Sometimes when I go to Wendy’s, I am met at the drive through window by someone unexpected – a person of middle age. Every single time this happens, which is often, I wonder to myself: “How did this person wind up here?” When I visit a fast food restaurant I expect two types of employees, teenagers, and the elderly. Either of which is perfectly acceptable to me. But someone who is in their mid to late 30’s or 40’s, no matter what happened to them in their lives, even if they are ex-convicts, can do better – can’t they? Is this just a naïve stance to take? What circumstances could have befallen someone to be working for nearly minimum wage by this point in their lives?
Whatever the situation may be for these people, you can bet that MacDonald’s is very happy about it. But the situation itself still boggles my mind. How does a person find themselves working these types of jobs so late in life? I suppose I ask myself the same question about homeless people, since I don’t really understand how anyone can be entirely homeless. Maybe temporarily, but not permanently.
It is very hard to have insight into the things around us we have not experienced first hand. Perhaps these ill-employed people are in fact ex-convicts, ex-drug addicts, or just plain old lazy under-achievers.
When you were a child, you had high hopes. I can say that with relative confidence as I have never heard a child say “I want to be a trash man when I grow up!” Although, when you look around, as it turns out, the vast majority of the world are working in jobs I would never dream of working in, and without them, we would be pretty screwed.
So how does it work? What would happen if the dreams of every little child were to come true suddenly and everyone was blessed with quality parents, a quality education, and most importantly, quality decision making abilities? When I walk down the street, I see fast food restaurants, video stores, nail salons, mega-stores, and trash trucks. I suppose most of these businesses were founded under the assumption that there will always be someone to hire for $7 an hour to do this type of work, but what if that wasn’t true?
I once saw a movie called A day without a Mexican, which was a fictional depiction of what the United States would be like if all of the sudden every illegal immigrant were to disappear, and the reality of that situation was fairly bleak. As mentioned above, I would love to see a similar depiction of a world where all of the sudden everyone was educated and trying to all work as doctors, lawyers, or other types of professionals, shifting the balance forever.
Every president makes a speech about how they want the youth to be educated, most parents do their best to ensure the best for their child, but the reality is, the world needs people to work in these jobs. I imagine a future like the one portrayed in GATTACA, where there is a clearly defined caste system which forces a low class to always exist to carry out…the jobs no one wants.
But then again, I guess there are always robots.
*Please do not mistake what I am saying as a generalization that anyone who has a crappy job late in life is a “fuck-up”, I apologize in advance if you are offended.