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Are we paid less than the McDonald’s workers? February 8, 2009

Posted by keithkchan in fun stuffs.

Yesterday,  one of my colleague had the impression that Mc’Donald’s workers were really incompetent after purchasing at McDonald’s. I agree with him that working at McDonald’s is kind of the benchmark that they are at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Particle physicists know it rather well that solving hierarchical problem is not easy at all. So I am not going to suggest any ways to alleviate it here.

Instead I am interested in another question. As graduate students, we well know that we have low salary compared to the average jobs. But are we paid more compared to the workers at McDonald’s? Some people are reluctant to tell you how much they make, either because they fear that you will rob them if you know they make a lot, or they are shy if they do not make much. For us,  we have little money we are not worried that somebody will rob us.  We get about 2100 USD a month, roughly. Since we know that we are near the bottom of the salary hierarchy, we don’t expect the McDonald’s worker get much less than us. Our salary is gauged in such a way that we manage to survive in New York. So we expect that our salary is similar to the Mc’Donald’s worker.

I later did some search. Here is the average salary of the McDonald’s worker. Suppose a worker make 7 dollars an hour, and he works 10 hours a day, in one month (30 days), he get 2100 dollars. Indeed same as us. But there is a caveat because the hourly rate is averaged over America, and (unfortunately) we live in New York city where the prices are generally higher than other places, the McDonald’s workers here are expected to get more than the average shown. On the other hand we have other benefits from NYU such as insurance and medical services. So probably these effects average out.

I would like to stress we are not bothered by the fact we have little money. After all, if we are after money, we will not be here. We are here because we love physics and nothing more beautiful than unveiling the secrets of the Nature. We are paid to do the things we like, what else do you want?



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