Wednesday, July 06, 2005

First juicy bit: salary & bonus

Ok. My salary is currently $79,000. I also get a bonus that can be about $8000 or a bit more if business is really good.

This puts me above the median income for the US, and also for Brooklyn. (And I am single, with no dependents, thank God!) But in the scheme of New York salaries, for people with my years of experience and educational background, it's not that great. Did I mention that I work in publishing, everyone's favorite example of a noble but underpaid industry? I enjoy what I do and don't feel like a wage slave, but publishing salaries don't cover the cost of living in NYC very well. But plenty of people do fine on even less than I make-- I have no sympathy for a nameless friend-of-a-friend who supposedly said that he couldn't quit the law firm job that he hated because "it's impossible to live in New York on less than $70k a year."

There are basics needed to survive--food, housing, clothes. Then there's the stuff that makes you feel civilized, like you have a real life rather than being a subsistence-focused worker bee, or things that just make life a little easier-- entertainment, better food, fancier clothes, charitable giving, self-improvement such as education or fitness activities, and in NY anyway, I'd put having a car in this category. Then there are the luxuries, that make you feel like you are really living well-- maybe it's a Cartier watch, or a sailboat, or travelling around the world. It's interesting to see where different people put the dividing line between the civilized life and luxurious life.

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