There’s been a lot of talk lately about a living wage and how not every employer is paying one to their workers. We’ve always found these interesting because it really isn’t an employer’s responsibility to ensure a living wage and it will not be a bulletin to regular readers of mine that we do not believe it is the government’s job to mandate this, either.
It is every working person’s personal responsibility to ensure they are paid a living wage. Anyone not thrilled with the money they are making is free to put themselves in a position to make more, something we’ve done from time to time over our working lives and, in fact, are still doing.
Louis L’Amour in his fine autobiography Education of a Wandering Man said it best:
Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow.
So it is here. It’s not the government’s job to ensure I make a living wage and it is not my employer’s responsibility, either. It’s my responsibility and anyone who is not making the living they want is free to do what’s required to ensure they do. Here’s how you do it:
First, identify the money you want/need to make. And don’t say $10 billion either. Be reasonable. Make sure it’s an amount commensurate with what you can reasonably expect your talents and initiative to earn for you. Then identify the jobs that pay that amount, as well as the skills and experience you will need to be considered for that job.
Finally – and this is the tough part – we must be willing to put in the time and effort required to put us in a position to get that job and it is not going to be easy because every day there will a myriad of distractions. It will take effort and commitment but these two old friends seldom fail us. A good plan properly executed usually yields dividends and once you set yourself on the right path, you may well be surprised to find what you wanted was seemingly there for the taking all along.
Friends, no employer is going to pay one penny more in wages, salaries or benefits than they have to; it’s the way a free market is built. By the same token, employees do not have to take whatever an employer initially offers, either. As the Bible says, more than once, the laborer is worthy of his hire, so don’t be afraid to haggle.
Now, some offer no option, but you might be surprised. Some gumption and a proven track record can often lead to negotiating a higher wage, especially with unemployment low like it is now and employers needing good people. The bottom line is we cannot be afraid to make something good happen for ourselves. Some initiative and some work and soon enough we can have the working life we want.
But we have to go get it ourselves. We can’t depend on the government to do it for us.
Many thanks for reading,