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Attitude about working in teens. Common or not?

  1. Jul 22, 2010 #1

    turbo

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    In the recent heat-wave, my respiratory problems have acted up, limiting some strenuous outdoor activities. There is a teenager living really close to here, and I asked him if he would like to stack firewood for me. I offered to pay him minimum wage, cash, so there would be no deductions. He seemingly jumped at the chance, saying he needed to earn $400 for his driver-ed training. That was 2 weeks ago, and I have gotten exactly 7 hours of not-so-speedy work out of him, despite giving him work in a well-ventilated shed on the hotter days. If I call him and ask him when he's going to come put in a few hours, he seems to always have an excuse or something else he "has to do".

    It's bugging the hell out of me. If someone offered me minimum wage (in cash) for doing odd jobs for them when I was his age, I would have been on them like a tick. We live miles from town, and he has no transportation (except his mountain bike) and no way to transport tools to do odd jobs for others. Seems like my offer of work would be a perfect fit for him, since he lives a couple of minutes' walk from here.

    Is anybody else having problems finding a responsible teen who wants to make some money doing chores or yard-work?
     
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  3. Jul 22, 2010 #2

    cronxeh

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    I think people that do manual labour should get paid 10 times minimum wage, but that is just my opinion. Frankly I wouldn't chop wood for less than 50 bucks an hour, take it or leave.
     
  4. Jul 22, 2010 #3
    Yeah, my son and daughter.
     
  5. Jul 22, 2010 #4
    That's just a fancy way of saying that you wouldn't do manual labor. No one is paying $100K/year for this kind of work.
     
  6. Jul 22, 2010 #5

    cronxeh

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    Really? Thats funny, I am sure this society can sustain paying college grads to sit in an air conditioned office and pull in 100K for doing mediocre paper-pushing, while the lumber jack is going to do it for minimum wage.
     
  7. Jul 22, 2010 #6

    turbo

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    The kid isn't a lumberjack, and has no such skills. I'm just asking him to stack some firewood that is already cut and split. What's wrong with minimum wage for unskilled labor - especially when he gets paid in cash every day? If my father had found out that I was turning down such work when I was a kid, he'd have tanned my hide. As it was, I was working full-time from about the age of 14 all summer and part-time in spring and fall, as caretaker of the town cemetery, so most of my handy-man jobs were for shoveling driveways and raking snow off roofs in the winter.
     
  8. Jul 22, 2010 #7
    One hour of stacking wood in hot weather can be a lot of work. He probably did one entire hour of constantly stacking wood, becoming soaked in sweat, then realized he only made 7 dollars. That can be discouraging.
    I do manual labor, but there's quite a bit of down time. I'm not constantly working. I don't know how it is stacking your wood, but I wood imagine you woodn't pay him for much downtime.
     
  9. Jul 22, 2010 #8

    Astronuc

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    I used to that kind of work for my grandfather when I was 7-8 years old.

    I had my first paying job at 13 working in a bike repair shop that did not have air conditioning. I then went on to work at a gardening center unloading trucks, stacking 70 lb bags of fertilizer, filling bags of dirt, sand and manure, and then loading them into customers vehicles. I was 15-16 at the time, and I thought $1/hr was great! All this in Houston where summer temperatures were in the 90's - 100's.
     
  10. Jul 22, 2010 #9
    $7.50/hr is pretty low no matter what the work is. Especially considering the heat, maybe $10/hr is a little more fair. I made that 9 years ago for sitting at a computer and doing mindless work. But still, he's probably lazy judging by your description.
     
  11. Jul 22, 2010 #10

    turbo

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    I don't oversee him. I take note of when he shows up and when he quits and pay him for the hours he was here. It's not like I'm expecting a lot out of him - still it's too much work, apparently. I don't think $7.50 for unskilled labor is too bad, especially since if he was working for a business, he'd be knocked with withholding for SS, state and federal income tax, etc. What would that leave him? Six bucks and change? Plus I let him set his own hours, so if he wanted to stack wood in the early morning or in the evening when it's cooler, he can. I would have killed for a job like that when I was a kid.
     
  12. Jul 22, 2010 #11

    turbo

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    Jobs are so scarce here in central Maine, that you won't find any minimum-wage jobs vacant for too long. It's very tough for kids to find summer jobs, because adults are taking them just to make ends meet - often more than one.
     
  13. Jul 22, 2010 #12

    BobG

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    The kid is lazy and worthless and half of his brain has probably atrophied from playing Grand Theft Auto too many times.

    When I was in junior high, I had two morning paper routes. In high school I got a job washing dishes for less than minimum wage in an ice cream parlor, then rapidly worked my way up to soda jerk, and then to the exalted position of creator of the ice cream - a very heady, almost godlike position for a teenager willing to work alternately in a room at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and a freezer at 20 below. I took pride in my work when I was a teenager and my ice cream was named best in the county the year I was the ice cream maker.

    Heck, according the owner, a retired Army colonel, we were paid too much even at $1.60 an hour. He always told us he would have taken a job like the ones he gave us for free just to get a good recommendation letter for future employers (Employers who would give us an even better recommendation, perhaps, for future jobs? I have to admit, we never quite figured out how working for free might benefit us.)

    But the contrast between the retired Army colonel, my generation, and today's generation clearly illustrates how each generation seems to develop more of a pansy-like sense of entitlement. First teenagers start to want to be paid for their work and then, next thing you know, they'd rather be paid for doing nothing.
     
  14. Jul 22, 2010 #13
    I agree that he's just lazy.

    My guess is that he's on Facebook or some other type of entertainment.

    People are living passive lifestyles nowadays. Everything must be passive from entertainment, learning, work and more.
     
  15. Jul 22, 2010 #14

    Evo

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    Heck, I'd stack wood for $7.50 an hour, but you have to include room and board.

    Maybe it was the bugs. Always a ton of spiders in wood. Snakes too. I learned to approach log piles carefully and give the wood a good whacking before picking any up. <shudder>
     
  16. Jul 22, 2010 #15

    turbo

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    I don't think the kid is allowed to spend any time on violent video games. His parents are strict fundamentalist Christians. Still it seems he has no work-ethic, nor any urge to honor a verbal agreement, and that's disturbing. What's even more jarring is that he wants to follow his brother's lead and join the Army. If he does that, he is in for one RUDE awakening. They are going to have to break him severely before they can make anything out of him.
     
  17. Jul 22, 2010 #16

    CRGreathouse

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    That seems to be one of the main functions of the armed forces.
     
  18. Jul 22, 2010 #17

    turbo

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    I couldn't afford to feed you, too, on top of the $7.50. You could forage for berries down back, and trap rabbits. That's my final offer.
     
  19. Jul 22, 2010 #18

    cronxeh

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    :rofl:

    So on top of that 50 an hour you going to pay me, there is going to be dental and health insurance, workman's comp, restroom facilities, and an hour lunch break, right? :biggrin:
     
  20. Jul 22, 2010 #19

    turbo

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    Regarding the comments about the heat, there was no AC or shade in the cemetery, and I was the only kid the sexton hired, after getting shafted by some worthless older kids prior to my hiring. I welcomed that job because it excused me from being free labor on my uncle's farm during haying season. I was very sad when his old baler quit because he bought a newer one. The old one made up 50# bales and the newer one made 75# bales. It would generally take two of us little kids to get the 75# bales onto the wagon, and you can bet we didn't stack them too high.
     
  21. Jul 22, 2010 #20
    Mhm still beeing in my teens (they go till 20 right?). I am not sure whether I would do it.
    I am not from the states so could anyone comment on the purchasing power of 7.50$?

    ... I worked for 6 Euro an hour in a vineyard last year, and it was hot and at the end of the day I had a terrible headache from the exposure to the sun, so I couldn't learn any useful stuff in the evening...

    I could have done the same work this year again, ... it is f******* boring..., but still one has to concentrate (ok at least I have to). But I most likely won't because It wouldn't make much sense, learning something math/physics related instead is much more usefull... probably he prefers living with lower money but doing a lot of Human Capital investment while he is young, sounds like a reasonable approach to me. (But it's very stupid if he is just slacking off).

    In a nutshell it is maybe a smart and sensible approach

    Evo's point also seems important about snakes and bugs and other disgusting insects...
    But being able to decide his own working hours seems fair...
    So If I would live near you I would probably do it . but I dunno how much 7,5$ are...
     
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