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comment by steve
steve  ·  121 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How I Get By: A Week in the Life of a McDonald’s Cashier

I haven't read the article yet (but plan to). I don't think there is a reasonable expectation that fast food wages would go up with tenure. That is an entry level job, designed around a part-time workforce. There's an entire other conversation we could/should have around what a living wage is... but honestly - she's competing for that job with High School kids who live at home, are covered by their parents' health insurance, and eat their parents' food.

And please don't mistake my point as some right wing "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" ideology. I have tremendous sympathy for this person's situation (just from the snippet I've read).

nil  ·  120 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So the progression through the fast food industry typically goes like this:

1) Customer Service:

- Minimum wage, part-time to full-time hours. No health insurance, no benefits. You're here if you're in high school, because a lot of places won't promote you to management until you're 18+ or decided you're done with school. I've generally seen people who've held such jobs before or are adults be fast-tracked to

2) Assistant Manager:

- $1-2 over minimum wage, part-time to full-time hours. Sometimes health insurance, benefits, and (tiny) bonus if you work full-time, but usually not. Still can be flexible but you're usually opening/closing always, none of that work for 3 hours BS. Can sort of do this and attend post-secondary.

3) General Manager:

- mandatory full-time, sometimes on salary, profit sharing. These people can make actually decent money in some places if you're lucky. But it takes effort. And a large part of this money comes from profit sharing. Your actual salary is still bad, but you can rake in this part. I've seen this person make $40k-$70k a year depending on location.

4) Corporate/Franchise:

- congratulations, you now own a store and have certified FBGM conditions. This is also likely your career.

So basically she's largely stuck at 1. She won't escape her trap until she gets to 3, but then she'll be on a full-time salary and more committed. When I was a youth and trying to figure out why I needed to wait 18 years to have basic human rights, I thought I wasn't getting promoted because of "office politics", "dropouts", yada yada. Truth be told, it's just a grind. Hard fucking work. That's the most important value, really.

Not gonna lay that on her though because she's been through enough for 2 lifetimes. Nor do I have a serious medical condition with no insurance.

Foveaux  ·  121 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I agree with what you're saying in regards to competition, certainly don't think you're bootstrapping! But surely that many years in the industry you work your way up the chain to some degree - she apparently left the role initially as she was promoted but not given the pay rise she was promised. So she was doing the right thing and getting shafted regardless - the poor thing.

It's just the wages combined with the lack of healthcare and how she works herself off her feet just to keep the lights on. I really can't imagine that life and it's so unsettling knowing people are forced to live like that. If I don't get a payrise in a certain amount of time, I just leave for another role - but that doesn't sound like something she can do in her situation. She's spent years in the industry but wasn't given any training or progression plan to help her in the future.

kleinbl00  ·  121 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The issue is that you're not so much talking about a corporate ladder as a corporate stepstool. You go from fry cook to front register to maybe assistant manager and then that needs to be parlayed into something better somewhere else.

We're talking about a person who has worked entry-level jobs for fourteen years. Which sucks. No doubt. Steve's argument - which I agree with - is that there needs to be a compassionate plan for people who are never going to rise above entry-level. I mean, yeah - she didn't get promoted to assistant manager in 2015 but that was 10 years into her food service career. For all we know, the past four years she's been the Maitre'd at Spago (but probably not). You're right - it's unsettling knowing people are forced to live like that and there are lots of them, and there are plenty who are doing worse, and we need to do something about it.