Does Hard Work Lead To A Better Life?
In the middle of dinner, my daughter Jules’ phone rang. She picked it up and groaned. “Effing’ work again!” She got up and walked away from the table, her lips in a tight line. That was the end of our family meal but we didn’t know then.
We sat waiting for her to come back. She remained in the living room, rummaged around in her backpack and pulled out her laptop. She began to type as she spoke over the loudspeaker on her phone.
No, she wasn’t scheduled. No she wasn’t at home and no she didn’t have a printer she could use. And yes Cheryl, she’d be done with the report in another half an hour. She didn’t know it was due yesterday.
We ate the rest of the meal in silence. From the next room we could hear the keyboard rattle as she worked. That was Saturday night.
When did employers decide it was okay to ask people to work on the weekend? When did employees decide it was okay to do unpaid work?
What happened to 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday, Weekends off?
I asked Julie about it. “How come they want you to work?”
Her supervisor was on vacation and she asked Jules to take her calls. And that’s why my 24 year old daughter was walking around with a laptop, her personal phone connecting her to her bosses’ boss, and she was working on a Saturday night at 7.30 p.m.
Quit the job I told her. She shook her head. “Dad I have rent to pay and I need this job.”
“But it’s killing you.” I said. “What do they pay you? 13–14 dollars an hour? She nodded. She recently got a raise, she’s making $14 per hour before tax. And she works between 6–10 unpaid hours on evenings and weekends.
Her rent is $1000. After tax she has about $500 left to eat, pay for school, take care of her dog, buy gas, maintain her car and pay her insurances.
No she won’t have children. No she doesn’t want to take a second job, the first one is overwhelming. No she can’t go back to college, she can’t afford it. No she doesn’t want to move back home, she has a boyfriend. She’s trapped and she can’t figure…