Monday, December 28, 2015

Ethical Question

I don't know why I feel compelled to write this, other than I see so many articles and memes about paying McDonalds workers as if burger flipping is a skilled lifetime career. And also because the last 2 jobs I had (for a total of 15 years) before I retired seldom provided raises, and when there WAS a raise, it was 15-25 cents/hour... not even CLOSE to the cost of living. More of a token raise. I wanted to say, "Poor ole company. If 25 cents is what you think I'm worth, or what you can afford, maybe you ought to keep it.  After taxes, I won't net more than $100 a year anyway.

Where was I going with this?

Oh yes! I remember...  There is  a saying that goes something like, "Do something you love, and you'll never work a day in your life."

Nursing was not what I wanted to do. NOT my idea of a fun job, and certainly not anything I loved.  I remember one job that every day, when I got to the parking deck, I would begin shaking, crying, and feeling nauseated. It took all the courage and strength I could muster to walk the quarter mile from my car to the time clock. Hate doesn't begin to describe my feelings about that job, or many others I've had. They paid great, but boyohboy, were they HORRIBLE jobs. Horrible work environment, horrible supervisors/bosses, horrible hours.

Then I discovered teaching. OMG! I LOVED it! It didn't pay very much, so I still had to work some weekend shifts over at the Brookwood torture chamber, but Monday through Friday, I was in job heaven!

With that in mind, think about this ethical question:

If you come to work at my McDonalds franchise as a crew member, and you know the pay is $8.25/hour, how hard will you work for that money? 

I'm not making any value judgements here, but I ask you to really think about that. If it were ME, I have to say I would work every minute, every hour. My inner adult requires me to do my best - whether it's as a McDonalds crew member, or as a nurse at Brookwood Prison, or as a teacher at Virginia College... regardless of the pay. I knew what the pay was when I took the job, and I agreed to give an honest hour's work for THAT pay. 

OK. Now, what if there was a miracle, and all of a sudden, the pay DOUBLED? What if the McDonalds crew member job now pays $16/hour? Will I work  twice as hard for double the pay? I WILL? Then I was lying when I said I would give it my "all" at $8.25/hour, wasn't I?  

Will I work twice as hard at Brookwood Iron Maiden for $60/hour? Well, no. And not for $100/hour. I'm already at my limit. But at Virginia College? For $50/hour? Again, no. I'm already "working" at maximum capacity, but enjoying every second of every minute. 

If I cheat my employer of my time and talent because of the pay, then how ethical am I? I contend that if I value myself at all, and I agree to work, whatever I do, I will do just the same for that pay, or double that pay. If McDonalds pays $8 or $16 or $25 or $50/hour, the worker will still do the same work, at the same pace, because that's who he/she is. 

So you say, "It's better to cry in a BMW than on a bicycle." 

I say, "Crying sucks the same, wherever you do it."

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