Woman ponders minimum wage in high school

A TikTok user’s reminiscence of their high school work experience has sparked debate after it went viral on the platform.

In a video with over 2.1 million views, TikTok user Haylee (@hailbango) asks, “Was anyone an extremely hard worker for their minimum wage job in high school? Like an extra worker so good that your boss would set you up with the laziest, most incompetent co-worker every week just because she knew that if she wasn’t doing her job, you’d feel obligated to fill her gap?”

“Me too,” she concludes.

@hailbango #fyp ♬ original sound – tatyanna

While data on youth work is mixed, there is evidence that young people work longer hours than their older counterparts.

A 2015 survey of 1,000 office workers in the UK found that “people aged 16-24 work, on average, a whopping seven hours and 22 minutes more per week”, i.e. two hours more per week than those aged 55 and over .

Additionally, Haylee’s comment about “feeling obligated to fill her gaps” may indicate a sense of guilt or shame common among young workers and entrants. According to an article by Julie Riggott for USC News, “The culprits are good workers.”

“Individuals with high debt vulnerabilities … are valuable work partners because fear of failing others drives them to do at least their fair share of the work,” writes Riggott.

In Haylee’s TikTok video, users said their experience was a shared one.

“Single-handedly keeping a company alive at 17,” was one top comment.

“And then being hated for trying to talk about not closing their gap,” said a second.

Others shared specific stories from their jobs.

“I was even told by my manager that I’m his favorite because I actually work but get paid the same as everyone else and that saddens me,” recalled one commenter.

“When I worked 40 hours a week [high school] At Taco Bell, I scrubbed walls with bleach and cleaned everything spotless for $7.75,” claimed another. “I wish they would have paid more.”

“When it snowed and business dropped, the manager would send everyone home except me,” a third claimed. “My ‘reward’ for being the best McDonald’s worker.”

The Daily Dot contacted Haylee via Instagram direct message.


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*Initial publication: November 12, 2022 at 9:56 am CST

Braden Bjella

Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.

Braden Bjella

https://www.dailydot.com/irl/working-minimum-wage-in-high-school/ Woman ponders minimum wage in high school

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