Measuring my worth

Yesterday I experienced a sobering thought. It rattled me hard.

My current hourly wage is the same as what I made in 1986.

Fuck. Seriously. Why the fuck did that thought have to cross my brain? As if I didn’t have enough to think about already. Like all great thoughts, it has really stuck with me. I find myself thinking about it all the time.

1986. Gee. That was 24 years ago.

I mentioned this thought to a co-worker. She was like, “Hey. That’s a year before I was even born.”

It is hard to describe this feeling. Hopefully you can use your imagination.

As a math lover, I decided to celebrate this revelation like I do with all great thoughts … with a graph!

This graph is based on information I obtained using a web site called “Measuring Worth – Relative value of US Dollars.” If you’ve ever heard someone say that “$X amount in X year would be worth $Y amount in today’s dollars” then you already know what this web site does. The site uses six different methods to attempt to answer the question. It shows my 1986 wage compared to what it would be worth today using those six different computational methods.

Yes, like I often do, I omitted the data labels on the left side of the graph. This is out of shame and embarrassment over my current salary range. But I can express it like this: Based on the data I obtained from the Measuring Worth web site, my 1986 hourly wage would worth about 2.4 times what I make today.

In other words I have less than half the buying power that I had in 1986. The word “career” hardly applies. Of course some of the positive thinkers out there (shudder) would be happy to point out that at least I have a job. Hopefully they won’t attempt to express such a sentiment directly to my face.

That graph was so much fun I decided to celebrate with one more.

Some remarks about this graph:

  • 1983 = Cook at McDonald’s
  • 1984 to 1999 = 16 year career at a major company where I worked my way up to management (yes, I used to be somebody)
  • 2000 = Left major company to pursue a more enjoyable job as computer programmer (with cut in pay)
  • 2001 = Moved to the small city to get out of the rat race (with major cut in pay)
  • 2005 to present = Current employer

Well, I think that’s about it. I can’t think of much else to say, except I sure am in the mood to go to work now. Up ahead today may very well be the most special ass fucking of the year, but more about that later after I see how it all goes down. I have little doubt what happens at work today will live up to my wildest expectations and will no doubt completely justify my low rate of pay. Wish me luck!

11 responses

  1. Hmm… I’m afraid to do this with my own wages, but oddly I find myself needing to. Try not to punch anyone today. It’s hard to find meaningful employment when you have a record. Not that I know much about that. Shit, it’s hard to find meaningful employment, period.


    1. Heh!

      I’ve only been arrested one time, and that was for rescuing my cat from an asshole neighbor. The DA decided not to press charges. (Imagine that!) So my record remains unblemished! 🙂


  2. You are more than the digits on your paycheck.
    Hug your wife, kick your kid in the head.
    Hope you feel better.


    1. I better get that last part in the correct order. 🙂



  3. My husband used to a teacher and he didn’t get a raise for 4 years, which meant that he was making less each year with inflation. I didn’t get a raise last year that sucked enough for me.

    I try not to think about how many hours I have to work everytime I buy something or how long it will take me to get out of debt.


    1. I agree. Feeling the effects of inflation nibbling away at what I once enjoyed makes me feel a lot like a poster child for America’s dwindling economic presence in the world.


  4. Oh, the torture of the numbers. Absolute logic locked in mathematical equations. Maybe this is why I’m allergic to math. Absolutes give me hives, and math is all about finite possibilities. There is only one answer.

    Kick the Gerbil again.
    It may not solve the problem – but you’ll feel better, and the exercise is good for your heart health.


    1. I’ll bet I can burn at less two or three calories with that kick. 🙂

      Math rocks. But something already told me you’d be more of a feelings type of person. That was just a guess. 🙂


  5. I enjoy your positive look on life. You’re a ray of sunshine through the darkness. Whenever I get depressed, I just read your blog and it lifts me up. Sorry to hear about your imminent special ass fucking of the year. Maybe you should stuff a Frisbee down your pants.


    1. First, that is just about the optimum praise I could ever hope to get from this blog. You have made my day. 🙂

      Too late. It already happened. I’m bummed I didn’t think of the Frisbee earlier so I could give my assailant a little surprise.


  6. Sorry… that just sucks! Period!


Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

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