“When you do more than you get paid for eventually you’ll be paid for more than you do.”- Zig Ziglar.

I am against a minimum wage; I know that sounds harsh but . . . hear me out, please.

In my part of the country, one can generally hire high school boys for yard word for $8.00 an hour.  Joe came to our door looking for work.  We liked his appearance and demeanor so we told him to come back on Saturday to roto-til the garden and clean it up for winter.  Saturday morning he appeared at a reasonable hour ready to work but Sammy wasn’t ready to go out.  We told Joe to go on out and rake between the beds.

Looking out a bit later, we saw that Joe was standing with the rake apparently confused about what to do.  We watched a bit.  I said give him some time he would surely not choose to stand very long.  After a while, Sammy went out started the rototiller and Joe took over.  It was hard work.  I checked a few minutes later.  Joe was back at the rake, even raking a little.  Sammy came inside.  We looked out.  Joe was standing with the rake.

I told Sammy that I had not made an agreement with him about the pay, so if Sammy went out to keep him accountable, maybe he would be worth $8.00.  Sammy went out and gave him a new assignment, raking acorns from under a tree.  I looked out, Sammy was roto-tilling, Joe was holding the rake over his head.  I did that three times, once the rake was over his head, once he was picking a few individual leaves off the rake, once he half-heartedly drew the rack back and forth a few times.

I went out, called Joe to me and told him that he was welcome to change his mind and go home if he didn’t want to work.  He said he wanted to work but he didn’t have any break time.  I told him that was true, but he was taking them.  He said he was thirsty and hungry; I told him I would be glad to give him something to drink but I wasn’t going to cook.  He could go home to eat if he wanted to.  He repeated that he wanted to work.  I said, “Go for it then, but I don’t want to look out and see my 86-year-old husband working and you not doing anything.”  Joe said, “He’s eighty-six!?”  I told him yes, we were a generation of people who worked hard and I expected the same from anyone who worked for us.

For the next three or four hours, he worked diligently with Sammy. When they decided to take a break, Sammy told me in Joe’s hearing that he thought Joe was worth ten dollars an hour.  Joe came back after a while and worked for a couple more hours.  When he quit, he was apparently very pleased with his sixty-five dollars for the day.

Now my argument about minimum wage.  If we had agreed with Joe for ten dollars an hour, I think I would have told him after about the third time to see him doing nothing, that I didn’t need him any more. If I kept him a few hours then paid him ten dollars an hour, he would not have had to satisfaction of knowing we were paying him more than we had to.  If minimum wage had been fifteen, we would not have had him in the first place.  The job was not that critical.

However, I do have a lady who comes to help me with yard work on occasion.  I pay her fourteen to seventeen an hour because she is so capable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy.  She is welcome to work here whether or not I am home.  I prefer her work to anyone else, but I’m hindered because of the money sometimes.

As for me . . .  I would much prefer the lady for sixteen dollars an hour than two Joe’s at eight dollars an hour.  I just hope she can get a job sometime with someone who can pay her what she is worth!  But a ten dollar, or twelve, or fifteen minimum wage law will not help her . . . or Joe.  Our state is among the lowest for rent, groceries, gas, etc.  But no one can live on $400-600 dollars a week without two workers in the family or help from some other source.  So the argument that we need $10-15 minimum is bogus.  Leave the workers to prove their worth; good employers will be looking for them.

Quote Challenge Two  – Challenge passed to me by Jacque:  Jacque is a writer who takes on almost any subject with wisdom, grace, and great writing.  If you haven’t visited her, go see if you agree with me.  You will!



About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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  1. shoreacres says:

    Minimum wage jobs never were meant to be the sole source of income for a family — or even an individual, for all that. They were meant as entry-level jobs, or supplemental income. People who press for higher minimum wages are doing static analysis. They aren’t factoring in changes that will come when employers are forced to deal with higher overhead: firings, raised prices, and so on.

    I don’t have any problem with a basic minimum wage, but the employer needs to be free to fire anyone who doesn’t work up to standards. Unfortunately, that rarely is possible today. It’s not possible at the local fast food joint, and it’s not possible at the university — let alone in the corporation with an HR department!

    • oneta hayes says:

      Yes, having no ability to fire a non-producing worker keeps employers from “taking a chance” on some people. I one time heard a school board member say he would never let anyone get tenure if he could help it because they could not be fired. That’s not good!

  2. dawnlizjones says:

    I do so love and appreciate your perspective. We have become so “enabled”, we are desperately needing the pendulum to swing a little back toward center balance. Thanks for your voice of reason!

    • oneta hayes says:

      I am definitely a promoter of proving one’s worth being the path to success. That can be true in lots of different fields – I guess, even blogging. My dear friend, you certainly prove your worth!

  3. Anand says:

    Oneta, you and your husband belong to the generation of Americans I admired. Your generation and the generations before yours created an American I wanted to migrate to. The America of today is in flux. It’s values are going downhill wearing roller-skates. The entitlement psychology? India has hit the 50% mark on caste-based reservations. More than half our youth that we so boast about are Joes. It’s a great post. I agree with your views totally. Thank you.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thanks, anand, for the good words. Actually I see my parents (and preceeding generations) as the ones who deserve your accolades. My generation began the great give aways, trying overly hard to give materially to youth who were being neglected in time.

    • oneta hayes says:

      I hope it is not too late. (See my answer to Anand.) I’m aghast at the “boredom” of youth, as indicated by their slave-like bondage to the latest hand held toy. Most appear to only have contact with others who are also boring and hoping to find fulfillment through the latest gadget. My criticism is rather strong there, isn’t it?

      • Nope! This is the sad truth as strong as it may seem. A lot of today’s youth lack social behavioural skills and etiquette and for the better part of their time are glued to their gadgets while we the adults enable them by purchasing more and more.

  4. Vibrant says:

    It’s an interesting story. What I feel is we are harsh about poor people and don’t judge brands. 🙂

    LOve and light ❤

    Anand 🙂

    • oneta hayes says:

      Many times what appears to be harsh is a desire to see people achieve in ways that bring fulfillment to themselves. I have a relative who hates to get out of bed. The day goes past. I talk to him pretty plainly about the waste that he is allowing. I don’t think I’m harsh but I don’t try to ignore the issue.

      • Vibrant says:

        That is a just scenario. I was speaking about something else. Here, people bargain with peddlers and vegetable for a scanty sum of money but go to malls and buy branded things without any bargain. That is what I was talking about. 🙂

        • oneta hayes says:

          Oh, yes, that is a pity, isn’t it? For a while my family replaced broken windshields. The competition became so strong and the profit margin so small, we had to quit. We commented a lot about how hard it is for people to replace windshields and at the same time “throw away” money at the cosmetic counters or game stores! I don’t blame people for wanting “pretty gadgets” rather an a new windshield, but that supports your comment above. I always appreciate your interaction, Vibrant.

  5. vronlacroix says:

    I like your perspective on minimum wage. I think that it has been manipulated by employers, who are now free to pay their employee ‘ a minimum (smallest) wage’ with no thought that they could actually pay more.

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