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What Part of The Economy Do You Not Understand?

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 04: People yell during a protest for better wages for fast food workers outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Harlem on April 4, 2013 in New York City. Organizers said hundreds of fast food workers were expected to walk off the job today from establishments including Wendy’s, McDonald’s and KFC to rally for better pay and union rights. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Part Time Protests

Part time employees across the nation are planning marches to who knows where to protest their low wages. The primary targets are the big dogs in the meat house, like McDonald’s and Walmart.

The Hiring Process

Let’s go back in time to try to understand how we arrived at today’s protesting climate. These unhappy employees needed more money. They decided that adding a part time income would somehow make their lives better. Others might be entry-level employees looking for the opportunity to acquire some sellable experience and job skills to someday help them move up the income ladder. For whatever reason they all chose to look for part time work.

They walked into McDonald’s or Walmart and asked to fill out an application for employment. They were called back for an interview and accepted a position that was offered knowing the benefits, or lack thereof, hours, and salary that would be paid in exchange for their labor. They agreed to those terms and went to work. And now they are unhappy?

Pay Is Not Always Based On The Job

For McDonald’s to pay a “living wage” to full or even part time employees is a little hard to compute when you are looking at the dollar menu. You have sell a lot of dollar burgers to pay even $10 per hour.

Are there McDonald’s that pay more? You bet. McDonald’s Restaurants in and around the Baaken Oil Fields are paying near $20 or more to their full time employees. Why? Because the demand for labor has set the wages in that part of the world.

Does that mean that all McDonald’s could afford to pay those wages? No they couldn’t — at least not for very long. Also, higher wages mean that fewer people order off the dollar menu because there are better sandwiches that cost more. That is what makes it all work.

The Cost of Living

The average adjusted gross income for zip code 92419 in San Francisco is $238,069. That’s what the average person makes. I’m going to guess there are not a lot of part time workers there. And there are no McDonald’s Restaurants in that zip code. Just a few miles away, in the very same city of San Francisco, the adjusted gross income is $66,563 there are four McDonald’s.

I fly a lot. And I can tell you from personal experience that you will not find a McDonald’s Dollar Menu in any major airport. Why? The rent makes the dollar menu prohibitive and the clientele will pay the higher price for the more profitable products.

Some Final Thoughts

Accepting a job is a choice. If a job is offered to you, you can either accept it or reject it. You also have the choice to walk out the door any time you are unhappy with your work environment, pay or benefits. People do it every day.

I’ve worked for 25 companies in over 17 different industries and I’ve learned one indisputable fact about working. If you want to work, some one, somewhere, is more than willing to trade your expertise and job skills for money. If you are worth it they will pay it.

And unless you are physically or mentally unable to work, being poor in the United States of America is a choice. It’s not a life sentence.

You have a better chance of living a rewarding, successful life in this country than anywhere else on earth. It’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunities. No CEO in this country started at the top. Every single one worked their way to the top. And many were not able to stay there.

Life doesn’t come with guarantees; it only comes with opportunities. You can take em’ or leave em.’ That’s the choice that makes the economy work.

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