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By Pilgreen12
January 17, 2006

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I've got news for Dr. Ed working as a "Sales Associate" at Walmart is a sure fire ticket for the majority of their employees to remain working poor.

A "sales associate" job at Walmart or any other similar employer is an OPPORTUNITY and if the sales associate remains poor it is because they can't or won't take advantage of the opportunity.

Between my freshman and sophomore year in college, I worked as a runner (read gopher) at a store called the "Home Club" in Southern California for God forbid: minimum wage. Many of the runners (mostly young college age kids) were lazy fellows who were going nowhere fast. They would gripe and moan about doing their job, especially the dreaded bathroom inspection.

I hated the bathroom inspections too, but when told by management to do it I did it with an apparently good attitude. Note I said apparently because I hated doing that, but it was my job and you get nowhere by pissing off the boss. By the end of the summer, I was working part-time in the plumbing and electrical departments assisting customers, training the new runners, and I had received a very high number of customer compliments. In just a couple of months, I had become management's "go to" runner. In other words I was doing what had to be done to work my way up the ladder, while about half the other "runners" had either quit because of the "unfair" environment or been fired for cause before the summer ended, with most of the other doing just enough to get by.

When the summer ended I gave my two weeks notice. The store manager called me to his office and tried to get me to stay. They were willing to work around my college schedule, they wanted to put me into management training, and of course I would receive a significant raise. I would have stayed on but my college was on the East coast, some 2,500 miles away. He even asked if I would consider transferring to a local college, but I declined. That company was eventually bought out by one of the big membership wholesale clubs and I wonder where I would have been had I moved into management there to this day. Heck I might be a millionaire many times over by now.

I passed on that opportunity because I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity of a college education, but that very opportunity that I passed on exists EVERY day for EVERY minimum wage (or low wage) worker out there. Unfortunately, many entry level wage employees prefer to whine about the unfair system and how they deserve more. For those who deserve more, they will get more if they can prove their labor and effort deserves it.

The reality is that the labor and effort for many low wage employees is simply not worth higher wages. To earn higher wages, an employee must develop skills, have a good attitude and work ethic, dedication, and probably needs to have average intelligence. Some may not have the brainpower, some may not have the work ethic, some may not have the attitude, some may not have the dedication, and some may be unable to expand their skill set. Without anyone of these, the low-wage worker will feel "trapped" and may in fact be "trapped," but that is not the employer's fault.

The employer only provides the opportunity. It is the employee who must execute the opportunity to make the most of it.

Regards,
Emmette


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