My Two Cents on What We Think Jobs Are Worth

Twenty-year-old Daughter does a lot of babysitting. She’s worked as a nanny. She’s passed the Red Cross lifesaving test. She’s really good with kids. Also, she tends to under-value herself, so she generally charges less than other sitters, so she gets a lot of work.

One person for whom she work a lot apparently thinks that $9.00/hr is too much to pay someone to watch her baby during the day while she’s at work. Twenty-year-old is currently getting paid less than minimum wage (although Daughter made that call herself) to do this work. I don’t know these people, but based on where they live, I have to think that they’re not poor people.

We as a society complain about the state of our schools, but we don’t want to pay the teachers what they’re worth. If you pay teachers crap, what you’ll end up with is crap teachers. But we’ll pay hedge fund managers millions of dollars a year. I don’t think they’re worth that.

The minimum salaries in major league baseball, basketball, football, and hockey are all close to half a million dollars a year for the rookie year.  Now, there was a time when sports team owners took advantage of players. Professional athletes didn’t make much money at all and placed themselves in physical risk. This really isn’t the case anymore, at least not for men in the big four sports. I think people should be paid fairly, but I wonder why we think it’s necessary for some athletes to be making tens of millions of dollar a year while at the same time we place our children in the care of people whom we want to pay at close to minimum wage?

I once had a patient come to see me because she was concerned about something on her face. I told her it was a pimple. She’d never had zits before. So I told her it was a pimple, leave it alone and it would take care of itself. Then the visit was over and I gave her a superbill (that’s that thing you get after you visit your healthcare provider – and then you take it to the desk and the person there tells you what your co-pay is). Anyway, she got really angry that I was charging her for the visit since it didn’t turn out to be anything serious. I don’t really understand that kind of thinking. When did we start to think that we only have to pay healthcare providers if they’re diagnosing bizarre things that we didn’t know about? She didn’t understand that my time was worth something and that she had to pay for that.

And yet, we will pay for all sorts of luxuries. How much do people pay for their cable/FiOS/satellite t.v.s? How much for wifi? How much for cell phones? How much do people pay to have their nails done or to have mud slathered on themselves?  I’m not knocking manicures or facials. I’m just saying that if we’re willing to pay for the luxuries, why do we make such a fuss about things that are critical?

I used to deliver pizza. (I’ve had a lot of weird jobs). My delivery area included a very poor area and a very wealthy area. When I delivered to poor people and they stiffed me on a tip, I didn’t get upset. But it pissed me off when wealthy people stiffed me. Once I delivered pizza to a very fancy house with very fancy cars in the driveway. It came to $24.98. They guy handed me $25.00 and told me to keep the change. Keep the change? Wow, thank you. Perhaps I should get a financial advisor for those two cents.

Sometimes I think that we must always be trying to get one-up on each other. Instead of trying to beat each other out, wouldn’t it be better if we tried to help each other out?

What kind of a world would we be living in if we paid nannies and teachers more than investment bankers? What if we acted as though it were normal to pay healthcare providers whenever we see them, and to pay investment bankers only if they make money for us? What if we paid nurses more than hospital administrators? Just a thought.

Well, that’s my two cents. It’s all I’ve got.

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