At Work

Doing the same thing forever gets you where?

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.

imageThere 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.



Categories: At Work, My Opinion

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2 replies »

  1. Not all your points add up. If you work for a good company you can stay there for 30+ years and move to different jobs. My son works for GP paper mill in Muskogee, OK. He has been working there for 8 years, started as a temp making $12 per hour. He has changed jobs 2 times and now makes $22 per hour, plus overtime, over $60,000 last year. . He did not have to go to school, just show his employer he was willing to move to other jobs when required. Also, he is the type person who gives 150% in everything he does. Works extra shifts and holidays when asked. He is very happy to stay with GP and is smart enough to put $800 per month into his 401 K. He should have a very good retirement in 35 years. Anyone with income over $15 per hour that saves 15% for retirement, should do ok. The biggest problem with today’s workforce is there are not enough high paying jobs and might never be a position that pays more, no matter how much you improve yourself. 52% of 2014 College Grads are working in jobs that do not require a degree.


    • I worked for the same company for 48 years and as I illustrated I worked in many different jobs from mail boy to start to Vice President 48 years later


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