There was a comment to my salary taboo post saying that the salaries of various professions are easily discovered because the government publishes data.
Well I looked up the government data and some of it seems pretty bogus to me.
According to the official government data, lawyers earn a mean annual salary of $110,520, apparently based on a forty hour workweek and an hourly salary of $53.13. BIGLAW associates make that much (if you figure they work 60 hour weeks, then that hourly wage comes out to $165,765), but only the luckiest 10% or so of law school graduates get BIGLAW jobs. Graduating in the top 10% of the class didn’t get me any job offers at all except for a $12/hour position as a paralegal.
The official data says that editors make $51,750/year, but an editor responded to my salary taboo post and said he only earns $27,600, half of what the government thinks he’s supposed to make.
On the other hand, the government seems to be understating how much people in the I.T. industry make. Computer programmers allegedly only make $67,400/year. That’s what a commenter said he made as a software tester. I earn $62.50/hour in computer programming, and there are several commenters who say they are paid similarly high rates. We would all get paid a lot more if the government didn’t let massive numbers of immigrant computer programmers into the country.
According to the government data, law school is a no-brainer if you want to make more money. It was this sort of crappy government reporting which probably led me to making the huge mistake of going to law school (as confirmed recently by the Wall Street Journal).
Because of the salary taboo, high school students have only this lousy government data to rely on, and are therefore encouraged to pick seemingly high paying jobs like fashion designers (what girl wouldn’t want to be a fashion designer and make $67,370/year?) which are really bogus fictions, and are turned away from solid careers like computer programming where they can earn a decent living.