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Should a job at my bakery support a family?

By March 17, 2015Uncategorized

Six months ago, I would have said no. I think this is at the heart of the minimum wage debate.  I felt, as many opponents felt, that a retail job in the food industry is a ‘stepping stone’ job. Meant for teenagers, or part-timers looking to supplement their income. Now that the economy is squeezed, and better-paying jobs are scarce, we’re trying to force these retail jobs into some sort of middle-class bracket they just don’t warrant. If you pay a burger-flipper $600 ($15/hr at 40 hours/week) or $31k per year….well you’re gonna get a highly-qualified burger-flipper, but do we all win from that? (I get to say that because I was a 15-yr-old burger flipper (well, technically at a fried chicken joint), who made $250/wk – a FORTUNE  to me – for a place that got a 15-yr-old performance.  I was nice but flaky, just learning how to interact with the world and people. That chicken joint – and the string of jobs after – are where I learned all of that stuff. But I digress.

 Now I dunno. The managers in my shop – the ones that stay and keep us going – aren’t kids. They’re grown-ups managing a complex (some days chaotic) business, with critical problem-solving skills, customer-management savvy. They’re proactive and passionate about the business, worried about costs and sales along with me, and always more street savvy than I am.  My gut tells me they should make at least $40k/yr, IMO, for a 50-hr week. (Let’s take the overtime debate off the table for now.) Could the bakery afford it? I don’t see how.  What are other SBOs thinking these days?