I don’t mean “who are you employed with?” I mean just what I said…Who are you working for. What is the goal of you going to work each day? Whose financial future are you really enabling and securing? Is it your own, or is it someone else’s? Other than a paycheck, what is the purpose of your spending the majority of your time doing for someone else?
The average American devotes at least 40 hours a week to working…although lower paying jobs are going almost exclusively part time. We accept this as something that we HAVE to do in order to survive, because it is something we’ve been indoctrinated to believe. We have never questioned the logic of it because it’s so seemingly flawless. If you want to earn a paycheck, you have to go and devote the majority of your time making make money for someone else. Your company rakes in buckets of money that you see only the tiniest percentage of. But, change the perspective a bit and you see something different.
I’ve been ranting for a while about our unfair capitalist system, but it’s taken me quite some time to figure out many of the real issues. We’ve been sold on an idea that doesn’t do the common man or woman any real good…but works great for corporate greed. From the very beginning, this system was built to work for the ones on top…not the workers.
Our labor system begins with slavery. Slavery’s purpose was to allow the greatest profits for the smallest expenditure. Paying for the labor needed to make you rich is just a hassle. To avoid that responsibility, we imported slaves. Everything since then has just been company after company trying to find ways to keep the cost of labor at it’s lowest point possible.
This is why it works in business’ favor to create a society where one kind of job is viewed as being “lesser” than another type of job…or, by extension, one type of person who does a particular job as being less than a person doing another type of job. The system used to be based entirely on race, now it’s based on class. Either way, the person in charge of earning the company money is seen as garbage and treated the same.
This is also why we don’t talk about equality…and why we pretend it already exists. But it doesn’t. As long as someone is seen as being less important, less worthy, less valued, than someone else, we won’t have equality. We don’t talk about racial equality, gender equality, religious equality, or any other kinds of equality because it might lead to people actually thinking they are worth as much as the guy standing next to them in all things…including income.
Our system doesn’t work if everyone is equal, and the ones at the top want to ensure that inequality because it helps their bottom line.
Let’s compare doctors and janitors as a simple example. Sure, doctors are educated professionals who went through years of school to learn their trade and thus deserve to at least earn enough to be able to pay back all those loans. But where would a doctor be without the janitor?
Think about all the problems surrounding the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Most of their biggest issues with the spread…aside from public denial of the disease…is sanitation. Meaning that for every doctor they throw over there, they would get farther if they could throw a janitor in too.
Now I ask, do things have to get just as bad here in this country before we realize that every job, and every person doing that job, is just as important as every other job/person?
A CEO could not do their job without the people on the front lines doing theirs. Neither job would even exist without the other. Yet a CEO can rake in millions a year…while a cashier only makes crap an hour….part time.
Without soldiers a general is useless…but soldiers without a general can be equally useless.
It doesn’t matter what your idea is, if no one is willing to help you achieve your goal you won’t do it.
But big business doesn’t see their common front line workers as being of any importance beyond some lip service. We accept it because we built our country’s foundations through slavery.
We no longer live in agrarian society, where we can each maintain some small family farm for our basic sustenance. We no longer have time to hunt, fish, or keep livestock for our meat. We have to live in cities and suburbs because that’s where the jobs are. We’ve slowly been excised of these skills to the point where they are considered hobbies if done at all.
We moved to the suburbs because that is where the jobs are. We moved to the cities because that was where the jobs were. For a while people were able to make a living through work, but that’s been erroded over the last few decades. A single mother used to be able to make a (frugal) living for her kids by working. Now single mothers can’t even earn enough to make ends meet without public assistance programs…of course, when she goes on those programs she’s seen as even more worthless than before.
Have you ever stopped to question why?
Why do we allow one worker to be seen as less than another?
Why do we agree with the idea that someone has to always be moving up in a company?
Why do we let ourselves be told that we have to move up instead of doing something we like?
Why do we have to live like this?
Who came up with the idea that the longer you can stay away from your family the better you’re doing? Why do both adult members of a household have to spend the majority of their time away from their homes and families? Who does it really benefit when we agree to do this? Why do we then complain about how this negatively affects our society?
Why do we consider this acceptable?
A tech for AT&T or Comcast starts work at 8 am…and ends only when the company stops adding jobs to them. There are techs that don’t come home until after 9 or 10 pm. And if they complain, they are told that they should be grateful for the overtime. My husband sat down and did the math once and found out that, out of the 168 hours that make up a week, he gets to spend 5 waking hours with his children.
How is that right? How is that ethical? How is this being allowed?
We don’t work for ourselves, we work for our employers. And our employers base our success on how much we are willing to do for them without being paid for it. Why else is going above and beyond your job duties considered “good” while refusing to be taken advantage of by your employer is considered “bad”?
Sure, it’s more noticeable in lower wage professions. But it’s even worse in white collar jobs…the jobs being worked by the biggest detractors of raising wages.
A manager is paid in salary and bonuses…which sounds great on paper, but sucks in real life. My neighbor, for example, is a project manager who is paid on salary. He NEVER STOPS WORKING. This means that his company gets twice to three times as much work for the pay they “give” him. But hey, at least he gets a company truck to drive.
I had a manager at Advance Auto who, when we did the math, ended up working for around $3.00 an hour once she added in all of the extra time the company was getting out of her…and that didn’t even include the money the company didn’t have to pay when her husband came in to help her set up the new shelves when the company wouldn’t allow her to use employees to do it because they might get more time than the company wanted to pay for.
We complain that children lack parental supervision…while blindly accepting that both parents should be working.
We complain that we run too much….while blindly accepting that this is the way it is supposed to be.
Forget the idea that this job is greater or lesser than that job. Let’s just break it own to time spent away from your own life.
We jump to complaining that low income families lack the cohesion of having two parents in the home because of divorce. But let’s think about how much time a higher, white collar, wage earner, even one who is married, spends away from home as well.
My father in law spent most of his adult life chasing someone else’s money for them. To the point where he would be at work before his son woke up, and home only an hour or so before he went to bed. Sure, he was able to buy his son a car when he turned 16…but he worked too much to be able to ever teach him how to drive. But hey, at least he made enough to pay someone else to do it in his place.
My cousin, with the white collar dad, spent a lot of her childhood going on vacations here and there with her dad…but nearly all of those “vacations” had a business aspect to them. Meaning that even when he was “relaxing” he was working for someone else’s money.
I have an uncle who has a pile of degrees but still has to work two jobs…and so does his wife…just to send one kid to college. Did I mention that one of his jobs is a military contract? Or that his wife works for another government entity?
Even high wage earners are working as slaves to a system that is tilted in favor of the corporation that employs them. We have convinced ourselves that we have to work long hours, spend long hours away from our own lives, our own families, in order to be successful.
This hits white collar workers harder than low wage workers. White collar workers are more likely to sacrifice time with their own families in favor of time at work because they have allowed themselves to believe this means that they are successful. But the only entity that this works in favor of is the corporate entity.
Billion dollar entities are telling us to be grateful for the crumbs we get because they are doing us a favor by hiring us. It’s gotten to the point, in low wage jobs, where the employer isn’t hiring the most qualified applicant. Instead they tell you to come back and keep coming back and begging for the job; meaning they only hire the most desperate instead of the most qualified.
What they don’t get, what most of us don’t get, is that we don’t need them. They had the means to create a world that works for them…but we don’t have to participate.
81.7 million Americans make less than $30,000 a year. That leaves 71.9 million making more than that. 71.9 million Americans (out of 153.6 million) live above the poverty line. But look at it this way…If you (as an individual, not as a two person household) make $100,000 a year, you make more than 92.6% of the rest of the population. If you manage to make $250,000 a year you’re part of the 1%.
$100,000 a year…that’s all it takes to make more than most of the rest of the country.
Corporate profits are in the billions per quarter…but the average American household (not individual) still only makes just over $50,000 a year. That’s roughly the same as it’s been since the 1980’s….even though we work longer hours and have generated greater profits for our employers. And now we have a system that requires all adults in the home to have a job just to meet that $50,000 a year…meaning that while median household income has pretty much been stagnant for decades; we work harder than ever to meet that standard and get paid less to do so.
So when I, and people like me, are saying that wages need to increase, we’re not just talking about throwing a few more dollars into the minimum wage. We’re talking about everyone. Everyone in this country needs a raise and they need it now.
Think for a minute… What would happen if every worker, every individual, in every profession, in the entire United States, who makes less than $100,000 a year
If 92.6% of the population, or even if just the 73.4% of Americans who make up to $50,000 a year, just decided to go on strike?
If that happened, who would suffer?
A Walmart in a barren rural location pulls in over a million in sales before 10 am…so who suffers if we refuse to participate in our own slavery?
Most of us have been scraping by on next to nothing for a long time. This won’t bother us.
So, again…Who do you work for?