Friday, January 15, 2010

Electricity vs Water

It has finally stopped being brutally cold outside. My birdbathtub wasn't even frozen this morning. I updated my picture blog accordingly.

I spent the morning applying for a fun sounding job designing trails to help visitors observe wildlife in a really ugly part of Florida. They call it a biologist but I applied anyway citing my picture blog as proof that I know all about observing wildlife and I have experience maintaining trails and mapping them with a GPS.

The thing that makes this activity relevant for my ranting tendencies is what they are offering to pay this position, which requires a bachelor's degree and experience. The description is a string of responsibilities that took a lot of scrolling to read. They quote a bi-weekly pay amount that comes to less than $14 an hour.

Now I have a friend only a few years out of college who would LOVE a job designing off road bike trails. But he has a job already making quite a lot more money. He's out in the field in Florida a lot, same as this job would be. But because his job involves electricity he automatically gets paid more. Why is it that a person who takes a voltmeter out in the field automatically makes more than somebody who carries empty Nalgene bottles and a multiparameter sonde? If we want the general public to value nature we need the government to pay biology majors working in state parks on par with physics majors working on gas pipelines. Maybe if I hadn't been an electronics designer before I started working in the natural sciences I wouldn't have noticed the gross disparity, but dang. I'm the SAME PERSON! How is it I got $12 an hour for my first job out of college 20 years ago writing C++ to test circuit boards and the jobs I'm applying for now pay just about the same thing? I seriously doubt the 1990 dollar and 2010 dollar are equivalent. Is it a supply and demand thing? What is the size of the talent pool of people that can identify plants and animals, use a GPS and an action hoe compared to people that know about computers and circuitry?

That said I doubt I'll get that job anyway because I'm too old and feminine to use a chainsaw. I can just observe nature and maintain trails right here without getting in my car.


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