Correct. Skills alone will not get you that job - you have to go get IT, which is where the skills come in handy. If there is no demand in your area,
then you change areas. Just out of curiosity, what sort of job requires 2 college degrees just to achieve minimum wage?
If "an important job goes unfilled", that isn't your problem if you're in it for the money, and they aren't willing to get up off the money to
snag you. If you're NOT in it for the money, then the point is moot. You'll do it for nothing or next to it, and not complain. Other people's
losses are not your problem, either, if they are unwilling to pay the rate you want. Only your own losses matter, and those can be eliminated by a
move - either to another area, or to another profession, or both.
I tutor Computer Science and Game Design at a college, being a graduate is a requirement, I tutor multiple programs to get enough hours (I also hold
degrees in Digital Graphics which is what it sounds like and Interactive Media which is essentially web design but don't tutor those usually). I'm
not in it for the money instead I work it because I have enough of a work ethic to want to be employed despite the fact that my skills don't qualify
me for anything worthwhile in my area. I do however expect a living wage from a job which I think is completely reasonable. Moving isn't an option
as that requires having money in the first place.
Statistics are cute. I had a minimum wage job for a while in 1980, and had nowhere near the purchasing power of 50k today, regardless of what the
statistics say. I lived it.
Sorry, I meant to write 1950 there. I'm just going to copy/paste a previous writing of mine here rather than type it all out again:
1956 - The minimum wage just rose to $1.00/hour. We'll use the same scenario. A low end house at this time cost $7000 ($60,000 house today going by
CPI... closer to $120k in reality) and the work week fell to 40 hours/week. We'll take the same idea that someone worked part time (20 hours/week)
for 2 years in high school and put half of those earnings into savings. That's $416 into savings per year after taxes. If those savings went to a
down payment on that same house that's $832 down (12%), a 4.75% interest rate, and a 25 year loan, which was standard back then the mortgage payment
would be $42.46 or $509.52 in a year
Because University of Pennsylvania has these stats published I'll continue to use them, although their tuition is above average. I'm also going to
stick with the 6 year college plan because full time school+full time job is a lot. Particularly at a time when classes were tougher and education
wasn't corrupt. In 1956 tuition cost 835 per year which comes to $559.45 at a reduced schedule.
Now comes food costs. While the USDA claims people spent about $24/month on food, that's because they were eating higher quality foods and had an
abundance of cash. If you eat a more budget diet of things like sandwiches, condensed soup, beans, and rice while ignoring things like eating a steak
every night, you could eat fairly inexpensively. Here's a sample grocery list for a month using a
historical list of food prices from the 50's:
3 pounds cheese $1.35
3 pounds turkey $1.47
3 loaves of bread $.36
1 jar peanut butter $.29
1 jar jelly $.19
8 cans of soup $.80
12 eggs .49
6 cans pork & beans $.50
6 frozen chicken pie $1.14
5 pounds potatoes $.35
1 box of crackers $.32
1 pound pork roast $.39
1 pound frozen vegetables $.48
That's fairly similar to my current groceries for a month, though I do eat out every now and then. So lets take this grocery list which comes to
$7.33 and then double it. That's 14.66 on groceries. Also, we'll add 8% because these food prices are from all over the decade.
Just to be sure it's 1956 prices we'll assume it's 1950's prices and just inflate to 1956 values. That brings us to $15.83 per month in groceries
or $189.96 per year.
And we can add in utility prices like water and electric. Unfortunately there's no records I could find of water/electric prices, so we'll just take
todays prices and scale them down. Water+electric in a small home comes to about $90 today which is $10.48 in 1956 dollars which is $125.76 per
Last we have taxes. The income tax rate was 20% at this income level, and about another 4% for state and local taxes. That comes to $499.20 taken in
So add everything up we have
$499.20 in taxes
$125.76 in utilities
$189.96 in food
$559.45 in tuition
$509.52 in housing
That comes to $1883.89 in expenses. Since annual income comes to $2080 there's still $196.11 in the budget for fun. That money could be spent on
several things such as a car and gas or movies, or my favorite... health insurance. I can't find the source now to link but I found it a few days ago
it listed 1956 health insurance costs as being around $8/month. It was also less popular as hospital costs were less extreme. Regardless, at $96 for a
year that still leaves $100 in the budget. Which at the time is a perfectly reasonable extra amount.
There wouldn't be enough money left to afford a car, gas, and insurance unless you dropped the health coverage, but you can't have everything.
1967 - 11 years later and not much had changed. Minimum wage became $1.40/hour which is $2912 in income. If we assume the person had some savings from
working part time that's $1150.24 in savings. Taxes when working full time come to $611.52
We'll start with the housing prices. Homes at lower prices were a little bit harder to find because the craze was new homes at the time, but if you
bought a prebuilt home you could get one for around $8200. The exact one I'm looking at is defined as "6 large rooms, brick, 4 acre lot with
stream". By CPI this is a $60,000 home today, by actual prices this is much more. The mortgage on this home with $1150.24 down comes to $50.34/month
or $604.08 per year.
Next we'll look at tuition. College started rising faster than the rate of inflation however it was still affordable. UPenn was $1870 at this point.
Using the 6 year plan that's $1247 per year.
Groceries went up in cost, but went down as a percent of income. The same grocery list in 1956 would now cost $17.81 per month or $213.72 per year.
Utilities went up a little bit to $12.88/month
Add everything up and that's
It's a bit harder to run this lifestyle in 1967 however still possible. There would be $80.32 leftover in the budget. That's less than 11 years
prior and the money doesn't go as far but it's still enough for a little bit or recreation or some savings. Alternatively, to get some extra income
one could rent out a room in their giant house but that goes above minimum wage.
As you can see, this was the reality for quite awhile, and last I checked the era where it wasn't the case wasn't exactly known as having a dearth
of economic activity.
I always had money, sure, but it was in spite of the job, rather than because of it. It was because of the way I managed my finances, rather
than the money I made on that job having such massive purchasing power. 3.10 in 1980 was equivalent to about 5.90 today
That's only if you go by the CPI inflation rate which isn't correct, it has been manipulated for years to show a low inflation rate. Actual
purchasing power in terms of how many hours you have to work to buy something for not just those at minimum wage but even the middle class has been
getting worse and worse.