From the waitress always putting on a smile when you walk through the diner door, to the convenience store clerk whose occupation is fraught with low pay and dangerous work conditions, there are some things in life only minimum wage workers can understand.
If you work for minimum wage then I can imagine you will identify and understand these ten feelings. As a once minimum wage employee myself I wrote these from experience. For those of you who never have worked for minimum wage, may this give you some insight into the world of the worker.
You feel a sense of injustice among your peers
Low entry requirements usually mean trouble when it comes to the societal parts of minimum wage work. Based on seniority, you can feel as though your peers are always trying to put you in a box. From pushing your shifts around to taking your days off, it’s easy to feel left out.
You can never get ahead financially
Since you don’t make enough money to ever really save, the slightest problem will set you back. Often the pay is so low you are barely able to provide food on the table. When something circumstantial happens, like a flat tire or a visit to the doctor, your whole finances are ruined for months.
You budget life around work
Instead of living life, you live the company’s schedule. The desperation really sets in when you work swing shifts and miss out on important family or friend meet-ups. This leads to you feeling left out of forward progress, and can make you pull away from social events altogether.
You experience the true difficulty of mobility
When you work a minimum wage job you can barely afford true transportation, like a car. This culture is created via government regulation, like property taxes on cars and high gas prices. It takes work just to get to the low paying job. A lot of mass transit systems in the United States just aren’t adequate.
You are crushed by corporate pencil-pushing delays
When you work for a low wage, a two-week pay schedule can be devastating. Employers need to understand that the people they are hiring are relying on that paycheck week to week. It’s unfair to pay so little and still expect workers to wait out a one week hold, plus a two week pay schedule.
You feel stuck in one location
Want to smell the ocean air or climb the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains? Not a chance for many who work low paying jobs. You can’t afford to take a vacation, nor whimsically move into a new location where the same minimum wage jobs are your future.
You can work hard and still go unnoticed
Ever feel like you go the extra mile, but management never notices? You aren’t alone! A lot of people that work a minimum wage job feel like no matter what they do they will never see an advancement within the company they work for thanks to pedigree.
You rarely feel any benefit for working as much as you do
We can all feel like we are going nowhere at times, but it’s especially true for those who are working minimum wage jobs. Day after day you go into work, and by the end of the week you aren’t any better off than you were the month before. It’s a sinking feeling.
You make less money, even when you make more
The tax code is set against those rising up from the bottom. You pay an employment tax, not an investment tax. So when you finally do get a leg up and make some decent money, you lose it to Uncle Sam. Working more for less breaks the spirits of those who want to achieve.
You feel pressure from your dependents
They love you and you surely love them. One reason you work long hours, swing shifts, and put up with low wages is due to people counting on what little money you do make. It feels impossible to make a transition towards a better career when you constantly have to produce bread for the family.
It’s important to remember that even though it feels like the wind of life is against you, you can still improve your skill set and gain better positions of employment. Often we have to take five steps forward and two steps back to go forward at all.
At the end of the day we have to persevere, gain power through knowledge, and apply ourselves. Once you decide to be something in life, you can truly be it!