Fast Food Careers
As I watched the striking fast food workers demanding higher wages—I felt like telling them to put down their signs, go back to work, and plan better options for their future. Entry-level jobs are just that—it's where you begin—it’s not supposed to be your career.
Many of those fast food jobs were meant for teens—who now have the highest unemployment rate. If you want a better job: stay in school, work hard, and get advanced training. Expect to struggle while you work towards better opportunities.
Last century, my first job paid $1.00 an hour. As a babysitter, I cared for five kids—feeding them, watching them play outdoors, and getting them ready for bed. When I was offered an extra $1.00 per hour to clean house, I learned how to manage five kids, do the dishes and laundry, vacuum, scrub toilets, sinks, and tubs, and still get them all to bed on time.
By the time I was sixteen, I was hired in a music store for $2.10 an hour. I loved being surrounded by the music I heard on the radio.
But for a slight decrease in pay, I went to work in a department store because I could work more hours. I learned what it was like to sacrifice my free time to earn money.
When I graduated from high school, I worked full-time in a paper mill. I took a goopy, slurry of wood pulp that looked like a cotton-colored milk shake and made paper sheets. I hated that job, but it was a great way to save for college.
College prepared me for my future, but it also meant working to help pay for it. I scooped ice cream and made sandwiches in a deli. Then I delivered newspapers every afternoon. All my jobs helped me get to where I eventually wanted to go.
American jobs have changed as result of automation and computers. But even with those changes—something has never changed—hard work brings rewards.
Our poor economy doesn’t help—but back in the 80's I lived through a long, tough season of 18% interest on business loans. That's when I learned that bad times just mean working harder until things get better.
The striking fast food workers don't have enough life experience to understand that demanding more money is a short-term solution.
Yes, things are tough now, but anyone willing to work hard will eventually make it. Lots of Americans have proved that.