Re: What is $100,000 worth, anyway?

Subject: Re: What is $100,000 worth, anyway?
From: Steve Fouts <stefou -at- ESKIMO -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 15:12:36 -0700

Tracy Boyington wrote:
>People keep bringing up the $100,000 salary as if it's a meaningful
>number. In fact, it's rather silly for someone who lives in a part of
>the country where an average home costs $300,000 to use their salary as
>a standard, just as it would be silly for me, in a town where $300,000
>homes are luxury homes, to use my salary as a standard.

Actually the whole thing is silly. For a strictly cost of living
comparison, there is plenty of published data so that you can say
that, for example, a person making $50,000 in Houston TX (where I
used to live) would have to make nearly $60,000 in Seattle, WA to
have the same standard of living (purely material; housing, groceries,
gas, electricity, etc.)

So, when I was interviewing in Seattle, did I demand a 20% increase
over what I was making? No, because strangely enough, there are other
factors at work. The average wage in Seattle was slightly lower than
the average wage in Houston. For some odd reason, people will take
less money to work in the Emerald City, even though the cost of living
is higher. I am convinced that it is because you can get good beer and
good coffee in almost any restaurant. (I fully expect to get at least
one nasty email from someone in Houston saying something about Shiner

Some people will drop everything and move halfway across the country
for a 20% raise. Some people would not leave the place they are, even
if it meant that they had to scrounge scrap metal in the barrow pits
to make ends meet. (I fully expect to get at least one nasty email
message from someone who scrounges cans in the barrow pit to pay for
their ISP connection).

As a professional, I think you should probably keep your eyes and ears
open so you know whether or not you are making a fair wage where you
live. Don't allow yourself to be undervalued just because you don't
know the fair market value for your services. But as for having some
kind of obligation to the "profession" to "demand" a certain wage so
that you can keep the average up, that's a load of bat guano.

I'm fairly sure that, if I wanted to, I could go somewhere else and
do a similar job and make more money. I'm also pretty sure that I

_______________ _____
/ ___ __/__\ \ / / _\ Steve Fouts stefou -at- eskimo -dot- com
/___ \| | ___\ | / __\ sfouts -at- nyx -dot- net
/ / \ | \ / \ stefou -at- safeco -dot- com

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