Every year, without fail, there it is in the news: whiny American workers who feel that being required to put in hours on Thanksgiving Day is a cruel and unusual punishment akin to slavery.
Since I wrote about the issue last year, I won't rehash the argument. I'm simply going to say this:
WORKING ON THANKSGIVING IS NOT A HARDSHIP.
And to those who were "disgusted" with the retailers who opened their doors on Thanksgiving, let me give you a hint as to how business works: If no one comes to buy anything on Thanksgiving, stores won't be open on Thanksgiving. But, as it is, businesses like Wal-Mart and Target make a ton of money by opening for business on holidays. The fact that they choose to take advantage of this doesn't make them evil, it makes them smart.
Another thing that doesn't make companies evil? Paying low wages for unskilled work. (I can't count how many articles I've seen in the last few weeks lamenting the fact that "Not only does Ima Cashier have to work on Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart only pays her $8 an hour!!!!") One should not expect to be paid a "living wage" for doing a job that requires no skills beyond basic literacy and breathing. If you want to earn more, you must make yourself worth more by gaining the necessary skills, schooling, and experience to move up the ladder or into a different job. Companies can't just hand out $20 an hour to whoever needs to pay their bills without taking into account the job being performed or the value of the work. If they did this, the company would implode, and then no one would have a job.
No one working at Wal-Mart is chained to the cash register. If you don't like how the company treats you or what the company pays you, it is your responsibility to do something to improve your situation; i.e., gain the necessary skills or schooling to earn more money, or get a different job. And for anyone who thinks that refusing to show up for work is "doing something", you should be fired.
Are companies always squeaky clean in their treatment of employees? No. But, again, if you don't like your current situation, it is your responsibility to change it. That means you might have to find a different job. You might have to move or go back to school or work more hours, and you might have to turn off the cable TV and the cell phone service for awhile. A company's responsibility is not to sit around figuring out how to ensure your happiness -- that's your job -- nor to pay you more than you are worth simply because times are tough. Yes, it's nice if companies can show a little compassion for their employees, but compassion is not doling out salaries or benefits without regard to the value of the job being done; compassion is helping employees increase their value by making sure they have a job to do.
And sometimes, that means clocking in on Thanksgiving.
So let's quit whining and get to work.