Minimum wage workers may soon be facing a challenge far bigger than threatening to strike over wages. Wages that of course are based on generally part time employment or entry level positions.
Stress is a major contributor to so many of the diseases attacking the cardiovascular system. Part of stress stems from fear of the unknown, including worry about what is ahead. In this page, we're trying to provide a glimpse of what could be forthcoming. Not to add to levels of stress but to offer some incentive to rise above the crowd.
I read about some interesting ideas that will soon be entering the workforce. I use that term workforce on purpose even though these ideas are all in the form of machines. But they will be entering the workforce. And the ones who will feel that presence will be minimum wage workers.
I've written often about learning from history. A fact we should not miss from our historical record is that nearly all business ventures, from small storefronts to major manufacturing plants need to keep a close eye on the balance between what it costs them to operate and the cash flow they can produce after those cost expenditures.
It is the nature of the invisible hand of Adam Smith economics. If I don't produce a quality product, I will lose my customer base. If you manage your bottom line better than I do, you will be more successful because you will be able to sell your product or service for a lower price. That lower price will bring you even more business.
The invisible hand of Adam Smith economics is fair. Fair isn't always pleasant. Fair is like the swinging pendulum. It cuts with the same steady efficiency if a business fails to keep above the curve.
So here are some of those "moving above the curve" changes I read about that will effect minimum wage workers.
Did you hear about a new invention from a company called Momentum Machines? According to the article I studied, this apparatus will crank out 360 burgers per hour. This robot will grind out the meat into burger size sections, grill them and add the proper amount of lettuce or onions or any other condiment you order.
The robot will build this fast food concoction as you order it and will even wrap it for you. It will take up all of 24 square feet. Anyone reading this page who leases workspace knows how big that fact is to their balance sheet. Lower space requirements means lower outgoing costs.
This innovation is still down the road a little bit, but as with so many ideas, the path from conception to test run to roll out gains speed in direct proportion to the value it can provide to private industry. As I wrote in the page about solar panels, that industry will really take off when private investment sees an opening to create great return. All the government attempts to manipulate the markets will fail until then. Think Solyndra, another candidate for the "Golden Fleece Award."
Here is another concept that may be affecting minimum wage workers much sooner. Panera Bread will be adding about a half dozen checkout kiosks to each store in the very near future. They report that this action will reduce the staffing by two cashiers per building. Two, so far.
The news story concluded with something from Amazon. At books-empower.com, we use Amazon quite a bit. So news from that company gets our radar tuned up.
Amazon already has around 1000 robots helping to fill orders. They plan to add 10,000 more in future months. Amazon is stating that these additions will not reduce current staffing. I would take them at their word on that point. But I would agree with the author of the page who said that future hiring may be affected.
Entry level jobs were created as starting points. As the page about minimum wage laws stated, these positions were never intended to become family sustaining, full time positions. They are minimum wage spots because they only require minimum skills and little or no experience.
That doesn't make them bad jobs. Actually these starting points are excellent teaching opportunities. They provide job training that increases the value of a willing employee to his or her next employer. The one who offers a better job at a higher wage commensurate with the greater skills and advanced experience learned while filling the ranks of minimum wage workers.
Economic conditions have changed the demographics of those entry level positions. Not the intent, nor the qualifications. But certainly the age group. There are many more "older people" holding down these jobs. But as I wrote two paragraphs ago, these are still starting point positions. We cannot wave a magic wand and make them jobs designed to support a family.
Depending on viewpoints, the numbers are juggled to justify a position. Here is a link with some statistics that are accepted, at least partly by both sides of this argument.
So there are two options:
* Never stop learning. Never stop gaining more experience and increasing your skill sets.
* Complain. threaten to strike, bemoan your fate and settle. Settle for becoming a victim rather than a person willing to take responsibility.
Did you really read the third sentence in the paragraph preceding the bullet points? It read, "They provide job training that increases the value of a willing employee." And in that second bullet point it read, " willing to take responsibility."
It is really about being willing.
I love the commercial from the University of Phoenix that highlights people working hard to improve themselves. They won't be minimum wage workers for very long. At the end, the singer states. "You're gonna want someone like me, but only if you have a brain." I would take someone like that everyday. You can check out that commercial just below.
Will you become willing to see what may be ahead and see opportunity rather than obstacle? Are you willing to work to be the very best employee wherever you work right now? Are you willing to continue to add skills making you so valuable, you are always needed? Are you willing to reach for the next upward step after your time spent learning in that starting point or re-starting point that is minimum wage worker?
As a parent are you willing t0 "teach your children well?" In the left margin we have a button completely devoted to helping you help your kids. Are you willing to lead them to the right place to match their personal skill set? It may be college. But it may be a trade school that matches proper training with the natural gifts already possessed by your son or daughter.
Are you willing to inspire in your child a sense of history, pride and work ethic that built our country from a group of small wilderness settlements into the greatest economic machine in world history?
Change happens. We can complain. We can long for "the good old days." But it still happens. Sometimes it doesn't feel so good. Typewriter repair persons probably didn't like the advent of computers. Unless they used their past personal drive and entrepreneurship to start a business. Or learn how to fix computers.
Our nation was built on innovation and opportunity. Sadly I see see so much more entitlement mentality now. And this growth killer is fed by a two party albatross that is only concerned with reelection. They pander to special interest cash and "woe is us" voting blocks.
Instead of encouraging private industry growth and personal responsibility, they burden down small business with rising taxes. They encourage people to settle for lives as minimum wage workers by forcing companies to pay higher wages for lower skills and less experience.
This lack of any business acumen or even moderate vision not only entraps unwilling people, (there is that willing word again), but takes away those entry level jobs for the younger group coming up.
Much like the national debt, the two headed monster called Democrats and Republicans ignores this younger age demographic. They can't vote yet. When they can, the political machines will whitewash past history or blame each other.
Our options are very clear cut. The Keynesian economics fans sitting in public office and in too many cases, university professor chairs favor letting the government "take care of us." Do you feel "taken care of" enough yet?
Or you could opt for personal responsibility. Being part of the minimum wage workers section is a vital first step in an economic cycle. Accepting the reality of possible changes affecting that area is part of being responsible. Planning ahead to adapt to those changes is further proof of being responsible.
Change brings challenges, but also great opportunity. That opportunity swings back and forth. Just like the swinging pendulum with equal efficiency to all who work for the necessary skills and grab the chance.
That is fair.