There is a meme going around Facebook that chides employed individuals for saying “That’s not my job.” The meme goes on to say that the phrase oozes arrogance and laziness. It tells the employed individuals to chip in to help with what needs to be done, even if it is not their responsibility. To drive the point home, the meme ends with “do what needs to be done or help someone find the solution. Period. Even when nobody’s watching.”
It builds upon the social media sentiment that no one wants to work anymore. It’s creating a dynamic that pits potential or current employees against the businesses that are hiring and desperately need the help. Just as employers stalk a potential candidate’s social media, so do the candidates.
To me, this meme is not the problem. The problem is that it has become commonplace for those who go above and beyond, often at their own expense, to be seen as the rule and not the exception. The problem is that businesses, corporations, and some small businesses feel entitled to pay their employees less than a living wage and expect them to perform tasks not assigned to them, or part of their job description.
A local business posted a manager position for $7.25 an hour. You read that right… a manager at $7.25 an hour. The parent company to this business is worth 1.785 billion dollars. At the time of writing this column, that position was still open. The current unemployment rate for North Carolina is 3.9% or 197,000 unemployed people. These numbers are on par with pre-pandemic unemployment rates.
I went to a job fair today that had so many applicants that they lined up around a building in the rain. With approximately 300-500 job seekers lining up for one company, the social media narrative of people not wanting to work is simply not true. People absolutely want to work, but they also want to be paid enough to support their families without having to rob Peter to pay Paul at the end of the month.
Small businesses have a tighter margin than corporations like Amazon, but you get what you pay for. If you are hiring at minimum wage, you should expect minimum effort. The massive participation in the job fair shows that people are available to work. If businesses are still struggling to hire employees, their focus should be inward.