Taking Steps Toward Leadership–the worth of a person

It sounds like a good title for the Revelation point of view on this site doesn’t it.  Someone was sending around a picture of a note found on a fast food joint.  It said, “No burgers today.  Are grill is broken,”  and the caption continues, “And he thinks he should get $15/hour?!”  Yuck Yuck Yuck.  That’s funny!  Well, no it’s not.  It seems from this point of view that he’s too stupid to make that much money.

“The cost of a plumber ranges from $160 to $430 for a typical job with the average cost per hour ranging from $45 to $150. This can include jobs like repairing faucets, toilets, sinks or bathtubs. Some plumbers may also charge a flat rate depending on the job.”  HomeAdvisor.com quotes that.  $45/hour plus materials to fix your toilet.  The same site says you will pay between $165-$507 for repairs on a furnace or an air conditioner, of which 2/3 of the cost is materials.  These are absolutely necessary costs of owning a home.  You’ve met some of these repairmen, did you give them a spelling and grammar test before they started working on your utilities?  What if you found that while your repairman has an extensive job-related vocabulary, he couldn’t write a paragraph on his vacation with any clarity.  There’d be misspelled words, mixed tenses, improper usage, and grammatical mistakes throughout.  So after he repairs your furnace/toilet/air conditioner, you say, “I’m sorry, you didn’t pass the English test I gave you, so I’m only going to pay you $9/hour.  Here’s your check!”  He’d laugh at you, and slap a lien on you and take you to court.

How do you determine the worth of a person then?  Not by language skills?  Whatever shall we do?!  How about how many degrees you have?  So, how many degrees do you have?  What if one has a degree in Elementary Education and one has a degree in Neurosurgery?  Does the type of degree indicate the pay?  What if the one with the El Ed degree works the front line and the neurosurgeon works the back line at the fast food place because they can’t get jobs in their fields?  I can see the sign now, “Any menu items that require cooking on the grill will be unavailable due to the temporary loss of the working ability of said grill.”  They’d have to put a translation on another piece of paper.

Why don’t they pay fast food workers and other minimum wages a living wage?  Because it’s not supposed to be a terminal job.  It’s supposed to be temporary until you can get a real job that pays real money.   Cooks, janitors, entry level construction jobs are meant to be held by inexperienced workers until they move up the ladder to management.  What kind of ladder do janitors have?  Step stools to change light bulbs?  They don’t have true access to management level positions.  These bottom of the ladder jobs are supposed to be for entry level people without the needed education and skills to compete with college graduates in skilled work.  The problem is that college graduates aren’t getting the skilled work either.  They’re relegated to minimum wage jobs because there isn’t a market for the degree they just got $80k in debt for.  If you look at fast food, other than the managers, the workers are part time getting about 20-36 hours a week in.  If you take out 15% of taxes, they’re making about $15k per year after taxes.  After expenses, they could pay back $15/week on that $80k and will NEVER pay that loan off.  They will take a 2nd and 3rd job away from an unskilled worker so they can make the mortgage payments and have something to eat besides Ramen Noodles.

This brings me to the leadership part of this module.  Personally, I would hire the guy that can’t spell to work my fast food restaurant.  I would pay him $15/hour.  That way he’d only have to have 1 job and I wouldn’t have to compete with 2 or 3 other jobs to work him into my schedule.  I wouldn’t have to worry about replacing my workers every 6 weeks because they’d want to stay!  I would see if, after a suitable time, he was ready to move into management, and I would train him.  I would not hire the college grad.  He’d be constantly looking to find a job in his area so he could pay down his $80k debt.  He would consider the work menial and would not put his heart and soul into my restaurant.  Initially, labor costs would double, but training costs would go down if they’d stay longer.  More of these jobs would come available if we didn’t have to worry about 1 person with 3 jobs to make ends meet.  We could have 1 person doing 1 job instead.

Next, does everyone need a college degree?  No, no they don’t.  The purpose of college is to provide EXTRA education that a person needs to provide specialized skills.  They’ve made a teaching degree that requires 5 years to finish.  In earlier days, teachers taught in local schools and received a “Normal” education that came with a teaching certificate.  The terminal grade was 8th grade.  By 8th grade, it was assumed you knew everything you needed to know to survive:  figuring, writing, reading, civics, and history.  Religion you got from your church.  Practical knowledge was gained by becoming an apprentice then a journeyman and finally a master.  As a teacher, you helped out the head teacher by keeping the younger classes engaged in their studies while the head teacher worked the older classes, then you switched and she taught the younger classes while you supervised the older ones.  How far do you want to go back in time?  Basically, if you knew more than the kids you were teaching, you were O.K.  What is it that they offer in college that makes teachers now better than teachers then?  Look at this 8th grade exam from Salina, KS, from 1895. What do we learn in our teaching courses in college?  Principles of Learning, Disciplinary methods, Sociology and Psychology of Education, Mastering Goals and Objectives, Age Appropriate Content Methods, the Art and Science of Test Development, and finally Motivational techniques and Behavioral Modification.  You can finish all those courses and still be unable to teach in a classroom.  You have to pass a state specific certification test before you’re allowed to teach in a school.  None of this was required by teachers in the 18-1900’s.  But they were responsible to teach the content to their graduating 8th grade class that you saw in the link.  When you graduate from 8th grade now, you are unqualified for any type of job.  Have we gotten stupider?  No, we’ve wavered from teaching people what THEY need to know to survive.

We’ve expanded our requirements from a very thorough 8th grade education to an incomplete, inadequate High School education that requires a 4-5 year college education that gives us less information and fewer life skills than they had in 1895.  Does that make sense?  Most children in the late 1800’s didn’t finish 8th grade and some didn’t finish 3rd grade before they were required to take their places in the world.  We want to regiment children into obedient factory workers–lining up for lunch, assigned seating, organized play, etc., then they graduate to find there are no factory jobs that haven’t been automated.  So we say, “OH!  they need more education!” and we give them more of the same education that leaves them unprepared.  We do not tolerate independent thinking, solitary existence, or creativity.  Now they’re qualified for cubical work.  They’re not?  NOOOOO, that takes another 4 years of the same kind of education.

So what kind of work requires Extra education?  Medicine and Law, Computer programming, Architecture… Nearly every other endeavor can be learned using the Apprentice/Journeyman/Master model.  Having a PHD in Sociology doesn’t make a better Social worker.  Having a PHD in Education does not make a better Teacher.  And a fast food order taker with PHD in Philosophy only makes conversing with him difficult.  We need to quit over educating our children and teach them instead.  There’s a fine line between educating and teaching.  Educating means to inform the students what you want to hear from them.  Prove that you know what the Educator thinks is important.  Teaching, on the other hand, is guiding the students so they can know how to learn for themselves.  It allows the students to learn what THEY think is important.  In the early stages of school, the two approaches might not be readily distinguishable, but in the later stages (7th and 8th grade) the differences are night and day.  After 8th grade, these students can choose the field they want to go into as adults and then can go and apprentice with someone that is very good in it.  In exchange for room and board, the apprentice would learn the basics of the business.  As the apprentice becomes more skilled, the master can send him out as a kind of a franchise.  The journeyman, as he has become, makes use of the master’s good name and his connections to establish his own reputation.  In return, he pays a percentage of his earnings to his master.  He then garners more connections for himself and if his reputation is good, then he becomes a master himself after passing some sort of certification.  But at this time, they graduate from 8th grade and then go to more school.  They graduate from more school and go on to even more school.  Then they take a job they could have gotten as 8th graders.

Let me ask you.  If you knew you were going to be out on your own after 8th grade, what kind of information do you think you’d need?  Would you be more diligent in your studies?  Would you be more resourceful when it came to work?  Would you study more on your own and look for people to mentor you in your chosen field.  If you could find someone as an apprentice that would cost you nothing but room and board, wouldn’t you leap at the chance to hire and train him…to grow your leadership in house, in your image?

Wouldn’t we see truly what the worth of a person was by paying him for how well he does his job rather than how well he can make signs.  Wouldn’t we have better trained people if they had more experience than book learning?  Wouldn’t we have a more capitalistic economy if we weren’t beholden to large, impersonal corporations?  Something to think about:  What are you worth?

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