What’s your job worth?

Hard work, education may not be as important as luck

By SHANNON VENEGAS
venegasd@mtmary.edu

In the last season of “Friends,” each of the six actors made $1 million per episode. For 22 episodes, that’s $22 million per person in one year.

Of the main characters in “Friends,” only two actors, Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) and David Schwimmer (Ross), have college degrees.

In 2013, the median annual wage for a janitor was $22,590, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I don’t know how many janitors have attended college, but I would be willing to bet not many.opinion

So, why all of the random facts? Where is the correlation?

To sum it up, we have two different types of jobs with very different annual salaries. The stars of “Friends,” despite their various education levels, raked in $22 million per year while the average janitor, who is most likely uneducated, makes approximately $22,000 per year.

That’s a substantial difference, considering they are both full-time jobs.

Why are there substantial discrepancies in pay for equally difficult jobs? And if anyone claims being a janitor is not difficult, I want to see you clean a poopy toilet on a daily basis. On the other end of that, not all acting jobs require a whole lot of skill. I’m pretty sure anyone could have played a better vampire than Kristin Stewart.

Another example is the job of a farmer. Some are educated and some aren’t, but the median wage in 2012 for a farmer was $69,300. Better than a janitor, but not nearly what Jennifer Aniston is making.

I don’t think everyone should earn the same amount of money. Some people work harder than others and deserve what they are paid. There are highly paid, highly educated corporate executives who have worked hard to get where they are.

My problem is that some people may put in 12-14 hour days (even more for a farmer) their entire lives and never make even close to the kind of money an actor or athlete makes.

I assume that actors make more money because Hollywood makes more money. And who feeds Hollywood? We do.

By going to movies, being susceptible to advertising and idolizing our favorite movie stars, we are padding their pocketbooks, yet we penny-pinch at the stores, unwilling to spend money on good, local produce to support farmers. Some of us even walk right past the tip jars in bathrooms at local festivals, refusing to offer up $1 in exchange for the clean toilet we just sat on.

So why are we so much more willing to spend money on Hollywood?

Is it because they offer us a reality beyond our own? An escape from the everyday tasks of our lives? Is this what we place value on these days? Do we prefer to spend money on passive watching?

I can’t answer those questions. I just ask you to consider something: What’s your job worth? Do you work harder than Jennifer Aniston?

Because it seems clear to me that it is not about getting an education anymore or working hard. It’s just the luck of the draw.

 

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