Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Society & Culture
  3. Social Issues

Living paycheck to paycheck documentary

See also

You may want to stream the free documentary movie, "Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert.” The viewing premieres at 9 p.m. Monday on the premium cable channel and can be streamed for free. The documentary premiers at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday March 17, 2014 through March 24, 2014 at the HBO website and at the Shriver Report site.

You also may wish to check out the March 12, 2014 AP article, "Low-wage workers struggle to find middle-pay jobs." You can no longer easily land an entry-level job, accept a modest wage, gain skills, and leave eventually for a better-paying job as your relatives did in the 1950s and 1960s. You may wish to see the article, "Trapped by $50,000 Degree in Low-Paying Job Is Increasing Lament."

Count the time from the U.S. Great Recession that began in late 2007, which helped narrow the road to middle-class lifestyle since many of the next-tier jobs no longer exist

If you just graduated from college or high school and don't have a particular skill learned that quickly is picked up by employers, government or private, recruiting you at your campus or from internships, you could be stuck in low-wage jobs for years. Stories abound in the news of people with college educations or some college work who have to pay back school loans, but are stuck for many years in low-wage jobs with little advancement.

What happens next is a bottleneck of low-wage workers with a wide range of education, experience, and various ages. This narrowing helps to widen the gap between the rich and low-wage workers stuck for years, even decades in the same job.

A lot of people take a job because it's the only one interested in them or the only job available

And at the present time, these individuals wonder how to move up in earnings, skills, and job responsibility or even get full-time hours on any given job. But when the jobs open to college graduates are paying minimum wage or close to it, how does the average person figure out the escape route when such a high percentages of new entrepreneurs fail in either opening their own enterprise or finding a job with an employer that offers an open path to middle-class living.

In many jobs, if you are sick one day, you lose a day's pay. So people come to work sick and spread their viruses to other workers and customers, if they can get out of bed. Others try to make ends meet if they have to stay home. That's where a new documentary comes to mind on how it is living from paycheck to paycheck for many. For some women jobs that used to be open to them such as the steno pool have all but vanished.

And those with general skills who take a relatively short course of a few months to prepare them to enter the world of paid work after having small children in the home may be trapped in low-wage jobs unless they can afford childcare and the high tuition of college training in careers that offer at least a chance for a middle-class life such as moving from low-wage nurse's assistant to registered nurse or another job that requires technical or medical/healthcare training where there's a need for particular type of education or license and skill set. But the waiting list is long to get into college majors where the starting salary is considered more fitting to the amount of education and tuition invested in the training.

And schools are expensive. Some people invest $50,000 in a college education that's not even completed, then land in low-wage dead-end jobs for years with little chance for advancements or gaining other skills and are paying back their college loans facing that type of future for years. The person might have dropped out for health issues or not to have even more college loans to repay in the face of what jobs are available with the set of skills learned in schools or in other situations.

Paycheck to paycheck

Two months ago in Sacramento Karen Skelton, editor-in-chief and chief executive officer of the Shriver Report, and former California first lady Maria Shriver talked to attendees at the California Museum in late January before Shriver spoke about her report on women living in or near poverty. Currently, Skelton is the coordinating producer and Shriver is an executive producer of HBO’s new film “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert.” You may wish to check out the March 16, 2014 Sacramento Bee article by Carla Meyer, "HBO documentary tracks working mother on the edge of poverty." The article recounts events in the life of the woman in the HBO documentary, Katrina Gilbert.

She's a certified nursing assistant and single mother with three children who chronicles her life in the documentary. Since it's streaming free, you don't have to subscribe to HBO to watch the movie. Just stream it on your computer on the days it will be available.

The documentary details what it's like earning $9.49 an hour as a single mother supporting three children, working as a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home. If you or someone you know is in this situation, the documentary is an inspiration on how to keep the family together, put food on the table, and focus on commitment to a goal. You’ve just got to be strong and be a hard worker.

“Paycheck” is part of the Shriver Report, a nonprofit media initiative focused on issues affecting women and led by Maria Shriver.

You may wish to check out the Jan. 7, 2014 article by the Center for American Progress, "The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink." Check out the site, "HBO and The Shriver Report Present 'Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert'."

This emotional film offers the deeply personal, unvarnished, and moving story of Katrina Gilbert, a single mom of three, whose daily struggles illuminate the challenges faced by the 42 million women who are living in poverty or on the brink of it and the 28 million children who depend on them. The documentary premieres Monday, March 17 at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.

From Maria Shriver’s groundbreaking multi-platform, "The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From The Brink" in partnership with Center For American Progress comes an emotional film in partnership with HBO Documentary Films that will ignite a conversation in the nation about the story of our time, told through the life of one woman, Katrina Gilbert, whose daily struggles illuminate the challenges faced by 42 million women and the 28 million children who depend on them.

The documentary offers a deeply personal, unvarnished and moving story of Katrina Gilbert, a single mom of three, struggling to get ahead but constantly getting knocked back by a system that almost seems designed to see her fail.

The documentary premieres Monday, March 17th at 9pm on HBO. Here’s How You Can Get Involved: “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert” also will be available on this website.

Also see the sites, HBO.com and YouTube.com/HBODocs. The documentary will be available for viewing for one full week beginning at approximately 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, March 17, 2014. Note the time difference. It's listed as Eastern Standard Time of 9:00 p.m. Or you can host a viewing party, to download the screening guide, and to join the conversation in the comments section below on the Shriver Report.org site and the Shriver Report-Paycheck to Paycheck site. Don’t have HBO? CLICK HERE to register for the FREE Streaming Event. Or register at the EventBrite site.

What's the Federal Poverty Line?

For one person, the 2013 poverty threshold is $11,490. For two people, it's 15,510. For three people, it's 19,530, and for four people, it's 23,550. For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,020 for each additional person, according to the site, "Federal Poverty Guidelines - ASPE - U.S. Department of Health." If you move to Alaska, the federal poverty guidelines are higher, such as $13,230 for one and 27,090 for four members of a household/family.

As far as the documentary, the women in the report are in this space between about $23,000 and $47,000 a year for a family of four, according to the Sacramento Bee article. Other figures from the U.S. Census data show that about 42 million women and 28 million children live on the edge of poverty. The smallest issues can loom large. For example, people living paycheck to paycheck can be toppled financially by taking a sick day. Although there are men who live in poverty, two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers are women.

Who makes most consumer decisions?

If you look at statistics, you can find that 70 percent of low-wage workers don’t get a single day of sick leave, according to the Sacramento Bee article, which also explains that about 80 percent of women make most of the consumer decisions. But most women spend earned money on their families.

A lot of single mothers would like to attend college if they had affordable child care and the money to pay tuition. One suggestion might be to close the wage gap. The Census Bureau still reports that in 2012 women were earning 76.5 cents for every dollar earned by men. A lot has changed. Where did middle-class jobs go?

Decades ago a lot of skilled office work used to lead to middle-class incomes

Women with high-school educations back in the 1970s used to get middle-class jobs as executive secretaries, some even working in government jobs with pay high enough to support their families with and sometimes afford a house, if they could pass a test taking shorthand at 120 words per minute, type 70 words a minute, and do full-charge secretarial bookkeeping.

Also in the 1950s, a man or woman could start working with a phone company right out of high school or after military service and get skilled in electronics technology or learn to be a repair technician, work at the company for 40 years, and retire with a pension and savings as well as have the chance to become a supervisor. Most employees could afford to buy their own home and raise a family on wages earned. And many women then could afford to be stay-at-home moms living on one salary with one family car in the driveway.

Those jobs just aren't around in the same numbers as they were in the past

Today, numerous people with college educations are working at close to minimum wage or minimum wages in retail stores or in the food industry with little chance for advancement to middle-class occupations. With little chance for advancement to management jobs paying middle-class wages, a lot of people with college educations or some college are working for years in retail jobs at minimum wage or close to it without the hope of gaining the type of skills needed to move up the ladder to more skilled work or more steady hours. Some are stuck in several part-time jobs.

You may wish to check out the March 12, 2014 article, "Low-wage workers struggle to find middle-pay jobs." Or see, "Astonishing Number of College Graduates Had Minimum-Wage Jobs." For comparison, check out the June 4, 2010 article, "Wal-Mart partners with online school to offer college credit to workers." Or see, "Trapped by $50,000 Degree in Low-Paying Job Is Increasing Lament."

Advertisement

Life

  • Johnny Manziel
    Should Johnny Manziel apologize for his hard partying over the offseason?
    Today's Buzz
  • Crop circles
    Similar crop circles appeared in Germany and England within days of each other
    Camera
    19 Photos
  • Advanced placement
    The AP program is gaining traction as a key component in college admissions
    Camera
    5 Photos
  • Beach hats
    Beat the heat with the best summer beach hats for women
    Camera
    Beach Hats
  • Expectations for ministry
    Pastor preaches to newly ordained ministers about expectations for ministry
    Camera
    6 Photos
  • Medical symptoms
    See which symptoms should cause you to seek a doctor’s attention right away
    Camera
    6 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Mobile industry scams, cramming, and the FTC's recommended changes.
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518295941" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518295941&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Josh Brolin's Thanos character not to have a part in Joss Whedon's 'Avengers 2' movie
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/g0fAFwD70tQ?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Intelligence of crows, jealousy of dogs, and first graders.
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518338433" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518338433&autoStart=true"></div>