Over my many years writing about people who depend on gratuities aggrieved people, usually skinflints, have written in to tell me that if tipped workers don’t like the money they’re making they should endeavor to make alternate employment arrangements. But what really struck me as odd was a comment made by a reader concerning a snippet I wrote about residential doorman and holiday tipping. “YOU ARE A DOORMAN,” he wrote. “IF YOU WANT TO MAKE MONEY GET A REAL JOB.”

Being a doorman isn’t a real job? Gee. In New York they have a union and everything! Benefits too. And I seriously doubt the boob who left this comment would repeat that clichéd comeback to a doorman’s face. The odds are good he’d find himself French kissing the sidewalk.

But that brings up an interesting question. What is a real job? Could you tell me? I really don’t know. Does a real job mean making over 100k a year? Having a secretary and a corner office? Can you work at home? Does a real job mean making tangible things or buying and selling financial instruments? Does a real job mean you’re a super model banging, high-end Mercedes driving super corporate type? After listening to some of these Masters of the Universe describing what they do as “providing leverage and focus on innovative solutions for new and improved, next generation, cost effective, world class, high performance, and hard dollar value added outcomes” I have to ask – do they have a real job? Sound like bullshit to me.

Is working at McDonalds a real job? How about a waiter, nanny or garbage man? How about being a cop? The starting salary for NYPD patrolmen is $44, 744 a year so I guess they’re out of the supermodel squiring market. Oddly enough that’s roughly what Manhattan doormen make without tips! Want to tell some rookie he or she doesn’t have a real job? I dare you. Pepper spray stings like a motherfucker.

So what’s a real job? What does a person with a real job do? What should it pay? What hours and working conditions should it entail? Do you get vacation and sick time? Do you have to have a college degree? (Bill Gates did okay without one.) Can manual labor be involved? Do you work by the hour or get a salary? Are you your own boss or work for other people?

Personally I think all honest labor is noble and valid employment. But there are some assholes out there that think otherwise. So please, let all you “experts” fill me in on that a “real job” is.

I’m dying to know so I can go out and get one.

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