Benefits Of Minimum Wage: Can An Entry-level Job Be An Aid To Spirituality?
Are you stuck in a minimum wage job? Perhaps, even, given the current economic conditions we’re all experiencing, you don’t so much consider it a matter of being stuck, but are glad just to have a job with the jobs market the way it is at the moment. Sometimes you just have to make the best of what you have!
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That kind of gratitude is a good place to start off with what I want to talk about in respect of working a minimum wage job. Which is, to consider whether it’s actually a useful thing as far as spiritual practice goes. Many of the aspects that naturally accompany the chores and tasks of a minimum wage job – service, simplicity, menial work, humility and thankfulness – are part of what many types of spiritual practice aim towards (but perhaps more effortfully and expensively!) Yes, people actually pay to get the kind of experience and acquired routines that you get paid for (even if only minimum wage) in a humble fast food, cleaning or care work position!
Is God In The Little Things Of Life?
There are ‘retreats’, conferences, seminars etc. out there allied with various different religions e.g. Buddhism, Catholicism, that will put participants through a series of experiences – for example cleaning, cooking, sweeping out their own rooms - that allow them to ‘mindfully’ experience the mundane and everyday, and experience the divine as it surrounds us even in normal events and things.1 But you get to do it everyday!
Can You Worship As You Wash Up?
If this aspect of your job hadn’t previously occurred to you, then why not make a point of consciously experiencing your job as a spiritual endeavour. Hey, take any perk you can get! If you’re only making minimum wage you might as well be making spiritual progress on your journey at the same time! It gives a whole different meaning to the phrase ‘service with a smile’ if you’re truly putting a smile in your heart as well as on your face when you pass the burger and fries to your customers. And menial chores like swabbing floors and taking out the trash don’t have to be depressing or grim when you’re doing it in a real spirit of service to humanity. Certainly many care workers are caring and compassionate people already, in order to be doing the work they are, but bringing a conscious thankfulness and love of humanity to the job can only be a blessing all around.
If you’re already of a spiritual turn of mind, then using your job to facilitate your spiritual progress can make a rewarding and productive endeavour out of what was previously merely a meaningless drudge. The benefits of such a re-framing of your circumstances may benefit both you and those around you. I’m sure your colleagues and customers will appreciate your whole new attitude!
1. Hunt Badiner, A. 'Mindfulness in the marketplace: compassionate responses to consumerism'. Berkeley: Parallax Press, 2002.
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