We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, January 28. 2015
When they lived at home, I'd try to convince my less intrepid boys to do the same thing, to no avail (some of us have that entrepreneurial gene, others don't). As much as I enjoy the effort of digging and spending time outside, I was pleased to see younger folk scrambling for a buck. I paid them $30 and they cleared the walk and driveway in about 40 minutes. I don't even have to listen to people complain that I didn't pay minimum wage. Though if I'm ever up for public office this may haunt me as I didn't pay their taxes.
What really surprised me was they asked for my phone number, in case they get another snow day they can call to ask if I need to be shoveled. After checking with their parents, I agreed to give them the house number. Norman Rockwell is not dead, no matter how much our politicians try to kill his vision of our nation.
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Very cool. I think you did the right thing, Bulldog.
I am frugal to the point of being niggardly. In fact I am accused of having the first nickel I ever made, but I am pretty sure I would have hired kids like this under similar circumstances. One has to reward that kind of behavior if one can.
My little brother and I, long ago. Mowed, raked leaves in the fall, for money, showed up at the door, shovels in hand and gloated at the dollars earned.
Hereabouts, it almost never happens. I grew up on Army posts but here, nobody bothers to shovel the walk, rake the leaves. It has turned into a business.
I had a paper route as a 14 year old.
I was the same way with my older brother. Mowed lawns, cleaned gutters, cleared brush, babysat kids, shoveled snow, delivered papers....and here's one I'll ask you to top:
I've skinned fox, raccoon, opossum and muskrat. Disgusting work, but I got paid very well to do it. I'd head up to the guy's shed after school twice a week. He bought from local trappers and hunters.
I won't trap, anymore. But in my youth it was perfectly acceptable. It's a brutal thing, though. I did it for one winter, made some cash, and never did it again. I felt awful.
No judgments on anyone else - you do what you have to do. I didn't have to do it, so I stopped. Still, people in the city stare at me like I'm some kind of animal. Maybe I was, but it was a formative experience and one I'll never do again.
Good for you, Bulldog, and good for those kids! Great lessons for all of us.
If Dad gives them $20 any time they ask for $, there is no incentive.
Unearned $ is never valued or appreciated.
Scurrying for a dollar is a lost art mostly undermined by government policies (licenses, taxes and policing) that prevent youngsters from being entrepreneurial. Since when is it cruel and inhuman punishment to make children participate in the welfare of the family? America has "helicoptered" itself out of business by eliminating the opportunity for any child who is physically capable to apprentice in any number of activities that will lead to future employment. Shoveling snow teaches a child to show up on time, do a thorough job, and respect money earned by hard work.
You see Young Entrepreneurs, I see some kids with parents who made it the kids' responsibility to pay for their own Xbox, motor bike, phone plan etc.
Putting grit in the belly of kids is the true lost art. Good on their parents.
I get annoyed at parents who spend 20 hours a week carting their kids from sport to sport in hopes to teach them the same lessons that are learned far better from a little "going without".
My kids had a response to my cajoling them to earn money.
"Eh, I don't want it that much."
Fine, I'd reply, but you won't get money to go out with your friends, or buy a videogame, or see a movie. My kids didn't get handed cash, mainly because I didn't have that much to hand them.
So they'd go without and even though they'd complain, I'd just say "hmmm...shoveling that snow sure must look good now."
I had a recent event with the older son. We had to bring him home for a semester to deal with some issues. We told him he would have to pick up the fees from the previous semester (squandered, in our estimate, by getting C's) and all other fees associated with the reason we brought him home. In addition, we told him he'd have to get a job when he returned to school, something he opposed strongly.
Well, he paid off all the fees he had to pay off by working 2 jobs. Great. Then I returned him to college a week early with the final statement "If you don't have a job in 2 weeks, I'll be back out to pick you up." It's a 10 hour drive.
A week and a half later, I called him. He didn't have a job. I told him I'd see him that weekend and to have his bags packed.
I got a call 20 minutes later that he'd found a job.
Incentives for work vary by age and whatever determinants drive the ambition. As kids, my boys didn't spend tons of time out with their friends going to movies or eating pizza. Their need for ready cash was low. They were very low maintenance in that regard.
Once they had a solid reason to need cash, they became motivated to work.
It's not like they never worked, either. They were mowing the lawn by age 10, helping rake leaves around the same age, cleaning the gutters, doing dishes, etc. They had their chores, and the understood the value of work.
But I still carted them around all week to lacrosse practices and games. To me, there's no difference between the work and the sport, but they have to be handled in conjunction. I agree that one without the other is bad management.
Hmm, let's think of all the federal, state and local laws you probably violated.
Did you issue them a W-2?
Did you get a Form 1099?
Have you made the appropriate Social Security, FICA and FUTA contributions?
Did you file the required Obamacare disclosure report as to whether they worked more than 30 hours per month for you?
Did you check their immigration status?
Did you make sure that all of their equipment complied with OSHA standards?
Since you have admitted they were minors, did you check whether you were in compliance with all child labor laws?
Did you get a signed release and waiver from their parents and/or legal guardians allowing them to shovel snow on your property?
Did you allow required break times?
Did you provide appropriate and labor law compliant restroom facilities?
Did you sign a valid and enforceable independent contractor agreement with them and give them the opportunity to have it reviewed by an attorney first?
If not, did you provide the proper unemployment and disability insurance and disclosures of federal, state and local labor laws?
Were notices of such laws posted in a conspicuous place on your property, or were copies of each notice provided to the workers and did they provide you with a written receipt for such notices?
Did you comply with applicable minimum wage laws and file the necessary report?
Did you give them your inclusiveness and tolerance guidelines and indicate when they would complete your sensitivity training program?
Do you have the necessary permits to allow them to move snow around or from your yard?
Did you check whether their actions complied with the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and other environmental laws?
Did they disturb an isolated wetland or the habitat of any endangered or threatened species?
Did they have a valid contractor's license?
Did you check with state and local authorities to verify whether their contractor's license was in good standing?
If this is a union state, did you check to see whether their union membership was current and they were making the appropriate membership contributions?
I guess I'm just in this mood because I am working on a project for a client and just had to complete a 30 page government questionnaire for the client asking all these sorts of questions, and many, many more.
Great googly-moogly. Guess I'm just pure evil, running a sweat-shop.
Sorry, I'll be more careful next time.
We're driving kids out of the marketplace. An adult with a car delivers our newspapers. Lawn services mow grass and clean up yards. One high school summer I shoveled horse manure in 110 degree heat for my Mom's cousin's 7 horses. And mowed and bagged their seemingly football field sized lawn. I learned much from my efforts. Today, teens are all but forced out of the job market, which is good training for being on the dole, but lousy training for being a productive member of society.
That's absolutely true.
One reason kids don't knock on doors looking for work, as I did when I was a teen, is the overwhelming number of service companies that are available to do it now (and the laws and regulations limiting what kids can do).
If I average out the total time, people doing the work, and money paid, I paid the two boys about $20 per hour. A service crew in the area would charge more, closer to $40, so I did pretty well for myself.
When I was a kid, minimum wage was $2.50 an hour. I'd charge $2 per hour per lawn. I figured I'd undercut the competition, and I was busy on weekdays as a result. I'd probably get arrested with that philosophy now. I'd probably get arrested for hiring the two kids, as our commenter Jim points out....
I grew up in the country, did a lot of odd jobs for money, putting up hay, cleaning barns/stables, helping build fence, cutting grass, but when the white stuff hit we were sledding, the old folks were on their own.
It takes TWO people FORTY minutes??? I had no idea! (High should be 76 today here in Sunny Central Texas.)
As a kid I loved money and liked work. Snow shoveling was and still is my favorite thing to do. But in the summer we (my brother and I) collected newspapers, magazines, rags and scrap metal. Our local junk guy was an Italian immigrant who would drive a wooden wagon pulled by a horse through town and you flagged him down and made your deal. We would also walk around on trash day looking through the good stuff people had thrown out. Mostly for fun but every now and then we found things we could sell. Kids today get their SSN's at birth but at 13 my best friend and I walked into the office to get ours so we could work at the car wash. My first paying job at 13. It was fun and fast work. Maybe three hours work on Saturday morning and another three on Sunday. The only thing automated was that the cars were pulled through. The wash and drying was by hand. The cashier would pay us in cash, with tax and SS withheld, as soon as the boss told us to clock out. Instant gratification.