Recently, workers in the fast food industry have been going on strike for higher wages. They claim that the wages offered in these sorts of jobs are not sufficient to live on or as the phrase goes, “make ends meet”. That’s understandable. We all would like to make more money and when the corporate warlords refuse to comply, things like a strike may bring some attention to the issue. But, there are some flaws in the worker bee’s cunning plan of going on strike. Let’s examine said flaws, as only Capt. Fritter can, shall we?
First of all, every corporation, every company, all of them, have one, and only one motive to be in business: TO MAKE MONEY. Don’t listen to anything else they may tell you. All that advertising, how they want to make life more better for you, is all bullshit. Those godawful, “mission statements”, which use flowery terms and vague notions are worthless. They are out to make as much profit as they can with the least amount of investment. There is no such thing as too much profit. And one of the greatest hindrances to said profit, probably the biggest expense of any corporation, is the employee.
Employees are a necessary evil. Few corporations can get by without them, so when they hire, they try to do so at the lowest possible cost they can get away with. And when it comes time to cut costs, employees and wages are the first to be downsized. That is the way it has always been, and the way it will always be.
Many things affect how much one gets paid to do a job. Pro football quarterbacks make millions of dollars because there are only about 3 dozen jobs available, and they generate a lot of revenue for their team. On the other hand, burger flippers are a dime a dozen and can be had for about a dozen dimes an hour, more or less. From there it is usually up to the individual to perform at a high enough level to convince the corporate masters that a few more dimes should be handed out. The masters, eyeing those precious profits, will do anything they can to deny those extra dimes. You, the worker bee, may well do enough to earn a raise, but be warned. There will always be somebody else waiting in the wings who will do your job, just as well, for less money. Make too much, and you will be unemployed. All workers are expendable. Remember that. All…are…expendable.
Which brings us to the next issue. All these people who are striking right now for more money have one single thing in common. Something that they did which put them in the financial situation they are in at this moment. When all these people went and applied for these jobs, sat down and went through the interviews, the background checks, the urine tests, and all the other humiliation of trying to gain employment, at some point, the hiring manager looked them straight in the eye and said, “This is how much we are going to pay you to perform this job.” And at that point in time, every one of these workers had the option to either accept that their life was worth whatever pitiful hourly rate that was offered, or they could have stood up, said no thanks, and walked out. But they accepted. They settled. They believed that their life was worth that which was offered because at the time, they needed a job, they needed to make some money, they needed to go to work. Well, you know my feelings on that. So all these fast food workers are going on strike to make more money at a job in which they agreed, under no duress, and with the option to say no, to do at the offered wage. And now they realize the mistake they made, and rather than admit they made a poor career choice, they make up a few signs, and march around the street. And they will accomplish nothing. They will go back to work, for the same low wages, and at some point, management, which never forgets a transgression by a worker bee, will find some reason to get rid of them. Which in hindsight, would be the best thing that could happen.
The types of jobs these people are fighting over are at the bottom of the barrel. Some would argue that a stint at a burger joint for a teenager part time is a good learning experience and will provide valuable tools for future jobs. Well, yes, that is true. If you want worker bees who are compliant, humiliated, blindly obedient, and have had all sense of individuality and ambition driven out of them, then hire an ex fast food worker. I mean, look at how these people are treated. Low wages aside, these worker bees are treated no better than the equipment they work with. Long days on their feet working around hot ovens and fryers. Humiliating uniforms that degrade a person. Rigid corporate rules on everything from how to prepare the alleged, “food”, to how to clean the counters. Overbearing managers who will berate and humiliate a person over the smallest of infractions. Have you ever looked on the walls of some of these places? There are charts with specific instructions on how to construct a burger. Precise amounts of each condiment lest one should use too much and eat into the profits. Imagine getting fired for giving too many chocolate sprinkles. That will look good on a resume. And people are going on strike over the low wages? Good luck with that.
But, that’s not what I wanted to write about here today.
Perhaps, these valiant worker bees, who are standing up to the man, should be taking a slightly different approach to their predicament. Instead of striking against the corporate warlords, who I guarantee do not give a Norwegian rat’s posterior about said predicament, perhaps these people should be at home, looking in the mirror at the real cause of their financial troubles.
As the title in this post says, people are always saying they are having trouble, “making ends meet.” Their solution? Go take some crappy job, with crappy wages, and crappy working conditions, in the blind hope that somehow, the ends will start to meet. They won’t, just so you know. Look, if you have $500 a month in apartment rent, and maybe a car loan of $300 because some sleaze ball finance manager at the car dealer managed to get you financed on a vehicle that loses $50 a day in value, or maybe some credit card debt because you keep buying shit, thinking it will improve your life, and you still have to pay the utilities and feed your fat ass, making $7.50 an hour flipping burgers is not going to improve your situation.
If you are having trouble making ends meet, and all you are finding are minimum wage, garbage jobs, then perhaps it’s time to get those ends a little closer together, rather than trying to make them meet from so far away. It’s time to reevaluate your lifestyle and adjust accordingly if you want to be able to survive. It’s time to downsize.
Like you didn’t see that coming.
It may seem like you are doing something just by bringing in a paycheck every week, no matter how small, but in reality, you are just falling deeper and deeper into the trap of consumerism and living beyond your means, no matter what the cost. You may say that taking on one of these jobs is better than nothing. No, these jobs are nothing. These types of jobs, be it fast food or warehouse picker, will only keep you from escaping the financial trap you have put yourself into. Your ambitions, your desires, your state of mind will all get skewed as the stress and strife of these garbage jobs takes over your life. You’ll be too busy constipating on the problems of work, and then come home to face more problems with finances, to focus on what is most important, living your goddam life as it should be. At work you answer to bosses, coworkers, and customers. At home, you answer to landlords, banks, and bill collectors. That is not how things should be.
For those of you just starting out in life, fresh out of school, or those who are not financially burdened by debt and possessions, congratulations. The battle is half won. Now you can make more better choices about where you want to go and what you want to do. The entire world is at your disposal, (except for North Korea, you might wanna skip that place), to go and explore, learn, and live a full life. That feeling of euphoria, the tingling you are getting up your inner thigh right now? That’s the realization that you are a free person, unencumbered by the consumer lifestyle. (Either that or my writing is way more erotic than I thought it to be.) No longer a slave to the machine. You are limited only by yourself and your abilities. And you will be surprised by just how much ability you actually have.
For those of you who are trapped in the consumer world, with lots of debt, possessions, and what seems like a dead end road, well, you got yerself into this mess, time to get yerself out. Remember my mantra, “You are where you are today because of the combined effects of all the decisions you have made throughout your life.” If you have made bad decisions in the past, time to smarten your ass up and make some good decisions.
Firstly, the disclaimer. If you are currently raising a family, you know, those kid thingies, or have persons directly dependent upon you for survival, you must take care of them properly above all else. No exceptions to this rule. Don’t view this as a burden, but as an opportunity. If you are going to downsize, teach your kids the value and reasons of why you are doing so. Learn them youngun’s right so when the time comes for them to go out into the cold, cruel, pitiless world, they will not make the same mistakes. Show them the value of life’s experiences is way more better than things.
Having said all that, step one, get out of debt. You owe money, pay it back. No reneging, no bankruptcy, pay it back. You incurred the debt, agreed to the terms, honor said terms. Find a way. If you can sell stuff to pay off the debt, and it’s stuff you can do without, then do so. Can you downsize that new car into something used and get rid of that monthly payment? Move to a smaller apartment or perhaps look at alternative living like rv or boat living. It may take years to eliminate said debts. Took me well over 10. No matter, do it. Yes, you will get discouraged, depressed, and think there is no end in sight. But slowly, and surely, as each debt is eliminated, it gets easier and easier. And the day you are debt free, is a day you will cherish for the rest of your life.
But what if, during this period of downsizing and debt elimination, you can’t find any other employment than those garbage jobs listed above?
Look harder. Find something more better. Go buy an old lawnmower and cut grass. Tutor people on how to do things on a computer if you have the skills. The tools are out there for anyone who wants to go into business for themselves on a small scale. The money may not be much better but the peace of mind will be there. You may not believe it sometimes, but you do have skills and abilities. Find out what they are and use them to your advantage. There are few things more satisfying in life than working for yourself.
And if there really isn’t anything else, and you believe that your only option is one of these garbage jobs, remember this. These jobs will give you no valuable skills to use later in life other than to take more garbage jobs. A stint as a picker in a warehouse or buyer flipper means nothing on a resume. Most of the time the benefits are bait and switch, with little value when needed. Few people stay at these sorts of jobs to really take any advantage of them. Short of actually committing a crime at one of these jobs, nobody will remember that you worked there. You only have so many years on this planet, why waste them punching a time clock for a faceless corporation who cares nothing about you except what you can produce for them?
You can do more better.
Stop bitching about your current situation. Those corporate bastards won’t give you any more money. Or if they do, with it will come more misery, more worthless work, and more stress. These jobs are not worth the effort. If you want to protest about something, protest the fact that we have allowed these corporations to bring us to this point. The point where a human life is worth nothing but $7.50 an hour, and you as a human being have no worth to them beyond what you can generate for more profits.
Get rid of the debts.
Downsize to more comfortable level.
Find your skills and abilities and use them.
Don’t settle for these sorts of jobs.
Life is so much more than flipping burgers. It’s not about punching a time clock. It’s not about giving up your individuality for the good of the hive. Life, from birth to death, is meant to be experienced in as many varied, exciting, and fulfilling ways as possible. Put down the protest signs, stop punching a time clock, and do something that will make a real difference in your life. Start experiencing instead of existing. Downsize and get those ends closer together so they can meet more easily, and once you do, you’ll find a whole new life out there. Once the need for money becomes secondary, life takes on a dramatic turn to the upside. More opportunities, more adventures, more experiences. But it can only happen if you make it happen. Take the risks, learn from the failures, revel in the successes, and share your experiences with others.
It will be well worth it. Well worth more than minimum wage.