Minimum Wage Debate: If You Want to Make More Money, Do Something to Earn More Money

Somedays I jump back and forth between baby and business so much that I never make it into the office, rather I post up at the kitchen counter with my laptop just steps away from baby mania set in the middle of my living room. Today was no different.  I had Fox News on in the background and while I typically never pay much attention to what’s being aired I couldn’t help but be sidetracked by the minimum wage debate and protesters in California who believe fast food employees should have their hourly wage raised to $15 per hour.

Wait. What?

My opinionated self couldn’t keep quite so I charged to my personal soap box (facebook) to sound off on the topic.  Here’s what I posted….

“Imma be honest. I do not agree with the minimum wage debate.. ESPECIALLY the people who are protesting in California that fast food employees should get paid $15/hr. Are you kidding me? I have a bachelor’s degree that I paid A LOT OF MONEY FOR and I didn’t make $15 an hour until I started to pay myself just one year ago! Get an education, start a business or learn a specialized trade if you want to make more money. “Can I take your order” is not a specialized trade. It’s a minimum wage job.. that’s what you get when you don’t choose to do anything else. ‪#‎dropsmic‬ ‪#‎sorrynotsorry‬

For the most part my friends agree, but I do have several friends whom I adore that have polar opposite views thus leading to quite the debate.  You can see the whole thread here if you’d like..

To understand my opinion on the subject, first you have to know my history.  I believe in a hard days work and moderation.

I was not raised in a wealthy household of privilege. My parents both came from DIRT POOR families, my dad worked from 7am to 7pm at night while my mom stayed at home with me and my two sisters. They drove used cars for 300,000 miles, we didn’t drink soda, we didn’t have cable, we never went out to eat, we wore hand-me-down clothes, we vacationed at Grandma’s house, heck I didn’t even fly on a plane until I was 25 and that was for a company trip! I went to the same public school that everyone else did. Yes, my parents encouraged me to go to college but honestly I hated school every second of the day. I bought my first car for $1,800 with money I had saved from baby sitting over the years.  I went to college and my parents helped me pay for it.  I had a job the entire time I was in college and I also took out about $30,000 in student loans to pay for school and living costs.

Fast forward to 2008, already in debt from bad spending habits in my early 20s and student loans, I started my company with more credit cards and ZERO cash.  To date, I still have $18,000 to pay off from the original credit cards and lines of credit we used to start Occasions.  I pay them with a smile on my face every month.

So the whole… I can’t afford to get a good education, learn a trade or start a business does not fly with me.

Here’s my ultimate take on the issue.

If you want to make more money, do something to earn more money.  That means working your way up the corporate ladder, learning a new skill, save and invest in money making venues, venture out and becoming an entrepreneur yourself, start a business.  Everyone has the equal opportunity to do all of these things.  They will give loans to anyone these days so if you want to learn something new, take a class or go to school…invest in your future and pay it back when it pays off.

Yes.  Cost of living increase is an issue, but it can’t be just the argument for minimum wage workers alone.  If a company has to increase the hourly pay rate for minimum wage workers because of a federal mandate due to cost of living… so too should they have to raise the hourly rate of everyone else.  Cost of living doesn’t just go up for some people…. it increases across the board for everyone.  So everyone’s hourly rate should be increased too right?

But here’s the biggie….

If you want to have more, spend less.  My biggest problem with the whole “deserve” mentality of this country is that many people way outlive what their incomes can afford already and it’s not buying bread and milk.  It’s buying flatscreen TVs, cable tv, sodas, eating out, vacationing at Disney, buying new cars, visits to Starbucks, highlights, haircuts, pedicures, manicures…. you get the picture.  All of the above are frivolous extras in life that NO ONE truly NEEDS, but everyone is overspending on.  If I was certain that the minimum wage workers who are fighting for $15 per hour weren’t doing any of the things I listed above, were trying to work their way up the corporate ladder and still couldn’t put a roof over their head or food on their table, THEN I would take the minimum wage debate seriously.

But if you must have all the things I listed above, then let’s revisit my first point:  do something to earn more.  I’d like to point out several careers that anyone can do without an expensive college education their parents paid for.  All you need is some moxie.

  • Event Planner
  • Florist
  • Dog Groomer
  • Trim Carpenter
  • Landscaper
  • Bartender
  • Police Officer
  • Firefighter
  • Insurance Appraiser
  • Loan Officer
  • Electrician
  • Advertising Sales Executive
  • Realtor
  • Personal Trainer
  • Truck Driver
  • Sales person
  • Direct Sales person (pampered chef, mary kay, etc)
  • Medical Billing

Don’t see what you like here:  just google “highest paying jobs without a college degree” and you’ll be occupied for days reading through the results.  Think of something I don’t have listed here?  Comment below to add it to the list.

In the end my friend Jennifer Shields said it best “A minimum wage job is a starting point, not an end point.”  Period.