Monday, October 19, 2009

Jobs Vs. Professions

Today my husband's company started interviewing for their new stores in this area. The lines were out the door and all the way to the street. Hundreds upon hundreds of applicants, all for only about 60-70 positions.

My husband holds a bachelor's degree, something that is not required for his "job". He is not a professional, but he works in fast food management. His career has moved from the entry level associate that he was hired as at the age of 16 up to a 2nd manager at the store level--the 2nd in command in the individual store. Of course, he did take a 2-year break to serve a mission for our church and after we got married, we lived one year in a state that didn't have this fast food chain, so he was gone a year for that. In the last 15 years, he has worked for this company for 12 of them. The first 3 years were just as a job for the typical high school/college student. After his mission, he went back because it was there and a way to work his way through school. Then he married me and his ambitions to finish school were followed through with an out-of-state move to another school. That plan didn't work out the way we'd hoped and we went back to his old job at the fast food restaurant because it offered paid benefits so I would be able to stay home with our one child at the time and he could continue to work through school. He quit school for a few years when the opportunity to go into management came up. So, after about 5 years with the company was when he finally went into management. It took about a year to get into it before he actually was made a manager. Then he was a manager at that level for about a year, then at the next level for 4 years and now he is up a level from that. Of course, some things have been unfair and not right about his slow promotion, but he has worked hard. He also worked and went to school, both full time, for 2 of those 4 years as a 3rd manager.

So today after his company started interviews that brought such a huge crowd, there was an article on the local news website about the excitement. I read the article, which was positive, but the comments were mostly negative: "Why are people standing in line to make this kind of money when they can go to school and make 2-3 times that much? I think it's because people are lazy these days and don't want to put in the 2+ years and the hard work to do it."

I agree that going to school is a wise investment, but that doesn't mean that "flipping burgers" is a bad job. Not to mention, if this person thinks all these people should go to school, what does he think they'll do to work their way through it? Doesn't $10/hr "flipping burgers" sound like a good way to do it?

I don't understand the animosity out there toward blue collar jobs. Don't people realize that blue collar jobs are just as needed in society as white collar? Okay, maybe fast food isn't a necessity, I would definitely be one to argue that if it bit the big one, society would probable be better for it, but unfortunately, it's here to stay. So why not be part of a fast food company that trains its employees well, treats them as family, and utilizes business organizational methods to make it a better professional environment for those involved? Why not get that fast food job that pays well above minimum wage and offers benefits, good benefits, for full-time employees. The company was founded with the premise that if you treat your employees right and pay them well, they will want to work for you and do their best at that work, even if the work is making one good hamburger.

I am tired of feeling less than worthy because my husband works in fast food. I'm tired of feeling judged by everyone who thinks that working in fast food is for uneducated people who don't speak English. College degree or not (and my husband does have one), my husband LOVES his job. I would dare to wager that many women cannot say that. I have listened to more than my fair share of men complaining about their jobs, but mine NEVER complains about his. Not to mention that just because a fair share of managers in this company don't hold college degrees doesn't mean they don't know anything. This company trains their managers SO well, that even my father, who has loads of experience in organizational behavior and development, had to give kudos to this company for how well-oiled they run it all.

I don't think it should matter whether a person has 6-figure lucrative career they came into because of tons of formal education or they make their way by working in the food or construction industry, so-called "blue-collar work", as long as they do honest work and work hard.

1 comment:

swedemom said...

Excellent post, Jenna. I agree with you wholeheartedly. My dad graduated from high school and went right to work for his father and uncle for their construction company. He was born for that work and loves it. He runs his own business and is very good at it, all without benefit of a degree. He provided for our family well.

I've read and heard several times that many blue-collar professions such as plumbing, electricians, etc. are losing workers because people are downright snobby about those professions. And yet they are good, stable jobs that offer good incomes.

There should be no shame in working hard and enjoying whatever you do. I would also like to point out that having a college degree or advanced degree doesn't guarantee you a job or even one with decent wages. My husband, with all his all degrees is not guaranteed jobs at all. Universities are not hiring. Openings that become available are flooded with hundreds and thousands of applications of well-qualified people. When he was looking for post-doc positions, you wouldn't believe the salaries posted for those jobs. They wanted you to work 7 days a week for at least 16 hours for far less than he could earn at a fast-food place. And there are many cases where you can be overqualified for a job and they won't hire you.

I think you should be proud of your husband for working so hard, faithfully and loving his work.

I guess since I come from Wyoming and the majority of jobs there are blue-collar jobs, I have a lot of respect for men and women who work so hard to earn livings for their families. There should be no shame in doing honest work to earn honest money. (Something that cannot be said for a lot of high-profile white collar jobs!)

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