I hate this comment.
I probably hate it because I make about $90k (plus one of the best benefits/retirement packages in the United States...you can suck your 401k, I gots me a pension!)
But really, I hear this all the time. "Oh, you only make $90k? You must suck. Any mid-level programmer can make more than that."
First, it really isn't just about the take-home. The benefits are really important.
Second, there are sooo many other factors, it is incredible. I live about 70 miles from Silicon Valley. My salary *is* something to scoff at by the denizens of the Valley, but for quality of life? I have most of them beat.
I live in a beautiful house that I can easily afford. I average 40 hours per week- with the variance being about 3 hours each way. A 'crazy' time means that I come in at 7:30, and maybe stay as late as 5:30 if I have some process running.
I get to lift my head out of the screen and go do REAL things during my work. I am consulted on many different business processes- my opinion is valued well beyond the technical side of my job.
Someone else mentioned 7 brogrammers huddled together in some Santa Clara shit-shack, all making $150,000. That's a miserable existence that I want no part of- no matter how great they are at programming, or how many Google logoed items they own.
It isn't all about the dollars- don't let some HR firm tell you it is! Don't base your career/life trajectory on your paystubs.
**As an aside, I have visited the Google campus a few time for different projects- meeting with 'fairly high level' employees. We typically compare quality of life notes...I haven't talked to any Google employees over the age of 35 who thought they had made a good life decision to be there. Except for the former CEO's of companies Google has purchased...those guys are happy as shit.