Wage War: Who Gets More Bang For Their Buck?

Some jobs pay far less than their worth while others tip the scales in the other direction.


Adyan Al-Shamri, Staff Writer

Who’s really worth the buck?

It’s no surprise: Everyone loves money. At least most do! In society nowadays, money is needed for almost everything–from living expenses to a fun night out.

The real debate that comes to mind is this: Are people getting paid too little, enough, or too much for the work that they do? The answer is not easy. Often, it depends upon which side of the equation the recipient sits. Some say that teachers should get paid more than their national average salary of $56,310 for their hard work, while others argue that their pay is just enough. After all, they get the summer’s off, right? On the opposite side of that, celebrities are often the ones being criticized for the millions of dollars they are being paid for merely acting, rather than working a “real” job.

When people think of what career options deserve to be paid more, their answers can vary greatly. Ayelen Pichardo Hernandez, a sophomore at Elkhart High School, seems to have a very direct answer. “I think teachers are very underpaid. They go through years of school just to go to school again.,” she begins. “A lot of times,” she adds, “they have to deal with disrespectful students who don’t care about school at all. Teachers spend most of their time in the classroom. If they are not in the classroom, they are grading or planning for the class.”

Being a teacher seems to be a very demanding job–from knowing the material, to taking care of the kids, and even to spending their free time making sure they are prepared. Hernandez continues to add just how this could seep into their own personal lives and well being. “It is difficult to keep up with all that and still have time for their personal life. A lot of times,” she concludes, “teachers also use their own money to provide for their students.” Pausing momentarily, she reiterates her original point. “Teachers should be paid more.” 

While so many immediately think of teachers when discussing what career should be paid more–but not Alia Bravo, sophomore at Elkhart High School, who offers up an unexpected answer. “I think doctors should get paid more because of this situation with COVID 19. It impacts a lot of people, causing hospitals to be full. Even when it’s not regarding COVID,” Bravo adds, “many things are still going on.” With doctors having eight years of school, residency, and making an average of $206,500, one would think it’s enough. But, when considering the life and death decisions many have to make, it seems like a small price to pay.

Where these jobs are lacking in pay–according to the respondents–others are profiting. Athletes seem to be the number one answer response in this category.  Hernandez wants to add her vote. “Professional athletes get paid so much money. This can be unfair, because some people who might be really good at a sport don’t have the opportunities to get noticed and become professionals. This is also just rewarding people for being  talented, which can be fine, but unfair because you can’t become a high-paid professional just for anything.” Surprisingly, though, the average salary of a professional athlete is $71,000. However, the Michael Jordan’s of the world are making millions more. In fact, Jordan–who is the highest paid athlete of all time–earned a total of $90 million throughout his playing career and a whopping $1.8 billion when adding in earnings from Nike, Gatorade, and the like.

 The word “unfair” is often brought up when a debate like this is talked about, but this word could hold a different meaning to any given person. To Bravo, having a talent and being recognized doesn’t seem unfair. “Celebrities deserve to be paid the amount they receive,” she asserts. “They are creating not only music but talent for people to listen to and enjoy.” This sparks the division of whether talent should be praised and showered with money or kept to a minimum because it could be “unfair” to others.

Constantly, citizens complain of the high wages others make–when in reality, they are the consumers of these celebrities, athletes, and large businesses. How can someone complain when it’s they who are indirectly paying them. Like it or not, today’s society is one that dismisses the work of someone who educates the youth or keeps society mentally and physically safe, while rewarding those who, in the moment, bring joy.

Being able to see the flaws in society and how it favors one career over another for entertainment reasons can be a start to creating a better tomorrow. Granted, there is no perfect way of defining what careers deserve a higher wage than others, but being able to bring up one’s opinion can never hurt. And, then maybe–just maybe–people will start putting their money where their mouth is.