Fwd: [BATN] Bay Area gas at record high; experts cite ethanol

owen@permafrost.net owen@permafrost.net
Thu, 13 Mar 2003 13:21:44 -0400

On Thu, Mar 13, 2003 at 10:30:01AM -0600, Adam L. Beberg wrote:
> On Thu, 13 Mar 2003 owen@permafrost.net wrote:
> > Or work as a computer programmer.
> >
> > Currently earning about 70% (not adjusted for inflation) of what I earned
> > at my first, entry-level position in 1986.
> Ah, so i'm not the only one!
> Basicly my day jobs doubled each job. The in college one, the out of college
> one, the MN one, the CA one... there there was a crash. Now i'm back to
> effectively the out of college wage, but doing consulting.
Not in this country - nor I suspect anywhere away from the epicenter. I got 
one increase close to that - right at the height of dot-com mania. 
But from the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties, outside the US, programming is 
a poor paying job. And after the bubble its back to being a poor paying job. 
Which of course, another thing you discover, is that it is like most low paying jobs, 
predominantly female - I have worked in 2 places where I was the token male. 

I thought a while ago - I tried to think how many raises I got during my career 
that did not involve job-hopping. From 1986 to 2003 I received precisely 2 increases
in salary from an employer who actually saw some value in my work (or not). 

- In 1987 I received a 10% salary increase after completing my first year out of Uni. 
- In 1992 I worked at a university and thus was unionized. We went on strike when the
university wanted to rescind our 1.5% cost-of-living increase. 2 days off without pay
= 1.2% raise. While I worked there - the "step" increases given to people for seniority 
were frozen due to fiscal cutbacks. 

Thus in general the highlights of my career have been the shocked look on manager's 
faces when I told them I had found another job. One of the last switches was especially 
gratifying because I felt that my employer was trying to "trap" me there - no title, no training,
work on their proprietary crap so you can't transfer it to a new position. Of course 
now I wish I was still "trapped" there. Since this thread started talking about inflation 
- that particular employer had a 13 year wage freeze when I left. i.e. zero raises for anyone, no
cost of living, nada.

I remember a quote from some rich asshole a while back - when asked about finding "good" jobs. 
In his words, he said soon there will be no "good" jobs - you will be paid precisely what you're 
worth, globally. 
Unless of course you're in the "rich asshole" club - i.e. have your salary set by other rich
assholes that are on the compensation committee. 

Personally I think that thats not necessarily a bad thing, if the same transparency also gets
applied to investments - with competition for the good ones driving the price up until they're no
longer "good", and hopefully the additional funds fuel innovation which reduces prices enough to
make up for my lower income. Unfortunately politicians seem to serve as a barrier to entry to
investors - you really need to own one to make a sure profit. 

In Canada, here we just got the latest census released and its amazing the spin put on it. 
On the television its a great thing - university grads make wonderful salaries, 60% more than high
school grads, etc., etc. 

Around here (a low-wage area) - the papers highlighted the fact that

in 1990 9% of university grads made less than $20 k canadian ($13.5k US). Now 11% do. 
And as usual, I'm in the 2% group. Its not the top 2% like usual though. 

I think the bubble somewhat shielded Americans from what the rest of the world (best demonstrated by
Canada) has gone through (after tax income below): 

"Using the institute's method of calculation and the census figures, the average Canadian in 1981 (a
comparison for 1980 was not available) kept $17,245 of his or her earnings. In 2000, that dropped to
$15,561, a 10 per cent decrease."


Of course all of this explains why Canada is doing pretty well right now - why go to India to pay
someone ~ $10,000 a year when you can go to Nova Scotia?