What's wrong with flipping burgers?

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Justinlrb
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What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Justinlrb » Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:30 pm UTC

I saw this on the literacy discussion:

... It should be so that people have more choices than flipping burgers at your local grease-food joint. The point is, America's workforce no longer requires education in order to get a job done, and this is definitely not a good thing...


It got me thinking.
Can a person be self actualized working at a burger joint?
Can I enjoy Tolstoy and xkcd while flipping burgers for a living?
How would having respect for people working in low paying jobs and having respect for the job itself change the world?

P.S. I'm not saying the person who wrote the quote above doesn't respect low wage workers.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby scowdich » Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:49 pm UTC

Okay...something in Serious Business that I can actually comment on.

I worked at Burger King for the majority of last summer, and absolutely hated every minute - maybe it had to do with the fact that I worked the night shift, but every night I worked left me feeling emotionally numb - hopeless, even - for a day or two afterward (after which I would go to work again). So many asinine policies, three or four 38-year-old (or older) coworkers on the same pay scale and position as me convinced they were my superior...it was just horrible. I think the main reason I hated the job quite so much is that I always thought too much - I could never "shut off" to make the time spent (mopping the dining room/scrubbing the fryers/cleaning random part of the store n) go any faster.

Unfortunately, it wasn't just me making things bad for me - the managers were pretty horrible, as well. I was often made to stay over an hour late, only to find that the night manager (whom I outstayed) kindly punched me out when they left. Yes, that's illegal. Perhaps this was made worse by the fact that I never really stood up for myself; I don't really know. All I know is that when I signed up, there were two or three people there who I might call "good people" - thoughtful, helpful, actually did conversation, all that jazz. They all left before me.

I wound up quitting a couple weeks early because I just couldn't stand the monotony and bad management anymore; weeks of coming home from spending my idle moments wondering just how much it would hurt to fry my hand only to scrub beef grease out of my eyebrows and collapse into bed became too much for me. I was validated in my decision just a week later, when I went to return my uniform and pick up my final check. My manager had no idea who I was.

Overall, I get the feeling working fast food is just fine - for some people. Some people can just switch off while they work, come home and not be affected by it. I'm not one of those people, and I'm pretty sure nobody on these fora really is. To me, at least, there's nothing worse than mindless work. Frankly, I'd rather do something intellectually stimulating (if not enjoyable) for 8 hours a night than be tasked with ferrying burgers from the freezer.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Justinlrb » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:01 pm UTC

Very interesting.

Standing up for oneself is probably one of the most important things a person can learn to do in life.

I am sure burgerking is a pretty awful place to work. I think lack of respect from society in general is responsible. It gets passed on down the line from owners, and the public through the managers to the rank and file where the lack settles in the self respect of those at the bottom. Of course, these will try to find someone lower than themselves to pass on the disrespect.

I like how age superiority worked into your experience as a way of passing on disrespect, very interesting.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby joeframbach » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:33 pm UTC

Justinlrb wrote:
... America's workforce no longer requires education in order to get a job done

When did it ever?

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby neon » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:40 pm UTC

Justinlrb wrote:I saw this on the literacy discussion:

... It should be so that people have more choices than flipping burgers at your local grease-food joint. The point is, America's workforce no longer requires education in order to get a job done, and this is definitely not a good thing...


It got me thinking.
Can a person be self actualized working at a burger joint?


Of course it is possible, just relatively difficult.

Justinlrb wrote:Can I enjoy Tolstoy and xkcd while flipping burgers for a living?


Yup

Justinlrb wrote:How would having respect for people working in low paying jobs and having respect for the job itself change the world?


There seems to be a race to the bottom these days. If you are a business and don't treat your workers as subhuman slaves then you are considered a "bad" soulless corporate vampire.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:42 pm UTC

I enjoyed working as a GSA a lot more than most of my other jobs. It's not quite a 'burger flipping' job, but I think the article refers to minimum wage jobs, like GSA, burger-monkey, non-bonded janitor, etc etc. Some people like doing that. When I was a GSA, I listened to good music, I spent a lot of time reading and working out, I had very little responsibility and enough money to do whatever I wanted (my needs were small).

That doesn't mean I would do it for my entire life, but it was good for a few years while I came to grips with the world, being an adult, and so forth. Then I vacated the position (when the girl on the shift after me got me fired because she was stealing out of my drop bag) and went to college and did something else with my life.

There is nothing inherently wrong with being a minimum-wage-slave. Some people are happy with that. Had I no kids and no wife, I might enjoy doing that for a long time (I don't know for sure, without kids, I might never have acquired any sort of drive or goals).

EDITED TO ADD: I can totally switch off for those jobs, and enjoy myself. Not everyone can do that.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Govalant » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:44 pm UTC

If I get into an argument about this, I'll be sure to read scowdich post again. I completely agree.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby UmbralRaptor » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:58 pm UTC

Justinlrb wrote:Can a person be self actualized working at a burger joint?
Questionable. If you're in an expensive place to live, you're going to be stuck at the bottom of the hierarchy. (Food and shelter costs in particular.)
Justinlrb wrote:Can I enjoy Tolstoy and xkcd while flipping burgers for a living?
Yes, but it'll make the work even more boring and painful. If you're lucky, it'll be a job where 1) you can get way ahead on work and spend some time reading (very unlikely, and impossible in many jobs and shifts), or 2) be sufficiently busy that you don't have time to think. This gets rather exhausting, though.

For reference, I flipped burgers* at McDonald's one summer, worked in a movie theater (tickets, concessions, etc.) for ~1.5 years, and two holiday seasons in retail.

edit: *There's little actual flipping. We put frozen burgers in a clamshell (electric stove, where a top could come down). They took ~43 seconds to finish.
Last edited by UmbralRaptor on Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:27 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby morag » Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:15 pm UTC

Can a person be self actualized working at a burger joint?
Can I enjoy Tolstoy and xkcd while flipping burgers for a living?
How would having respect for people working in low paying jobs and having respect for the job itself change the world?


I believe the answers are 1)yes, 2)yes and 3)respect (of mine) is not proportional to the amount that someone is paid.

A friend whom I consider to be very intelligent deliberately worked in low paid boring jobs because she wanted more time to think (mainly philisophical questions). Packing raspberries into punnets for supermarkets, as a security guard at a gallery, sweeping the floor in a bakery.

These days she has a slightly more challenging job, but I do wonder how someone with her immense ability can be content to apparently do so little with it. Though I wouldn't be that suprised if someday soon, she took over the world.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby NitWit005 » Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:22 pm UTC

Experience has taught me that it is not the actual job of "flipping burgers" that is objectionable. It's no different then any other repetitive job.

What people really object to is that it is strongly associated with being lower class. Watch some interviews with people laid off of factory work. Often they will refer to the availability of fast food jobs but say they wont take it: "There aren't any good jobs".

Is the job so different? In one job they assembled radiators, in the other they assemble burgers.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Nath » Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:36 pm UTC

Justinlrb wrote:Can a person be self actualized working at a burger joint?

Possibly. It depends on the person's objectives. Most people with any ambition try to meet their potential through their careers. If you have some other outlet for ambition, your job might be no more than a means to make enough money to live on while you work towards your real objectives.

Justinlrb wrote:How would having respect for people working in low paying jobs and having respect for the job itself change the world?

Some people working low paying jobs deserve respect for their work. Some don't. The real question is how much pride they take in their job.

I knew a hospital janitor once who took pride in his work. Whatever he was doing, he did it as well as he could. People respected him for that. It's possible to get away with half-hearted janitoring, just as it's possible to get away with serving dry patties in soggy buns from under a heat lamp, but was too proud for that.

Here's the problem: how many burger-flippers take pride in their work? When's the last time you met someone in a fast food place who was actually trying to serve the best darn burgers they could? No; they usually do as half-hearted a job as they can get away with.

One reason burger-flipping in particular and low-paying jobs in general get little respect is that people working in these jobs are less likely to take pride in them. Sure, there are people all over the economic spectrum who take no pride in their work, but they generally work their way downwards, earning little respect along the way.

This doesn't apply equally to all low-paying jobs. Some people do what they love, but there just isn't much money in it. By and large, society treats them with respect. Not as much as they deserve, probably, but some.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby TheStranger » Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:22 am UTC

joeframbach wrote:
Justinlrb wrote:
... America's workforce no longer requires education in order to get a job done

When did it ever?


Though a large number of factory jobs do not require a great deal of intelligence there are a good number that do (and that do not require a college degree, see welding as a good example).

It was only during the industrial revolution that it became possible to perform many jobs with little to no intelligence. Now with the current changes in the American economy we are starting to swing back in that direction. Technological changes are replacing (very quickly in some industries) jobs that required little to no though, those jobs are being replaced with service and technology related jobs that require at least some intelligence to perform.

As to the "burger flipper" bit...

Can anyone argue that working at such a job for an extended period of time is a good way to achieve economic independence / stability? In our society there is the tendency (rightly perhapses) to see those important goals for people to work towards, and to look down on those who do not move towards that goal.

Burger Flipper is probably the most often seen example of a dead-end / no-pay job. Someone younger working there is probably seen as a kid working through high school / college, and thus not very experienced. Someone older can be seen as either possessing below average intelligence or no ambition.

personal anecdote time...
While I was in college I worked briefly in a warehouse (inventory / shipping). I made barely above minimum wage (largely because I was very good at the job and highly computer literate). Sitting in that warehouse, in southern Virginia, in August (90+ outside, even more inside) was a massive incentive to complete my education.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby neon » Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:31 am UTC

TheStranger wrote:Burger Flipper is probably the most often seen example of a dead-end / no-pay job. Someone younger working there is probably seen as a kid working through high school / college, and thus not very experienced. Someone older can be seen as either possessing below average intelligence or no ambition.


Or more increasingly as a displaced worker. Someone who had a good paying skilled job that got downsized only to find that there are no jobs for them (other than dead-end jobs in the service industry) in the new economy. Or perhaps was injured, then laid off only to discover the nightmare that passes for healthcare in this country.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Dream » Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:47 am UTC

A large number of central european workers here in Edinburgh earn more in such crap jobs than their parents do in succesful careers at home. That can't be a good thing, as it encourages people to measure their success in terms of a really small paycheque, as that paycheque is bigger than the one they'd get by bettering themselves as people. In the short term, there's more money, but long term, I find these jobs soul destroying.

I made burgers in a McDonalds for beer money a long time ago. For beer money, it was fine, as you could just make your own fun, and you weren't chained to the job. Now that I'm paying rent and bills, and have to save money for anything I want to do outside of work, I cherish anything in my job that makes me feel good. Even a small thing like finding a customer the right bottle of scotch for a gift that means something to them, means something to me. Without that, I would very quickly become depressed at work and that would creep into my private life. It has in the past. I couldn't find those good moments in making the same burger 150 times in one shift.

Crap jobs are fine as long as they stay within the hours of work. When they begin to creep into the rest of a person's life, they become damaging, malignant influences that do much more harm than good. For some people, like me, that is a big risk. For others, not so much. Horses for courses, and all that. I try to avoid patronising any business that treats ther staff badly, whether as a policy or by the nature of the work.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby TheStranger » Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:55 am UTC

neon wrote:
TheStranger wrote:Burger Flipper is probably the most often seen example of a dead-end / no-pay job. Someone younger working there is probably seen as a kid working through high school / college, and thus not very experienced. Someone older can be seen as either possessing below average intelligence or no ambition.


Or more increasingly as a displaced worker. Someone who had a good paying skilled job that got downsized only to find that there are no jobs for them (other than dead-end jobs in the service industry) in the new economy. Or perhaps was injured, then laid off only to discover the nightmare that passes for healthcare in this country.


That is why I stated that they were "seen as", actually being a kid or unambitious.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby neon » Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:00 am UTC

TheStranger wrote:That is why I stated that they were "seen as", actually being a kid or unambitious.


ok. I was "adding to", not criticizing.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby trickster721 » Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:30 am UTC

In the particular case of fast food, the buisness is really designed to be run by a high turnover part time staff. If it seems like the conditions are so bad that nobody could work there very long, it's because they're not supposed to. A Burger King couldn't operate the way it does, otherwise.

Generally I think these kind of jobs are just about lack of imagination. There are always better ways to make a living, but it's easier and more comfortable to just plug yourself into whatever system will have you.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby scowdich » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:21 am UTC

Nath wrote:Here's the problem: how many burger-flippers take pride in their work? When's the last time you met someone in a fast food place who was actually trying to serve the best darn burgers they could? No; they usually do as half-hearted a job as they can get away with.
Believe it or not, I tried. I really did. For the first couple of weeks, I made every effort to make the best burgers I could (or clean the dining room as thoroughly as I could, etc., etc.). Then, two weeks in, I was handed a disciplinary write-up to the effect of "You're doing these things too slow. Do it faster or you're fired." After that: goodbye quality, hello speed. I could've cared less if someone was missing a nugget, as long as I was working fast enough to keep my job. Because that's what mattered more to me at the time.

In retrospect, it was probably wrong of me to do a not-great job in order to work as quickly as I could. But...I needed the money. That's the only reason to work in fast food...you do it for the money. You never work in fast food to feel good about your accomplishments, unless you have an extremely distorted view of what "employee of the month" means.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Justinlrb » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:38 am UTC

My third question has been addressed several times, but not answered.

I think we can all agree that there is little respect (there is some from some people) for low wage jobs and for the people working in them.
The jobs are variously described as soul crushing, dead end and meaningless.
The workers are described as unattached, unconcerned, without ambition, unintelligent, and unimaginative.

So the question again:
How would having respect for people working in low paying jobs and having respect for the job itself change the world?


And now I'll share my personal experience.
At the age of 15 I worked washing dishes the only restaurant in my town. Being a very small town full of people who really liked living there (I won't go into why), there was a lot of mutual respect to go around. Although I was young and quite immature and made immature mistakes (like quitting so I could go hunting and go to the fair), I really did try to please my boss and do a good job. And my boss treated me with respect as she did with the cooks and waiters and customers and everyone else. I didn't find the job soul crushing and I was generally happy. At one point, I was replaced by a 40 something ex convict who rolled into town and got the job saying he "loved washing dishes". He lived in our town for a few years and was respected and liked. Hence (in my opinion), he never caused any problems.

A few years later at the age of 18 or 19 I worked various similar jobs in larger towns and found them to be all of the above soul crushing and so on. So to answer my own question. I think universal respect for the job and the worker would drastically improve the working conditions and the level of pride workers put into their work.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Nath » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:53 am UTC

Justinlrb wrote:A few years later at the age of 18 or 19 I worked various similar jobs in larger towns and found them to be all of the above soul crushing and so on. So to answer my own question. I think universal respect for the job and the worker would drastically improve the working conditions and the level of pride workers put into their work.

Vicious cycle. Respect for a job comes from people taking pride in their work. Most people don't take pride in their work unless they are treated with respect.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby __Kit » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:55 am UTC

Isn't the guy with the world's highest IQ a bouncer?

Personally, the three people that I know that work in fast food places (KFC, McD's) all love it. But now, it sounds horrible.
There's no places like that where I live so I won't have to worry about burger flipping, probably will end up working a checkout though.

I think I may have mentioned this on the fora, the way I saw it I'd always love to have a mundane job, with no direct supervisor and just do it with my best friend, or patner if I had one (this may be because I've never had a "dream job" that I'd want to do). Easy, talk all day and do the job. I think truck driver was my favourite option. Too bad no one I know has the same sort of outlook as me.
=]

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby pollywog » Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:17 am UTC

All of my favourite jobs are easy, mindless and mundane. I would rather be able to work in a low-wage job (I'm thinking about NZ$12-$15 an hour) and spend most of my time performing the same basic few operations (sweeping, cutting, stringing vines, picking grapes/fruit, stacking crates) if it lets me think about stuff I'm interested in. One job I had was cleaning at the local girls college. I would take a wheelie bin along the same route every day, for 2 hours, and empty all the rubbish bins from the classrooms and corridors into it. I had no supervisor, could go at my own pace, and was pretty much expected to stop and talk to most of the people I met. It was awesome. I got about $11 an hour, and saved up to buy an mp3 player. I enjoyed my time there, set and achieved goals, made up several stories and poems which I wrote down, thought a lot about politics and stuff, talked to some interesting people, while making less than minimum wage. I would be self actualised in such a job, I fully believe at the moment.

Hell, I'd be happy with any job. Anything to get out of the house.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Masuri » Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:23 am UTC

This is a good topic.

I used to sneer at the idea of flippin' burgers and those who had such dead-end jobs. Now, I am not so sure.

I dated a guy who delivered beer for a living. I thought it was one of those things where he was doing that job until he could get something better. Maybe he'd save up and go to school or something. But no. He liked his job. He enjoyed the work. He had no plans other than to do that job forever. He was utterly content with what he was doing.

In my eyes, this made him kind of a loser. Why keep a 12 dollar an hour job forever? Didn't he want to move up? How about supporting a family? What kind of no-account slacker was this? So, of course, he was never a candidate for a serious relationship and I broke up with him when he started evincing signs of being in love with me.

But you know... I'm starting to think I was a fucking idiot. This man is happy with who he is and where he is. He won't stress himself into a heart attack over trying to get that next promotion. There are no long hours to try to finish projects. He doesn't snap at you because he's had a hellish day - and knows every subsequent day will be equally hellish. He goes to work, enjoys his day, and comes home happy.

That kind of man has a lot of room in his life for things other than work, whereas my career consumes almost every second of every day. He never understood that and I could never explain it. I am starting to think he's the smart one. It's probably good for HIM that I dumped him.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Justinlrb » Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:56 am UTC

Nath wrote:Vicious cycle. Respect for a job comes from people taking pride in their work. Most people don't take pride in their work unless they are treated with respect.


Sure, but what would happen if we suddenly broke out on the respect side of the circle?
What do you think? What's your opinion?

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Nath » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:13 am UTC

Justinlrb wrote:
Nath wrote:Vicious cycle. Respect for a job comes from people taking pride in their work. Most people don't take pride in their work unless they are treated with respect.


Sure, but what would happen if we suddenly broke out on the respect side of the circle?
What do you think? What's your opinion?

If people flipping burgers started taking pride in their jobs, they'd probably get fired for dawdling. The general public can't voluntarily start respecting the art of burger-flipping, because respect isn't voluntary.

When I talk about treating people with respect, I'm not referring to politeness or courtesy. Those are good things, sure, but they aren't the same as genuinely holding a person's job in high regard. And given certain economic realities, it's hard to hold the job of burger flipping in high regard.

(I'm referring to fast food. There's a family run burger place down the road that makes awesome burgers, and I respect the people who run it. Of course, due to aforementioned economic realities, I don't think it'll be open six months from now.)

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Justinlrb » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:51 am UTC

Nath wrote:If people flipping burgers started taking pride in their jobs, they'd probably get fired for dawdling. The general public can't voluntarily start respecting the art of burger-flipping, because respect isn't voluntary.

When I talk about treating people with respect, I'm not referring to politeness or courtesy. Those are good things, sure, but they aren't the same as genuinely holding a person's job in high regard. And given certain economic realities, it's hard to hold the job of burger flipping in high regard.

(I'm referring to fast food. There's a family run burger place down the road that makes awesome burgers, and I respect the people who run it. Of course, due to aforementioned economic realities, I don't think it'll be open six months from now.)


You didn't answer the question. Please answer the question.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Nath » Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:10 am UTC

Justinlrb wrote:
Nath wrote:If people flipping burgers started taking pride in their jobs, they'd probably get fired for dawdling. The general public can't voluntarily start respecting the art of burger-flipping, because respect isn't voluntary.

When I talk about treating people with respect, I'm not referring to politeness or courtesy. Those are good things, sure, but they aren't the same as genuinely holding a person's job in high regard. And given certain economic realities, it's hard to hold the job of burger flipping in high regard.

(I'm referring to fast food. There's a family run burger place down the road that makes awesome burgers, and I respect the people who run it. Of course, due to aforementioned economic realities, I don't think it'll be open six months from now.)


You didn't answer the question. Please answer the question.

Justinlrb wrote:Sure, but what would happen if we suddenly broke out on the respect side of the circle?
What do you think? What's your opinion?

This question? I thought the answer was implicit, but I'll spell it out: if we could magically make everybody start respecting everybody else, the world would be a better place; however, I don't think that that can realistically be done.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Justinlrb » Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:25 am UTC

Nath wrote:
Justinlrb wrote:Sure, but what would happen if we suddenly broke out on the respect side of the circle?
What do you think? What's your opinion?

This question? I thought the answer was implicit, but I'll spell it out: if we could magically make everybody start respecting everybody else, the world would be a better place; however, I don't think that that can realistically be done.


That's the one. I wonder if there is much variance in opinion on this. I'm thinking no.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby TheStranger » Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:17 pm UTC

This question? I thought the answer was implicit, but I'll spell it out: if we could magically make everybody start respecting everybody else, the world would be a better place; however, I don't think that that can realistically be done.


I don't see respect (and why do I have "R E S P E C T, that is what it means to me" running through my head now?) as being a universal quality... it is more of a targeted one based on the individual.

An expansion:

Respect is not something to be given automatically. I give respect based on intentions behind an action or how well an action is performed.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:39 am UTC

Hey,

Just entered the workforce, with my bsc.mech eng, and to be honest, I am insanely jealous of these people that do these, low paying, mundane jobs and be perfectly happy and content with it. I just can't accept that, even though I accept that at the end of it all, happinesss is where its at, and it shoudlnt be measure by how much you make or what you drive.

Although I am obsessed with finding a better job, with better pay so I can live a more extravagant lifestyle and in 20 or so years time, be very well off. These are goals I cannot seem to get away from even though I acknoweldge that they dont necessarliy lead to the most important one, that being living a happy lifestyle. These things i just cannot escape from, argh!

So yeah, I am jealous of these "happy people" damn them. ^^

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Toeofdoom » Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:24 am UTC

Well, I personally managed to get one of the better minimum wage jobs, which is stacking boxes in a computer store. I can work at my own pace, and I get to look at all sorts of random computer stuff. But yet I find that all my classmates at uni manage to earn about twice as much as me, so I dont really know. It doesnt seem worth it to give up a job I like doing that is conveniently next to the unversity where all my coworkers are actual cool people, for something that I probably really wouldnt like nearly as much.

Also: I found that self actualizing thing pretty interesting. I'd say its quite possible to be self actualized in a minimum wage job, and also have to wonder if I'm at that point or if theres something I'm missing...
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Azrael » Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:47 pm UTC

Justinlrb wrote:
Nath wrote:
Justinlrb wrote:Sure, but what would happen if we suddenly broke out on the respect side of the circle?
What do you think? What's your opinion?
This question? I thought the answer was implicit, but I'll spell it out: if we could magically make everybody start respecting everybody else, the world would be a better place; however, I don't think that that can realistically be done.
That's the one. I wonder if there is much variance in opinion on this. I'm thinking no.
And yet you're still miffed that people ignore that question and choose to discuss the *rest* of the topic, with is both more interesting and more practical.


If you stay in a mindless, low paying job, then people are going to look for a reason why -- because rational members of our society would tend to prefer working in non-mindless, high paying jobs. Society values financial independence, the ability to properly support a family, and accumulating ... basic luxuries? ... like a new TV or a summer vacation. Yay for American Dream Capitalism. If you are deemed to be falling behind in reaching these goals by your own choice rather than inherent/environmental/circumstantial factors you lose the respect of society because you are not upholding it's ideals.

Seems pretty simple. Also: Nearly impossible to change without a large shift in a society's priorities.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:37 pm UTC

NitWit005 wrote:Experience has taught me that it is not the actual job of "flipping burgers" that is objectionable. It's no different then any other repetitive job.

What people really object to is that it is strongly associated with being lower class. Watch some interviews with people laid off of factory work. Often they will refer to the availability of fast food jobs but say they wont take it: "There aren't any good jobs".

Is the job so different? In one job they assembled radiators, in the other they assemble burgers.


Because in a factory, you're part of a union that mandates you get two weeks vacation and get paid at least $15 an hour starting, with regular dollar raises every six months.*

There is no Burger Flippers Local #487.



Can a person be self actualized working at a burger joint?
Can I enjoy Tolstoy and xkcd while flipping burgers for a living?


Can a person be self actualized making seven figures a year for very little work?
Can a person who gets paid more than I make in a month just to wake up enjoy Tolstoy and xkcd?

I mean, if you seriously think that the answer to any of those questions is anything other than "Depends on the individual", then you have problems.

How would having respect for people working in low paying jobs and having respect for the job itself change the world?


I'm going to assume you mean not doing the kind of crap that I've seen.. things like making gigantic messes and not cleaning up after yourself, or deciding that since you no longer want something in a store, it's okay to set it down wherever the fuck you want because "someone else is paid to get it" kind of thing. Because, you know, ice cream is totally fine when it's been sitting behind the Cheerios for a couple of hours.

Would it change the world? I don't know. I do think that everyone should work in food service or retail for at least a year early in their job career. I've never worked with food, but I've seen enough douchbaggery go down in front of me in restaurants that... well, makes me wish on occasion I had the balls to call the moron on their crap, but also to know that a lot of people in food.. fast food or otherwise.. put up with a lot of shit that's not listed anywhere on the job description, yet they've got to deal with it and deal with it in a way that doesn't involve firebombing a car in the parking lot. And retail.. especially during Christmas.. teaches you the valuable lesson that people, on the whole, do not see humans as working in a store: they see robots programmed to give them whatever they want when they want, and to knock 50% off the price because they didn't get it to them fast enough.

Now, would it change the world so that bunnies stood around in meadows ejaculating rainbows, puppies exploded, producing smaller, cuter puppies** and everyone got a free steak and blowjob every day for the rest of their lives? No. I don't think it'd even make people nicer. But it might make them a little less likely to be complete assholes in public. Maybe.


*All figures pulled out of my ass, but that's essentially what happens.
**Thanks, whoever it was that wrote something similar to this elsewhere.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Malice » Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:04 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:puppies exploded, producing smaller, cuter puppies**
**Thanks, whoever it was that wrote something similar to this elsewhere.


:D Welcome.

To throw my $.02 in... My first job was working at McDonald's for over a year at $6.75 an hour, usually 30 hours a week, while I was in high school. Eventually the job got so bad that I took a pay cut (down to $5.50, and fewer hours per week) to go work at a video rental store, where the work didn't involve breakneck speeds, cleaning up after disgusting people, coming home stinking of grease, dealing with horrific management, or stuffing myself fat on free food.

I actually prefer mindless work (although not as a career); since my days in retail I've gone on to temp work and from there to data entry, which pays reasonably well for someone my age, lets me zone out, and as a bonus doesn't involve dealing with people.

People don't respect minimum-wage workers for a few reasons:
-Workers are likely to be people not as respected for other reasons, such as teenagers or immigrants.
-Workers simply don't make much money; like it or not, wealth is one way we know to give or withhold respect.
-Workers are expendable. Even when you go to the same restaurant often, you end up seeing new faces too often for them to become anything more than moist robots to you.
-In addition to that, workers are trained and expected to conform to a single standard of behavior and even speech, so that most signs of individuality are hidden. To most people, there are not hundreds of McDonalds employees, there is one Employee who, again, they don't really care about.
-Minimum-wage workers, especially in the service industries, are the closest a modern corporation comes to representation for most people. The face of McDonalds isn't the CEO or anybody who makes the decisions; it's, again, Employee, so a lot of people get abuse that's probably intended for the soul-sucking, greedy corporation as a whole.

I doubt much of that is going to go away.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Justinlrb » Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:20 pm UTC

Society values financial independence
Ya don't say!

If you are deemed to be falling behind in reaching these goals by your own choice rather than inherent/environmental/circumstantial factors you lose the respect of society because you are not upholding it's ideals.
Deep, seriously.

Either respect for people and what they do makes the world a better place.
Or it doesn't. If it does we are obliged to give it. If it doesn't ...
But, seriously. Here's a different opinion.
I don't think it'd even make people nicer. But it might make them a little less likely to be complete assholes in public. Maybe.

Now we're getting somewhere.

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:57 pm UTC

For all the people who do AND don't think that flipping burgers is a respectable job, please read this book.(NOTE: The website is a little annoying, condescending, and in some areas, cultish.... but the book is quite good.)

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Azrael » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:05 pm UTC

Justinlrb wrote:
Society values financial independence
Ya don't say!

a) Learn to attribute quotes.
b) You don't get to be snarky when people point out very clear, very basic truths that you seem to have missed. Especially when the next line is:
Azrael wrote:Seems pretty simple.
...and you've missed the whole point of a post, which actualy *did* relate to your question:
Azrael wrote:[and] nearly impossible to change without a large shift in a society's priorities.


Anyhoo:
Justinlrb wrote:Either respect for people and what they do makes the world a better place.
Or it doesn't. If it does we are obliged to give it.
No. No we are not obliged to do so. That's quite a leap in your logic there. ALSO: More respect could have *no* influence on the world.

Justinlrb wrote:But, seriously. Here's a different opinion.
I don't think it'd even make people nicer. But it might make them a little less likely to be complete assholes in public. Maybe.
Now we're getting somewhere.
Yes, we noticed his post without you having to quote it without adding any further value. Now stop playing traffic cop for the discussion?

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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Belial » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

justinrlb wrote:You didn't answer the question. Please answer the question.


Ahem.

Please stop attempting to "steer" the discussion. Once you've started the thread, and asked the question, it is no longer "yours". People can answer any part or in any format they wish, and the discussion can go in any direction or pursue any point it wishes so long as it remains on the topic.

If you feel the thread is going off-topic, or that it's become too heated, by all means, use the thread report button. Otherwise, please don't post unless you have something substantive to say on the topic at hand.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Flying Betty » Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:28 pm UTC

I'd say that a lot of it has to do with the so called American Dream that is drilled into people. America is touted around as a place where a little hard work and ambition can get you anywhere. In fact, retail and fast food are places where you can work your way up pretty high without having much in the way of formal education. but if the point is that you can start off making <$10/hr flipping burgers and wind up as a store owner or vice president or something, so the ones who don't do this look lazy and unambitious, which is therefore against the American dream.

Another thing is sort of the greed factor- once a person has a certain standard of living they get used it it and it's maybe hard to see what you could cut back on to lower that, or why. Not even the big flashy toys, but grown up, middle class things like owning a house in the suburbs or a car that doesn't spew huge clouds of oil out of the tailpipe, along with uninterrupted health insurance and maybe even a retirement fund. My brother-in-law, whose parents are both doctors, didn't understand the concept that my aunt really couldn't come to my sister's wedding unless we paid for her, because she simply could not afford the cost of the ticket. He was just too used to his standard of living to see others'.

Plus there's the "I did it and hated it, so why would you keep doing it?" point of view. I did two summers as a cashier at Wal Mart, and it made me hate everybody and want to gnaw my item-blipping arm off, so I sure as hell wouldn't want to do that every day for 30 years.

So looking from the point of view of someine who wouldn't flip burgers forever, it seems like a terrible choice. But you can like leaving all of your stress at work. You can like the work environment, or the dress code. To some people, being able to have visible piercings and tattoos is a big factor in job choice. Or you could have a time consuming hobby and not want work to interfere. It could be a day job sort of thing where if your band gets big you'll quit in and instant, but then again you could just be content living the way you are.

What do you think the effect of age group has on this? If your peers go to college and you decide to go to work instead, you're the one with the higher standard of living (measured in toys and expendable income). You're both living in crap apartments, but the student has to worry about tuition and books and come home and do homework before they can go out, but the person with the job can dedicate all their remaining income on toys and booze if they so choose and have a much flashier life than the student. But five years down the road the student graduates and makes double or triple what the working person is making, and all of a sudden things can reverse in terms of outward lifestyle.
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Re: What's wrong with flipping burgers?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:34 pm UTC

There's nothing wrong at all with the youth working at places like burger king, or in most retail. Because, and no offense to the youth, I did this too, but working these positions requires someone who is only barely competent. The only reason flipping burger's is not automated is because no one's invented an easy to maintenance, fast machine that preps the burgers from hunks of meat, or finds you the shirt in a medium instead of the XXX-small they tout on displays.

I worked at Jamba Juice for a year and a half in highschool and had a great time, met new people, learned about peoples standards of treating the 'help' (i had a larger vocabulary then 90% of the customers who came through yet was treated like dirt because I was wearing an apron along with the rest of my coworkers), and most importantly, learned that money doesn't come easy. Would I ever go back to a job like that? Hell no.

So what's wrong with flipping burgers for good? Your barely living up to the standards an intelligent human being should be holding for themselves. Your contribution to the collective human movement is nil, your contribution to yourself is nil, and frankly, your trading your time for the least amount of money possible.
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