Apparently the Mariners just signed a new pitcher, Jeff Weaver, to an $8.325 million 1-year contract. This pitcher doesn’t even have a stellar record – he’s played for six teams in six years, and has posted negative stats throughout most of that.
This isn’t a sports blog.
One of my biggest frustrations with our western culture is the disproportionate – even obscene – salaries we pay for professions that in the grand scheme, aren’t really intrinsically important. Pro sports players, movie and tv actors, failing/exiting corporate executives… these are not the folks who truly make a difference in the world or even do the actual work that keeps our society functioning. In spite of that, they can make multiple millions of dollars a year – or a project.
For benchmark comparison purposes, per Salary.com, the average salary for some jobs that really do make a difference in the world every day include: Day care teacher $30,608. High school teacher $48,812. Social worker $47,880. Police officer $46,591. Oncology nurse $57,220. Emergency room physician $213,739.
What does this illustrate about the distorted values of our culture, and the price we’re willing to pay for entertainment above all else?
Last year, Bryan tried to explain to me his perspective on sports stars and their right to earn big bucks. They are the best of the best at what they do, and their marquee value drives profit into a high dollar business. They are entitled to a de facto revenue share.
I disagree. It is a fundamental dysfunction in our society that spoiled, mediocre boys of summer like Weaver can earn a fortune, while superstar, highly educated and highly effective teachers are capped at the civil service max of $50-60,000 a year no matter how fabulous they are and how many lives they touch. Yes, the dedicated folks in those career fields choose those paths in part because of less material rewards. Nonetheless, it’s time that our system was revamped to compensate achievement and dedication in fields that are truly meaningful – and place less emphasis on entertainment and entitlement.