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Music 1210 Essay

In: Film and Music

Submitted By kh001411
Words 1756
Pages 8
Hixenbaugh 1
Kyle Hixenbaugh
English 1510
Professor Drew
April 25,2013 Personal Essay
The piece that I will compare my life to is “Serving in Florida.” This piece is about a woman named Barbara Ehrenreich, who moves to Florida to work unglamorous jobs as a type of “experiment.” Barbra meets very many people and starts to understand the struggles within working low-waged jobs .Although Barbara wasn’t forced to work these jobs, she funds the readers with a great backround of the jobs that she works. In this piece, I will compare my experiences within working low-waged jobs and share my relationships that I have made within these jobs. Working low-waged jobs isn’t a career someone should ever aim for in life. Low-waged jobs can be great for a short term or summer job, but I don’t recommend this as a career. I have worked at three low-waged jobs throughout my lifetime. The most unglamorous, was working in the fast food industry. While working at Wendy’s, I witnessed theft, drug use, and many other different types of crimes. As a minor working under these conditions, I learned that I wanted to make something of myself, and didn’t want to be a worker under these conditions anymore. Unlike Barbara, I was actually working these jobs to maintain my bills. Working these jobs wasn’t an “experiment” for me, it was a short term job to raise money before I went off to college. Working at Wendy’s really broadened my perspective about making myself successful. After walking in on my boss doing a line of cocaine off of the toilet seat in the Men's restroom was really my boiling

Hixenbaugh 2 point. Low-waged jobs are usually for people that are having financial problems, or just never pursued their lives in the right direction.
Most of my co-workers at Wendy’s were either high school dropouts, or just typical Hocking County, “White Trash.” After working there for so long I began to understand the lives of my Co-Workers. Some of them were just there because they got laid off, some of them were there because they were attending a community college, and others were there just because they didn’t have the tools to obtain another career. Most of my co-workers were involved in government funded programs, such as welfare and other parenthood government aid. The crazy thing is that my co-workers were all at the same point in life just like I was, but why didn’t they choose to go to college or continue to find other jobs? That’s the question that has always bothered me. I couldn’t stand working there day in and day out, the place drove me crazy, especially the associates that I worked with. What drove these people to continue making low wages and working under these drug infested walls?
I am the type of person that will accept anyone as my friend. I made some great relationships throughout my career at Wendy’s. Looking through the crazy lives of my co-workers and accepting them as friends wasn’t easy, but we all hated our jobs equally. After I received my driver’s license my junior year of high school, I was forced to find a job so I could pay bills. My parents made it clear that they weren’t going to help me with any bills or expenses that I had. Although I didn’t want a job, I went to Wendy’s to join the work force. Wendy’s provided irregular hours and also provided no interest in being flexible around schedules. After baseball games and practices, I was forced to work until 3 am on school nights. Although the child labor law said you can’t work a minor after 11pm, Wendy’s showed no interest in obeying these laws. All of us minors would work many “off the clock” hours and would not be able to leave the restaurant until after all the jobs were completed.
Barbara talks a lot about the working environment that she worked under and the low compensation
Hixenbaugh 3 that the associates received. Low- waged jobs usually don’t provide benefits such as health insurance to their associate’s. In “Serving in Florida,” Barbara says “I don’t have to ask about health insurance once I meet Carlotta, the middle aged African American woman who will be training me. Carlie, as she tells me to call her, is missing all of her top front teeth.”(299) Barbara’s statement portrays that these low-waged workers are receiving no benefits for working their tail off day in and day out. This shocks me so much, Medical insurance is out of the roof anymore, how can you not benefit your workers if they get hurt or sick? Most of these workers have to rely on government aid which can help pay or cover all of the expenses.
Working long and irregular hours surprisingly shaped me as a man. Working at Wendy’s really made me into a hard worker and taught me many life lessons for future jobs. Although the drug heads and crooks learn the same lessons, the lessons seems to not push them as hard as it pushes me. I believe they don’t chase their dreams because they are so caught into their lifestyle. Places that offer low compensation, usually hire workers that will work for these wages without complaining. Therefore these employers will not bother them about drug use or theft, they will act like it’s not even present. During my experiences doing low-wage working, I’ve had to deal with some pretty nasty jobs. At Wendy’s I had to clean out restrooms, grease filters and even clean up human feces. Jobs like these aren’t worth minimum wage, people who do these jobs should be compensated way more money. Barbara uses a great example of a nasty job that she does when she says “I just concentrate on removing the pubic hairs from the bathtubs, or at least the dark ones that I can see.”(299) Barbara’s task is a great example of the types of jobs that low income employees have to work with on a daily basis. Feeling under paid may be the worst feeling in the world, Getting under paid makes you feel like you mean nothing to your employers. Drug use is a big problem within the city limits of my hometown of Logan, Ohio. The city of
Hixenbaugh 4
Logan is in the top 10 of all drug categories in Ohio. In a a small town like Logan, there is not much to do. As the party culture was always very popular within Logan High School students, It carries on to the adults also. Talking to my older co-workers at Wendy's was very interesting, a huge majority of them proclaimed that they have once been addicted to drugs, or are under the addiction to drugs to this day. The stories and experiences they shared with me really broadened my perspective about making something out of my life and getting out of this drug burdened city.
One of my co-workers was a graduate from Logan High School in 1979. As James and I became very close, he shared with me some struggles that he has gone through. James was a straight “A” student all the way through school until his 10th grade year. James actually became addicted to crystal meth at the age of 16, and was forced by his family to attend rehab sessions through the community hospital. James became sober but prior to graduation James became addicted to the drug again and became homeless for 5 years. James would live throughout the streets of Logan, and would shack up with random people whenever he could. James to this day is no longer addicted to crystal meth, but is a avid marijuana smoker and a severe alcoholic. James lost everything due to his drug use, he lost his family support, and lost track of his road to success. . James has been arrested 5 times throughout his lifetime, and has received 3 DUI's. To this day he is not able to maintain a driver's license. James proclaims that he always wanted to be an accountant, but to this day, he has only worked for fast food industries, due to his police record
James's story really stuck a cord with me. Stories like that really opens up my perspectives on life. James had everything going for him, and now after drug struggles he is forced to work low-waged jobs for the rest of his life. As a 17 year old hearing these stories it really makes you really have a “push” in life. I don't want to end up like James, I don't want to have to work the rest of my life under

Hixenbaugh 5 crappy work conditions with low compensation. Some people settle with these low-waged jobs, but me, I refuse to live that life. James is a great guy, with a great heart, but he made life changing decisions, that changed his life for the worst. The sad thing is that I bet James's stories are very similar to a lot of the adults that are involved with this Wendy's Corporation. Life's all about making good choices, and the ones that don't will suffer the consequences.

My experiences within a low-waged environment has really made such an impact on my life. Working long hours and working against the child labor law was really the point where I knew something was wrong with this industry. All of us high school students or college students were really mistreated within this restaurant. Having to deal with our school struggles and being forced to work irregular hours on school days was very tough for all of us. Low-waged jobs I believe are one of the toughest jobs you can do out there. Doing the “dirty” work for companies is mainly established as a low-waged job. Completing these tasks day in and day out receiving low-compensation and no benefits is really pathetic for this industry and things need to change for workers to make advancements in their life. I believe in the near future the low-wage industry will lose its effectiveness and workers will begin to realize that there is better things in life. Although these low-waged workers aren't working for an experiment like Barbara is, one day I believe most workers will walk away just like Barbara did, and pursue a better career for a better future.

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