the world needs service based workers. Some cities in the U.S. have a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr by 2020. With so many people making less than $10/hr now, I can only imagine the inflationary pressures those cities will experience in its cost of living for households near the poverty line.
I have a friend who’s Vietnamese-Canadian. She speaks French, Vietnamese, and English. She’s just told me that she can’t speak any of the three as well as a French, Vietnamese, or English 🙂 She’s just being humble. I don’t read and write perfect English, because it’d slow down my thoughts trying to go back to correct my own mistakes. There should be a midway where they rank “good enough” 🙂
I like the post where you give extra nuggets, they think you can’t count!?!! People who’s in line protesting have better “gear” than me. 🙂 Maybe, I’m “way” behind. People at my work who make a lot less paid $300 family cellphone plan, $200 cable tv plan … Just the way people prioritize things I guess. I’m loaded up on VZ and T stocks!
Your coworker’s spending habits just ends up going to your bottom line haha. Both VZ and T are looking to be pretty good long term investments. It’s interesting how T symbolizes a different company in Canada, but it’s still a large telecom company.
I often hear people say to me “people do labour work because they are not smart enough to do anything else”. You have to be quite intelligent to do the trades, which is a lot of labour work depending on the trade. So a person working on an oil rig,will make a lot more money than most people. I read about an engineer from Ontario, who couldn’t get a work term so went to work on the rigs in Alberta. He didn’t leave. He is making more money than all his classmates and believes he will be able to retire 10 yrs from when he started on the rigs.
A 10 year career and then retiring forever sounds like an awesome plan. 🙂 I need to work for about 15 years to do the same thing in my line of work but it’s great how there are so many choices out there for everyone. If we make early retirement a priority then it will happen.
We shouldn’t look down at people, period. Just because someone works at a fast food place doesn’t give you the right to look down on them because you’re a doctor or a lawyer.
That’s a good mantra to follow in general. People should always have the common courtesy to respect one another. 🙂
Isn’t it the golden rule that most of us were taught as children: “treat others how you would like to be treated”?
I’ve had my fair share of minimum wage jobs, and I always wanted to be treated with respect.
Unfortunately some people forget the golden rule as they grow up. I’ve only had one low wage job working as a clerk. It was fun, but I wouldn’t want to do it as a career.
Attitude and life choices are why we end up in the places we do. Do whatever you like, just make sure you are happy doing what you are doing, otherwise you will live a miserable life of unhappiness and negativity. Plan to achieve your longer term goals and use all legal means necessary to get there while sharing smiles with others along the way. Things rarely come to us on a silver platter as perception of others lives or media projections might otherwise have us believe. – Cheers.
Great advice. Doing what you love doing will help you get through the really rough times. When things don’t go your way it helps when you still enjoy what you do.
“Instead of going to work and making sacrifices to save up for a better education some workers would rather protest for a higher wage, while spending what limited amount of money they have on the newest gadgets and electronics, instead of investing, or paying down their debts.”
I don’t see why protesting for a higher wage is bad. Higher wages means people actually have money that they can save. Higher wages means employees would need to take on fewer other jobs which translates to more efficient employees on-hours and reduced turnover. We tell professionals all the time: Want more money? Ask for a raise! But when it comes to service workers we treat it as some sort of undue entitlement? Pardon my French, but f*** that noise.
Good point. I would encourage service workers to ask for a raise too. Many of them deserve it. 🙂