President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama suggested that they are actively searching for dead-end, low-paying jobs for their two daughters so the teenagers can appreciate the quiet desperation that millions of Americans experience.
“We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair,” President Obama said in a hard-hitting interview in Parade magazine. “But that’s what most folks go through every single day.”
Michelle Obama also chimed in.
“I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work,” she said.
“That’s what life is,” the first lady added.
The uncompromising Parade interviewer had opened the door for these answers with the question: “Do you want your daughters to work in the types of character-building minimum-wage jobs you had?”
As the Daily Mail notes, both Obamas had low-paying jobs when they started their careers long ago. As a teenager, the President scooped 31 flavors of ice cream at a Baskin Robbins in Honolulu. He was also a painter and waited tables at an assisted-living facility for senior citizens.
The first lady once was once employed at a book-binding shop.
The first daughters are Malia and Sasha. Malia will turn 16 next month. Sasha turned 13 this month. Both of the girls attend Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. Tuition at the fancypants school is $36,264 per year (but that includes a hot lunch).
Neither Malia nor Sasha has landed a miserable, low-paying job yet. However, Malia appeared on the set of a new CBS science-fiction series called “Extant,” notes the Mail. She worked for a single day as a production assistant. It’s not clear if she received compensation.
In the wide-ranging Parade interview, the first couple also discussed the brutal hardships they faced just after they had graduated from law school. During at least part of this time, they were both attorneys at Sidley Austin, the 11th-largest law firm by revenue in the United States.
Michelle Obama lamented that she lived at her mother’s house and drove a used car.
Both the President and the first lady also spoke about the burden of the student loans they had acquired because they attended Harvard Law School, and of the general hardships of raising small children while trying to climb the corporate ladder.
President Obama said he was saddened that millions of Americans are unable to take time off whenever they need it the way he was able to as a highly-compensated white-collar professional.
“If you’re an hourly worker in most companies, and you say, ‘I’ve got to take three days off,’ you may lose your job,” he told Parade. “At minimum, you’re losing income you can’t afford to lose.”
The Obamas also spent a good portion of the interview talking about how, when they first married, they used to bicker over laundry chores and cleaning the bathroom.