Saturday, March 15, 2014

Missing The Point, Again

Some fifty years ago when the media was nattering about the new “service economy” my father made a dry comment that, “What the hell? We can’t all make a living selling hamburgers to each other.” That comment comes to mind when I read the furor over the wages paid by McDonalds and other fast food sellers.

These jobs, “flipping burgers,” were at one time entry level jobs held by high school and sometimes college students to earn spending money and gain some experience in the concept and discipline of earning wages while they studied in preparation for obtaining real employment in their future. So severe has been the degradation of our economy that these have become mainstream jobs, and that is a sad commentary on this nation that is being missed.

Instead of reacting to the situation by saying that we should rebuild our economy so that these jobs are once again nothing more than stepping stones to real employment, we take the approach that we should turn this trivial, meaningless task into mainstream employment and turn this economy into one where we do, in fact, “make our living selling hamburgers to each other.”

Good God Almighty, are we no better than that? Are we the kind of nation whose people are willing to settle for a career as trivial as standing at a grill flipping burgers? Instead of demanding that these meaningless dead end jobs pay career wages, how about demanding that this nation once again create the career jobs that it once had, so that people can do work that means something as well as paying a living wage? How about we keep the entry level jobs for entry level workers and give them something better to aspire to?

This was once a great nation. This was once a nation whose people would never settle for jobs “selling hamburgers to each other.” Today we seem not to have the ambition even to ask for better.

2 comments:

Bartender Cabbie said...

Right on the money. We have fast become a nation of furniture salesmen selling sofas made in Peru.

bruce said...

something I've noticed, they used to be entry level part time jobs, often for high school and college students, sometimes other part timers. Now they are occupied by low skilled (often immigrant) workers trying to make a living off it. I'm not saying that's bad, but there sometimes seems to be a lack of low skilled entry level jobs too for those who want & need them.

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