Published July 10, 2022

Nobody wants to work…

Written by
Marvin Baker
| The Dakotan
Marvin Baker
Marvin Baker

I needed to have some service work done on my truck, so I took it to the Ford dealership in Minot. And since there is a McDonald’s across the street, I thought I would hang out there while having a cup of coffee.

So, an elderly lady and I are waiting for our orders and suddenly someone yells out “257.” The elderly lady steps forward to take her order and asks the assistant manager why her order took so long.

The assistant manager immediately went into a rant about the restaurant being short staffed and that everyone at that downtown McDonald’s restaurant is doing the best they can. Long story short, she told the customer that nobody wants to work. “They’ll come to work for a few days or a week and quit.”

How is that possible? Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t McDonald’s have some pretty good incentives to work there, especially for young people just starting out? The pay is decent, you get meal discounts and college incentives, plus advancements come quick.

This isn’t a commercial for McDonald’s, and I don’t know about you, but if I had those kinds of incentives as a high school or college student, I’d be banging the door down to get a job there.

A total of $15 per hour isn’t going to get you a yacht and vacation home in the Bahamas. What it will get you is a paycheck, experience on how to interact with people and training into management.

My first bonafide job, in which I received a paycheck, was shoveling durum wheat and pumping gas at the local grain elevator. If my memory was right, I earned $1.65 per hour; no insurance, no college incentives, no chance for management.

But I had a job, and I was a happy little Vegemite. It meant I didn’t have to beg my parents for money. I remember asking my dad for 50 cents so I could go to football games and I had to convince him why it was a good idea. I quickly got tired of that, so I looked for a job and found one at the elevator.

So why is it so different now? Why is it that nobody wants to work? If you look around, most young people have a cell phone, nice clothes and own a car. How are they able to pay for that if they don’t want to work, or only work a week?

I’m not trying to stereotype high school and college students. Quite the contrary. In fact, I have an intern on the farm this summer who is 18 and she gives me lots of confidence in the next generation. She is quite clever, works hard, doesn’t complain when given unpopular tasks and communicates with me about where she is and how she is doing… And she is always on time.

Maybe I got lucky. I don’t know. But what I can tell you is this girl is going places. Her head is screwed on straight. She’s a happy-go-lucky kid who has a bright future ahead of her.

So why is there that segment of the population, even in Minot, that doesn’t want to work? There are some who don’t have to work. I always envied my college roommate at UND. He’s the son of a successful National Hockey League player and had everything he wanted in college, except motivation. He got onto the hockey team because his dad once played for the Chicago Black Hawks. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the incentive to play like his dad.

He eventually got cut from the UND team. But while he was on the team at 18 years old, he had a nice car, wore nice clothes, skipped class (because he could) and threw money at girls to get dates.

Some people can’t work because they may be disabled. But even with certain disabilities, people are able to work in some capacity. And most employers are willing to work with those who are willing to work.

Then, there is that segment of population that just doesn’t care. Those are the people whose minds have to be changed. Unfortunately, as they get older, they will become more frustrated and resentful and will start to blame others for their loss of motivation.

For the past two years, almost all of us have blamed COVID for our shortcomings. That’s just not a valid excuse any longer. It’s time we put COVID in the rearview mirror.

I’ve always said money is a motivator, but I’m not so sure that’s true anymore. McDonald’s is paying a pretty good wage to flip hamburgers and is finding it hard to be fully staffed.

Maybe the United States should be like Switzerland. When you turn 18, you serve at least a year in the military where you learn respect, discipline and leadership, which in turn, makes for a better society.

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