Why We Need to End Tipping Culture

Why We Need to End Tipping Culture

When you become an expat and choose to live abroad, you begin to question certain cultural norms. Growing up in America, tipping is an ingrained custom that is often questioned by outsiders.  In fact, some cultures consider tipping offensive. It implies that you assume the server doesn’t earn enough to support themselves. However, for American servers, this is a reality. Since restaurants can pay their staff below minimum wage, servers depend on their customers to supplement their income. Unfortunately, this leaves people in a vulnerable position and susceptible to discriminatory practices. Here are just a few reasons why we need to end tipping culture in America.

Working for Less than Minimum Wage

As a former server, let me tell you what it’s like to work for less than minimum wage. In my state, the minimum wage is $9.00 an hour. But, restaurants only pay you $2.13 an hour. Because we rely on tipping culture, they expect your tips to cover the difference between the actual minimum wage and the pittance they pay you.

In most cases, servers and front house staff will usually make much more than this because of tips. When I worked as a server and bartender, there were some nights I would walk out with over $200 from a six hour shift. Other nights, I would have to work doubles and maintain grueling hours just to break the minimum wage threshold. It depended on several factors such as the kind of restaurant, day of the week, major events in the city, and your customers. With this kind of inconsistency, it made it difficult to budget, and some months, to pay the bills.

Tipping Culture Undercuts Livable and Fair Wages

Although we typically associate tipping culture with the restaurant and food service industry, it has become expected for nearly every service imaginable. Not only do we tip wait staff, but also our hair dressers, taxi drivers, baby sitters, dog walkers, landscapers, and doormen, just to name a few. Tipping no longer reflects the quality of service. Instead, it shows that employers place the burden on their customers rather than pay their staff fair wages.

Standard tipping culture requires 15-20% gratuity. However, the amount servers earn is completely subjective to the customer’s mood. So, if you are serving someone who already has a bias toward you, it will negatively impact your livelihood. Since those in the service industry must rely on tips, it leaves them more vulnerable to discrimination and harassment. Unfortunately, we are still facing biases based on race, sex, age, and other social factors.

When their salaries depend on compensation from customers, it can facilitate an environment where serving staff must choose between their ethics and their paychecks. I can recall dozens of times in which I was told to ‘brush off’ unwanted advances or else be punished by not receiving a tip. Asking someone to violate their principles shows how little we value them as people or care how it affects them personally or financially. Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity. And that begins by paying them fair wages.

End Tipping Culture to Hold Employers Accountable

Recently, there has been some momentum to end tipping culture. Spurred on by restaurants like Joe’s Crab Shack, some eateries have attempted to eliminate it by automatically including gratuity and service fees. However, tipping is deeply ingrained in the American mindset. People would rather put that extra dollar towards a tip than increased menu prices. In fact, they abandoned this model and returned to tipping because their online ratings dropped. Even though the final cost for their meal was approximately the same, people feel they have more control if they can determine how much they leave for their servers.

While tips have been enough to sustain servers in the past, COVID-19 has revealed several fatal flaws in the system. It has impacted food service workers more than any other industry because people stopped dining in and leaving tips. In some areas of the country, foot traffic is down 60% which in turn directly affects food service workers’ ability to support themselves. Although they are still required to perform the same work, their primary source of income no longer sees the need to leave a tip unless there is a face-to-face interaction.

Instead of complaining that people should return to work and be happy to receive any wages, it is time to hold employers accountable to their staff. If the restaurant and bar industry want to see their workers return, they need some guarantee that they will receive a steady salary to cover their cost of living.

Adopting More Sustainable Models

A few states, like California and Washington have already eliminated tip credit. But, many restaurants that tried to transition away from tipping culture have reverted back to this model. Since it is a cultural norm that doesn’t appear to be going away, we need to normalize sustainable models that ensure livable wages.

Some restaurants have implemented new models that show promise. First, restaurants could offer the best of both worlds. They could pay servers full minimum wage with tips on top. Another option is to keep menu prices the same, but include an automatic and separate service charge for their staff. One of the most progressive models I came across was a salary based on sales. Servers earn a percentage of individual sales and kitchen staff earned a percentage of the total shift sales. Owners who adopted this pay scale said their employees were more incentivized to provide better and faster service. Since the idea is based on the fact that if you sell more, then you can earn more, everyone is more motivated to work more efficiently. Finally, the federal and state governments could offer tax breaks or incentives to business owners who adopt no-tipping models.

If we want to change the public’s perception of tipping, we need to have everyone on board. It starts by having a reason for people to change. Because at the end of the day, the high earning days can’t justify the lows. Everyone deserves the ability to make a fair and steady wage. But, there will never be change until people see that the system is broken and demand better.

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7 Alternative Traveling Jobs for People Who Love to Travel

Traveling Jobs for People Who Love to Travel

Vacation is a great time to travel. But, sometimes it feels too short and is not enough to satisfy your wanderlust. If you have a serious taste for exploring new areas but not enough funds to do it regularly, there is a solution. Traveling jobs are a great way to support yourself when you have itchy feet. Not to mention, there are many different types of opportunities and options.

Whether you are needing to spice up your life or want to change your career altogether, here are some traveling jobs worth checking out for people who love to travel.

7 Traveling Jobs to Consider

1. Teacher/Nanny

So, you love kids, and you’re bilingual? Why not become an Au Pair or teacher in a different country? With a college degree and a TEFL certificate (Teaching English in a Foreign Language), you can teach English in a variety of locations. There are also TEFL course programs you can do abroad. They give you a taste of what to expect while also introducing you to a new country.

With technology making education easier to access online, you’ll have even more options.  In addition to online programs, there are also virtual teaching options. Furthermore, you can even take online classes yourself while completely immersing yourself in the country’s culture. Many universities now offer remote learning and online degrees. Moving abroad will open doors and new opportunities for traveling jobs.

2. Digital Nomad

This term was coined for those who work remotely. These types of job have become even more readily available in 2020 as companies restructure for their existing employees. If you have an online business, you can also build it up so you can work from anywhere in the world. Work as a digital nomad includes but is not limited to: freelance writing, translation, web design, social media management, or affiliate marketing.

3. Athletic Recruiter

Sports enthusiasts will likely find great enjoyment from a job as an athletic recruiter. Not only do you get to travel to schools across the country, but you also get to attend sporting events. The admission to events is free and also part of your responsibilities. Not a bad gig for sports fans, huh?

4. Auditor

If you are an accountant needing some excitement, becoming an auditor may be an excellent option for you. Auditors may not usually go to exotic locations, but they do travel across the country examining businesses. This traveling job provides more stability and consistency than other options while still giving you a taste of life on the road.

5. Tour Guide

Being a tour guide, particularly internationally, is an excellent way to travel for work. If relocating to a different country to work as a tour guide, you first need to know what certifications and visas are required. It is also a good idea to learn the language and familiarize yourself with the culture and customs. Even though you are catering to tourists, you want to have a good relationship within the local community.

6. Bartender

For those with an open schedule and some nightlife experience, bars and clubs worldwide are always seeking bartenders. This is especially true in touristy hot spots. Whether you want to go overseas or simply across the country, there are a variety of options as a bartender to travel to a new location for a while. Depending on your talents and the type of bar, bartenders can also make quite a bit of cash.

7. House/Pet Sitter

Another option you probably never considered was house sitting or pet sitting. This traveling job is precisely what it sounds like. Home owners post listings on house sitting websites to get matched with caretakers. In exchange, you get free accommodations and complete privacy in a locale of your choosing. These jobs can last a few weeks or turn into a long-term arrangement. It also provides the unique opportunity to experience your travel destination through the eyes of a local resident.

Considerations for Traveling Jobs

With the right skills, you can make traveling a part of your job requirements. Moving to a new location can be a very difficult, yet rewarding decision. However, it’s important to note that not all traveling jobs will pay well, and these professions still involve work and dedication. Depending on how much you want to make traveling a part of your career will depend on how much behind the scenes you will need to do.

Do you travel for a living? What kind of traveling jobs have you done or would like to do?

Also, if your doing good with the traveling job, don’t forget to save. Acorns is a perfect way to save money using spare change. Check them out.

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Ways to Get Paid by Writing Songs

Ways to Get Paid by Writing Songs

If you have a talent for writing songs, chances are you have been dissuaded from pursuing a career in music. Many people do not consider it a lucrative venture or stable employment. However, most songwriters are not doing it for the money. The good news is that there are ways to get paid by writing songs. If you are passionate and driven, here is how serious writers generate income from their music.

Earn Royalties for Writing Songs

Royalties are the primary source of generating income for songwriters. Songs earn royalties each time someone uses, plays, or performs them. It includes every time your work gets radio play or when there is a public performance. Royalties encompasses everything from the song’s use on TV to the sale of sheet music. While some ‘old school’ sources of royalties have become less common today, there are new ways to get paid by writing songs.

The constant technological advancement has also created new ways to generate money. In the digital age, you can also make a lot of money through download and streaming royalties. You can then sell your songs to music libraries and distribute them through music services like Amazon Music, Google Play and iTunes. People and companies must pay a synchronization license fee to use your music in commercials, movies, or TV series as well. Furthermore, you can generate mechanical royalties from companies that manufacture a product using your song. In such an interconnected society, there are many ways to get your music out there.

 Paid Public Performances

Don’t forget that you also get paid when your music is performed. Your music generates live performance royalties for each public performance. You earn royalties from ticket holders as well as each time someone publicly plays a recording of your song. The amount of money you make though varies greatly. Negotiations between the venue and the Performing Rights Organization will ultimately determine how much you earn. Be sure to register all your songs and set lists to ensure you get paid by writing songs.

If you are lucky, you may broker a deal with a publishing company that will pay you advances. This allows songwriters time and space to create without the pressure to get paid by writing songs. For those with even greater ambitions, you can also look into starting your own record label. Increased number of performances and artists equates to more money in your pocket.

Get Your Name Out There by Writing Songs

If you want to break into the music world, the most important thing is to get your name out there. Start producing your music and post it everywhere. Use every medium that is available to you. You can even take the initiative to write a brief and approach companies to pitch your songs. The more exposure you get and more internet traffic you create, the more likely it is to connect with someone who can help you advance your career. The only way to become successful is such a competitive industry is through persistence and constant self promotion.

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