Why Are You So Hard on Minimum Wage Workers?

Stop holding them to a higher standard than you hold other employees

*Missy*

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Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Restaurants can’t find enough workers in my area, so they close early if staff from other locations can’t help. That statement may not surprise you, as the labor shortage extends far beyond my region. There are hiring problems across the country right now, and a large chunk of these issues involve restaurants, retail gigs, and other low-wage jobs.

Many people criticize pandemic benefits, claiming that extended unemployment made Americans unwilling to work. Others blame COVID quarantines and fatalities, insisting that the virus has wiped out our workforce. There are also folks who believe Millennials and Zoomers lack ambition, so they’re using the pandemic as an excuse for unemployment. True or not, these beliefs often evolve into a debate about raising pay rates for minimum wage workers.

The debates are rarely constructive. Whenever someone requests a higher minimum wage, people angrily respond with comments like, “You want $15 an hour, but you can’t even remember to leave onions off my burger.” That may be true, but you make mistakes at your job too. This is true even if you have a cushy office job where you’re surrounded by college-educated coworkers.

Minimum wage employees often work in understaffed, high-pressure environments. Customers don’t care if you’re shorthanded that day; they keep coming anyway and then yell at you for taking too long. You may be able to push back a deadline at an office job, but you can’t tell fast-food guests to come back later if half your closing crew calls in sick.

Next time you’re tempted to bash minimum wage workers, remember these 3 things:

Productivity problems result in significant income loss for businesses

Many office workers spend their workday doing…well, anything but work. In fact, nearly 4 out of 10 Gen Z workers confess they’d consider quitting their jobs if Facebook was banned. Before you complain that this generation is just lazy, keep in mind that 16% of workers who are 25 to 65 years old would do the same.

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*Missy*

Working through my trauma one story at a time. Thanks for joining me on my journey.