Poverty Generation

I’ve seen this article floating around the internet about how little American waitresses make, and how they heavily rely on their tips. Usually the article is in context of some evil customer who refuses to tip their server. I frequently wondered why anyone would choose to continuously work at a job that had such an unreliable income flux, especially since customers are not required to tip.
– In most of Europe, you don’t tip.
Most restaurants  in Europe have a service charge built in, and the ones that don’t, have a note on the receipt which says so.

England has an age-based minimum wage.  If you’re young they don’t ‘have to’ pay you as much, but everyone over 25-yrs gets paid a national living wage. I was puzzled at the reasoning around it, But it actually makes more sense than the American system. Younger people are cheaper to have as employees, because they’re not as skilled, and older people have more skills and need more money to live, so they get paid more.
It’s probably reassuring for the English-youth to know that when they grow up, they will most assuredly get paid a livable wage. The 25-yr old English minimum wage is greater than the American minimum wage. So, a 25-yr old waitress in America is arguably impoverished, but in England she consistently earns a reasonable wage.
– I’m not saying England doesn’t have a poverty class, they do, a huge one, but it’s smaller than the American one.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about quality of life.
Workers in England get 6 weeks of vacation per year. But,  Americans only get 2 weeks. The English also work fewer hours in a week than Americans, leaving more time for family and leisure activities. England also has universal healthcare, which is great for the whole population, but not good if you have a debilitating ailment that requires a lot of attention. And England has better maternity leave than America (up to 1 year leave).

As an American,  I spend more time at work than I spend doing Anything else. I’m also in a ‘poverty generation’ of Millennials; underpaid/ underemployed/underappreciated,  living meagerly in the shadow of the slow-to-retire BabyBoomers.
It’s keeping the job market full, saturating it, and making it difficult for young people to get promotions. We have generation of educated young adults who are forced to work low level jobs.
The expectation to be more ambitious at work is absurd when you consider how stressful daily life already is.   At the end of the work day,  I have just enough time to either: run some errands or relax at home, but not much else.
Most office workers leave work at 5pm, it’s rush hour traffic;  if they stop anywhere on their way home, they won’t get home until around 6:30pm; if they cook themselves dinner and tidy up, its suddenly 7:30; if they watch the latest Game of Thrones episode, they’ve lost another hour. Maybe they have time to spend a few minutes on a hobby, but that’s basically the whole day.
I cannot fathom how I would fit family/children into this schedule. Maybe this is why Millennials are so slow to settle-down.


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