The unemployment rate in this country is officially almost 10%, and is probably double that if you count all the folks that have just flat-out “quit looking”.
Yet, I so often hear from small business owners that they simply cannot find anyone willing to work. It seems that nobody (meaning the younger people) want to work in the service industries – and the excuses – to quote a dear friend, would make a dog laugh! Here are some examples:
“I would have to work too hard!”
“The jobs don’t pay enough to make it worthwhile”
“I would get dirty!”
“The job is too hard – you have to lift stuff!”
“I’d have to get up too early in the morning!”
“I wouldn’t have time to hang out at the pool with my friends!
“They (the boss) won’t let me use my cell phone even for texting while I work. I have to put it in my locker or leave it at home!”
Good Grief! Have we actually taught our young people that they are too good or too proud to get their hands dirty and earn a day’s wages?
I grew up in a small town of about 800 souls along a tourist corridor to the Badlands, Black Hills, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton park systems, and almost every kid in town over the age of 10 or 12 had some kind of a job during the summer months to help pay for school clothes, shoes, etc. (for the magnificent sum of 25 cents per hour!).
As you gained work experience, you were given more money (raises) and even more if you came back to work the next year because you had some experience on the job. We all started lining up our summer jobs right after the first of the year because if you didn’t have one scratched up by the end of April, chances were slim to none that you would get the job you wanted. But, if you didn’t get that choice job, you darn well took what ever was available. And there was NO MINIMUM WAGE for anyone!
My first job was washing dishes by hand in a local café, and the job was expanded over the course of that first summer to include serving customers in the dining room (waitress and cashier), and you could even earn a few tips if you did a good job. We didn’t have a cash register telling you how much change to give back. You had to count the money back to the customer – out loud – so you knew you had given the right change so the customer knew you didn’t cheat them.
My brothers worked as cooks helpers and dishwashers from age 11 through high school. Others mowed lawns, did landscaping (building rock walls and terraces, etc.) cleaned motel/hotel rooms, worked clearing tables in restaurants, did babysitting/house keeping in private homes for working mothers, cleaned houses, which included washing walls and ceilings, did janitorial or cleaning at local businesses after they closed for the day, worked as sales clerks in grocery stores, pumped gas and cleaned windshields at service stations, worked for local farmers and ranchers helping with haying and harvesting.
And yes, they drove tractors at age 11 or 12, and they also fixed fences and cleaned barns.
Some of the kids had ‘year around jobs’ in addition to their summer jobs. They delivered newspapers door-to-door before work and school. Others delivered milk, cream and eggs to individual homes, no matter what the weather.
The ‘little kids’ (under 10) kept the road ditches picked clean of glass soda bottles as they were worth a nickel apiece at the local gas station, which were sent back to the company, sterilized and reused again and again.
Now I realize times have changed and young folks can’t go to work as young as we did (although I don’t think it hurt us one bit to take on some responsibility). And yes, I realize there are all kinds of rules about what kids can and cannot do, but I get upset when I hear 14-year-old students ‘turn up their noses’ as a minimum wage job of over $7 an hour – when they have NO JOB EXPERIENCE!
When I did the math, that’s $58 a day, or $290 a week, which is $1,160 per month, or $3,480 (minus the taxes), for about three months work – give or take a little for school schedules. That amount of money will buy quite a few school clothes!
Many of our local businesses have had to resort to hiring workers from overseas (instead of local college and senior high school students) who come for the summer jobs and the money, and return home at the end of the season. They are from Russia, Poland, and all over Europe.
Times aren’t easy with the rising prices of gas, groceries and everything else we have to buy. I’m thinking this upcoming generation needs to shut off the computer, television and cell phones and get off the couch and help to earn their own way!
What is your opinion – what do you think? Email me at [email protected].
‘Til Next Time,
-Paulaand share your ideas with us so we can all have a cleaner living space in no time at all!