Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Microstory 1357: Elevated

High School Student: It’s very nice to meet you. My name is High School Student.
Elevator Supervisor: Nice to meet you too. I’m Elevator Supervisor. I wouldn’t normally entertain an interview from a high school student, but your brother speaks very highly of you, and thinks I should give you a chance. Just so you understand, there is a very slim chance that I’ll be able to hire you for this position, or any position. All of our work is full-time, and you’re still attending classes in high school, correct?
High School Student: I am, yes, but I’m very interested in working with you once I graduate. I only have one more year left, and then I’ll be able to commit more hours.
Elevator Supervisor: Why don’t you just focus on your studies, and wait until they’re over.
High School Student: I’m a very good student, I don’t have to try very hard, and I still get good grades. I don’t have to focus in order to pass my classes, and if this is what I want to do with my life, then I don’t see a problem with that.
Elevator Supervisor: If you’re such a good student, why don’t you go to college?
High School Student: My family can’t afford it.
Elevator Supervisor: I don’t claim to understand your family’s financial situation, but they do have loans, grants, scholarships. I went to college myself, and didn’t pay a dime until I was finished.
High School Student: I should rephrase that. My family can’t afford for me to remain outside of the workforce for the next five years. I need to get into it now.
Elevator Supervisor: Well, there are plenty of part-time jobs around here. You could work concessions at a movie theatre, or lifeguard in an indoor pool.
High School Student: That’s still a money thing. I don’t expect to be paid as much as an experienced elevator installer, but I can’t imagine starting salary is less than minimum wage.
Elevator Supervisor: Well, it’s not, but there’s a reason why there’s a difference between minimum wage part-time jobs, and full-time jobs, like this one. Those jobs require no experience, and hardly any skills. They let you make money for situations just like this, when the worker is still in school. I understand that it may not be enough, but that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to more. If everyone who needed money was always just given that money, then would money even hold meaning?
High School Student: Actually, it would, yeah. Money is only as valuable as the economy determines. Traditionally, we’ve based that value on the labor that went into generating it, but that is not the only method. Universal Basic Income studies have proved that people still contribute to society, even when they’re handed money they didn’t do anything to earn. In fact, some data even suggests people in those studies are even more willing to be productive, because they’re not so stressed out about finances.
Elevator Supervisor: Well. This isn’t a universal basic income study. We would expect you to be at work every day, complete the jobs as requested, and earn your paycheck. Like I said, we currently have no part-time positions available. I would have to make an exception, and I’m not sure that’s fair to the rest of my workers.
High School Student: Why would it not be fair? I don’t wanna be rude, but I don’t understand the logic there. The people who work full-time for you, I imagine are not wishing they could work fewer hours if it meant they would make less money. Who among them would look at me and my exception as a goal they envy? Give me less than you do them per hour, and give me fewer hours. No one is going to covet my circumstances.
Elevator Supervisor: That is a good point. I just don’t want to set a precedent, and start encouraging other people to beg us for work. A part-time elevator installer can install fewer elevators per day, which means the rest of your team will have to pick up the slack once you leave, or before you get there, depending.
High School Student: That is a valid concern, and I have no argument against it. I certainly don’t want to make it harder for others.
Elevator Supervisor: [...]
High School Student: [...]
Elevator Supervisor: Here. I’ll give you the number for my parts supplier. They’re local, so you wouldn’t have to drive far. They don’t rely on a team structure either, so your logic behind an exception could work on them. They may even have part-time positions, I don’t really know. Don’t tell them this, but if you work for them for a year, and don’t cause any problems, I’ll consider adding you to my own roster once you’re completely available for it.
High School Student: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. You didn’t have to be so kind.

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