Back in April, a Seattle-based company called Gravity Payments did something novel. The CEO took a $930,000 pay cut in order to raise the minimum salary of all the workers to $70,000 a year. How did that work out for them?
Turns out, not well. Can guess what the problem was?
Give yourself a hand if you guessed, “Whiny assholes who are not content to make $70,000 a year because co-workers they see as undeserving are making the same amount.”
“He gave raises to people who have the least skills and are the least equipped to do the job, and the ones who were taking on the most didn’t get much of a bump,” said the 26-year-old, who helped Mr Price do the sums on whether Gravity Payments could afford the move in the first place.
That’s a 26-year-old kid making $70,000 a year complaining because she wasn’t getting more than everyone else.
“The people who were just clocking in and out were making the same as me,” he told the paper. “It shackles high performers to less motivated team members.”
And that’s a 29-year-old, again making $70,000, upset because he’s now making the same amount as the “slackers”. It’s not that he’s not making enough to meet his needs, it’s that he’s not making more than other people.
Now, Seattle has a high cost of living, so that $70,000 isn’t as huge as it may seem some places, but it’s enough that when this was first announced, these employees were ecstatic. Now, though, it’s apparently not enough, because how can you say you’re being well-compensated for your job if there isn’t some poor dink under you who’s doing worse? What’s even the point of working hard if it isn’t part of a Darwinian struggle to crush your colleagues and hope that Senpai notices you and throws a few more bucks your way?
Note that for both of these people, the solution to someone not carrying their weight is not that the person’s manager should be talked to or that the person should be let go if they’re not performing. In both cases they are merely suggesting that such layabouts should simply be paid less. So it’s not about the goldbrickers making the workload more difficult, it’s about the fact that them also making $70,000 somehow makes the $70,000 these people are making less valuable and special.
These are the same kinds of people who get mad when they see “poor” people with nice cell phones or large TVs. Not because they themselves lack for such things, but because what is the point of having them if other people — especially the undeserving — also have them?
The article mentions the other hazards of these kinds of businesses: long hours and work overload. Nevertheless, there will be a single takeaway here: that you just can’t raise peoples’ salary without making them bow and scrape and tear out each others’ throats for it. “What’s the point of a $15/hour minimum wage,” a person who can’t remember not flying First Class will opine, “That company in Seattle raised the minimum wage to $70,000 a year and it didn’t work!”
It didn’t work because of the same bunch of people who are always ruining things. They aren’t even bitching that someone got a mango popsicle and they didn’t, they’re bitching that someone also got a mango popsicle. So theirs is less tasty now.
“How can I consider myself successful unless someone else is doing shittier than me?” is an evil, poisonous way to live. Nothing good is at the end of that road.
For all I know, my workplace pays a guy my salary to come in and watch Frasier re-runs all day. If that’s the case, good for him. Unless he is interfering with me getting my work done, I couldn’t care less. I’m fairly certain there are people there who do less than I do and make more but it’s not hurting me in any way. I like my work, I like my salary, and I’m doing just fine. I don’t know if that means I have a good work ethic or a poor one, but at least I’m not whining to the papers because no one’s making me feel like Mama’s Special Boy.