One of the jobs in the mailroom at a newspaper. This is the strapper.
I have two part time jobs, and one of them is minimum wage. They explain when you are hired that is the rate, and there are no raises. It is what it is. Your weekly hours are also limited. Let’s just say I’m not making a lot of money at this job, and I’m looking for full-time work. However, there are at least five reasons I find this job attractive, and suited for me.
The Schedule is Flexible
In the first place, they were willing to schedule me on days that didn’t conflict with my other job. In addition to that, since the company already knows it’s not a very appealing job, one perk is that you don’t have to specially request days you want to be gone. There is a large calendar, and you just write in the days you won’t be there. For me, this is a HUGE advantage. It means I can take off to go on long hikes a few times a year, or visit friends. Of course I don’t get paid for those days, but flexibility is more important to me right now.
The Work is Active
Another of my minimum wage job advantages, to me, is that my duties are active. I work for the local newspaper in what is called the mailroom. That’s not what you think it is. It’s the place where all the inserts you get in the paper are added by a huge machine, staffed and fed by people. My job is “bundler.” This means I get the papers as they come out of the stacker, straighten the piles and count them, then send them on to the strapper.
This job keeps me on my feet, and moving around a fair amount. I lift bundles, move carts, run to clear the stacker when it throws papers where it shouldn’t, etc. I don’t think I could stand a completely sedentary job.
The Work is Brainless
This may not seem like a good thing. In fact, I can hardly believe I am liking that aspect. I usually like mental and physical challenges. However, I am trying to do more creative writing in my free time. I appreciate that this job doesn’t tire me out mentally. I can just go do the task and come home without being exhausted.
I Work With People Who Live On the Edge
Let me explain what I mean so no one will get offended. You might think people who have minimum wage jobs are people who can’t get something better. Well, maybe that’s true, maybe not. I have a graduate degree, and there I am. One woman who works with me is getting a college degree in Computer Science. Some people are trying to support grown children and grandkids. Some are supplementing the family income. Some are just desperate to have any job at all in our economy.
It’s pretty easy for any of us to start looking down on those in low-paying jobs, thinking they are losers. In fact, a teacher brought a class through on a field trip one day and said (I kid you not) “This is where you’ll end up if you don’t go to college.” We don’t have any losers working in the mailroom. The losers are the people who weren’t willing to do the work and have been fired. There have been quite a few. Everyone there now is working really hard just to make ends meet. I like staying in touch with people who don’t take money for granted.
It Keeps My Portfolio Diversified
OK, I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek here. What I mean is that several part time jobs, coupled with some online writing, and the sales of some books is a safer alternative than having one job. Those days of job security are gone. Too many people I know have gone to work thinking all was well and come home without a job, or even without a company. The scheduling is brutal, but with a couple of jobs and some self-employment I have multiple revenue streams.
Minimum wage job advantages may not always be obvious. I’d be happy to take these advantages and a higher rate of pay. I’m not stupid! Meanwhile, I can at least look for the positive aspects of the job I’ve been able to find.
Joan Young has enjoyed the out-of-doors her entire life. Highlights of her outdoor adventures include Girl Scouting, which provided yearly training in camp skills, the opportunity to engage in a 10-day canoe trip, and numerous short backpacking excursions. She was selected to attend the 1965 Senior Scout Roundup in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, an international event to which 10,000 girls were invited. She has ridden a bicycle from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean in 1986, and on August 3, 2010 became the first woman to complete the North Country National Scenic Trail on foot. Her mileage totaled 4395 miles.
More recently, she has begun writing fiction- primarily cozy mysteries. She also writes a monthly column for the Ludington Daily News called "Get Off the Couch."
author site booksleavingfootprints.com