An interesting letter in this week's Yated:
I would like to raise an issue that has been bothering me for a few years.
I am a one-man-band in a large Jewish community. Having a wife and children, this is a good way to support myself by doing something that I enjoy. When I was a bochur, I began accepting jobs. Sometimes, when I would quote a price, it was not uncommon to hear comments that my price is too high, since I am only a bochur.
Let me explain the expenses of a one-man-band.
First of all, a good keyboard used by the wedding pros (which is not uncommon to be used by a bochur) costs a few thousand dollars. Secondly, a decent sound system, which includes speakers, a mixer and cables, runs in the thousands. This is in addition to the thousands of hours devoted to programming and practicing.
The next time you hire a one-man band, even if he's "just a bochur," realize that he still has many expenses.
Now, I don't know if this is a uniquely Jewish problem, but this is not the first time I've heard a similar story in the frum world -- where employers pay more to people with expenses (read: married) and less to employees without those expenses (read: single).
To me, this sounds very unprofessional and patently unfair. A person's salary (or fee) should be based on the value of the service provided. It should not be based on extraneous factors such as whether or not the person is married. In New York State, in regular employment situations, this is almost certainly illegal (I don't know how/if it applies to single-time engagements like a musician at an affair) and immoral. Should a musician with eight children demand for more money than one with two because he has more mouths to feed? The answer, clearly, is no -- because the six extra children do not add to the value of the service being provided. The musician's music isn't any better because of the six extra children. Likewise, a bochur's music isn't any worse because he is not married*.
Sadly, this is not the first time I've heard of such situations in the frum world. Like I said, I don't know if this is a "frum" problem or if it exists in other ethnic communities. But it should stop.
Do any of you have any similar experiences?
* Yes, it's possible that he was being asked to accept less because of his inexperience (which is acceptable), not his youth - but from the tone of Y.P.'s letter, that doesn't sound like the case.