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CAREERS:

Puny Paychecks

 

Today's Snack: The word "puny" means little. So for today's snack, let's have something little - but really, really good. Let's have raisins! They're little bitty bursts of flavor with a great, big health benefit, one of the best snack choices you can make.

 

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Supplies:

(For groups) Blackboard and chalk

 

 

Want a good reason to stay in school? How about this list of the 10 worst-paying jobs in America?

 

These are the jobs that people who don't stay in school have to take. They have to take them, because they aren't qualified for better jobs that pay more.

 

The financial consequences of staying in jobs like these very long aren't very pretty. It is very difficult to buy a house, a car, take vacations, and own neat stuff if your paycheck is small compared to everybody else's.

 

Career counselors put together this list to give a reality check to all those who believe they can make it big in life even without a solid education. Sure, you can wait tables while you're waiting to be discovered by Hollywood. Or you can work nights asking people if they "want fries with that" just until something better comes along . . . but what if it never does?

 

Consider this list of low-paying jobs:

 

        Food preparation and food-service (including fast-food)

        Cooks (fast-food)

        Dishwashers

        Dining room and cafeteria attendants, and bartender helpers

        Hosts and hostesses in restaurants, lounges and coffee shops

        Counter attendants in cafeterias and coffee shops

        Gaming dealers

        Shampooers

        Waiters and waitresses

        Ushers, lobby attendants and ticket takers

 

Working with an adult, choose one of those occupations, and then think up a place in your area where those jobs can be found.

 

During business hours, call and ask to speak with the manager. Explain what you're doing, and ask how much per hour the starting salary would be.

 

Figure out how much that would be multiplied by 40 hours for a typical workweek.

 

$7 an hour x 40 hours a week = $280 a week = about $1,200 per month

 

Ask the manager how much would be taken out in taxes from the typical paycheck. You should be able to calculate take-home pay for one month, if you were working at that job.

 

Now sit down with your parent or other adult and estimate a monthly budget, if you were living by yourself. Include the cost of rent, utilities, food, car payment, clothing, insurance, entertainment - the whole nine yards.

 

You'll probably come up with monthly living expenses that are far more than the take-home pay that would be available. That would mean you'd have to take a second job, or live at home, or never take a vacation . . . you get the idea.

 

That's why they call these "dead-end jobs" - instead of zooming into the mainstream highway of life, your career is on "idle" at a dead end, with no place to grow and little hope of expanding your income very much.

 

This isn't to say that you should never consider taking a job in one of those areas. In fact, most Americans get their start in jobs like that, and there's nothing wrong with them - at least, in the short run.

 

If they are a means to an end - paying for your college, helping out at home, whatever the reason - then having a low-paying job is certainly better than having no job at all.

 

Just keep it mind the reality of what a puny paycheck would mean to your lifestyle . . . and plan your education and career preparation to not get yourself into such a tight spot.

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Careers 02 2010

 

 

 

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