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Getting Our Paycheck Priorities Straight

Journey at Home Day 58

When we talk about who are the ‘essential workers,’ very few people are saying it’s lawyers or middle or senior management. They’re saying, we want the person who’s delivering our groceries, the person who’s keeping the internet open, the electricity flowing, or the person who’s taking care of our kids. Rohit Khanna, U.S. Representative from California's 17th Congressional District

The pandemic has made it obvious that essential is synonymous with low pay and lack of job security. Something must done to equalize the pay-scape. A few months ago I phoned a lawyer to inquire about possibly hiring that person to help with a legal matter. The fee would have been $650 per hour with a $5,000 minimum retainer. Really? Who is worth that? I think the health care person who saves my friend from COVID-19 is worth that amount of money. Not an estate lawyer. Why doesn’t the health care worker get paid more?

Early in my career in technology, we had a middle manager who wasn’t showing up. Why? The word was that it he was going through a divorce. Did he get paid? Yes. Did his direct reports continue to get work done? Yes. What was the purpose of having that manager? If the woman making lunch in the cafeteria every day was going through a divorce and didn’t show up, I can assure you she wouldn’t get paid. She might even be put on “documented coaching” which is a euphemism for “likely on your way out.” The cafeteria worker was not getting paid anywhere near the middle manager, and certainly not getting the bonuses and stock options that he got as part of his compensation plan.

I hope that Representative Khanna can do something to make pay more in line with a person’s value to society.

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