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Tue, Dec 12, 2017 02:34 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-12-03 communities
This n' That
And you think you don't make enough money?
Tony Fyffe
Are you one of those people who complains that you don't make enough money? If you aren't, you're definitely in the minority.

Practically everybody including yours truly claims they are vastly underpaid, and they are probably correct. So many people work so hard for the money they make, yet they find that they continuously have very little money left from their paycheck once life's necessary bills are paid.

CBS.MarketWatch.com recently conducted a survey of the 10 most underpaid workers in the nation. Some of the findings are surprising; for example, I was shocked that newspaper people are not on the list. Of course, I would say that since that's the line of work I'm in, but I'm not being self-serving. There are very few newspaper people I know who make a lot of money. That's just the way the business is.

Anyway, courtesy of CBS.MarketWatch.com, here are the 10 most underpaid workers in America. You may not believe your eyes.

Restaurant dishwashers ($7.25 an hour): The germs and bacteria these people are exposed to are scary enough to make a cat walk backwards up a wall hissing the whole time. The mountains of garbage they scrap off plates, the grease that permeates pores opened wide by steaming commercial dishwashers and the general thanklessness of the job make it horrible work at twice the pay.

Consumer loan collection agents ($22,826): The financial-services industry enriches a lot of its employees, and then pays these people peanuts to lean on deadbeats. If they've got you on the line, don't blame them for applying some pressure and unload a verbal assault on them. Blame the last zero-percent financing offer you bought hook, line and sinker.

Pest controller ($24,120): In eradicating vermin from rats to cockroaches, they must crawl into the dark recesses that rodents inhabit, administer all manner of chemical "treatments" and retrieve rotting carcasses on their periodic service calls. We pay them a pittance to make the noises in the wall go away, and rid our kitchens of creepy crawlers we don't want to admit to hosting.

Slaughterers and meatpackers ($20,010): Unlike their often well-paid counterparts unionized supermarket butchers these heavy lifters of the meat-processing industry are doing the work that we never want to think about as we're marinating our strip steaks or searing our baby backs on the grill.

Police officers ($41,950): For all the strain the job puts on their psyches, cops don't earn nearly enough, never mind that they're always in harm's way. We pay them to be society's voice of authority, and then shy away from them. No man is an island except for a police officer.

Substance abuse counselors ($31,300): This is the real missionary work of the social-service system, trying to rehabilitate lost souls. Many are former abusers who can't find gainful work from suspicious employers and risk falling backward from being around dopers and drunks. They generally fail to save a population most of us have written off including relatives and friends we've abandoned but persevere for that one they'll help recover.

Medical residents ($40,000): These doctors in training work 60 to 100 hours a week the equivalent of the dishwasher's hourly wage. The medical industry skirts overtime laws because the pay is deemed a "stipend." Sure, they move on from four years of residency into six-figure jobs, but if we paid them more at this stage, maybe they wouldn't feel so entitled and anxious for the hefty income awaiting them.

Funeral home attendants ($19,200) and morgue attendants ($26,167): They see dead people, in the flesh every day. They check in corpses and comfort grieving relatives in the most depressing work environment short of the front lines of a battlefield. A cancer ward is cheery by comparison.

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics ($25,450): Down the road, their patients will be treated by well-compensated doctors if they survive; it's these front-line medical experts who greatly enhance survival chances. Look for their pay to increase as overweight Baby Boomers discover their maintenance meds failing them in the damnedest of places.

Preschool teacher ($21,907): Day-care workers ($19,900) are notoriously underpaid, but the real dishonor is paid to the preschool teachers who lead our three-and four-year-olds in ABCs and 123s in our vast, dual-income absence. Birth to age five are critical years in the development of a child's personality and intelligence, yet we pay these people little more than we fork out for a babysitter on a Saturday night.

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