Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Working For What?

As I am working another day at my mind-numbing job, I couldn’t help but ponder the ideal of working as it applies to me. Here are my worthless two cents about working for peanuts.

I want to start by saying that I actually do enjoy my job. As far as an office assistant goes, I have a lot of responsibility due to my industriousness, and management pretty much lets me have my way in most things. I also could not ask for a better boss. She really knows how to leave me alone; I hardly ever see her. They have so much trust in me to do my work that my manager admitted that she does not know everything that I do, only that everything falls to Hades when I am gone.

So what is the problem, you ask? It’s the money! That is what makes it mind-numbing. When I started this job, there were only ten daily tasks listed under my job description. Now I am responsible for thirty different daily tasks, and another one is about to be added soon enough. This is because after I finished the initial ten tasks, I would still have another six hours left in the work day. Management was amazed at how I could work so quickly and accurately (which makes me wonder what in the world the woman before me was doing), so they kept giving me additional tasks to complete. Do you understand what that means? I am doing the work of three people. Yet, some of you would be appalled to know that I get paid less than $15.00 per hour.

This makes me reflect on how things in the world are skewed when it comes to work. Has anyone else noticed that the harder one works the less he gets paid, and the less one works the more he gets paid? Isn’t there something wrong with that? For example, I had a brief stint doing the hardest back-breaking work of my life when I was a dishwasher at a local restaurant. It was so hard that I only lasted three weeks. However, for all of that hard work I was paid $8.00 per hour.

My fiancĂ©, James (name changed), is a contractor for a construction company, but he is also an electrician’s helper. For both of these jobs he was paid a grand total of $10.00 per hour, but he did get frequent bonuses - all the wounds and dirt stains he could stand.

Now compare these kinds of jobs to someone who sits in a cushiony office all day and only leaves to go to meetings and have power lunches. Yet they get paid six digits at least. I’m sure that they work hard in a different way, but it by no means compares to a laborer.

Go to college, you might say, or, Get a better job. Well, let’s look at the issue of going to college. There is probably no one better than I who knows all about the con of going to college. In the United States, students are sent to college with the goal of incurring a lifelong debt. I know because I have some lifelong student loan debt of my own; I had to take on student loans because my scholarships was not enough to cover just my tuition. I could not afford to finish attending beyond my sophomore year, and I was only able to go back a second year because my father dipped into his 401k. Perhaps if I had time and money I would attend a vocational school (which is the far superior choice), but all of that post-secondary schooling has left me very jaded. The only hope for me is getting promoted by my current job. But James is looking forward to going to vocational school starting in January, and I couldn’t be prouder or more supportive.

As for getting a better job, I hate when people say that, as if better jobs are so easy to get. Like I said, my best bet is a promotion, but that takes time. In my previous position, I had to wait five years for my current position to become available.

What is life like in the meantime? Well, hopefully James gets the maximum Pell grant so we can have some extra money. In the meantime, we live paycheck to paycheck (I don’t even know what a savings account looks like), and being a contractor means that at any time they can let him go with no advanced warning. That is why he is going back to school. Until then, we eat a lot of Ramen noodles. That is probably a poor person’s staple, that and chicken and rice.

How do we do it? Changing our mindset is key. There are two kinds of poor people - poor people who hate being poor and poor people who seek to be rich in other things. For those who choose to be defined by money, being poor is a blow. My sister-in-law, for example, is a poor woman who buys expensive things whenever she can to make herself look rich to others even if it cuts into bill money, something known as being ghetto fabulous. James and I, on the other hand, deal with reality as it is, take things one paycheck at a time as our circumstances dictate, and seek to be fulfilled in deeper ways.

So what have I been complaining about? I am not complaining about being rich, I am complaining about not being compensated for the work that I do. How many of us truly feel like we are paid fairly for the work we do? If I was lazy and sought ways to get out of working then I would not have a leg to stand on and would deserve whatever peanuts I get in my paycheck, but my management team and co-workers are quick to point out how diligent, meticulous, and dedicated I am to my job. I can honestly say that I do not know what they would do with me, especially since I handle the work of three people.

On the plus side, perhaps things will change for the better for me next year. I am up for a raise, an annual bonus, an outstanding performance bonus, and a promotion. If everything is everything, this will no longer be an issue.

People, do you feel like you are fairly compensated? If not, why? How do you keep yourself together, and do you have hope that things will ever change for you in this area?

Be sure to comment, subscribe, +1, and share this blog with others!

Follow by Email