Two Jobs With a Side of Fries

McDonald’s and Visa teamed up to create a financial tool to help out the employees of the golden arches. Problem is–no one could figure out how to “get-by” on the Mickey-Dee’s paycheck.

They assumed $1,105 for their first job. That’s right, first job. In order to make this work they just assumed you have two jobs. I’ll get there in a couple paragraphs.


So that $1,105… well according to their math that’s take-home pay; post-tax. So really that’s more like $1,326 earned which divided out at the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage works out to about 46 hours a week. And that second job, well you’re in luck because after the math it’s only taking 40 hours a week of your spare time.

Combined, you’re in the lap of luxury. I mean, two people could even split the work giving you a half-normal life (no kids of course, they’re too expensive). In fact, let’s assume that.

That means you need to find health care for $10 a month (McDonald’s offers it for $14) and split the $100 “other” budget among a few things. Things like gas, groceries, eating out and shopping. There’s no way you could spend $3.33 everyday for a whole month. Not even two people could do that, right?

(If anyone can calculate the government assistance two people in this income bracket would be eligible for, I’d be curious to see how it effects this illustrative budget.)

So why assume two people? You can hold down 86 hours of work each week. Well, the chances that both jobs are yours is near zero.

Since the great recession of 2007, part-time employment has doubled while full-time employment has fallen off the map. Meanwhile, with part-time employment up those with multiple jobs have gone by way of the full-time job. Employers, by tightening their belts, have tightened the job market. Now, to be competitive against your fellow coworker you need to be on-call 24/7 for a part-time job. Along with accepting that your schedule is subject to change at anytime.

Businesses love to cut expenses because expenses are post-tax income. Typically, you would have to double the amount of income to create the same bottom-line effect as saving $1 in costs. Cutting $100 is the same as earning $200.

Part of how they survived the economic downturn is “just-in-time scheduling,” whereby they treat people like components on an assembly line. Just like it sounds, it mirrors just-in-time inventory… only instead of managing a supply chain you’re asking those making minimum wage to be on call 24/7 to only work 35 hours.

All-in, our two McDonald’s employees are doing better than most could hope for.