As my current program is coming to a close I've been evaluating alternative programs that my current employer has to offer. In terms of interest, it's pretty slim pickings.
As a result, I've took part in my first phone interview in 3+ years. Things went quite well, the closing question from the HR rep was concerning compensation. Now I'm not currently hitting 6 figures, but I'm charging hard toward the hoop.
Growing up blue collar I know what hard work is; I've shoveled grain, tossed bales, and picked my share of rock for less than $2 / hour. I've spent my share of days working in 90+ degree heat with a gallon of water for the day and little more than a warm bologna and cheese sandwich (oftentimes with mayo.....warmed in the afternoon sun). I've busted hump 'til my back ached, shoulders gave out, and feet grew a crop of blisters from heel to toe. I know what it feels to suffer serious dehydration, and my share of hangovers cured by the recommended dosage of sweating it out with outdoor manual labor. I know what hard work is, and I know what salary you can expect for this type of labor.
I try to keep this in mind time-n-time-again, took keep things in check. I approached an initial salary that competed with my fathers maximum salary he'd been working toward his entire life. Less than 10 years have passed since, and my salary has more than doubled. Rates of change will slow from here on, but still....we are incredibly fortunate in the field that we are in. If you are even moderately competent, you'll demand a salary that will surpass most dual family incomes. Chances are that you'll go home to your well furnished apartment, or quite likely single family home where you'll relax in your easy chair quietly decompressing to the drone of central air. Your reminder of a hard day....a migraine, or perhaps an armful of paperwork/techwork you need to complete before morning. The only joint or muscle issues you'll likely face is a mild case of carpal tunnel.
Just try to remember how easy we have it the next time you find yourself complaining about work. Better yet, keep this in mind on a good day; remembering how well you're paid to do something you truly love.