Minimum Wage Journeys

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The struggles people working minimum wage jobs have to go through to just survive was never so clear to me till I read Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. Throughout the book she tells of her journeys through working minimum wage jobs trying to make end meet. She travels around to Florida, Maine, and Minnesota working various minimum wage jobs while studying her co-workers and how their lives are affected by how much they make. She observes a lot of thing like race is a big factor in the jobs a person may get hired for and also what working minimum wage jobs do to a person both physically and mentally. Throughout her journeys from job to job she comes across the “working poor” and at times can consider herself to be a part of the “working…show more content…
Many of Barbara’s co-workers had medical problems from the job that they have been working. Minimum wage jobs tend to put more stress on the body then a desk job, in the book she seems to be always picking up something, carrying a tray, or even getting on her hand and knees to mop a floor as she had to for one of her maid jobs. Over time work like this does damage to the human body it eats away at muscles and tears up joints and backs and because of the low pay and no medical care they can’t just go out and get whatever they need fixed checked up on. If they need an operation or sick leave they may have to save up for a long time having to work through the pain. I also am very shocked that they did not get paid overtime even though at some jobs they were promised it. At one maid service Barbara is told that she will work mother hours from eight till three but in fact she shows up at eight and doesn’t get clocked in till almost nine and doesn’t normally get done till five. They worked hard for that money and should receive it by law but no one seems to argue. If Barbara would have received a living wage instead of normal minimum wage she would of went through her experiences a lot easier. Living wage is different from minimum wage because unlike minimum wages where you only get paid as much as the state or federal government figures you need to live off of living wage is where you get paid enough to live in a certain area. Right now the federal minimum wage is $5.15 and a lower living wage is $8.20, if Barbara would have received this she probably would not have experienced such a struggle living off of such low end

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