Thursday, February 14, 2013

Living With Minimum Wage: Claudia's Story

I am collecting stories about people working minimum wage or below poverty level jobs. My purpose is to provide a counter argument to the ignorant meme found in my last post.  Please feel free to send me your story, as well. 

Claudia's story:
My story?
I was raised in such a way that my choice was to either be married to someone who was independently wealthy (next to impossible) or be a charity case. I'm determined to not be option B and option A is very elusive.
So I went to college, got two 4-year degrees and spent the first 3.5 years after graduating with said degrees flipping burgers for minimum wage. I did so just as enthusiastically as is humanly possible. I used my brains as much as I could possibly use my brains to flip burgers. I contributed as much to my work experience as my employers would allow me -- which was basically, "Come to work, do your job and get the hell out of here when we tell you to leave."
I did all of it with the desire to work to the best of my potential and to do a good job. In the last 15 months, I've worked a job that I enjoy, which pays slightly more (but is still barely over minimum wage), at which I'm not allowed to use my brain at all.
My coworkers who have associate's degrees get offended if I "spout off" too much -- which basically means that if they hear my voice regarding anything they feel is "their" job, [even if it relates to mine], they flip out, tell the boss and I get to have a nice little meeting with the boss.  
Once again, overqualified, and in their eyes, over-enthusiastic and over-achieving. It sucks. I AM planning on staying with this job though, because I enjoy the majority of my job (as long as I'm not in the office), I have benefits (YES! This is the first time I've ever had those), they are very accommodating with my school schedule, and it is VERY good experience for my future career. And, even though it's barely more than minimum wage, it pays more and is steadier income than any job I've ever had.  
And the benefits? Fantastic.

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