W is for Wage

There are a few people who I would consider to be big names in writing specifically about Gen Y, Rebecca Thorman is one of those names. On her blog Modite, Rebecca gives advice to “navigate beyond the line of work and play.” Rebecca will be sharing her career advice today on a topic that is an issue for many twentysomethings — wage (as in salary).

This guest post was written by Rebecca Thorman, author of the blog Modite, which as been featured in several media outlets including the New York Times as the key community for Generation Y leadership

My first job out of college paid me $26,250/yr. It was the most ridiculous salary. I thought it didn’t matter because I would love what I was doing. Instead, I did the dirty work. Really.

Unbeknownst to me, we did a lot of deconstruction projects. That means we tore down buildings in such a way as to reduce, reuse and recycle what would have otherwise gone in the trash. One of our projects was deconstructing an old hospital so that a developer could put up a trendy condo development. I was in charge. I supervised day laborers wearing heavy work boots to avoid the old syringes, balled-up hospital gowns and other items from the hospital of horrors that lay on the dust-infested floor. Walking through the corridors, rooms that had been closed off from fresh air and light for months gave off a particularly interesting smell.

Oh, how I hated it. I hated every single second of it. There’s no way I’m getting paid enough for this, I thought, day after day. They could never pay me enough for this.

And therein began the downward spiral into complete job meltdown. Before I knew it, I could barely get up in the morning.

Money isn’t everything, but I think money in a job is a lot like sex in a relationship. It’s an indicator of deeper issues. If you get too much in the beginning, things may turn out to be meaningless later. If you’re not getting enough of it, things may turn into one big mess of frustration and anger.

The people who say money doesn’t matter are wrong. So, soon I began a new job where I received more money, more benefits, and was much happier. Soon after that, I started my current position making more money and became even happier.

That’s because money can’t buy you happiness, but the two seem to be inextricably linked, so as one rises or falls, the other follows suit.

Recently, with my newfound money and happiness, I bought one of those trendy condos that the developer was building in place of that old hospital. They’ll finish it and I’ll move in sometime in June. And that is one of the most satisfying circles of fate ever.

I always love when a good circle of fate comes about. There are people who stay in jobs they hate because the money is good and there are those who leave otherwise good jobs because the pay is not enough. The goal is, at least for me, to have a job that satisfies me and pays well.

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2 Comments

  1. Robin says:

    i work a 9 to 5 job at criminally low wages – this article gives me inspiration and hope for a better job in the future… and a better apartment, preferably on the bulldozed remains of my office! ha, kidding. well, half kidding. thanks a lot!

  2. Is it sad if I think that $26,250 a year is a lot? Oy…

    :o)