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Walmart Strike Hits 100 Cities, But Fails To Distract Black Friday Shoppers

11/26/2012

Walmart Strike Hits 100 Cities, But Fails To Distract Black Friday Shoppers: But I'm a teacher, so I also barely make anything, too," he said. "I have to shop here."

Just so you know, a brand-new teacher in the Paramount, CA school district with nothing but a BA and a credential makes $44,000 per year.  For 184 days of work.  Under a contract from 2006, so it's probably outdated.You can see the salary schedule, here: PARAMOUNT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
TEACHERS ANNUAL SALARY SCHEDULE
 

No, I won't say 44k is a big salary, but back in 1997, that's about what I made.  I was living in New Jersey and had a house, two cars (used), a cat, one and a half kids, and a wife.  I was poor, but not poor enough to want Wal-Mart to close down.  Besides, there wasn't a Wal-Mart close.  I would have killed for a Wal-Mart.  We shopped at ALDI (still do) and PathMark, Clover and Caldor and K-Mart.  Used cars, junkyards, flea markets and Home Depot were where I was at.  I still have some of that flea market furniture, and almost every hand-me-down and flea market tool. 

If my wife had worked, and say she had been working at the same job that she had before she left to take care of our children and her mother, I could safely assume that she would be making close to or more than that $44k.  That would bring our total salary to $88k, not too shabby.  But let's say 25 grand in child care (2 kids @ about 300 per week, I figured in vacations and sick days), and that takes us down to $63k.  Which means we could have made the same money if one of us had stayed home, taked care of the kid and worked a part-time job for $8.50 an hour.  Which is, essentially, what we did.  We were still broke, but we didn't starve.  We even had some money to buy stuff we didn't need.  We had everything everybody else had, just in a different way.  

The most different thing about us and people like "Mr Teacher" up there was that I didn't want to stay poor.

My plan was to get a raise, but not by walking out onthe busiest day of the year.  For some reason, I didn't think that would be very productive.  Instead, I went to work every day.  I learned everything I could about how the business worked.  I had hired on as an IT guy.  Not even a network guy, just PC and printer support.  I had started out ducking under desks and plugging in the wires that the users had kicked out, changing printer toner, un-clogging fax machines, cleaning aluminum dust out of PCI's with compressed air, taking the tape backups home and making sure the coffee machine was on and making coffee.  Gradually, I learned the software side.  Lotus 1-2-3, AmiPro, Notes, OS2 Warp.  I pretended that I was friendly and helpful and my boss started giving me more to do.  I learned the video confrencing setup, learned how to add telephone extensions and where the land-line jacks were.  I learned Ethernet cabling, and System 36 administration.  I learned the differences between Frame Relay and X.25.  I gradually took over as support for anything that plugged in, and my boss was able to get out from under the tech-support covers and become the business analyst he wanted to be.  That made him like me. 

In short, I got my raise.  It wasn't even that hard.  I didn't have to stand outside with bullhorn and insult the people I worked for.  I didn't even have to work all that hard.  I made him look good, and he made me look good. That's almost always the way things go. Not every time, but most of the time. 

I'm not saying I haven't had shitty bosses, or worked for companies that made bad decisions.  I have.  I've been taken advantage of, underpaid, micromanaged, overworked and frightened into compliance with crummy policy with threats of unemployment and loss of benefits.  I've been in some really bad situations.  But I've also noticed that the one thing that each of these situations has in common is me.

I may feel trapped, I may feel like the company owes me something, I may be miserable at work every day, but in the end no one cares how I feel.  If I'm a mope, I'll get treated like a mope.  It is up to each of us to realize that we don't have to work for places we don't want to work for.  If those places want us to work there, they'll bribe us.  It's a win-win for a while, but eventually someone's going to run out of patience.  That's when you move on.

You can make this easier by always looking.  Prepare for the day that you can't stand your job any more and always keep an updatd resume.  Apply for jobs that come up in conversation.  Train yourself on new technology and methods.  BE FRIENDLY WITH PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH.  Don't lose track of people who move to new jobs.  Don't get sucked in to office politics.

Don't go on strike on Black Friday if you work for a non-union shop.

If you are a teacher and you think you don't make enough money, do something else.  Teach something else, teach somewhere else, teach for-profit.  Christ.  It's not my fault what you like to do doesn't pay the bills.  I like to  but I've only been paid for it once... or twice... well a couple of times in college, but I was broke and needed cab fare!  DON'T JUDGE ME!

   
 

          



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