Many that are homeless and do not work–or work part-time or below their ability–are often compared to those who are not homeless but who only work at the subsistence level. In fairness, many that receive relatively low wages do not have the ability to receive higher pay. Job training programs and going back to school could be unrealistic because of physical, intellectual, age or location limitations.
What about those who could improve their circumstances, though? A small amount of income, based on the minimum wage, will probably provide shelter, clothing, and food. The food stamp and Medicaid programs can provide supplemental assistance for those who qualify.
It might then be fair to suggest that to want to earn more, a person has to see value in more than just the essentials of life and maybe an occasional party. So, how does the American Dream become important? It is certainly possible to have a dog and a couple of kids, without being ambitious.
I believe the desire to have more could come from job counseling and observing others. What makes a person work hard, put up with problems on the job, and desire promotions? The answer, I believe, focuses on the person’s life outside the job. It’s the difference between hanging out on days off, and going to see an ice hockey game or basketball game. It’s the difference between going to the movies and the mall during vacations, and visiting foreign countries, or any place in the United States you want, even more than one time. It’s the difference between a studio home and a well-furnished spacious apartment. It’s the difference between helping people and perhaps exploring your horizons, or remaining stagnant.
In most instances, the successful person has found something that improves the quality of his or her life, and it necessitates more income to initiate and continue it. Many times, like traveling and the frequent flyer miles you get, there are benefits for developing an outside interest.
You can have dreams for your children to go to college, and there are student loans, community colleges and part-time jobs for the child that can help him or her achieve those dreams. But to be really content and focused on a job, I believe that the worker is invested personally in a quality of life he or she wished to have.