I’m applying to a bunch of corporate jobs for the summer. Hold your shudders while I explain.
I want to be a better advocate, a better communicator, a better analyst.
I’m also a wee bit tired of aiming for noble poverty. I read this post at the beginning of the semester, and I haven’t been able to get its message out of my head. One of several reasons for the pay gap in the United States is that women are accepting lower pay for the same work men do. Some of us rationalize this choice because we are doing it for a good cause.
The pay gap, which may start at our first jobs when we’re 22, will permanently and negatively affect our abilities to change the world around us. We can never make up the money we don’t try for when we’re young. And it’s not like there’s a parallel economy of non-profits and women which exists outside of the market; we live in the world, just without the influence having money brings.
I’m not talking about going from a bike to a Bentley; I like my bike and dislike driving. I would just like to making enough money to be able to contribute to non-profits myself, rather than rely on the heftier paychecks of my well-healed friends to support my work. Mostly male friends, if as many women in my generation choose to go into public service, theater, and other soul-filling and pocket-emptying careers/lifestyles as have in others.
I believe I can make this kind of money doing good work, and work that I love. I’ve seen other women do it.
To make the case to a non-profit that they should pay me at market rates, I need to be what some freshmen friends call a “total BA.” In my quest to become enough of a Bad Ass to be paid like one, working for a top advertising firm or a start-up is a good start. A foreign environment, a market-focused context, a pay-check are all likely to help me hone my skills.
Then I can see if I can built a life with work I love and a life I can live.
Earth gets its price for what Earth gives us,
The beggar is taxed for a corner to die in,
The priest hath his fee who comes and shrives us,
We bargain for the graves we lie in;
At the devil’s booth are all things sold,
Each ounce of dross costs its ounce of gold;
For a cap and bells our lives we pay.
Bubbles we buy with a whole soul’s tasking,
‘Tis heaven alone that is given away,
‘Tis only God may be had for the asking,
No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer.
–James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal, 1848