Just this week, I started a new job. I’m now back working as an engineer, sort of. I’m working for an engineering firm, doing some design work, drafting and even a bit of teaching. The job is part-time and it isn’t permanent.
The company is small. It can’t afford to hire someone on a long-term basis, but it must have this important project completed in a couple of months. Hence, the opportunity for me; I’m back doing what I went to college for, which is awesome. Equally awesome is my pay scale. I’ll be making about five times what I made as a bartender!
That got me thinking. Many Tea Bagger politicians and pundits love to harp on the fact that poor people are poor because they are lazy and don’t work hard enough. I find that statement a bold-faced lie. Not merely is the claim inaccurate; it’s a complete and total lie.
I know I should try to be more diplomatic in my word usage, but, I’m sorry, I no longer have the patience or word skills to do so when dealing with morons. For one thing, they certainly have no trouble lying about the president or anyone else who dares stand in their way.
From my own experiences at being poor, I know that I have worked harder in the last few years than I think I’ve worked in my entire life. I routinely put in six, seven or even eight days straight of work, without any benefits, and usually worked for far less than minimum wage. Yes, that’s right. There are plenty of jobs where employers can legally pay employees next to nothing. What a concept, when given the opportunity to do so, they do! When they don’t have to give sick time, vacation time, and any other benefits, they don’t.
I worked several part-time jobs at the same time, which meant one or more other people did not have the opportunity to earn a living. Huh, I thought working a low-paying job was the secret to success. Isn’t that yet another belief of the Tea Baggers? If companies can pay starvation wages, they’ll hire more people and, thus, we’ll achieve full employment and have a workers’ paradise.
Under the Tea Bagger way of thinking, I was lazy, back when I was working all those jobs, and yet unable to earn a decent living. Now that I’m working a little better job and making more money, does that mean I’m no longer lazy. After all, it’s only part-time, and temporary. The company has said they hope more work will follow, and thus they can keep me on, but what happens if that’s not the case? I’ll have to go back to bartending and other minimal income jobs. So, does that mean I’ll become lazy again?
I would hope that the absurdity of this viewpoint is becoming self-evident by now. Here’s a little tip for you, people, the term Living Wage refers to the least amount of money a person needs in order to live; hence the name. When companies, such as Walmart, can pay its workers less than a living wage, they can’t live. They end up working other jobs or getting government assistance.
I just have to wonder: what sort of wage will I be earning in the coming year? I hope it’ll be enough to make me no longer lazy.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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