Parade magazine’s annual coverage of “What People Earn” came out a month ago. They have the usual spread of celebrities—Tom Brady, the New England Patriots QB, who pulls in $23 million; Brad Pitt, making do on $35.5 million; and Serena Williams, who earns roughly $396.32 for every time she slams a tennis ball over the net in competition. You wonder how I arrived at that number? Very simple. I input her age (31), average wind speed and temperature in her hometown (Saginaw, MI, where she never plays), and typical cost of tennis racquets used by the pros ($200). Hey, it’s as good as some of the stuff I see coming out of Washington.
Lest you think these celebs are overpaid, consider that Tom Brady needed (wanted?) to put a moat around his 22,000 sf cottage to prevent the curious from approaching too closely to his bedroom windows. From the surveillance drone photos, I could not detect a drawbridge and portcullis but there’s a good chance he’s imported guard monsters for the moat so I wouldn’t get any ideas, if I were you.
One of the most unusual job titles has to be that of Paul Cunningham, who makes $50,000; he also makes footballs. Since pig bladders are no longer used (can you imagine blowing up one of those things? Gag!), he uses leather from the carcasses of XXXX. I won’t disclose the animals used, lest I arouse the minions of PETA, who would pester Paul perpetually.
Study this annual survey and you’ll see there’s nothing to justify why entertainers get gazillions while Seth Simas makes the princely sum of $11,260 as a substitute teacher in Waterford, a two-stoplight town right in the center of California. Melissa Pierce makes $19,000 as a custom embroiderer, Wendy Jehlen gets $1,000/month as a sign language interpreter, and Jerry Loney yuks it up as a part-time clown in Topeka for $200/month. Marcos Lares, the police public safety dispatcher for Tucson, is paid $59,000 and “loves his action-packed days.” Barbara Bradhurst makes a tenth as much as a tax return preparer, but says “tax time is my favorite time of the year.” Hey, gal, you must be in hog heaven right about now.
Maybe it’s more important that you love your work rather than make a pile of money.
And for many people, just having a job—a place to go to Monday through Friday—is the most important thing. Sure helps get a feeling of self-worth. A lot of folks in our country have neither. Having a job = purpose in life. With so many people jobless, the people at Parade doubtless picked up on the despair when they went out to talk to people. Reading what a few dozen people earn across the country is the pits if you’re out of work. Too many people have no job and no job prospects: particularly the young, the old, the less educated, and African-American and Latino workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 7.7% unemployment but that’s way low. Congress says you have to be looking for work to be considered unemployed. Factor in all the people who’ve stopped looking for work and unemployment is closer to 15%.
I was pleased that a fellow blogger, Jessica Hacker of Caldwell, ID earns $18,000, which is, um, considerably more than what I make. But I enjoy what I do. So does Jessica. She looks confident, poised, ready to take on the world. LivingOnACoupon.com tells how her family gets by on as little as $160/month!
I know what it’s like to be out of work—I was unemployed well over a year after we returned from the States from an overseas job. It’s not fun. We trusted God to provide. He did. I am a better man for what I went through. God knows what you’re facing. He’ll make the way, if you let him. For all of you out there who need hope, I’m praying for you.
If you’ve gone through a dry stretch yourself, can you share how you coped?