Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beware: Mama Bear Post

Ahhhh. Chip turned 15 last April. Since then getting a "job" has been on his mind. He started a lawn mowing business and has two lawns (besides ours) that he mows on a regular basis. He has a third lawn lined up to mow when the people go on vacation throughout the summer. He has more money in his wallet than I do, that is for sure.

So, last Friday Chip was mowing the lawn he is hired to mow here in town. As he was leaving the ladies neighbor called him over and asked if he could help him do some "home improvements". He owns the rental house and needs to "fix it up" after the last renters and before he can rent it again. Chip came home and talked to Cool and myself asking if he could. The "guy" said they would talk price after seeing him work. Cool and I agreed and Chip set off to work.

He worked for two hours Friday night and was up and out the door by 6:00 the next morning. I stopped over before going to gymnastics and met the couple who own the house. They seemed like nice people. They are both retired teachers. I left feeling pretty good.

Chip worked for 9 hours Saturday. At the noon hour, when he thought he would be able to go home, they fed him three pieces pizza and water. (That was nice but three pieces of pizza isn't enough for a 15 year old.) At the end of the day the gentleman handed Chip $30.00 for his work. Chip came home about in tears. He thought he had worked harder than $30.00 worth.

Cool and I talked to him. We told him that working hard is good for him and home improvement is a skill he is going to have to use all his life. Chip said (and I swear these are his exact words), "But that is 11 hours of my life I won't get back. I worked hard and deserve to be paid what I'm worth." So I asked, "Why didn't you say you didn't think it was fair?" Chip said the guy didn't ask if it was OK. He just handed him the money and said, "you aren't being paid by the hour." Chip said he just didn't know what to say. (I know how Chip feels about speaking up. I can't do it myself and let people walk over me at times)

Now, I think that the money he got is $30.00 more than he had when he began. I think that hard work is good for a person and that helping neighbors (even those we don't know) is good. That being said, I am having a hard time not thinking these people took advantage of a 15 year old boy. It was 100 in the shade with a dew point in the 70's. It was HOT! He was told he would be working until 10 Saturday morning and didn't get home until almost 5. When I asked Chip what he did the list didn't seem to end. Painting, moving wood, screwing in screws, hammering nails, mowing, taking stuff upstairs, hauling stuff downstairs, doing what ever he was told. I know Chip is a hard worker and doesn't want to disappoint people. He wants to be thought of as a man.

From the beginning Chip was told that this job would continue on into next week. Cool told Chip that if he doesn't want to work for the people this week that was fine with us. Chip told us he already told them he would but he wanted to be paid what he's worth. So, he and Cool alked about what and how Chip should approach the subject with him.

The guy called this afternoon and Chip spoke up. (I know it had to take every ounce of courage he had) He said, "my dad and I were talking and we think it would be easier if I were paid by the hour." The guy told him that it wouldn't be easier for him because he would have to have pencil and paper to write down breaks.


I asked Chip just how many breaks he took on Saturday. He said he took about 20 minutes for lunch (it was at their house and not at home) and between water and bathroom breaks throughout the day another half hour or so. He said he didn't sit down and rest except for at lunch time.

Chip told the guy he would be over at 7:00 tomorrow morning. They left it at that. Chip told Cool and I that he is going to talk to him before he starts work in the morning. He is very discouraged. is taking everything that Cool and I have in us not to go talk to the guy. But, we are letting him handle it on his own. In the end he will do what is best for him and that is how we raised him. But it isn't easy standing back in "mama bear mode" and letting my cub do things on his own.

Becoming a man isn't easy and this week Chip is getting a taste of it.

© 2008-2009 Wicked Pickles-Homefront Lines
All Rights Reserved


Danielle said...

We went through the same thing when my chip got that job doing scrap metal. He worked several weeks with the guy and got about $100. My Chip asked if he should go try to get the money and I told him to write it off as a lesson learned. He did however, refuse to work for him anymore! Thank goodness he gets paid by the hour. Like you said he has more money in his wallet than I.

Beta said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog -- I love the resources you have on your sidebar. I may add the daily quotes widget to my page -- it's great!

I am absolutely livid on Chip's behalf. Sometimes people seem to have a mentality that a "kid" just doesn't deserve what you'd pay a grown man for the same amount of work. I can only imagine the restraint it's taking for you to sit back and let him deal with it on his own.