Happy Friday everyone! A few weeks ago I peeled back the curtain on the fast food industry and shared some of my thoughts about working in fast food. There was a variety of responses and was a fun blog post to write. That is why this article from NBC news stuck out to me this week and caught my attention right away. I had several experiences in my past regarding working in the fast food industry and one of the common things was that it was sort of a rite of passage for many high school age kids or those in college to make money. Nowhere I worked was it exclusively teenagers, but they always made up a sizeable portion of the workforce. There were some older individuals who worked at many of them and they usually consisted of two types of people. First, you had the managers who had, at the very least, been in the industry for some time or were experienced managers. The second group was individuals who seemed to bounce from job to job and had little direction and were simply looking to make some sort of living. This, of course, was all before the Great Recession which, according to NBC news, has made a palpable impact on the fast food industry.
The basic premise of the article is that the average age of the fast food worker is getting older and more educated. Teenagers used to comprise 25% of the fast food workforce, but over the past decade that percentage has slipped to 16%. Today, many fast food workers have some level of college education. The story highlights a 27 year-old lady who works ten hours per week at a local pizza joint. To make a long story short, she suffered an accident at a previous job which limits her ability to work physically demanding jobs, yet she is doing all she can to find more work. With the pay being just at minimum wage she has no benefits and has to live with her mother. It is ironic that while she delivers food to others for a living, she has to rely on food stamps to feed herself. She has been applying for other part-time jobs to help make ends meet and go off of food stamps but is losing out because competition due to the nation’s underemployment issue is forcing many to apply for jobs that they may not have considered before.
My point in sharing all of this is not to turn it into a political discussion as much of the politics behind this can be discussed at a different time. The point of the post is to highlight the change in dynamics for many of these types of jobs and how that impacts all of us…from younger generations finding stiffer competition in getting jobs that could be considered as a rite of passage to the older individuals who’re trying to get these jobs in order to make ends meet. Ultimately, it tells us that there is a change, but what can we do about it? The article goes on to highlight two separate fast food companies who actually seem to care about their employees. It highlights two – In-N-Out Burger and Five Guys. In-N-Out, for example, starts out their employees at $10 per hour and offers benefits. This, as the article states, leads to lower turnover for these two companies as well as better employee morale. I am not deluded enough to think that a $10 per hour job will help support a family, but it says something about the company that they would compensate their employees so much higher than the industry norm. We can support those companies, if you eat fast food that is, by speaking with our wallets and going there as opposed to somewhere like McDonald’s.
I also share this because my thoughts almost at first went to how can people in this situation save money and prepare for the future. It is a valid question and one that requires thought. That said, it’s not impossible to save while working in a low paying job. I know it’ll be hard, there is no discounting that, but do not allow that to be an excuse to keep from saving. I know, either personally, or have heard stories of many individuals who have managed to save money while working in low paying jobs. It requires time, commitment and discipline, but the point is that it can be done. It’ll require creativity, no doubt, but it is possible to start saving, even in small amounts and that will help develop a discipline that’ll last a lifetime.
Ok, enough of my rambling. It has been another great week in the blogosphere. I am always encouraged to read such high quality blog posts week in and week out. If you have the time this weekend I encourage you to read some of my selected blog posts and the sites as well as they all provide very helpful information.
Blog Post of the Week
Why I Care About Financial Literacy on Eyes On The Dollar
There were quite a number of blog posts about financial literacy this week, and for good reason as it’s Financial Literacy Awareness month. That said, Kim’s post struck me the most. It’s probably due to the fact that I could relate to it quite well, but also the thoughtfulness with which Kim communicates her personal story. As Kim said, you do not need to have a doctorate degree to become financially literate, but be willing to make some simple changes that can have long lasting effects. That’s really what financial literacy comes down to…making daily choices that’ll impact your long term future.
Other Blog Posts That Ruled
Investing: 7 Steps to Spring Clean Your Portfolio on The Chicago Financial Planner
How Debt Started My Quest Toward Financial Literacy on Debt RoundUp
I Don’t Want Fries With My Retirement on 1500 Days to Freedom
5 Warning Signs That You Might Be Financially Illiterate on Cash Cow Couple
Can Kids Invest in Stocks or Mutual Funds? on Three Thrifty Guys
Three Steps to an Iron-Clad Protection Plan on The Free Financial Advisor
Odd Search Terms
How to not spend money…Simple, just stop!
Pay debt or save…Uh, both!
20/20 giving information on Wal-Mart chicken…I knew I was on to something
Dog that ate tax refund money…I’d be finding a different dog right about now!
Has Wal-Mart gotten better…In a word, NO!
Self-employment is a b!tch…How do you REALLY feel?
What did you tell me…You should’ve been listening
Why do I scratch my head when I drink wine…You got me there bud!
What are your thoughts? Would you pay a little more to help show support to a company that cares for its employees and trying to give back to the community? Have a great weekend everyone!
Photo courtesy of: MowT