I began working for the company from which I retired in 2010 in 1961. My first raise was ten cents an hour in a union job. My pay was $1.49 an hour. Today the job starts at $17.43 an hour and reaches $22.82 (about twice what general inflation rate would dictate). In other words, staying in that job for a working life meant going from earning $3,099 a year to $47,465. To put it another way, you would still be below the national average hourly rate of $24.57 in 2015.
After I left that job and became a non-represented clerk my first raise was $12.00 a month. In those days the union wage increases were applied to non-union employees, plus we could receive a modest merit increase as well.
There is an old saying that doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is the definition of insanity. A similar result occurs doing the same job year after year and expecting to get ahead. You are lucky to stay equal with inflation.
Over a forty-eight year career I had many different jobs each one taking a bit more responsibility and requiring more work. To do those jobs correctly in my later years required sixty hours a week in the office, but never fully not working even on weekends and while on vacation. Several times I actually worked 24 hours in a row in the office.
The frustration and disappointments along the way were many, but so were the rewards which I now enjoy and which my family has benefited from.
Today we focus on the minimum wage as if raising it will get a different result other than keeping MW workers in the lowest paying jobs in America.
I don’t care what job you have now or how well it currently pays, if you are doing the same job thirty years from now, you will be in the same relative place you are today AND you will be a lot less well off in your retirement years. There is nothing government or anyone else can (or should) do to change that. It’s up to you‼️
With the growing use of technology, that is much truer now than it was during the height of US manufacturing.
If you go through life satisfied with your job, happy to put in your 40 hours and go home, not inclined to put forth substantial extra effort to improve yourself, take some risk and make yourself more valuable, you have no sane expectation to be other than average … and all that goes with average. For some people that’s fine, other things in their lives are more important and that’s okay.
However, years from now don’t envy or scapegoat those who took a different approach; who have more and who are considerably above average.