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Stress Free on Minimum Wage

January 24, 2024

I don’t make minimum wage. I make the “effective minimum wage of about $13.00 per hour. It’s strange to say that I don’t actually know how much I make. I don’t work for the money.

That’s not true. I work so that my lovely wife doesn’t have to work as hard. But there is a strong disconnect between my work and the compensation I get.

It wasn’t always that way. My previous job I earned well above six figures. It was a comfortable salary but a very uncomfortable job. I HATED it. Well, again, that’s not entirely true. I really enjoyed the job. But my coworkers, and the president of the company, made the job nearly intolerable. I say nearly because, hey, I stayed.

At my current job I earn in a year what I used to earn in a month. Strange to think about it that way.

Why? Have I lost the ability to be a successful Program Manager? Have I lost my Project Manager mojo?

No. I’m as good as I ever was.

I have lost something. I’ve lost the drive. I’ve lost the willingness to put up with crappy bosses, toxic coworkers, office politics.

I have never worked in retail. Until this job. I don’t want to think I judged retail workers. But despite my attempts, I did. I realized as I applied for the job at 7-Eleven. Do you want to know why I applied? It certainly wasn’t a desire to become a clerk. I joined because I used to go to that 7-Eleven every day and buy a large Cherry Coke refill. I never bought anything else. Just the $1.06 refill.

The owner always greeted me with a smile and a sincere “How are you?” When I got to the point that I needed to do something about work, I asked him one day, “Do you need another clerk?”

That was it. That was my application. He didn’t check my resume. He didn’t care about any of my precious IT certifications, or the books I’d written. “Can you work weekends?”

Add in a nametag and a not un-stylish black shirt and I had a job.

And the surprising thing was, I realized I enjoyed it. I get to meet a hundred people or more per day. And I have a chance, a very brief chance to brighten their day. And there is no stress. My job is pretty simple. There are some important elements, the first one being, “Keep track of the money.” But I know how to do the things expected of me. My boss is as low stress as I imagined.

And I don’t go to work every day planning to get fired. That was my mentality in IT. It had to be, getting fired, or laid off is an occupational hazard. My boss only fires people for one reason: stealing. I’ve never been tempted to be a thief. Besides to steal, you’d have to care about the money. And as I said, I don’t even know how much I make. I’m not doing it for the money.

I’m doing it for me mental health. . .and it’s working.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Miscellany III A Collection of Holiday Short Stories, is an anthology that includes his latest short story, “You Can Call Me Dan”

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