Double Fast Food Part 2

In an earlier post, I talked about the ridiculousness of fast food workers – a job that requires no skill, no training, and no particular personality trait – asking for $15 per hour.  But then I got to thinkin…

My top five were: mortician, funeral home director, hearse driver, mortuary makeup artist, and zookeeper.

My top five were: mortician, funeral home director, hearse driver, mortuary makeup artist, and zookeeper.

When I was in school I took a test on what jobs I would be good at.  They asked me all sorts of questions like “Do you like to talk to people?” and “Do you like the outdoors?” and when all was said and done they gave me a list of careers I should think about considering becoming interested in.  On the print-out, I don’t think there was one area where it mentioned median income or the number of years of schooling it took.

Not that I would’ve understood any of that anyway.  I think I was 14 when I took that test.  If it said “Master’s Degree required = 6 years” I wouldn’t’ve been able to grasp that amount of time.  Six years prior to this my entire world revolved around learning all the words to the Ducktails theme song and that McDonald’s ad they put in the paper.

I also had no idea how much money it costs to do anything – and this was at a time when there were no ATMs and a high-end VCR could run you about $300.  If it said “median income: $25,000” I would’ve thought I only had to work for one year and retire; after all I had almost $100 in my savings account and I never had to touch that in all of my fourteen years.

As sad as it is, this is still how schools are run.  The kids are asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or, rather, “What do you think you’d be good at?”  A kid can say “I want to be a trombone player!” or “I want to be a wall street mogul!” and they are encouraged to follow that path.  How many professional trombone players do you know?  How many CFOs of major wall street institutions do you know?

The kids are trained to think that if they just get a job – any job – that they can make as much money as they want at that job.  Want a boat?  Great, work a few weekends at Radio Shack.  That lake house need an upgrade?  Ok, but you might have to shovel some neighborhood driveways in the winter.  No one ever says, “After taxes, you’re pulling in about $5.25 at Radio Shack.” or “An actual house on an actual lake costs much more than $10 per driveway.”

Here’s how it should go: teacher should ask the kids to bring in a copy of their parents taxes.  Then they should explain to the kids that in order to simply have what they have now, they’ll have to make at least this much money in the future.  “Here’s a list” which contains everything from being a loan officer to owning a 7-Eleven franchise to being a dog-fighting champion.

I don’t think this is a case of a bunch of greedy stupid people wanting more money just because their employer could afford it.  I think this is a case of people simply not understanding how money works because their brain is perpetually stuck in adolescence.

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