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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What are you worth?

To recreate/reconstruct this scene, one can easily add up the number of pieces, the age, the pattern, the quality of each element, and with just a few click of the calculator one can add up the total worth of this table scape. (Provided these items can still be purchased!)

But what about your life?
What about the life of any person?
How do you calculate its worth?

Actors and performers demand more money based on what their agents/representatives are able to negotiate for them. If they are well known, they can demand more money. The more talented, more wanted, more popular, these too will more money.

It turns out that you, yourself, have to calculate that worth at any particular time in your life and then figure out how to convince others that the amount is accurate. As a young college graduate going out for your first interview, you were just happy to get that first job, probably at any amount someone was willing to pay you. Later, if you found out that someone in the same job, hired at the same time was offered more than you were for the same skills and background and responsibilities, how would you handle that?

What if your boss told you that the other person needed the money more than you did?

What if your boss told you that you were lucky to have the job in the first place, and the reasons he gave you were reasons that had nothing to do with the job you were doing, or the qualities and qualifications you had.

That's what happened to me. Two of us, from the same graduating class, got teaching jobs in the same school. After I found out that he was being paid more than me and I confronted our boss about it, the answer was: Well, he's a man; and a man has more responsibilities than a woman.

If you don't know anyone who lost a job, got paid less, or was not promoted because of being a woman, or a minority, or not pretty enough, or thin enough, or pregnant-yes, I lost a job because I was pregnant and that condition was not acceptable for teachers in that state, at that time-how do you reconcile this fact with your sense of fairness and justice?

Ask yourself, have I ever been discriminated against?
If yes, how did you feel?
What did you do?


19 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Interesting post. I have never been in a place where discrimination has come into it, but I know of people who have. If a woman can do a job as well as a man then then the salary should be the same. Diane

Brian Miller said...

ugh...been there...and discrimination is alive and well sadly these days...the seperation though maybe more in who you know than anything though...

Eva Gallant said...

In my last ten years of working, I faced age discrimination. It was not pleasant. I suffered through--not much else I could do at the time.

dianefaith said...

Even in the occupations where everyone is paid the same, there are some fields that are considered "women's jobs" and therefore not worth a lot. Nursing comes to mind, although that has changed somewhat in recent years. Nursery school workers is another. Wouldn't you think we would deem our children's caregivers as worthy of pay for doing a good job?

joeh said...

Yes, I was contantly passed over for promotion simply because another candidate was smarter than me!

Seriously discrimination will always be an issue, but it has certianly improved for most groups. In some cases perhaps there is reverse discrimination, but for the most part things are way better than in the 50's 60's 70's and 80's. Admittedly there is still a ways to go.

Cranky OPld Man

yaya said...

I'm seeing it more as I age. I'm always finding ways to improve my skills, keep on top of any new procedures, learn how to operate any new equipment, etc. I've heard the younger nurses make comments about some of the other nurses calling them the "working retired". Basically saying they don't pull their weight and are just hanging on until retirement age. I don't want to be put into that category but honestly many of the younger staff are lazy, unmotivated and many received their degrees because welfare said go to school or get a job. I do get mad when I see how much money entertainment people make compared to firefighters, police, nurses, etc. People who actually contribute to the health and welfare of society!

NitWit1 said...

Absolutely. I was one of only 5 female pharmacists in 1960. I found a job with a chain. I had same responsibilities as male, but never go promotions. Further customers were prejudiced and bold enough to say such things as "I just want my prescription filled by a man!. Most often this comment was made by a woman! Men would not buy prophylactics from me which in Texas at that time were not on open display. Yet I had to buy all my feminine hygeine products usually from males.

It pleases me to no end today that there are as many, and I have been told more women pharmacists than men. I also was glad when male personal products were put on open display just like women's.

I had the same degree and passed to same board, even aceing certain sections of it.

ellen abbott said...

Well, being a woman, I've been discriminated against one way or another just about all my life. You don't always know it but it happens all the same. So many opportunities not offered, less pay for the same work, talked down to constantly. How did it make me feel? Pissed! I fought against it all my life. Still do. I don't take that crap silently.

Hilary said...

A friend and I were discussing this very thing just a couple of days ago. It's unimaginable but very real and very common over the years. Whatever form discrimination takes.. is wrong.

erin said...

it's a difficult thing, isn't it? we discriminate in ways we are not even aware of, never mind the obvious injustices. society runs on discrimination which is a kind of backlash to protect the value of the individual ego. damn. and so what of value? this too is difficult. we could all use with some humility, some honesty, some empathy.

where to go? what to do? it starts with the self and compassion. if we each exercise compassion, discrimination disappears. sounds easy enough, eh? (heh)

xo
erin

The Broad said...

In the late 70's I worked for a local government organization in Washington, D.C. They had a policy known then as 'upward mobility'. A black woman and I were up for the same job and she got it. Sometime later we were having a discussion about the policy and she asked me if I didn't agree that if there really was upward mobility practised in the organization that if a black person and white person were going for the same job the black person should get it -- even if the white person was more qualified. My only answer for her was that I had truly believed that she was more qualified than I for the job we had both applied for -- wouldn't she rather that, than that I went around saying that the only reason she got the job was because she was black...

I believe the policy was necessary, but it was not easy to accept and it caused a lot of resentment.

Marguerite said...

I've always fought against discrimination of the female gender. In high school, while all of my girlfriends had babysitting jobs, I became the only female lifeguard at our community pool. While most girls were taking Home Economics, I was taking Industrial Arts. And so on, throughout my adult life, as well. Even sued a business for not hiring me because I was a woman.

Lydia said...

Having been one of the "girls" in typing pools early in my working life I know discrimination well, and not only from males but women who had broken (or were trying to break) through the glass ceiling. Some women in power treat the women under them just horribly and I find it inexcusable.

But my very first two examples of discrimination were in my youth. When I was nine or so I wanted badly to become a veterinarian. My mother made a brief appointment for me to talk with our pets' vet. When I told him my dream his reply was,"Girls don't go to veterinary school!" Dream dashed, and mother unable to stand up for me.
The next example was in 7th grade. I absolutely did not want to take Home Economics....had no interest in cooking and even less in sewing. I wanted badly to take Shop. My request was denied. It was a boys'-only class. Again, my parents just let it be, because they didn't know better. Fast-forward 20 years or so and most parents would have hired a lawyer!!!

Lydia said...

Ha! I just read Marguerite's comment directly above mine, and see that she did indeed take Industrial Arts instead of Home Ec. It is probably that approximately 15 to 20-year difference in time. Makes me happy for her!

the walking man said...

My mother worked from the time I was three until I was 45...then her place of employment kept calling her out of retirement because they couldn't find anyone to run the non profit she spent her entire career at. Did they pay or even give her the title? Oh hell no, not even "Temporary Director"--It would have changed her retirement benefits. She did that non titled leader of the agency for three years.

She never complained though, she liked the work of making sure large amounts of people got to the right place when they needed it and every thing else a social worker does.

I was brought up knowing the unequal pay for equal work and yes I have been in that situation too. Apprentices don't know anything about their trade...I would do their job and teach them their job while they got over $5 more per hour than me...I didn't mind it until the nitwits started hogging the over time. That's when I stopped doing their work for them and and the administration always tried various forms of retaliation.

To which I would retaliate in various ways.

9 years before I was placed in a job in my trade with them. Shame on them...ha ha ha I was pretty good at my trade but they had already physically used me up by then. I made it another ten hard years and then one day I was doing a job and the next whoops...

becky said...

Oh, definitely, discrimination has come my way. I applied for the same promotion as a fellow male worker who was on my same level. Our boss said to me as she turned me down, "I'm giving the job to Jim. He's a man with a family and he needs the money."
Never mind, that I was a woman with a family who needed the money...

musicwithinyou said...

I have a good friend going through this right now. She has been out of work for a long time and just had two job interviews and even got called back for second ones but still got passed up and it's hurting her in the worse way. We all worth so much more and it's hard to watch others suffer when I have a job.

Gaston Studio said...

Never faced age discrimination until I was almost 60 and the magazine for which I was managing editor, was bought out by another, much larger mag. I was not offered a job as any kind of editor but... I knew they could hire journalists just out of college for one third of what they'd have to pay me, so I understood and started looking for another job.

shopgirl said...

Interesting post Rosaria....definitely something one must consider in life. It's a terrible shame in our society - discrimination of all types go on and most likely will continue to go on in some way or another.

It's quite ironic that your former boss said that...in my opinion, women in general have more expenses than men, i.e. feminine hygiene products, make-up, and clothes that are necessary for work, etc., in adddition to the basics things that we need. So, in fact, women should get paid more :-)).

p.s. Haven't gone home yet....will go in the summer!
wishing you a wonderful weekend!