Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How Underpaid Am I?

Wow. A co-worker and close friend of mine, who has the exact same job that I have, and who's current salary is the same as mine, just got a job offer that knocked him flat.

- This job is compensated so much higher than our current job that I could tell you his salary today and it wouldn't help you guess the salary of the new job.

- If you wanted to express the relationship between the two salaries as a circle, the old job would be the diameter, and the new job would be the circumference. Then you'd have to add a line or a lump or a funny hat to the top of the circle to make it accurate.

- If he wants to save half his new salary, and only half his salary, his spending will have to increase dramatically.

- His salary has increased so much that if it were expressed in British pounds, and you accidentally misread it as dollars, you'd still be impressed at how much of a raise he just got.

What does this mean for me? Sadly, very little in the short term. I'm not terribly underpaid in my industry or compared to my b-school graduating class, and the odds of me going out and finding a job like this for which I'm qualified are very close to 0. Even though we have the same job today, he was actually uniquely qualified for this job, and it's just dumb luck that the stars aligned to put him in it.

The good news for me in the long term is that my "network" now contains yet another person who's compensation can be expressed as a large improper fraction of mine. Maybe I can be his lackey or something and draft off his success.