Minimum Wage, Maximum Possibilities

Let’s face it, many Americans and people around the world work immensely hard for their money. As this may be no surprise to many of you, there are people who shy away from working a minimum wage job simply because it is near impossible to live comfortably from the paycheck that they produce. With all the debates about whether to raise minimum wage or not, there are many speculations on the possible benefits and disadvantages to the matter. When I first started working as a hostess as my first job, I experienced these speculations firsthand. Despite the seemingly minuscule paycheck, I have and continue to learn a lot about the work place and the people who reside within it. In hopes that people don’t turn their backs to the opportunity that they have the option to encounter, this article is meant to shine a light on how you see your paycheck.

If you’ve ever had a job before, then you know that it can take up quite a bit of your time. Depending on your situation, you may or may not mind this fact. Throughout the many hours that I had spent seating one family after the other, I always found myself exhausted after the many requests I would get from picky customers. Every once in awhile, however, a customer would come in and do something out of the extraordinary that reminded me that a dead-end job, such as my own, had it’s benefits. For instance, an older couple came the restaurant one cloudy morning. The husband walked slowly with a walker under his arm and had kind eyes that hid behind his wrinkled skin. His wife stood alongside him, opening the door. He walked very slow and by the time he had gotten to his table, another customer approached me and  asked to pay for his and his wife’s meal. It had been a small gesture, but I had begun to feel an indescribable joy in the world and the people in it yet again. It is often a rare occurrence when you see someone helping somebody in need. This is why many of us don’t even make eye contact to homeless people holding signs and begging in the streets. Although the couple wasn’t asking for assistance of any kind, the man decided to act out in random kindness. This is the reassurance that future generations need in order to coexist with one another. Beyond all the hatred and the disagreements, there are still good people among us. Occurrences like this may happen every day while working a minimum wage job, but are almost rare to find when you’re working at a hospital or a law firm, where people may need more help than they can afford. That being said, don’t wait for people to ask for help in order to give it to them. Everyone can use a hand some time.

From school to the workplace, many of us are accompanied by group members or coworkers that we must encounter on a daily basis. While working a minimum wage job, i found that people had generally been nicer, seeing as everyone is just trying to make a living for themselves. While i worked at the diner, i had met many waiters who only made $3.00 an hour, and relied on tips in order to pay their rent. Their job was serving food, but they also got paid by how kind and attentive they were to the customers. This characteristic wasn’t just a facade they put on for the money, but it had become a part of them that allowed the restaurant to have a carefree and lighthearted atmosphere. Everyone looked out for each other, and i found it easy to make new friends because everyone was so easy to be around. Part of the reason why i never quit my job, despite the pay, was the friends that i had made who inspired me on a daily basis to reach my full potential. Many of the waiters had been college students, single parents, or business owners themselves. You can learn a lot about the people around you, as long as you’re willing to give peace a chance.

Lastly, minimum wage jobs can be a stepping stone to bigger opportunities. It looks good to have any experience on your resume, regardless of where it is. It can help you build a more credible resume in order to get to the place you desire to be in life. Minimum wage jobs will never turn their back towards you, as i discovered after my manager consistently hired every desperate person that came in for a job. Unlike other jobs, you don’t need any degrees or college experience, which can make it easily accessible to any American in need of cash during desperate times.

If you’re on the hunt for a job this summer, i advise you to not overlook places that you think you’re too good for. You could  potentially miss out on an  educational and rewarding experience about how the “real world” works. Many of us need a little reassurance in humanity around us, and working a minimum wage job is just one way to restore your faith in humanity yet again.

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Amanda Hemple
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An 18 year old from Houston, Texas. Lover of people, animals, and everything in between.

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