In 2019, I worked for a cleaning firm that serviced residential and small businesses. The woman who ran the firm started new employees at $11 an hour. We made $.25 per mile, which was very much below the national mileage rate of $.58, traveling to jobs around the state.
After 90 days, one could hope for a dollar raise and that is where it would end. There were no benefits like paid time off, vacation, health insurance or even a thank you if your work was exceptional.
I worked with lots of young people, who never lasted very long. In all honesty, it was hard work for little recompense.
Many of the young people were homeless. Some of them lived out of their cars. They made just enough to eat and put gas in their vehicles.
At times, I was paired up with some of them to train and to help me with the larger houses. It made me sad to see the awe on their faces and the wistful yearning to have even a fraction of what they were cleaning.
I would gently remind them that life is not about “stuff.” It’s so difficult because they’ve not had much in their young lives.
Will we ever become a community of caring people? Will we ever work to change things so others who struggle can have a decent chance in life?
We need a living wage. We need a community who care.