I want to get one thing out of the way at the outset: this post is not about whether or not the government should raise the minimum wage.
Honestly, I don’t care. I live in the largely conservative state of Texas, so forgive me if this post comes across as irritable, but I’ve been hearing the same crap all day long.
It basically ALL goes like this.
If you’ve been saying and supporting this stupidity, please stop.
I work two part-time jobs. One of them is a minimum wage job. I work a job that pays $7.25 an hour. Apparently that’s because I have minimum skills, education, motivation, and contribution to the workplace.
Let me tell you about my minimum skills and experience. I have mad coordination skills: I assure you I can organize and get things done like no other. I get things done, come hell or high water. I’m an independent producer, so I have to be able to self-motivate to accomplish anything. I write, direct, film, act, oversee logistics and cook (to motivate other people) just to get things done in my productions. I also worked for a year and a half as a television listings editor, which requires juggling like you would not believe. I kick butt at communicating: I don’t think I’ve ever held a job that didn’t require high levels of interpersonal communication – in person, on the phone, via email. If something ever needs to be said, I’m your girl: I’ll say it in the best way possible. I’m also incredibly tech-savvy: I can operate, troubleshoot and repair A/V equipment.
Let me tell you about my minimum education. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television and Film from the University of North Texas. That’s one of those majors where the first day of class, the professor walks in and says, “Look to your right.” And the whole class does. “Okay, now look to your left.” And we do. Then he states some overwhelming statistic where most of us don’t end up graduating with our degrees. I got the best of those odds, and I do hold a degree, and am very skilled in my field.
Let me tell you about my minimum motivation. I work hard at my job that pays $7.25 an hour; in fact, I work harder in my minimum wage job than I do in my non-minimum wage job. It’s just how that cookie crumbled. But as I said before, I work two jobs. Additionally, I self-advertise my book, The Field, because having someone else advertise it is WAY out of my budget (and would be way out of my budget even if I was earning a living wage). Then, I set out to crank out 1,000 words for my second book, Update. On top of ALL of that, I’m still searching high and low for a full-time job that will pay a living wage AND develop my skill set.
Let me tell you about my minimum contribution to the workplace. When I’m not waiting on customers (which entails making sure their needs are met and up-selling various products to them), I’m merchandising (making sure things in my store look good). When I’m not helping someone find their power button, or projector remote, I’m updating computers, testing equipment, and otherwise ensuring things are running smoothly. Not because I want to move up in the world, but because I own my job, and I own every job I take on. It’s the right and responsible thing to do, regardless of your salary.
I hate (hate, hate, hate) this assumption that a person who works a minimum wage job is somehow a minimal person, or a person lesser than you with your big shot non-minimum wage job. I hate the assumption that all it takes is work to get out of this minimum wage job and this minimal status as a human being, as if that’s all there is to it.
That’s not how it works. I know and fully understand that there are entitled people out there who don’t want to do any work for anything. I also know not everyone who wants to see a raise in the minimum wage are doing it out of some greedy, demanding, entitled motivation. A lot of us just want to make enough to live, and the bottom line is that the current minimum wage is not a living wage, and it’s not as simple as just working harder and getting a better job. That’s not reality, and I feel genuinely sorry for you if you think it is.
Someone once said to me, “I hope there is a minimum wage increase and that you lose your job as a result.” (I guess so I learn my lesson not to support minimum wage increase?)
You know why I’m not going to lose my job as a result of a minimum wage increase? Because contrary to the opinions of the people I’ve been hearing from all day, I’m not a minimal person, despite not making a living salary. I go over and above every day, and it’s been noted by people who matter (i.e. the people who make hiring/termination decisions). It doesn’t matter what you think of me in your job that you think you’ve earned because you’ve worked so much harder, because you don’t make those decisions. (Thank God).
I just hope that you (the people I’ve heard from all day) never have to live by the standard you’ve put out there today. You’ve been proud and judgmental and have assumed the worst of people who really just want to make a living, and sometimes McDonald’s is the only place to do that. I hope that you don’t come to find out what I’ve said today is true through experience. I hope you find some compassion, some understanding for the real people in minimum wage jobs, not just your perceptions of who they are. There may be some who are what you think they are, but most of us are not.
We just want to live.