You Don’t Get Big Bucks For What You Do, But What You Know…
I might be late to the table, but I had some recent thoughts on the fast food workers versus $15 per hour wage debate. For those of you who might not be familiar with the debate, the fast food workers in the United States have been demanding a pay increase to $15 per hour. My thoughts began when Evelina and I went on our New York road trip and a McDonald’s location had a ton of self-serve kiosks.
Listening to the fast workers argue for more money reminded me of something a friend of mine told me many years ago. He said, “You don’t get paid big bucks for what you do, but what you know.” At that time he was a pilot and I was a golf pro. He made a great salary and I made an average salary. His point was that he got paid big dollars not to fly a plane, but to keep it from crashing. He had knowledge that the common person didn’t have; that being how to fly and land a jumbo jet full of passengers.
I on the other hand was a golf pro and golf pros are a dime-a-dozen. There was no particular knowledge that I possessed that any other golf pro didn’t possess. And when you work a job which isn’t based on specialized knowledge, you put yourself in a position to have your pay limited. And you shouldn’t be surprised when it is.
Most jobs have a pay ceiling. If I walked into my bosses office tomorrow and asked for twice the going rate for my position I better be one heck of a sales person or get prepared to have my request denied.
Once I recognized the value of specialized knowledge I dedicated myself to developing specific skills in my current role and voila, an opportunity presented itself.
I have recognized that if I want to make 4, 5 or even 10 times what I make now, that I must know something that others don’t know; especially something my company wants that I possess particular knowledge about.
No offense to fast food workers, but there is no particular, specialized skill set needed to perform their duties. And because of this fact, their pay will always be capped. Even if they get a raise to $15 per hour, how long will it be until they demand $18 or $20 per hour? At this point we are talking simple economics; the pay will eventually exceed the value of the job.
Don’t make the same mistake, make sure what you know is incredibly desirable and sought after, not ordinary and commonplace.