Is the amount of your paycheck the only important factor in salary negotiations? It wasn’t for the editor of The New York Times, and it shouldn’t be for you, either.
Last month’s dismissal of Jill Abramson from her position as the executive editor of The New York Times stirred up a lot of debate.
Most of it surrounded the issue of women, leadership, and equal pay. Though that is clearly an important discussion, Slate’s Alison Griswold raised another question: Male or female, why is the top editor of the Times paid so little?
Sure, her half-million dollars a year sounds like more than enough money to most of us, but it’s important to look at the salaries of other executives at the top of their games. In others words, Abramson’s (and her predecessor, Bill Keller’s) peers.
As Griswold points out, $500K is less than what presidents of small colleges or heads of charitable organizations make — and is peanuts compared to the salaries of television execs.
So, how can the king of journalism pay less than everyone else? One word: prestige.
“People like Keller and Abramson presumably don’t rise to the top of their field for the money; they’d be far better off chasing huge salaries in TV. They do it because they love the work, and part of the pay is prestige and intangible rewards. Pay them more and they would what, try harder? Salary is not necessarily commensurate with performance or with on-the-job fulfillment. If you need more proof of that, just look at the paltry $400,000 made by the president of the United States.”
What job would you work for less pay, but more prestige and intangible benefits? And we’re not just referring to power and politics — the article also mentions National Park rangers, who are “paid in sunrises and sunsets.”
Whatever your answer, one thing is clear: money isn’t everything, even when it comes to salaries.
What job would you take a pay cut for?
Susan Shain is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.