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Money talks

January 10, 2008
snow.jpgMore rage TV last night watching What Britain Earns with Father/son presenting team Peter and Dan Snow, of which you can see the gist of their findings here.

First off, I’d like to take issue with the band that journalists are in. Most start on about £13-14k (if they’re lucky) and that’s after long stints of unpaid work experience (usually). After four years working as a production editor (i.e. kinda senior on an editorial team – depending on team size), I’m still earning less than £20K. So that rather bugged me. Usually (in Bath anyway) it’s the deputy editors and editors who earn upwards of £20K although I understand this is vastly different in London, so that might up the average somewhat.

So yes, basically, the fact that I earn the same as a bin man rather irked me. I don’t want to sound like a brat, and I’m sure I’d rather be doing what I do daily, than what they do daily, but it bugs me that I bothered with my education, with training, pouring money into it all, when I could have left school after my GCSEs, done something (like refuse collection – why not?) and either be earning the same wage now, or even more (probably more, actually). A manager at our local Boots gets paid (a lot) more than me (£30K), and in the job description they ask for no more than A Levels…

Yes, I’m an office-working, middle class, spoilt little brat. Yes, I am very lucky I don’t have to sift through strangers’ used sanitary towels and mouldy leftovers. But I work very long hours under stressful conditions, and it fecks me off that I’m only on the second rung of the pay ladder.

On the other side of the coin, while I’m chained to my desk, some bastard toff in the city is being paid millions in bonuses just for selling a few shares at a few pence more than he bought them. Dan Snow was at great pains to explain how difficult being a trader was and how the top companies only select those from Oxbridge. He was then trained how to do it reasonably well in a morning… These braying, Boateng-suited, All Bar One drinking arseholes get Jaguars and Ferraris as their Xmas bonuses. Most of my work mates didn’t even get an inflationary pay rise last year. Makes. Me. Sick.

Oh, and get this – our armed forces basically are on about £2 per hour because they work round the clock seven days a week, so their basic salary works out as that. Disgusting. And while they’re fighting for queen and country (why one plucky youngun said he was doing it) their generals and other senior officers are earning the same as the average price of a house (£250-270K) for sitting back and letting them risk their lives. So. Fecking. Depressing. What do these people NEED that much money for? What could they possibly spend it on? How many holidays do you NEED a year?

I’d better go. Must do some work.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. Marcus Golding permalink
    January 10, 2008 2:54 pm

    Are you twelve.

    This really is a poor article.

    Must try harder.

  2. January 10, 2008 3:01 pm

    *pisses self laughing* Oh, I wish I was 12 years old. Then I wouldn’t mind earning well under £20K a year.

    First up Marcus, this is not an “article.” It is what it is – my thoughts on something I watched last night on telly. A lot of people sit watching TV screaming at it, and these were my screams, basically, so chill the hell out.

    Marcus, Marcus, Marcus… Something about you (and I can’t quite put my finger on what) makes me imagine you as one of those trader types, which is perhaps why you disapprove of my wailings. Have *you* got a photo of yourself sitting in a Delorean perchance?

  3. Dan permalink
    January 10, 2008 4:19 pm

    Badgermadge, perhaps you need to grow up a little?

    Stressful conditions? You should try being a jnr doctor or a nurse dealing with and being attacked by drunks in A&E every other weekend.

    Or perhaps you should be thinking a of the kids in 3rd world countries who are trafficked to work on cocoa plantations or worse?

    And it was a Lambo, not a Delorean.

  4. January 10, 2008 4:28 pm

    thanks for your comment.

    sure, i’m not a junior doctor who is getting attacked every weekend (but who is being paid AT LEAST 30K as a starting salary, the poor sods).

    and it’s very easy to pull out the african orphan card (especially when you have money). i’m not saying i’m the lowliest being on the planet. merely that i work very hard for the job i do. it *is* very stressful and demanding actually, and my pay does not reflect that. it especially doesn’t reflect it when those in higher positions don’t do nearly as much work or are under nearly as much stress yet are on obscenely high wages.

    lambo/delorean, you say potato, i say potarto (i don’t actually. i say potato). it was a posh car. and the fact you know the difference, makes all the difference.

  5. immokk permalink
    January 10, 2008 4:41 pm

    I think you’re being a little unfair on the writer of the article. He was basically voicing his opinon which, as the law states, he is very much entitled to do.

    You have the right not to read it.

    I can understand why some might feel irked by the TV show as with the cost of fuel and energy going up and some companies not giving pay rises, some people are getting worse off.

    There are not that many high paid jobs to choose from unless you have spent a long time being very political or a short time simply knowing the right people.

    Most people have to battle away at their jobs to earn mediocre salarys and for the chance of pitiful pay rises. By the same token there are many, many people in the higher wage brackets who have already paved their own way with hard work.

    Rather a political discussion isn’t it really when it is the government who controls minimum wage and some previous governments who developed the process of selling and privatisation.

    As for the gentleman who brought up the ‘Junior Doctor’ thing, well they made that decision and they knew what they were getting themselves into. Good for them, in the respect that they are prepared to do it, but I don’t think they should complain about it.

    And what have third world children got to do with anything? Have we, as the public, not donated our money to this cause before and their governments (or ours, depending on your belief) essentially pickpocketed those it was intended for?

    Hardly right to enter that into a discussion about wages.

    Give the guy a break, he was stating his opinion, whether you agree or not.

  6. Dan permalink
    January 10, 2008 4:41 pm


    I just find it a bit churlish that people have a right royal go at others for earning a lot of money (I’m not saying it’s right or wrong) but who aren’t nearly in as bad a position themselves as they could be.

    Some people earn staggering amounts of money. disgusting amounts, but for most of them (or the ones who are self made), well good luck to ’em.

    Maybe you deserve to get paid more than you do for the stress you’re under, maybe you don’t? I don’t know. Your review just came across as a bit of a bitter rant.

    You’re entitled to your opinions though.

    And on the Lamborghini/Delorean thing, what can I say? I like cars. I can’t afford Lambo – I probably couldn’t even afford a replacement key fob for one! And the Delorean – who in their right mind would drive one? They were terrible!!

  7. immokk permalink
    January 10, 2008 4:54 pm

    Key fob comment made me laugh.

  8. Dan permalink
    January 10, 2008 5:03 pm

    “he was stating his opinion, whether you agree or not”.

    Quite right immokk, as you’ll see in my reply to badgermadge.

  9. January 10, 2008 5:05 pm

    Thank you for all your comments. Great to ghet a debate going again on these pages. (Except I’m a girl, Immokk!)

    My point *was* that there are people out there being paid stupid, disgusting amounts of money (who do very little for it), so I think we might be (almost) singing from the same hymn sheet, Dan.

    Yes I work very hard for what I do. Not as hard as some, and (like I said) I don’t have to deal with faeces, mould, killing people, being killed, saving lives, etc, etc, etc.

    But I certainly don’t get paid properly for what I *do* do. In fact “Most people have to battle away at their jobs to earn mediocre salaries and for the chance of pitiful pay rises” pretty much sums it up. People think journalism is glamorous, easy, privileged… Maybe the massive coffee-table-type magazines but where I am it’s very different. Most journalists I know have worked their arses off to be where they are, and all of us know that there are hundreds (probably actually thousands) willing to replace us if/when we leave (because they are under the misconception that it’s glamorous, easy, etc), which is most probably why they can get away with such bad pay.

    Apologies if the ‘rant’ style irked some. But that *is* the style of this blog.

  10. Rhian permalink
    January 10, 2008 7:17 pm

    I generally agree with everything (which I would, really, being in pretty much the same boat).

    Buuuuuut – one thing. I have a friend who is a junior doctor, and on her current rotation she’s being paid at £20k. I’m not on too much less than that, and I have nothing past A Levels, whereas as she had two degrees before starting med school, and then spent five loooooong years at medical school. Sure, her earning potential is way more than mine, and in even five years she’ll be way way above me, but finding this out from her did make me resolve to complain about my salary less.

    However, the city types – yep, I’m with you.

  11. January 10, 2008 8:12 pm

    I ended up doing 5/6 days work for 2 days last month because of a verbal agreement. But it was the lack of respect for what i did that irked me… sometimes doing a good job and extra doesn”t pay. i don’t have work everyday so i plan, look for work etc… i need the pay i get for the days i work. i’d never take a full time job, never has interested me working in an office environment. last night i was looking at figures in a basic way, how much do you need to work to earn x amount per annum. £24k at £2k per month, £60k at £5k per month. Charge £450 per day. 5ish days in the first instant, 11ish in the second. can’t always get the £450 per day rate. Is the £450 worth it to the client. If i hand over 5 great images (photographer), that’s £90 per image…. value for money!

  12. Rapc permalink
    January 10, 2008 8:47 pm

    I agree with you badgermadge. Only reason those broker/banker ppl were getting paid so much is cos they are in charge of so much cash, i personally dont believe the job is all that difficult and most people could do it once u get trained(just like most office jobs) they dont need to have oxbridge grads, they just do cos they believe they are the most reliable and not going to take stupid risks with “fat cats” money.

    I would like to be a radiographer but dont know if its worth working my arse off for 3 yrs to be qualified and earning just over 20 grand at the end of it while working shift patterns including weekends and nights, when i could just be a binman and potentially earn more and working about 5 hours a day in the morning and have weekends free and probably more days leave.

    Also its true that junior docs do get stressed and earn 30k but get abuse in a&e, but most only do it as a stepping stone to be a GP/Consultant where earnings shoot up.

    But at the end of the day we cant really complain about peoples salaries as it depends on how wealthy a company is before they can give good salaries.
    Example, junior docs employed by NHS = NHS got no money whatsoever to give a higher salary as they just run out of money so quick

    City banker/broker = Banks/businesses are unbelievably rich have massive profit margins which in turn can give massive pay scales to an investment banker/broker

    Its all about the difference in the private and public sectors.

  13. January 11, 2008 12:38 am

    I am always amused when people complain about their pay when many have a choice to do something about it. Yes, your salary is low, but their are plenty of journalism and production jobs out there paying a lot more. The reason you are paid less than £20k as a production editor is simple; either you can’t be bothered to seek out higher paying work or perhaps you are not good enough?

    Incidentally, most people working in the City are not “bastard toffs” and most don’t earn big bonuses. You should really do your research better rather than using lazy journalistic cliches.

    I’m not quite sure what the All Bar One comment is about – it’s a bland high street chain bar so I doubt it would be the first choice for those with bonuses to spend.

    (And no, before you ask, I don’t work in the City or earn anything like a trader’s salary.)

  14. Martin permalink
    January 11, 2008 8:58 am

    There’s no war like class war, eh? You seem pretty upset, and the explanations you’ve given to other comments don’t really satisfy me that your not. I don’t understand why though. Since you say you bothered with your education then presumably you have transferable skills that can take you to a higher earning profession? Except you have apparently chosen not to, so whos’ fault is it that your where you are today? It must be the city toffs… Damn them all! If you like your profession then stick with it and stop moaning, if you don’t then leave and do something more to your liking.

    On a separate note, your support of the British armed forces is praiseworthy, but a little misguided. The most senior officer is responsible for over 180,000 lives, all of which could be put in a position where they could be lost. While they may not patrol, or sail or fly any more they hold responsibility which cannot be compared to anything in civilian life. So please don’t get too excited about the pay of the Private/Matelot/Airtech and the head of the armed forces, that’s a whole new debate.

  15. January 11, 2008 9:53 am

    Armed forces: My point wasn’t really the fact that the comanders get paid loads, it was more the rather large gap between the two (average of £2 an hour vs £Obscene amount a year).

    Me and my job: Yes I know there are worse off. Yes I know I could just leave and do something else. And yes, technically I have ‘transferable skills’. However, when you’ve got these transferable skills (in my experience) it’s actually quite difficult to transfer your experience. Plus I’m at the age now when it would be a HUGE step back to start my career over again. I’m not even going to bother commenting on whether I’m good enough at my job. All I’ll say is that my salary is very near the top of the band for production editors in my company. So I must be doing something right. (That doesn’t necessarily mean that production editors at my company are paid properly for the work they do, which was my argument).

  16. January 11, 2008 10:53 am

    Sorry if I sounded harsh last night – it was late, I was tired and you appeared to have a massive chip on your shoulder which is something that really riles me.

    Many people will earn much more than you in life, and that’s just something you either have to accept, or if you can’t, then work harder to achieve it yourself. Bitterness and envy are not attractive qualities 😉 .One of my mates who works in IT earns over £200k which is a massive amount to me, but she’s super clever, the work intrudes heavily into her home life and she has a level of responsibility that would scare the pants off most people. Do I begrudge her her high salary – no, I say good for her. Of course, I’d love that level of salary, but would I want her job? Hell no! I don’t earn tonnes in my job and I work very long hours, but I have job satisfaction, great colleagues, flexibility and benefits which are just as important to me personally as a wad of cash. If money was a bigger factor than those things then I wouldn’t moan about my job, I’d look for something different instead.

    If as you say, you are paid a similar rate to others at your level in your company, then maybe you need to look elsewhere. It’s pointless staying and being negative about it. You don’t need to start your career again, that just sounds like an excuse. There are better paid jobs out there (I’ve got friends in similar work). Having a positive attitude also helps; my friends who moan about work and feel hard done by are all still on low salaries, but doing nothing about it other than moaning. My friends who are high earners all share similar traits: they are positive and focused people who have worked hard and made sacrifices that most of us wouldn’t consider.

    I wish you luck.

  17. Martin permalink
    January 11, 2008 1:27 pm

    Ref Armed Forces again: As I said before, your support for them is praiseworthy. I’d like to use a very rough and ready set of assumptions though to show how diffucult it is to get to the top of the forces. Lets assume that:

    There are 200000 people in the armed forces
    There is a 20% turnover in manpower per year
    It takes 35 years to reach the top job
    The forces are a pure meritocracy (it’s an assumption, bare with me)
    The UK population is 55m, workforce of 30,

    Using this, by the time one person has reached the top, 1.4m people have joined and left the forces since they joined and given that they’re ‘the best’ at what they do (because it’s a meritocracy) they’re the pre-eminent person out of 1.6m others. This means that there is only another 34 people in the entire country that are equally capable individuals (and only 18 in the workforce), but they’re unlikely to be demanding the same job.

    Personally if the boss of my company was more capable than 1.6m others, I wouldn’t begrudge them the big bucks.

    As for the Toms (private soldiers) on the ground, as was said on the program, they’ll never be paid their intrinsic worth. It’s just too high and too varied. What’s the worth of a soildier undergoing training? Pretty low. What’s the value of a soldier fighting or covering a fire strike, or dealing with foot and mouth, or flood defence because the government told them to, no matter what their opinions? More than what they get, that’s for sure..

  18. January 11, 2008 2:05 pm

    it’s not that i begrudge them. it’s more that a) surely no one NEEDS that much money. b) the lowest ranks should get more than an average of £2 an hour if those at the highest ranks are paid that much (and risking their lives).

  19. Jock permalink
    February 11, 2008 10:58 pm

    Was looking for something else and found this site – I work in financial publishing. Here’s the thing – journalism is a vocation – people want to do it and its not brutally hard to do (though it is hard to do very well), barriers to entry are very low, as the writer said, you can get into it with unpaid work experience for example (though if you read The Eye this week there’s some lovely comments on nepotism ;o) ) ergo so is the pay.

    The financial world is very hard to get into, is very hard to be successful in and is very difficult to stay in, ergo the pay is very high. Junior bankers work ridiculous hours and for not great pay initially – like junior doctors perhaps… but the rewards are there if you are persistant and talented.

    What I think is interesting is what motivates the high flyers – was talking to a senior investment banker one time – I said I couldn’t believe their bonuses and if I ever got a bonus of seven figures , i’d retire on the spot, let alone getting it year in year out – “that is why you don’t have that kind of job” was the very accurate reply…

  20. February 12, 2008 9:56 am

    thanks for taking the time to comment jock. very good points, well made, except i’d disagree that it’s easy to get into journalism. it’s easy to get work experience (unpaid), but it’s very difficult to get full-time paid work as a staff member on a magazine team.

    plus, from dan snow’s attempt, his brokering (or whatever it was) looked piss easy. buy low, sell high, right?! interesting that a journalist (someone who naturally has to be adaptable and absorb and understand information quickly and easily) can take to something as (apparently) difficult as brokering. i doubt if one of those city slickers would cope on a daily news desk, or bitchy fashion mag, for example…

  21. Alex permalink
    September 17, 2008 6:55 pm

    Do something different then.

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