Help wanted on the homefront

David Trinko Guest columnist

David Trinko Guest columnist

There are jobs posted, if only someone wants to do the work.

Yet every week, they remain unfilled. The boss has to do it himself, or his boss has to do it herself.

Somehow the workers are still complaining they wish they had more money.

Where’s the disconnect? I had to ask my children to find out.

“I don’t have time!” my 13-year-old daughter said. “It’s an inconvenience.”

The jobs in question are listed on a voluntary chore chart. My wife and I have really been pushing the idea of “your money” to our teenage daughters. We found things they had to have when it was our cash wasn’t so important when they’re earning the dough.

Gifts and a weekly allowance fell short of their dreams, so we devised the chart, complete with how much we’d pay to have various jobs completed. Many are things my wife and I do normally anyway.

I’m heavily assigned in the trash world, so I was more than happy to throw $2 to someone to gather the trash from all the rooms and bring it to the garbage cans in the garage. I’m equally happy to toss $1 to someone bringing the garbage and recycling receptacles back from the curb after they’re collected.

There are items on the list for making dinner, cleaning bathrooms and other odd jobs around the house. All pay well above minimum wage considering they only take a few minutes to complete. We even negotiated the prices with the workers, who still agree it’s a fair wage for each task.

All they have to do is finish the job and sign their name on the spreadsheet on the refrigerator. At the end of the week, we pay up.

Yet these tasks remain uncompleted. That means Mom and Dad have to complete them, and we still hear kids wishing they had more money.

Sometimes there are extenuating factors. Our 14-year-old recently got a job, so she has no interest in the pittance we’re paying compared to her weekly direct-deposited checks.

“I’m fine with the money I’m getting,” she said.

Really, though, our conversation turned into a laundry list of excuses why the tasks weren’t getting done. They’re too busy with homework. They’re gone too much with sports. They’re just too exhausted for it all.

As the manager in this situation, I’d suggest they’re just being lazy. They seem to have enough time to flip through Tik Toks. Maybe I just grew up with a better work ethic, scrubbing bathrooms in our crowded house for a few quarters as a child. I still work more hours than makes sense, with the words “any job worth doing is worth doing right” echoing in my head.

The 13-year-old had the most interesting perspective. She thinks we’re going too easy on them by making them optional.

“If you said, ‘Go do this,’ we’ll have to do it,” she said. “But if you just say, ‘Here’s the chore chart,’ there’s that, like, you don’t have to do the chores.”

Of course, she still wants to be paid, maybe even more if she has to put up with our reminders.

For now, they seem content to leave those income opportunities behind, and I’m gradually understanding why there are so many “help wanted” signs everywhere I look.

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

David Trinko Guest columnist Trinko Guest columnist