Duplicate or distribute
this activity. Students may work independently or cooperatively.
this program you learned how much a warehouse supervisor and a day care
provider earn. Expand your knowledge of how much various jobs pay by
doing research. You can find statistics at the Bureau
of Labor’s Web site (http://stats.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/jul/wk2/art05.htm).
• Find out
typical rates of pay for at least ten different jobs.
• Convert all
figures to dollars per hour.
• Create a
bar graph showing your results.
your graph with those of others and discuss the rates for various jobs.
Share opinions on which jobs seem deserving of higher pay, and which
seem too highly paid.
Notes: You are doing
something that even professional wage analysts have a hard time with:
dealing with what is called "comparable worth." Keep in mind
that it is very difficult to try to assign monetary value to different
types of jobs without putting the job in the context of responsibility,
value to the organization, education required, or degree of hard work.
Consider these. Also, you might do your own research on "Wages
in the United States" using sites listed in Livelyhood’s resources
Finally, as an exciting
extension, check out Livelyhood’s "Living
Wage" feature (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/ourtowns/sanjose.html).
How does this feature affect your opinion? What do you think about offering
a Living Wage in light of your research graph and opinion sharing? If
you are interested in exploring the Living Wage debate further, try
the Living Wage exercise in the Livelyhood "Our
Towns" Teachers Guide. (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/ourtowns/math.html)
Do You Slice It?
work regularly requires extra hours, the time available for all other
activities shrinks, and the quality of life may diminish substantially.
In Segment 4, Tina Williford reports that she worked 60-hour weeks before
making a change. Explore the effects of such a schedule on a person’s
how many hours a week Tina probably spent commuting, how many hours
she was awake and not working, and how many hours she was asleep.
Represent in a pie chart what portion of her week each of these activities
• Next, talk
to four other people to find out how much time each one spends working,
commuting, awake not working, and sleeping each week. Make pie charts
to illustrate these figures.
Compare and discuss
the charts. Think about how you would like to divide your time, and
draw a pie chart that shows what you consider to be the ideal balance
for your own life.
An extension to
this exercise would be to consider ways to cut down on commute time,
using Livelyhood’s Transportation
and Commute Solutions sites. Or, think of ways employers might help
workers with balance work and life through policy and practices. The
following sections, also on the Livelyhood resource page (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/resources.html),
and Family, Workplace
Benefits and Protection, Worker
Health and Safety.
the Riveras, most parents want their children to do better economically
than they did. Americans have a tradition of increasing the standard
of living from generation to generation. However, some recent statistics
show that today’s younger generations are not achieving the same increase
in wealth their parents achieved. Do some research of your own to find
out what the truth is about "doing better than your parents did."
The Bureau of the Census (http://www.census.gov/)
publishes reports on this and many other topics! One particular report
located at (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/mednhhldincome.html)
actually maps the difference in income from 1969 to present day. Alternatively,
do your own detective work, using the Livelyhood Resources page (http://www.pbs.org/livelyhood/classroom/resources.html)
"Learn about Work: A Starting Point for Online Research" section.
• Find out
what the average American family earned in the year 1999.
• Find out
what the average American family earned in 1989, 1979, 1969, 1959,
and 1949. Graph your findings.
the rate of inflation, have real wages increased over the past 50
years? If so, by how much?
• In the next
ten years, by how much would wages have to increase for the average
American family to see a rise in real income? (Remember to take into
account the rate of inflation.)
Use your research
to predict whether American families will continue improving their standard
of living, or whether wages are likely to stagnate in the near future,
resulting in a decrease in the average family’s standard of living.
As an extension,
you might compare your predictions against those of others by browsing
sites in Livelyhood’s "Predicting
the Future of Work" section, on the Livelyhood Resource