Life isn’t fair. Isn’t that how the saying goes? In the real world, competition exists, and not just on the sports field. In the workforce, if you want to make the big bucks, you have to work hard, put in the hours, show the effort, and have the skills and experience required.
Why is this principle not abided by at Principia? At the College, every job – from mopper to lifeguard – is paid the same $8.25 per hour rate. The exception to this is for student managers in Dining Services and the Pub, who make extra: a whopping 50 cents more per hour because they directly supervise other students.
It makes sense that base salaries should be the minimum wage. However, all jobs are not equal. Certain jobs require prerequisites, special training and special skills. Those jobs, just as in the real world, should be given higher pay.
The administration and human resources office state that all jobs are treated as entry-level, part-time positions. They do not want to put students in a position of choosing a job based on the pay rate. But is that not how it works in the outside job market? That’s the beauty of the workforce: you can choose to be and do anything. There are tradeoffs, of course: hours, duties, salaries, etc. Principia gives students the varying hours and duties, but doesn’t compensate in pay.
Yes, every job is essential. Outside of Principia, McDonald’s fry cooks are just as essential as Goldman investment bankers. Society needs both – and everything in between – to survive, as everyone and every position serves a purpose. Yet requisite skills and experience determine salary paid for certain positions.
Likewise, our line servers and our teaching assistants are both important. But a teaching assistant – who must have a certain level of knowledge, courses taken and recommendation by professors – should be paid a higher amount for their work than the line servers who need no training or certification beyond the ability to lift food on a plate.
As stated, every job is essential. So this isn’t meant to speak badly of any positions. All student employees have to complete 150 service hours anyway, so higher-paying jobs would not take away from the employee pool for the dining room, the Pub or facilities.
If we are to be treated as adults and prepared for life after college, wouldn’t introducing the simple aspect of varying, competitive wages make sense? Uniform wages take away incentive to work towards a higher position. Unfortunately, money does matter in life. In the world today, you cannot survive without a sufficient amount of money, and living paycheck to paycheck is not appealing to most people.
This is precisely why there are varying careers that offer varying salaries. If you don’t like where you’re at, you can work your way up. Principia should give students that opportunity, too.