The other day I was having a conversation with a friend on the topic of him finding a job where he would be making more than $8 an hour. The stipulations are, of course, that he can only work 15 hours a week during school, and doesn't have any highly developed trade skills. He feels like, after 4+ years in the working world, he should be worth more. The good news is, he's not the only one who has felt like this, but somewhere in modern American history, we've come up with this notion that quantitative experience is the only thing of value.
I came up with five areas in which he could make himself more valuable and therefore get paid more. A higher paying job doesn't necessarily have to have all five of these, but most will require more than one. The categories are: commitment, responsibility, risk, skill, and stigma. An increase in any one of these five will lead to an increase in pay. Commit yourself to a job for a certain amount of time and they'll pay you more because they know they can count on you to be there for X amount of time. Increase the amount of responsibility you have on a job, and they'll entrust you with more things than the schmuck who just got hired last week. Increase risk and stigma, and you will get paid more because fewer people want to work such a job; being a garbage man doesn't require much risk, skill, responsibility, or commitment, but because very few people want the job, it's worth more. Increase your skill in a certain area and you're more valuable; look on Monster or CareerBuilder and you'll see plenty of jobs open for people with highly developed trade skills paying very well, but almost nobody who can take such jobs because they lack the necessary skills.
Lastly, if you're not willing to make yourself more valuable, then by all means stop complaining about not making more money. Why do McJobs pay so low? Because they're in high demand and they can hire someone off the street today. They can have them doing half the job by the end of the day and be fully trained in a month or two. Make yourself less replaceable and you'll be worth more, simple as that.