Pay and Worth

The proponents of minimum wages, and the living wage movement itself, are demanding that entry-level employees be paid more. The current protest is for $15 per hour. While it might be convenient if everyone could be paid more than their skills would otherwise justify, it is simply not realistic. In fact, the protesters have it backwards. They are demanding to be paid more than they are worth. Instead, they need to make themselves worth more than they are being paid. Once their skills increase, so also their wages will increase.

In his classic work, Lead the Field Earl Nightingale used the analogy of a person sitting in front of a cold stove and demanding heat. “Give me heat, then I’ll give you wood.” Until we place wood inside the stove it is futile to expect heat. Likewise, until we add new skills to our list of capabilities it is futile to expect more compensation. It is not someone else’s job to improve our value in society; that’s our job. And it doesn’t matter how loud we shout or how much we protest that someone else is getting more heat—it’s still our job! And that doesn’t come without effort. Work is the answer and entry-level positions are simply the best place for any career path to begin developing one’s skills. That is why they are called entry-level.

Posted in General

Leave a Reply