Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Income and career choices

As a corollary to my most recent rant, here's a few news stories that were fortuitously published within a few days of each other.

Amherst Grads Shun Wall Street, Save World as $45,500 Teachers, partly due to wilted Wall Street prospects. Funny, for all those high-sounding ideals, if finance jobs were plentiful and sign-on bonuses were de riguer, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't hear about Amherst graduates going “My experience in finance just wasn’t as satisfying.”. And now that many people can't afford to spend as much as they used to because of the recession, hankering for material goods and conspicuous consumption are suddenly so gauche.

Citigroup is said to be raising pay, while despite recession, demand for skilled labor is high. For all the demand for skilled welders and petroleum geotechnical engineers (petroleum engineers!), who actually do something productive and useful, the pay for these two kinds of jobs is still lower than bankers who, with pay increases, will make about as much this year as last year. 

A geotechnical engineer's job, or a critical care nurse's job, is not as hard as a banker's, nor does it require as much training. 

It's waaay harder, requires much more training, and lives are actually at stake. And yet, at $65,000 a year, or $100,000 a year, it's a fraction of what a banker rakes in.

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