Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

You Earn How Much?!?!?!

So, in today’s newspaper (yes, I’m still reading our newspaper), the Parade magazine insert has their annual “What People Earn” report. I always find this little salary roundup fascinating although it is clearly stated that the report is not a scientific study. That’s OK with me…I’m not interested in some dry, detailed report with tables of statistics and colorful graphs. I’m just curious to see what people around the country are being paid for their hard work.

Immediately, my eyes find the famous faces spread throughout the article. Let’s see…Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, earns $212,100 while Ryan Seacrest (yes, Mr. American Idol) earns $12 million. Okay…I’m sure Mr. Seacrest earns every penny of that $12 million with his radio show in Los Angeles and all of his various TV hosting gigs while Mrs. Pelosi only has that one job in Washington D.C. Of course, along with Mr. Seacrest, there are several other celebrities and sports stars listed in the $1 million-and-then-some club so I shouldn’t really pick on poor Ryan.

And then there are all the “regular folk” who are listed from around the country, working in a variety of industries and occupations. As always, my eyes look through the photos of happy workers trying to locate the Librarian. Invariably, there is someone from my former career listed each year and I am always curious to see where my fellow Librarian lives and what his or her annual income is. This year it’s a Children’s Librarian from Buford, Georgia and her annual income is $30,700. Is that ALL??? I’m assuming this poor woman has a Master’s degree (yes, you need a Masters degree to be hired for most librarian positions) and is working in one of the most challenging positions in a public library. I should know…I spent my first four “professional” years as a Children’s Librarian and I know exactly how much time and effort it takes.

It’s when I turn the page that I become even more horrified. Listed is a gentleman from Crofton, Maryland who earns $47,000 as a Doughnut Fryer. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m sure this gentleman has specialized skills in his chosen occupation and I’m fairly certain the cost of living in Crofton, Maryland is much higher than in Buford, Georgia. But it pains me to know that a Doughnut Fryer earns significantly more than a Children’s Librarian. It just doesn’t seem fair.

20 comments:

Toni said...

Can't believe I missed it this year!

So basically I am wasting my time going to school, when I should go buy an apron and hairnet? It's totally wrong!

meno said...

I read this article too. It's always depresing to me how little social workers and teachers and health care provider make, while celebrities take home millions. I want to live in a world where the opposite is true.

Renee said...

I am so not a socialist...but I do think our society is soooooo crazy where a "movie star" makes a boatload of money and the folks in charge of seeing to our future make "diddly-squat!"

What's wrong with this picture???

Patti said...

Joan, I wish I had the guts to tell you how much (little) I make. It's embarrassing.
It's a long story, for sure. The story of my life, since college... But they can get away with it, since I am part-time.
Of course, I am free to look elsewhere...

Patti said...

P.S. Joan, I left you a note today in my comment section. Is that bad manners?

Midlife Mom said...

You have hit a nerve here with me! This is one of my biggest gripes! I have always felt there was something wrong when the celebrities like Ryan Seacrest and all earn all that money and our teachers, firemen, police officers and others that protect us and teach our young earn so little! Amen to all that you wrote!

patches said...

I agree with everyone who commented about the inequity of salaries, but I feel like there are a few other considerations worth mentioning. Generally, jobs in the northeast pay more than jobs in the south. According to this site,Crofton, Maryland has a cost of living that is 30% HIGHER than the US average, and the median home cost is $395,800. In Buford, Georgia the cost of living is 11.2% LOWER than the US average, and the median home costs $158,100. It doesn't explain away the salary difference, but it does help put things in context. (Did it mention if the fryer was unionized. that makes a big difference in his negotiating power)

As far as far celebrity and professional athlete incomes go, they are determined by us, the consumers. We vote, with televisions, magazine subscriptions, movie tickets dvd purchases, and season tickets. If you don't like it, vote with your wallet. Unfortunately earning potential is often determined by how much money your job brings in, in the case of social workers, librarians, police officers, their positions aren't capital bread-winners, like pharmaceutical salespersons, basketball players and CEO's. To place a higher value on capital and entertainment, and little or no value on keeping order or educating the masses saddens me.

Lynn said...

Does the article say how much greeters at Walmart make? :~D I don't begrudge celebrities and sports figures for the megamillions that they make...not one little bit,nope not at all...o.k. maybe just a little bit...all right...A LOT!

Joan said...

Toni: I'm sure you'd look lovely in an apron and hairnet but, if I were you, I'd keep doing the school thing...you just never know what success might come out of it.

Meno: Our priorities as a civilization seem so backward...if only we could switch them.

Patti: Remember...it's not the salary which defines a person's worth so don't feel embarrassed. I've always believed that, if your chosen profession makes you happy, that's all that really matters.

Midlife mom: I know that celebrities earn huge bucks for the entertainment corporations they work for so I guess, in a way, they deserve their inflated salaries but it just doesn't seem right that hardworking regular folks earn so little.

Patches: I absolutely agree with you that the responsibility for the disparity in salaries between celebrities and us regular folk belongs to the consumer. I just wish I knew how to change it!

Joan said...

Lynn: No, I think they forgot to include a Walmart greeter but you know that's my fantasy retirement job...I practice at home constantly.

dcrmom said...

Ugh, I agree. I am all for capitalism, really, I am. But those in the entertainment industry and sports figures making such ridiculous sums of money REALLY gets my goat.

When I started teaching, at a Christian school in 1997, I made $16,000 a year. That's for a full-time 3rd grade classroom teacher. I took the job because I had been subbing for years, trying to get into the public schools, where the salaries are more reasonable, and I wanted to teach so bad, I didn't care if I had to pay them to do it.

I didn't see that report, but I think I"ll go look it up. Sounds interesting.

Patti said...

Joan, just imagine what the employee discount must be
;-D

sari said...

Wouldn't it be nice if Mr. Ryan Seacrest donated some of that $12 million to a few causes of his own, since all they've been talking about on American Idol lately is how to "give back?"

I think it's a horrible shame that teachers and librarians make so little. They are shaping the future - they truly are. It's just sad.

Joan said...

Patti: Ooooo...an employee discount! As a former public employee, I have no idea what that is! :~D

Sari: I agree that Mr. Seacrest needs to set a charitable example as do all the celebrities whose incomes are exhorbitant. What can anyone possibly do with $12 million except give it to those less fortunate???

PEA said...

I agree...it really irks me when I see someone having a much harder job and yet make less than someone who has it easy. There just doesn't seem to be any fairness at all in the way the salaries are justified!! xox

Joan said...

Pea: It always makes me wonder what criteria there is for a job's worth if it isn't the amount of effort that's put into it. Go figure...

Linda said...

What I recently found appalling was that one of our local grocery stores (Stop & Shop to be specific) was threatening a strike, they posted on TV how much their workers were making. A regular cashier working at the check-out stands starts out at $15.00 an hour. This is more than our 911 dispatchers start out making and not that much less than what I currently make.

I am supposed to save lives for a living - save lives! My job requires me to have certification and Continuing Dispatch Education and be accountable to people and yet someone who rings out groceries makes almost as much as I do?? What is wrong with this picture??

And yes, I live in the Northeast where salaries are supposed to be better but so do those cashiers at the local Stop & Shop.

Joan said...

Wow...your personal example is exactly what's wrong with our priorities as a nation. Isn't the saving of lives more important than ringing up a few items at a grocery store and shouldn't the people who save live be reasonably compensated for their hard work and expertise...of course!!!

Amber M. said...

While I too am appalled at the amount made by the hardest working, I've also recently come to appreciate it.

Here’s a positive way to look at this situation:
1) The most important jobs in society should also be the most rewarding, emotionally, to those working in them.
2) There's nothing like realizing that you're destined to remain in the lowest pay bracket to test your dedication to your chosen occupation.

Where there’s big money, there also (sadly) seems to always be a good deal of people who are there just for the money. Working in the non-profit sector, I know that the people who surround me are doing it because they believe in it and because they care, not for the money.

There are, after all, more ways to measure success and value in life than money alone.

ana said...

Great subject. I have been playing around with the idea of the comment structure recently.

earn degree