When I was growing up, somehow the culture instilled in me that waiting tables at the local fried chicken restaurant, which was popular for miles around, was not a path to long-term financial stability. It was a summer and weekend job to provide me with money for the frugal college years ahead. My family was poor as were most of the farming families in the area and yet most parents wished a college education for their children. So, children took jobs and worked and saved. Yet, there were women, not men, for whom this waiting tables was a permanent job. They were proud of being excellent at what they did and being able to carry five plates on one arm and remembering every customer's unique needs. They bragged about tips sometimes.
I never wondered about those women. They frightened me a little because they were so good at their jobs and so intense about their work and so rough when they took their cigarette breaks outside. But I never wondered why they took the career path they did and how they made ends meet when they got home.
Now there is a movement to give fast food workers a living minimum wage. While I agree that we need to raise their salaries in conjunction with the way profits for fast food places has grown, I wonder when we accepted that this type of job should be considered a realistic permanent career and a path that would allow them to raise families. Yes, I a aware that many have no other opportunities, many are not expertise enough to do another type of job and many do not realize they are in a financial path that has no hope for escape. But an opportunity for a lower middle class lifestyle...I think not...unless they are working to be a manager of such a franchise.
Yes, I am a liberal but concerned about how we think about jobs in this country.