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Morgan Spurlock’s Documentary Minimum Wage from 30 Days

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        When people think of someone who is poor, many picture someone who is homeless and living on the streets. This would be a false sense of reality. In order for a person to be considered “poor,” a person’s salary has to be ______ or less. People who work a minimum wage job, typically fall in this category. In Morgan Spurlock’s documentary episode,  Minimum Wage from 30 Days, he states that “We don't see the people that surround us. We don't see the people who are struggling to get by that are right next to us.”  In this episode, Spurlock and his finance spend 30 days trying to survive working minimum wage paying jobs. The goal of this experiment was to show how in today’s society, minimum wage is insufficient for basic survival. People working these jobs are usually low skilled and under qualified for a job over minimum wage. Their motivation for working these jobs is just to survive. In Dan Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, he describes what motivates humans, specifically in the workplace. He suggests that giving people the freedom to solve problems and create their own solutions will motivate people to engage more in their work. However, if a person is working pay to pay check at a minimum wage job their main motivation is to make as much money as they can so that they can survive. In order to engage these types of workers there must be some sort of  mobility for them to advance and make more money. Considering the documentary and Pink’s book, to find out how to engage employees, one must look to what motivates them depending on their circumstance.

        Imagine working on a construction site for 8 years, doing hard manual labor for 8 hours a day for $10 an hour with no benefits. Even though you have worked hard you still are only making $10 an hour. Considering this scenario, would you be fully engaged and motivated in your work? In today’s society, $10 an hour is not sufficient enough to survive and pay for the necessities such as health insurance, transpiration, and a safe home. Many people who work for minimum wage have no choice because they are low-skilled and under qualified for higher paying job. People often times look down on people who live in poverty. What these people do not think of is the crucial services these people provide us while not making enough to create a stable life.

        In Pink’s book, he talks about motivation 1.0 and motivation 2.0. Motivation 1.0 urges people to eat and to procreate, while motivation 2.0 focuses on external motivations, such as rewards and punishments. While these have been the main motivators in the past, society has changed causing people’s main source of motivation to change. As he explains, today people are motivated by more than just rewards and punishments. There are many people that pursue a higher education to acquire skills that make them capable of making an impact and coming up with creative solutions. Due to this change in society, Pink believes that a heuristic work environment is what is motivating employees to create meaningful outcomes. This is what he calls motivation 3.0. People are not just working to better themselves and make more money. Instead, people are working to better society. To accommodate to this change, employees need to know what they are contributing to and be given the freedom to creatively contribute. If people feel that the work they are is making a difference, they will be more engaged in what they are doing. While I agree with this new approach, I do not believe this applies for the people working for minimum wage today.



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