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Let's talk about the system

The system is messed up!

By Bethanee RobertsPublished 2 years ago 12 min read

To whom it may concern:

I am beyond frustrated with the system and the current state of the world today. The system is beyond screwed up and could use some significant changes. No one person can change the world, but it only takes one person to pave the way to make small changes. If enough small shifts happen, this could cause a wave effect that would hopefully lead to significant changes for the betterment of all.

According to the income eligibility guidelines, a single mother with one child in Iosco County, Michigan, making $22,700, broken down this comes to $1,900 per month, is over the income threshold for all state assistance programs! I am a single divorce and the mother of a beautiful daughter. We have been on our own since December 2019. Please tell me how a single mother is supposed to make it independently, supporting herself and her one child on a monthly income of $1,900?! Especially when the average monthly rent is $700 or more, it usually does not include utilities. The average monthly electric bill is $100 or more; the gas energy bill is the exact cost. In addition, a car loan, gas money for the car to get back and forth to work, grocery money, household supplies, personal supplies, childcare, extracurricular activities, school costs, doctor visits, medications, and emergency funds; the list could go on; forever! All of this is not possible on an income of $22,700 gross annually!

I started as a part-time cashier at Family Fare in Oscoda, making $10.25 per hour plus tips if I worked online shopping. I did all of the computer classes, learned how to fix specific issues, prevent certain problems, and put into action specialized on-the-job knowledge; despite how much time, hard work, effort, and everything that I put in, no significant increase in pay. Finally, I received a promotion to the full-time online shopper lead and got a raise to $11.95 per hour plus tips; but, in my opinion, for all of the tasks that were on my plate with the new position, the pay did not reflect.

I am the kind of person that would help anyone in need. I have never taken a job based solely on the pay rate. I've done the same type of job in two different states, in other locations, and got paid different wages every time. I will be the millionth person to state that minimum wage is a joke! No, I don't believe that the starting minimum wage should be $15 an hour. I think that all companies, businesses, and workforce places should change their pay rate policies. There is no reason someone with years of experience should be making the same amount as a beginner. Companies continuously tell their workers that they will be rewarded for their dedication and hard work. Employees are given pizza parties, ice cream parties, specialty lunches, gift cards, you name it, but no party is a real bonus for all the hard work that everyone has been putting forth. It certainly doesn't help pay the bills!

Everyone wants to talk about poor worker morale. Companies want people to put in the immense time, effort, and hard work for pennies on the dollar. Low pay is why the worker morale is low. Start offering raises when someone completes computer classes that help them acquire extra knowledge to do a better job. When an employee learns tasks and performs them so well, offer raises, and if you want to keep your workers happy and retain people within your company for years, offer raises, not just at a yearly minimum. Make your workers want to stay and grow with your company. Let them know they are known and valued. Everyone knows that giant corporations would fall apart if it weren't for the people on the bottom doing all the hard work for very little pay. Managers couldn't do their jobs without the properly trained staff members underneath them. No one person can change how giant corporations make and execute their policies, but perhaps all it takes is for one person to suggest changes to one company in the hope that they make changes.

I will talk about my personal experiences and my co-workers who suffer from lack of pay, such as the rest of America, one issue at a time, though. This paper will only be talking about hourly paid employees, nothing about salary paid management. Also, note that I will be using fake names to protect identities.

Sally, is the cash office lead with Paula. Sally works four to five days a week, and Paula works two to three days a week. If Sally and Paula couldn't make it to work one day, the store would not open on time. I'm not even sure who out of management is fully trained to work in the cash office if any. Sally and Paula put in so much time, hard work, and effort; they have each learned and perfected tasks in the cash office role. I know that the store would not run well if it weren't for these extraordinary ladies! Sally and Paula go above and beyond their job tasks; they do everything they possibly can to help their co-workers and take care of themselves, but sometimes it becomes overwhelming.

Cindy, Pam, and Dave, the three evening acting managers of the store, work five days a week; they make sure the store runs smoothly when salary management isn't there. They put in the same amount of hard work and effort when salary management is around. They make less pay, even though they have the exact expectations on them. I know that the store would not run as well if it weren't for these incredible individuals. Cindy, Pam, and Dave go above and beyond at their job tasks; they do everything they possibly can to take care of their co-workers and store customers.

Cindy-Lou works five consecutive days a week at the service counter with the lottery, money orders, western union. She has taken every required computer class and prides herself in making sure she does every task as close to perfect as possible. Cindy-Lou also does janitorial/clerk work and regular cashier. She goes above and beyond for the customers of the store.

Some jobs in other career fields are of higher respect and value and have higher pay than other jobs in different career fields. Steve, who works on airplanes, could not get his groceries if it weren't for the grocery store employees, especially the full-time employees who put in vast amounts of time and effort to provide the very best to the local customers. I agree that Steve deserves higher pay than the local grocery store worker, but Sally puts in just as much time and effort a week at her job; she deserves to make a living wage.

Now I'm going to talk about myself. I have done all of the required computer classes, I have perfected specific tasks. I have learned certain lessons well enough to be a well sought out teacher; I help out in multiple departments, I help manage the front end of the store whether the customer service manager is there or not! I have learned most of the tasks to help run the service counter; I know how to run and teach regular register and service counter. Daily, I operate the quick ordering, shop multiple orders, call computer support or customer support (as required). I cover register breaks, service counter breaks, answer phone calls, answer emails, efficiently assist customers, clean (as necessary), and so much more!

I have done all of that in the hopes of meeting my goals of independence. These hopes of mine are the very same as many other Americans. The system is failing millions of people! I can't change things for millions of people, but I can suggest changes be made locally for myself and my co-workers. Current employees are working above and beyond all of the time! Acknowledge the current employees that have worked through all of the bulls**t! The people that see past the hard times and know that good times do lay ahead! If you acknowledge that with good, realistically liveable wages, you should, in turn, see a growing and thriving community!

According to, the definition of success is the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors, the accomplishment of one's goals. The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like. A performance or achievement marked by success, as the victory of awards: The play was an instant success. A person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.:She was a great success on the talk show.

I think that I am a successful person. I believe that I am a very knowledgeable person; I know that I have a lot of knowledge in multiple areas of life. A co-worker told me that I have a lot of life experience to share with others; I have lived a good life at a young time, and he is sure I will live a long, good life. I would love to think that is all true, especially the ending. I know that I have overcome many hurdles in my life; I have done many good and bad things, and I believe in karma. I think that every Saint has a past, and every sinner has a future, and I trust that people do change. I have always gone above and beyond, but this time, this job at Family Fare is different because I must succeed, be successful, and be independent. I left my emotionally abusive marriage to give myself and Madaisha a better life, and I refuse to fail. If changes were to be made locally and positive improvements were to be seen, maybe, (somebody) could suggest a shift in the more significant part of the system?!

I lived with my friend, and her family for over a year. I started with sleeping on the couch in their living room; that's how horrible my marriage was. I had to get out; I had to make changes for myself and Madaisha because I was not living a healthy lifestyle! I was partying and drinking with my friends most weekends and drinking throughout the week; I was supposed to be a stay-at-home mom and was only partly there because I mentally couldn't handle being around my spouse and his toxicity. I stuck around for many years waiting for changes and trying to change myself with no real spousal support; I thought I had help, I led myself to believe that I had a fantastic spouse who loved me, cared for, and supported me, which Keith did but not truly and honestly. I also loved, cared, and supported Keith through many life events, but because of events that happened behind closed doors, the love wasn't honest and genuine because it was all a show. After all, changes in a relationship can't just be one-sided. For a connection to truly work, both people have to notice their flaws and toxicity and make changes to make a better future; if only one person makes an effort towards changes, the relationship will not work. Life with a partner isn't necessary, but it sure makes life better and easier if you have a supportive partner.

The odd position that the system has put me in is because of the income guidelines. Not all people who need assistance want to be moochers, but with the current state of the world, it is hard not to be. The income guidelines for assistance programs, the current state of the economy, the current pay rate make it so that people rely on assistance. I am one of those people; I was working full time and still couldn't afford life on my own, so I made even more changes to make things better for my child and me. I willingly gave up my full-time position and went down to part-time to attend college classes online. In doing so, I received better assistance from the state to provide a better lifestyle for my daughter. I did not want to rely on the government to provide a good life for my daughter and me, but I honestly had no other choice; no matter how hard I worked, I was never actually succeeding in life because I didn't get paid enough even to try to get ahead. If a person puts in the immense time and effort to succeed in their chosen career, the pay should be accurate, according to actual living costs. I'm all for college, well, at least now, I am; there was a point in my life that I was not too fond of school and never thought I would attend college again. I honestly want to attend college and succeed in my classes, but I also want to work and get paid a real living wage to provide a good lifestyle for my daughter and me without any state assistance.

The average monthly cost of living is close to $3,000. I believe that a grown adult working full time should make enough to afford the cost of living without assistance. The minimum wage is great for teenagers or people working part-time jobs; somebody should correctly compensate the people working full-time hours putting in the immense effort. $15 an hour is honestly living wage; full-time employees putting in the vast of hard work and effort should not be barely scraping by to make ends meet; full-time employees should be making at least $19 to $21 an hour, in my opinion.

People in today's world don't feel as successful because their pay does not reflect their hard work. Success is all personal opinions; you can not price a person's worth and success, but companies can adequately pay the employees they would like to retain. The employees that companies would like to keep are and have always been honest, kind, trustworthy, genuine, hard-working; these people are irreplaceable! Employee's of this manner put forth positive energy and want to keep their jobs but also are beyond exhausted and tired of putting forth so much effort and getting nothing in return. These same employees sometimes have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, making them even more exhausted for their priority job choice. The employee also has family and friends they would like to spend time with outside the workplace, but no one has time or energy to put into outside relationships.

Companies have employees willing to work weekend hours, overnight shifts, evening shifts, early mornings; you name it, there are people out there willing to work, as long as the pay is proper. Decent pay for ALL employees, including salary, paid management, will, in turn, make for happier customers because they are interacting with more satisfied staff members. If companies increased wages to reflect their employees' natural work abilities, ethics, and time, poverty levels would decrease. More pleased customers, delighted staff members, will, in turn, help make the community better!


About the Creator

Bethanee Roberts

//Single Momma// Five year old Daughter//

//1993 NE IA born and raised//

//2018 to current NE MI//

I'm just an ordinary girl trying to find her place in this world.

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