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The Almighty Buck United States

The Ten Most Overpaid Jobs In The U.S. 1130

misbach writes "Here is what the 'compensation experts' have to say are the ten most overpaid jobs [original article at CBS MarketWatch]. 'Almost no one in America would admit to being overpaid, but many of us take home bloated paychecks far beyond what's deserved. 'Fair compensation' is a relative term, yet human-resource consultants and executive headhunters agree some jobs command excessive compensation that can't be explained by labor supply-and-demand imbalances.'"
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The Ten Most Overpaid Jobs In The U.S.

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  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:40PM (#7436788) Homepage Journal

    I have to think about 9) Pilots for major airlines. If the plane hits inclement weather or other serious issues arise do you really care if the people behind the cockpit doors are making ~250K a year?

    Oh and 2) Washed-up pro athletes in long-term contracts? Crap. All major sports athletes are overpaid primadonnas. Paying them millions because they can throw a ball only fuels consumerism. "Did you watch the game on Sunday? Wow!" mindless sheep..
  • by ChaoticChaos ( 603248 ) * <l3sr-v4cf@s p a m e x . com> on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:42PM (#7436806)
    The first clue you're being paid too much is when you start building castles instead of homes. ;-)

    It's disingenous to include "CEO's of underperforming companies" when you can't include the man who's in charge of software technology for Microsoft and the whole thing is riddled with security issues. I'd say he's being paid a bit too much with that track record.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:42PM (#7436826)
    is that the pilots for the non-major airlines are making so, so much less.

    Is this because the pilots for the major airlines are better? Is it because the lives they protect are worth more? No. It's because they have a better union.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:45PM (#7436871) Homepage Journal
    Athletes is about supply and demand. There are very few people who can supply an acurate, repeatable 50 yeard pass(or whatever) while 3 or 4 300 pound guys moving as fast as an elk bear down on them.
    The company that owns the team makes money from that, and the athlete gets a percentage.

    pretty simple actually.

  • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:45PM (#7436872) Homepage Journal
    "2) Washed-up pro athletes in long-term contracts? Crap. All major sports athletes are overpaid primadonnas. Paying them millions because they can throw a ball only fuels consumerism. "Did you watch the game on Sunday? Wow!" mindless sheep.."

    Actually, this is driven by advertising.
    Sports bring in viewers. Star athletes sell stuff people. Advertising corrupts anything it touches. (Just look at professional baseball or pop music for prime examples.)

  • by antis0c ( 133550 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:46PM (#7436885)
    I agree. A major airline pilot holds the lives of a lot of people in their hands. I wouldn't mind if they got paid twice that as long as they were well trained and happy.

    Last thing I want is a depressed pilot worrying about bills when the left engine fails. Last thing I want to enter his mind is "fuck it" when that happens.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:46PM (#7436895)
    Yeah, mindless sheep.

    Tell me WTF do you do for a hobby? Whack off in the server room?

    You know nerds bitch about jocks all through high school, how they think they're so great, so elite.

    And then they turn around and say shit like this.

    Way to be a grown up and appreciate that everyone enjoys different things.

    Mod parent down for being worthless.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:48PM (#7436907) Homepage Journal
    But Microsoft is not an underperforming company. Security issues do not matter, the bottom lines does.
    A CEO that manages to put 50 billion dollars away for emergences is a damn good CEO.

    Now their product may suck, but the product is not the issue here.
  • by Brigadier ( 12956 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:48PM (#7436926)

    I work for an architecture firm that handles airport noise mitigation projects. and I'ved worked with several municipalities with regards to differnt programs accross the country. The majority of these programs are federally funded. I recently saw a job opening for a program director assistant type position paying over 80k a year. For someone not knowing the real requirments of the Job it may sound intence but the job is so easy and so useless. It blows my mind to see how over paid public servants are in the US it is crazy. Not only that but how many uneccessary jobs are created in adminitrative positions. Another area is State education systems and the amount of money paid to administrative professionals when teachers are in short supply and classrooms are under equipped.
  • by transient ( 232842 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:52PM (#7436973)
    Another thing to consider with airline pilots is the huge investment they have to make for initial training. And if you look at salaries for any pilot who isn't working for a major airline, you will begin to understand the sacrifices that have to be made to make it to the majors.
  • Got this from a photography forum []


    There was some recent NEGATIVE PRESS about us as Professional Photographers being over paid.

    IF you would like to FLOOD this guys email box expressing your feelings, please go here:

    Here is an a small amount of what he said about us professional photographers:
    What follows is a list of the 10 most overpaid jobs in the U.S., in reverse order, drafted with input from compensation experts:

    10) Wedding photographers

    Photographers typically charge $2,000 to $5,000 to shoot a wedding, for what amounts to a one-day assignment plus processing time. Some get $15,000 or more. Yet many mope through the job, bumping guests in their way without apology, with the attitude: "I'm just doing this for the money until Time or National Geographic calls."

    They must cover equipment and film-development costs. Still, many in major metropolitan areas who shoot two weddings each weekend in the May-to-October marrying season pull in $100,000 for six months' work.

    Yet let's face it; much of their work is mediocre. Have you ever really been wowed flipping the pages of a wedding album handed you by recent newlyweds? Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon they're not, but some charge fees as if they're in the same league.

    Come on gang...this guy can't get by saying this about us....let's send him a message!!!!!!

    End quote

    Interesting that he doesn't even consider that SOME (not all) photographers just MIGHT actually be over paid.
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:54PM (#7436992) Homepage Journal

    The bit about the wedding photographer sounds like he had some grudge against his (or his daughter's) photographer. Whine whine whine.

    If you hire a bargain-basement photographer's assistant, you might get stunning Annie-Liebowicz-level artwork. But the chances are that you'll get fifty images that are ill-timed, ill-posed, ill-conceived, ill-focused or ill-processed. You pay the money to someone who will get the best possible angle on the critical moments that the wedding couple will want to remember for the rest of their lives. Sometimes that requires a nudge to move Aunt Marge out of the way. It's not an occasion you're going to want to repeat if the photographer got it all wrong.

    The same goes for an airline pilot... think about all the training you're depending on. Sure, it's "routine" to fly from coast to coast, but emergencies happen and it's the pilot's experience and training that you're paying for. It's a little late to complain that you didn't get your money's worth, once you've landed safe and sound after a boring flight.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:55PM (#7437006)
    So? Every day millions of sheep sit on the couch, eat Cheetos and watch the same crap at the same time, the reality show, the latest hot sitcom or jocks throwing balls. They have no free will. "Watch the game, watch the ads, consume." Millions of sheep laughing at the same time as Actor X trips and spills water on Actor Y..
    Fuck that, read a good book.
  • Jeez... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:57PM (#7437026) Homepage

    OK, I get harshing on most of the others, but c'mon, skycaps? Let's smack down a bunch of guys who make $30k a year standing in the exhaust-drenched air at airport dropoff points, dealing with irate travellers, lugging overpacked suitcases around to the cries of 'Be careful with that!' they make tips, too--you think the surly, don't-give-a-damn ones are the ones raking in $300/day in tips? Right.

    Saying it takes less brains than stuffing fast food in a bag is rather insulting to skycaps, too--does this guy honestly think that a skycap can just kinda traipse around with a cart full of luggage, darned if he cares what happens to it? (This even without taking the crazy new security measures into account--I'm sure that makes their jobs oh-so-easy these days...)

    Pro atheletes? Sure. High-end real estate agents? Yep. Skycaps? That's...kinda reaching for a top ten list...

  • by gaijin99 ( 143693 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:00PM (#7437053) Journal
    I'm inclined to agree with you. Airline pilots are highly skilled, and do work where a single screw up can kill people... $250,000/year puts them into the upper 1% of Americans (according to the US census). I'd argue that they're some of the few people in that income bracket who actually do work worthy of that much money.

    What staggered me about the list was that CEO's as a body weren't included. Yes, the CEO's of underperforming companies are horribly overpaid, but you can't tell me that Michael Eisner actually did work equal in value to $700 *million*. Honestly, I rather doubt that its possible for anyone to do work worth 700 million... Eisner is on the high side, but all corporate executives tend to earn well beyond what they are worth.

    You want to know why were in a recession? Its simple, really. The people earning that money don't spend it. Not because they're malicious, but because you *can't* spend $700M, not unless you're buying solid gold toilets every day, or something equally silly. Since the money doesn't get spent, it simply vanishes from the economy. The truth is that trickle down would work, if the upper 1% spent all (or even most) of their money. Since they can't, trickle down is doomed to fail, as is the economy unless money starts flowing *out* of Eisner et al, and into the general economy...

  • by antiMStroll ( 664213 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:01PM (#7437070)
    Tell me WTF do you do for a hobby? Whack off in the server room?......Way to be a grown up ...

    Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle, say hi to Pot.

  • by 0x20 ( 546659 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:03PM (#7437100) Homepage
    Oh, I don't know, charge $3 for tickets and $1 for cokes, and let the idiots on the field make as much as schoolteachers or cops? Sounds fair to me.
  • by cmallinson ( 538852 ) * <c@mal l i n s o n . ca> on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:05PM (#7437125) Homepage
    Did you watch the game on Sunday? Wow!" mindless sheep..

    I won't argue that some pro athletes in the top sports are overpaid, so lets not get into that discussion, but...

    You're calling me a mindless sheep, mearly because I enjoy sports, and dare to discuss a good game with a friend? Who's the primadonna now? Involvement in sport is a fantastic way to improve your overall physical and mental health, and build valuable social skills. Having athletes to mentor, whether it's a pro or the kid up the street, helps to get people involved, and that's a good thing.

  • by PPGMD ( 679725 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:07PM (#7437149) Journal
    9) Pilots for major airlines. If the plane hits inclement weather or other serious issues arise do you really care if the people behind the cockpit doors are making ~250K a year?

    Too bad the 250K a year is a myth, only the most senior pilots at the major airlines make that much money. The average co-pilot for the majors makes about $30k, while an average line pilot makes $45-55K.

    The commuters such as ASA, and Comair start their co-pilots at $18.5K, and their average pilost make about $30-40K, with the most senior making close the 6 figure.

    Note that this is after a pilot invests nearly $50K geting a Bachlors degree, and another $50-60K in flight training. Also the pilots generally spend 2-3 years making just better than McJob wages, doing flight training themselves or other jobs.

    Corporate pilots don't get as high pay wise, but they can move up more quickily to their highest pay scale if they are good.

    /karma whoring consultant that was once a broke pilot.

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) * <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:08PM (#7437162) Homepage
    Where do you expect the money to go? I really enjoy watching football.

    That's fine, but how much is it worth to you? What would you say the average ticket costs?

    he feats of athleticism and dedication required to play at the level of NFL players is just amazing.

    You'd get more enjoyment out of going outside and doing it yourself, trust me on this one.

    So, I'm willing to pay money to watch their games. I'm willing to sit through commercials, and the advertising are more than willing to pay to for my attention. So, who should get all that money? I mean, it's pouring in. Lot of people are paying it. Where does it go?

    This is a truely fucked up country where people can honestly and with a straight face ask this question.

    Try: Homeless. Education. Security. And these are just off the top of my head.

    I, for one, would MUCH rather have it go to the players, the guys out there on the field, who've spent their lives training for this, and who risk serious injury every Sunday for my entertainment, than have it line the already cushy pockets of the team owner.

    I would like to see them paided enough to live on and have BITCHING medical. That's fair I think, for playing A CHILDS GAME FOR A LIVING. And they should consider themselves lucky they get that much.

    Supply and demand at its finest.

    And morality at it's worse.
  • Malarkey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:08PM (#7437166) Homepage Journal

    "Overpaid" is an opinion. This article acts as if "overpaid" can be objectively defined. You may not think sports stars are worth it (hey, I sure don't), but apparently everyone else does and is voting with their dollars. If you want these people's salaries to be "corrected," you're going to have to sway public opinion.

    Honestly, I'm so tired of reading articles by people who never understood the intersection of a supply curve and a demand curve.

    Great reading [] on the subject from Walter Williams [].

    I don't think the sports stars should make that much money. Sometimes I even resent them. But for me to decree that they're "overpaid" means I think I have the right to prohibit thousands of people from purchasing sports tickets. I don't have the right to that kind of control over people's lives any more than I have the right to choose their religion.

  • by Savatte ( 111615 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:10PM (#7437178) Homepage Journal
    Have you ever really been wowed flipping the pages of a wedding album handed you by recent newlyweds?

    It takes more than just snapping photos to be a wedding photographer. It's like being a drummer: Do your job well and no one will notice, but mess up and you'll catch hell. I guarantee you can tell the difference between a professional wedding photographer's photographs and some doofus with a disposable. Wedding Photographers are also not only working against the clock, but they only get one day.

    Articles like these with the lack of repsect for profession's intricacies as are borderline offensive. Just because the author doesn't see what the big deal is is no reason to bash it.
  • by FuzzyDaddy ( 584528 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:10PM (#7437190) Journal
    If someone is willing to pay it and some body's willing to supply it. It's a fair price.

    Unless the guy making the decision and the guy parting with the money are not the same guy. If the board of directors of a company is deciding how to pay the CEO more (because the CEO is on THEIR board of directors) this isn't supply and demand - it's called "milking the system".

  • by GeekZilla ( 398185 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:11PM (#7437202)
    Huge investment? Next time you see a commercial airline pilot, ask him where he/she got their training and you will find that a majority of them will say either the Air Force or the Navy. Cost to former military pilot for training: Almost $0.00.
    Yes, there is additional training required to go from flying an F-14 to a 747, but some of these pilots have been flying modified 737's (Air Force) all their careers anyway. And it's not like becoming a doctor-which IS a much bigger investment in time and money than training to become a commercial airline pilot after being trained in the military.
  • by filth grinder ( 577043 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:12PM (#7437204)
    Of course everyone should sacrifice... yeah right.

    The Red Cross needs good management and a good CEO. Take a look at the amount of money the company handles, and the stuff they do around the world. They are equal to a multinational corporation. Now, they need people with the ability to lead a company that size. In order to attract these people, they have to offer a salary. Now in order to get the people needed into these positions, they need to pay a competitive salary. Some guy off the street being the CEO of the Red Cross for 50K a year might look good, but unless he's independently wealthy and doing it as a humanitarian effort, he's not going to do the job well.

    CEOs actually do alot for companies, it may look like a cushy job, but there is alot of work going on there.

    I mean, compare it with software development. If you have a project going on, you want a good software dev team to work on it. Sure, you are going to "piss away cash" to pay their salaries, but you could always just farm out the job overseas. Anyone here will tell you, the farmed out code is going to be subpar. If you farm out the CEO of the Red Cross, the result is going to be subpar.

    It is the samething with teachers. Everyone will complain that teachers are underpaid. Yet, I don't see anyone ponying up more tax dollars to pay for them.
  • by 2TecTom ( 311314 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:12PM (#7437212) Homepage Journal
    The gap between top and bottom salaries is at a historic all time high. The powerful simply bent the rules so they gain more than their fair share at the expense of all of the rest of us. This cripples our economy as it's a clear disincentive to labor. At the current rate of mismanagement, it surely won't be too long before the whole rotten house of cards collapses again. Excessive affluence is a sure sign of a corrupt society and I, for one, wish there was even some justice in America. Really, the real enemy isn't overseas, they inhabit the top floors of our institutions.
  • Airline pilots? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pcraven ( 191172 ) < minus caffeine> on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:13PM (#7437228) Homepage
    I don't think top airline pilots are overpaid.

    Consider the fact that their 'off' hours are usually away from home. There is a LOT of work that they do outside of flying. This doesn't count in their per-hour charge.

    They spend a lot of time gaining hours in small aircraft and as co-pilots of large aircraft. And they get dirt-pay for that.

    They can't drink 12 hours before going on the job.

    They work odd hours.

    They are controlling a big gas tank with an aluminum shell and 300 people inside, all while moving 600+ mph in weather conditions that prevent you from seeing out side.

    Yea, I want a good incentive for the pilot up front in my aircraft. I want to get to my destination!
  • Re:#10 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:15PM (#7437248)
    there is a LOT of pressure to get it 'perfect' in this field. and the clients are usually picky as hell and annoying as hell, due to the tension.

    and having to shoot ugly people too and try to make them look good ;)

  • by anubi ( 640541 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:16PM (#7437256) Journal
    Airline pilots are the sole ones on the given list that I think justifiably earn the compensation given.

    There is a helluva lot of training and responsibility to running the aircraft, to be there, and do whatever has to be done in the event of ANY malfunction, no matter what. Sure, I can see its all automated. I'll betcha they could take a whole planeload of passengers from one airport to another by remote control without a pilot at all in the plane.

    Now, try it if the plane has major malfunctions midflight.. say part of the fuselage gets caught up in the slipstream, the hydraulics jam, some kook gets onboard and causes sabotage. Now, without a knowledgeable individual onboard who knows how to handle any emergency, what's the chance of getting back to earth alive?

    On top of that, I consider these guys face a major health problem, by the nature of their job which requires MUCH sitting. Sitting through training. Sitting in the cockpit. All this sitting... guess what happens to the old cardiovascular system? The blood will start pooling in the legs. The heart is not a suction pump. It won't pull the blood up. You HAVE to walk around in order to get the blood back up, by way of contractions of the calf and thigh muscles, to squeeze the blood back up. The eventual end to this is a condition like phlebitis, where blood pools in the legs, forms clots, which eventually break loose, shooting up the leg venuous system, up to the heart, over to the lung, where they become trapped forming a pulmonary embolism. Not a fun thing.

    I am not an airline pilot, nor are any of my family or friends... but I did consider it as a possible career option and when I realized I would have to spend a large portion of my live confined to a cubbyhole that would make a restroom stall large by comparison, I reconsidered. I feel these guys earn their pay, not only for their skills, but as compensation for the wear and tear it puts on them.

  • by transient ( 232842 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:16PM (#7437262)
    One more argument in defense of airline pilots. (We should really be able to edit our posts...) The article claims that flight is nearly completely automated, and that's true, just as long as nothing goes wrong. What if an engine comes apart in flight? What if the landing gear doesn't extend? That fancy category II ILS coupled autopilot might get you safely to the runway, but you still won't have any wheels. Flying a plane is relatively easy, until something goes wrong.
  • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:16PM (#7437268) Journal
    I'm a wedding photographer (#10 on the list).

    They're right and they're wrong. First, you can spend as little or as much on a wedding photographer as you want. I know people who will show up for $300, shoot a few dozen rolls of film and hand them to the bride and groom on the way out the door. Will there be some good photos? Maybe, but you can expect an awful lot of crap.

    On the other hand, when my wife and I shoot a wedding, we make every photo a work of art: color correct, crop, edit, retouch, black and white, sepia, hand tinting, etc etc etc. Then we design a one of a kind album. This is not a "weekend" job. We spend probably about 3 hours before the wedding going over details and meeting with the couple, an entire day at the wedding (getting ready through the reception), and then about 40 to 50 hours the next week processing all the photos. Oh, and we also have to pay for our $40,000 of photo equipment, lights, computers, etc etc, not to mention all the rest of the stuff that goes along with running a business. Advertising, office space and supplies, promotional materials, phone line, fax line, internet, website, etc. Then, since we're working for ourselves, we have to provide our own benefits, so we're paying our own health insurance, and providing for our own retirement. Oh, and there ain't no two week's paid vacation, either.

    With the advent of digital imaging, the technical aspects of photography have increased many times over. I've actually got a Master's degree in electrical and computer engineering. These days, you have to be an artist, an engineer, and oh, yeah a businessman, too. Good luck finding somebody to do all that for $300.

    By the way, if you'd like to see our work (or need a photographer!) you can check out our website [].
  • by akuzi ( 583164 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:18PM (#7437287)
    Wedding photographers may be overpaid, but equipment and printing costs are also rather high. Consider that the Zeiss lenses for Hassleblads can cost up to $3000, and 8x10 prints at a professional photo lab will be around $30 each, more for custom prints. It must all add up pretty quickly.

    Also consider the stress involved on the day and the required mix of technical and people skills involved. Certainly not an easy job to do well.
  • Re:Idiocy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:18PM (#7437290)
    Read the article description, the whole point is that they are artificial to supply and demand. Only in perfectly competitive markets can you expect supply and demand to apply. Some reasons that supply and demand do not apply are monopoly, unions (basically a monopoly on labor), customs/cultural traditions. etc. The reason that high end real estate agents are overpaid is because they make a commission rather than make a flat fee for each sale. It isn't significantly harder to sell a high-end house than a low-end house, but because the tradition of paying real-estate agents with commision is rather engrained, those who do sell high-end houses make more money for a nearly equal amount of work.
  • by Eneff ( 96967 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:23PM (#7437357)
    Wrong. So long as they don't stuff it under their bed, they're doing something with it.

    Saving can be as effective multiplier as spending it. If they invest in a company, then that company has the money to acquire capital (new machines, new computers) which creates manufacturing jobs, as well as creating jobs from the increased efficency.

    If they put it in the bank, the bank now has the additional money to loan to consumers, reducing interest rates.

    Now, it can be argued that trickle down doesn't work, but *not* because it isn't being spent. The better argument is that this country finds luxury in imported goods. If one buys imported goods, the money is going out of the country and thus inhibiting the multiplier effect. Supply-side, therefore, only helps in conjunction with protectionism or some sort of competitive advantage bringing money into an economy.
  • by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:26PM (#7437391) Journal
    40-60k ? That's somewhere down from celebrity weddings, I'm sure.

    You could get a very nice downpayment on a house for that money :)
    ( or one really, really giant diamond on that ring, if the spouse-to-be is so inclined %) )

    That said, even the $2k photographers often have an insiduous clause in their contract - I swear it was up on /. , but I can't spot it in the search results now.

    The clause is that the photos they made belong to them.
    - You want re-prints ? you have to pay, because You're not getting the negatives.
    - You photocopy the prints you got ? be careful the photographer doesn't find out, or they may sue you.
    - Want digital versions ? Expect crappy web-sized 640x480's or so, because a good resolution means you could print them out. That is -if- the photographer even offers digital versions.

    And if he wants to use your pictures in his portfolio, he's free to do so.

    You generally have to pay a good amount of money to nullify these clauses.

    Very nasty stuff, very much something to look out for when picking a photographer.
  • by nelsonal ( 549144 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:27PM (#7437400) Journal
    The same reason we spend $399 on the latest video card* when it ships, because it's fun, it gives us status with our peers, and we feel the deal offers us value in excess of cash spent. I recently returned from a Mariners game, and while the tickets, travel costs, and stay in seattle were certainly not cheap, I did have a fun time with several good friends, and made a few memories. If life isn't about some of that stuff, then you need to put some thought what you are working toward.

    *I don't know if you actually have ever spent that much on a video card, but surely you've splurged on something.
  • by 0x20 ( 546659 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:27PM (#7437404) Homepage
    #1: Aww, poor athletes, getting cut and everything. Hopefully they won't be reduced to sleeping in their gold-plated Escalades before they find something to support them. Where can I donate to their relief fund?

    #2: There is a shortage of teachers AND cops. The reason pro athletes can get cut is that they and their jobs are entirely superfluous to begin with. Firing a teacher, even one who appears incompetent, has a real effect (as ooposed to just causing 40-year-old babies watching TV to cry in their pretzels.)
  • Politicians? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Archalien ( 197877 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:29PM (#7437429)
    Where the hell are the politicians on this list?

    Scew the ex's on lecture circuits. Where are the idiots getting paid to ruin America?

    Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out Al Gore's recent speech on Freedom and Secutity [] (
  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:29PM (#7437433) Homepage Journal
    Actually, like most entertainment, there are a relatively large number of people who have adequate talent to play a sport. If we take the national football league as an example, about 40 teams employ around 3000 players. I would find it extremely doubtful that of the 40 million people in the US currently in their 20's, only 3000 have the capability to play some position in football.

    Clearly the pay is help create a mystic about the person, help the person delude himself or herself into believing that he or she is extra special, and develop a star that will bring in the fans. If the pay was just about ability, then we would have none of the backlash when a player goes and acts badly. It is an issue because they are purposefully crafted images.

  • by dboyles ( 65512 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:31PM (#7437469) Homepage
    "Did you watch the game on Sunday? Wow!" mindless sheep.."

    I was under the impression that I enjoyed watching sports purely as a form of entertainment (and that entertainment includes discussing sports with friends). Now, through the insight of your post, I realize that I have simply been following the herd. I shall hereby resign my fan status, and retire to Slashdot, where I will post only things that will be accepted as mainstream geek.

    Whew, I almost fell in with those sports fan sheep who always say things because they think that's what others want to hear. Good thing I'm away from that and safe here on Slashdot.
  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NDPTAL85 ( 260093 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:34PM (#7437495)
    Do you ever get dizzy from up there on your high horse?

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I know you "mean well" and all with your utopian plans of providing for the homeless and eduction but unfortunately due to the fact that we're HUMANS that means we need to arrainge our economies in a capitalist fashion.

    We could try socialism but obvious examples have already demonstrated the sheer humanitarian horror that that produced.

    And where do you get off telling someone that going outside and pretending to be as good at sports as a pro is would be enjoyable? Why put your body at risk of injury when you can watch others play a game better than you'd ever be able to? Don't you think thats a bit condescending?
  • Re:First-worlders (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kalidasa ( 577403 ) * on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:34PM (#7437498) Journal
    Naw, we're not overpaid. They're horribly underpaid.
  • by swv3752 ( 187722 ) <swv3752@[ ] ['hot' in gap]> on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:35PM (#7437522) Homepage Journal
    In the post 9/11 era, most Skycaps make jack now. In most airports they are no longer allowed to checkin bags, so there is not much left for them to do. Not that I feel particularly sorry for them, but their wage was earned. No one had to deal with a sky cap.

    The only other job that not deserving to be on the list is Pilots. The only way most anyone has to log enough flight hours is to be a Military Pilot, often for 15 years.

    The real problem is not that a few jobs manage to command "over" high salaries, but that so many are in truth underpaid.
  • 6a. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by happyfrogcow ( 708359 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:36PM (#7437529)
    from the article:
    6) Real estate agents selling high-end homes

    6a would be "Real estate agents renting apartments in New York". (replace New York with your very own favorite high cost of living city)

    The "Broker Fees" are absolutely rediculous for the amount of work they might put in. Mine was $750 on a $900 apartment, only because I talked her down from $900 in fees. Then, the one thing they have to do, they make you pay for again, the $25 for a credit report. Why isn't that included? So for the 2 hours max that I spent with her, signing paperwork and showing the apartment she brings in $750. Typical Broker Fees are like 12% of your anual rent I think. They don't do shit to deserve it.

  • Get Real! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by INetUser ( 723076 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:36PM (#7437544)
    Are you guys kiddig me? Look, the truth of the matter is that nearly all CEO's who are getting more than $1/2 Mil each year are grossly overpaid! And that's just about all of them! Next are all the wonderful Demicrooks and RepubliCONS in CONgress. They are all basically in the deep pockets of the cheating and lying CEO's! and don't give a rip who they cheat or steal from nor who they are lying to as long as they have their campagin warchests filled up to stay in office. If the middle class collapses in this country, and there are signs that they are based on economic control and whose got it and wealth distribution, something gonna blow up really big! (IMHO).
  • by Kyaphas ( 30519 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:37PM (#7437552)
    A somewhat insightful post, marred by racism. Sigh...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:37PM (#7437562)
    The woman who photographed my brother's wedding went on to have a 'life change' (ie, went nutters), and pretty much gave up the business, making additional copies unobtainable.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:38PM (#7437571)
    because like the case of Shawn Kemp, there are plenty of guys who could score 6 points and 3 rebounds a game.

    That's the big myth behind the "overpaid washed up athletes" claim. There are not plenty of guys who could score 6 points and three rebounds against NBA players. The European leagues are full of very good former college stars who couldn't do it.

    Out of almost 300 Million Americans, only a couple hundred are good enough to be benchwarmers in the NBA. Fewer than ever these days, because there are so many good players from the rest of the world now entering the league. You could easilly take the worst team in the NBA (the Clippers at the moment, I suspect) and mop up the floor with any college team in the US, or have a winning record against the pros in the Italian League. They may seem to suck in contrast to the Tim Duncans and Kevin Garnetts, but don't let that fool you into thinking they are anything less than elite athletes.

  • Re:#10 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dalroth ( 85450 ) * on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:39PM (#7437578) Homepage Journal
    No kidding. My friend got married last spring and in his wedding the Photographer was a really horrid woman (late 30's early 40's). She did EVERYTHING that was mentioned in this article. She shoved people out of the way, she was rude, she hogged all the good pictures to herself. All while spending the entire evening bitching to anybody she possibly could about how digital cameras were ruining her business.

    You know what though, SHE was the one ruining her business, not the digital camers. You have to adapt with the times, and you have to adapt to the situation, and being a horrid cold bitch is not the way to sell yourself to potential future customers. You can't be complacent, no matter who you are or what job you do, times change.

    You want to take good wedding pictures? Hire a local college student who is going to school for Photography. You'll get a great price, great pictures, and the student will get some extra money for beer and some pictures for their art classes. I can tell you my college friends who were photography majors sure would've appreciated the work!!

  • I can think of one (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moltar77 ( 708055 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:43PM (#7437618)
    American congressman!
    $154,700 per year
    $166,700 for leaders
    $192,600 for speaker

    Oh, wait, they just voted to increase their salary [] to $158,000 next year. Wish I could do that.

    Also of note, the president makes $400,000 a year.
  • by precogpunk ( 448371 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:44PM (#7437637) Journal
    From what I've heard pilots make very little when starting out as a pilot -- $20K in some cases. has data on the salary range of pilots [] and $250K is on the high end. Some of them qualify for welfare! Michael Moore writes:

    "That's right -- $15,000 for the person who has your life in his hands. Until recently, Continental Express paid a little over $13,000 a year. There was one guy, an American Eagle pilot , who had four kids so he went down to the welfare office and applied for food stamps -- and he was eligible! " Google Cache []

    If they hang in there and are lucky they might get a shot at the $250K. Besides, as you pointed out, people's lives are in their hands. It's worth paying them for quality work.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:45PM (#7437647) Journal
    Cause it is the pilot who has the training and experience to land that aircraft on only 1 gear down. With half the engines off. With part of the control surfaces stuck. It isn't always bad maintenance that causes failures. Sometimes things just break. Then the pilot go to land it. No matter how much you pay the mechanics they can not fix the aircraft inflight.

    Plus of course there are a hell of a lot more mechanics for each plane then pilots. So it would be like pay several million more on maintenance or just a million more on pilots. Simple choice really.

  • by E_elven ( 600520 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:46PM (#7437660) Journal
    I freely admit I can't toss a ball as well as some NBA player -that's not the point. The point is, sports is not *productive* and therefore should not be unduly rewarded.
  • by Obfiscator ( 150451 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:47PM (#7437685)
    Any reason why you left other professional entertainers (actors, actresses, writers, etc.) off your list?

    People seem to forget that professional athletes are entertainers, and they'll be paid as long as people pay to see them.

  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:47PM (#7437693) Homepage
    These people get paid well, but they do have to work their butt off for it.

    There is little to no job security, and benefits have to be paid for out of your cut.

    A good agent gets about 5% of a sale (10% if they represent buyer and seller - hard to pull off). Sure, that's $300k on an average house in Concord, Mass - but of that money 40-60% (depending on volume) goes to the office. That leaves ~$150k which represents anything up to a year of uncertainty and hard work dealing with really hard to please clients. (Naturally people in the $3m price range are bitchy perfectionists.)

    You face the prospect of your listings getting yanked or poached at any time up to the last second, and investements in things like brocures and out of state listings (many thousands of dollars for really big properties) getting smoked. You need excellent people skills to deal with customers (and other brokers), and you need to be available 24 hours a day, even on weekends and holidays.

    An aquaintance of mine managed to close a $9m house last year acting for the buyer and seller - and yeah, everyone was jelous of her. It certainly was a big pay day, but it reperesented a lot of work that could easily have ended up getting her nothing at all. Highly paid? When you get lucky... but it's compensation for the risk and talent involved.

  • 1) Football is cheap.

    Engineering advances pay way more than sports teams. The top most salary of an NFL player is probably 20 million dollars a year. Conversely, an engineer that strikes it stinking rich can dozens if not hundreds of times that. Marc Andreseen was worth, at one time, more than all of the NFL, as is Larry Ellison, Paul Allen, Bill Gates, and so on. Doctors that start their own research companies these days can make billions of dollars, and they do.

    2) If you want your local emergency services to make more money, vote for a property tax increase in your community. Organize a drive to give your police and firefighters and EMTs a real wage. If you want your stay at home wife to live like a queen, go out and get some dough for her. Start your own company, devote your life to a goal, and make something with your life, like an NFL Player did.

    3) We spend way more money on medicine and medical research than we do on the NFL. The Health care industry is hundreds of billions of dollars, the NFL is only ten.

    The moral of the story is that, dollar for dollar, we do care more about advancing science and curing diseases. However, some of us think that there is more to life than just chasing disease.

    For us, the NFL is an on field play of life, each game a miniature drama of competitive instinct and human ingenuity. There are so many small battles, tactics, and individual tests in each NFL game, that there is something for everyone to latch onto of interest and most people do. Watch a game once, before you laugh at it, and, appreciate just how good these people really are at what they do. I'll bet you the EMTs will.

    PS. Donovan McNabb is no thug, and, he's going to throw for 300 yards tonight and kick the tar out of Green Bay!

  • by Lucidwray ( 300955 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:51PM (#7437746)
    Everytime I hear the argument that Pro_Athletes are over paid it drives me crazy. What no one seems to realise is that pro athletes are nothing but advertsing draws for their owners. They are paid 10Million a year because the owner is hoping that that one player will contribute more than 10 million in advertising dollars. The better/bigger the players the more people go to the games. The more people at the games the more ad signs cost in the stadium, the more ticket sales, more tv viewers, more tv money, more radio money, more merchandising.

    It has NOTHING to do with an athletes ability to throw a ball, it has EVERYTHING to do with how good the fans think he is, therefore how much money they will spend on the team.

    Its nothing but business. You can complain all day long how fat and old XXX basketplayer is, But if he fills seats and turns on TV's, then thats all that matters.
  • Re:#10 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:52PM (#7437760)
    Really, photography is just the beginning... there's no end to the BS when it comes to wedding expenses. Vendors of all stripes know that they can lay a major guilt trip on their customers and get a good response.

    They're just like funeral parlor owners.
  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HalfFlat ( 121672 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:55PM (#7437792)

    We could try socialism but obvious examples have already demonstrated the sheer humanitarian horror that that produced.
    So glad not to be living under the terror of the Swedish regime!

    Socialism != Stalinism. Socialism in some form of capitalist democracy in fact seems to produce the best quality of life for the citizens of a country. Yes, that means quality of life may be better in some countries outside the US!

  • by VargrX ( 104404 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:57PM (#7437815) Journal
    so sayeth geekoid:
    Athletes is about supply and demand. There are very few people who can supply an acurate, repeatable 50 yeard pass(or whatever)

    Care to tell us just what someone who can reliably throw an object 50 some odd yards is actually contributing to society at large?
  • longshoremen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mr_burns ( 13129 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:00PM (#7437842)
    The longshoremen thing gets to me. I think these are some of the people I least want to be easily bribed. I'd rather they take home $120,000/year than be hurting for cash to the extent that somebody could slip them $20,000 to let a nuke slip through their port.

    Plus making that much cash keeps them from stealing half the stuff coming off the boat. If I were running a business that depends on import/export I would be glad that the salary prevents mass shrink before the product hits shelves.

    I think the salary is entirely appropriate. I think this article is a bunch of wankery.
  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shenkerian ( 577120 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:04PM (#7437873)
    We could try socialism but obvious examples have already demonstrated the sheer humanitarian horror that that produced.

    Yes, the Swedes and French and Germans and Canadians are railing against their inhumane condition.

    I don't disagree with anything else you said, but a blanket statement against Socialism is unfair.

    If by Socialism you meant Stalin's vision, then you're correct, but that's no longer the common definition of Socialism.

  • Re:Malarkey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noren ( 605012 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:07PM (#7437907)
    Not quite, if you read the article it argues in come cases that the market isn't reaching equilibrium because of collusion or fraud.

    "9) Pilots for major airlines" and "8) West Coast longshoremen" are both claimed to be overpaid because of powerful unions controlling all the labor supply and acting as a monopolist.

    "4) Orthodontists" argues that the supply of orthodontists is kept artificially low by "U.S. Dental Schools". I don't necessarily agree with the whole of the argument here, but it's not based on misunderstanding of the funamentals of supply and demand.

    "1) Mutual Fund managers" is claiming the whole profession is guilty of fraud, may be an overreaction because of current events, but fraud is certainly a way to be paid more than your fair market value.

    Some of the examples cited are bad, but in situations of monopoly, artificial scarcity of supply, or fraud it does happen that people are paid more than their fair market value. (I do agree that most professional athletes are not overpaid... but the article doesn't cite the general case, rather "2) Washed-up pro athletes in long-term contracts", which is more arguable.)

  • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:12PM (#7437962)
    Care to tell us just what someone who can reliably throw an object 50 some odd yards is actually contributing to society at large?

    Because many members of society place a positive value watching him throw objects, as indicated by their willingness to pay to do so. Perhaps you don't agree with their preferences, but that doesn't mean they're not valid.

  • by Keely ( 105228 ) <> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:17PM (#7438040) Journal
    >Such as what positions?

    Such as district superintendants, principals, asst. principals, dean of students, athletic director, etc, etc - check out these people's salary's in your local district, and compare it with the salary of a classroom teacher with 5-10 yrs experience and a masters degree.

    Hopefully the discrepency isn't as bad as it was when I was in high school... The joke then was that in order to get one of the "cushy" admin jobs, you had to be related (or married) to someone already in one of these positions.
  • by spruce ( 454842 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:18PM (#7438058) Journal
    It has nothing to do with productivity. Maybe you don't enjoy watching sports, but it's quite obvious that a lot of people do. The market has spoken.
  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:25PM (#7438139)
    Yeah, get off it. Longshoremen are basically cargo monkeys, no different than the UPS delivery guys, except for one thing - longshoremen have more equipment, so they don't actually have to lift anything.

    It's great that their union is so powerful that it can disrupt commerce worldwide. That just means that, like the Mob, they've become experts in extortion.

    Don't try and point the finger somewhere else - those guys are way overpaid, and it's no good to say "hey, they're overpaid because the other guys is a monopoly too."
  • by Laser Lou ( 230648 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:28PM (#7438189)
    One thing that I haven't seen pointed out yet here is that, per FAA regulations, airline pilots MUST retire at age 60. By the time a pilot starts earning that ~250K/year, he/she has only a few years left to work.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:29PM (#7438200) Homepage Journal
    It is an odd system.
    You are the subject of the photo's
    You are paying him to take the pictures.
    They should be your pictures.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:41PM (#7438327)
    I agree. The thing about the most of the other jobs on the list is that they are artificially controlled in some way. Orthodontist schools restrict the number of graduates, you have to have the right connections to become a CEO or a mutual fund manager, etc. But wedding photography seems to me like a completely liquid market. If they're being paid a lot of money, it must be because their customers think they're worth it.
  • by UncleGizmo ( 462001 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:10PM (#7438601)
    "I would find it extremely doubtful...", but have you really checked?

    There are hundreds of thousands of male students who play football in high school each year. Only a select few are chosen to play at major college schools [less than 1%, IIRC], and some others decide to play at smaller schools [say tens of thousands]. Pro scouts look high and low for potential athletes to join their ranks. Many are invited to summer tryouts. With few exceptions, there are no people who are big, strong, fast, agile and smart enough to play a position in the majors who haven't been found. Read up on what it takes - physical capability-wise - to even make it into the tryouts. Not something that just anyone can do.

    "Clearly the pay is help create a mystic about the person..."

    Umm, yeah...there are lots of industries who pay employees big wages in order to create a mystic about them. No, actually, it's probably because the 'mystic', as you put it, is that this league has the highest level of skilled performers in that particular profession - bigger, stronger, faster, etc. than the 'average' person [in this realm, physical excellence is more treasured than mental].

    I don't doubt that there are some who could play in the NFL [or one of the feeder leagues like NFL Europe or arena football] who aren't, but just because you have a large pool of people, that doesn't mean you should be able to assume a large subset who can perform a specific task.

    Don't forget - capability doesn't equal ability. Just because someone is intelligent, has a strong sense of logic, and good typing skills, won't necessarily make them good at programming, will it? Or are you saying that any of 40 million 20-somethings could be one of the few top programmers?
  • Absolutely wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:11PM (#7438609)
    Can any of those other people get 60,000 people to pay $50 each to watch them work for 3 hours? No?

    Does that explain part of the differece in pay?

    You don't get paid what you "deserve". You get paid what you're worth to other people who can (and want to) pay you.
  • by dameron ( 307970 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:20PM (#7438690)
    Is that player salary has a direct impact on ticket prices, concessions, parking, or merchandise.

    Prices for those things are driven my supply and demand. The reason a Coke costs $5 at a ball game is because people will pay that price. Tickets likewise are driven by what people are willing to pay.

    Teams may justify raising ticket prices because of player salaries, but if it became unprofitable the pricing model would change.

    I'm sick of hearing about greedy pro sports players, they, with very rare exceptions, get paid what the market will bear for their skills. Owners know this, players know this, arbitrators know this, GMs too. Fans don't, they're blinded by the size of the contracts floating between the teams and the players, and instinctively react as 0x20 did, that greedy players are driving up the cost of the game.

    If you want to blame anyone for the high price of concessions and tickets to pro sports events, blame the owners for taking their product and marketing it to a much more affluent audience, and blame the bastard who can't be bothered to tailgate or bring his own food to the game, but instead drops the cash on the most expensive seats, the season tickets, or the overpriced ($7 12 oz. cups of Bud at Dodger games this year) concessions.

  • Re:Wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:33PM (#7438820)
    Wait about 10-20 years after the demographic bomb goes off in those places, and we'll see how sustainable those economic models are.
  • by mgooderum ( 446711 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:57PM (#7439120)
    I'm a private pilot and have several friends and relatives who work as pilots from the lowly cargo dogs flying single engine FedEx to a DC-10 captain at American Airlines.

    One - the $250k number probably represents the top 5% of pilots for compensation. Even the pilots earning those numbers took 10-15 years and spent a whole lot of $$ to get there - makes Med School look fast and cheap.

    Two - many (not all) pilots are paid all or mostly by the hour flown - they aren't paid for the hours of flight planning and prep or the days away from home. An international flight crew might easily be away from home 20 out of 30 days and that is gone for 24 hours, no family, maybe one phone call a day if the time you are on the ground lines up with the time your family is awake. Out of that remaining 10 days they may still have to get in their periodic training, reviews, etc.

    Three - yes computers can land the airplane all the way to the pavement. But they can only do it (today) at a handful of runways at a handful of airports with the right precision (Cat III ILS) approach. As a point of reference in all of California - the home of the most airports overall and the most airports which scheduled air service of any of the US states there are less than a dozen Cat III ILS approaches. Even that number is unusually large because of the relatively small (towns like Fresno) cities with Cat III because of the unique weather of the Central Valley (Tule Fog).

    Over the other 98% of the world you need a pilot to keep flying and land. Technology is rapidly improving and things like GPS will make more and more precision approaches possible but it will still take a pilot to land at the majority of runway ends in the world. And when shit goes wrong you want to land at the closest runway that you can get safely stopped in - not the one that the computer can use 30 minutes or an hour or more farther away.

    Computers are great at doing things requiring fast calculations and precise responses but the /. crowd should know more than most how hard it is to program reponses for when the situation departs "normal" parameters.

    Granted - people don't always do better - they typically still need some training and guidance for how to respond and tend to do poorly when flight departs completely from the norm. Look at the end result of events like the accidental thrust reverser deployments in 767s or the rudder failures in 737s. But in many of these events even the post-mortem reviews shows that the "window" to recover from these events is often 10 seconds or less. But other situations like the Souix City crash or the volcanic ash incident of Speedbird 1 (British Airways) show that the adaptability of a human crew is irreplacable.

    It is probably inevitable that computers will do more and more of the flying - they already do 80%-90% of the enroute flying and they typically fly most of the hard appraochees (at least on the "big" guys) with the pilot acting more as a director and flight computer programmer than a pilot. But think - as the pilots really fly less and less then how do they maintain their skills for the 5% of the time that they are really needed?

    So I think the pilots of the world earn every nickel the hard way.
  • by multiplexo ( 27356 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:54PM (#7439726) Journal
    Fuck that noise. There are Navy CPOs who do the same thing, who don't get overtime, who are accountable, who have to do this in areas where people are shooting at them (or driving up to the ship with a Zodiac loaded with Semtex) and who get paid about 25k a year. Longshoremen are overpaid cargo monkeys. End of fucking story.
  • Re:#10 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mlilback ( 134172 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:55PM (#7439736) Homepage
    The cheapest price they could find for a wedding photographer was $1200 in the Houston area.

    My dad was named the 2003 Houston-area professional photographer of the year, so I know a little bit about this subject.

    For a good photographer, 1200 is way too low. When my dad shot a wedding, he'd bring an assistant. Some wedding photographers I know bring 2-3 assistants.

    They are at the wedding beforehand to shoot pictures because there will be no time during the wedding for posed family shots. They stay throughout most of the reception. That is easily 6 hours of work. Normally on a weekend. I don't think $100/hour for a freelancing professional on the weekend is that outrageous.

    Now add in the massive costs for a professional. For my dad, that meant bringing a professional lighting setup and multiple hasselblad cameras and lenses (easily over $10,000) so there is no chance at missing a shot. Then throw in processing costs, proofs (4x5 proofs of all shots are made), basic administrative/advertising overhead, travel, planning sessions, profit, etc.

    And don't understimate the fact that it normally is weekend work. My parents would work all week long and then not be around on the weekend because they were shooting weddings. That's one of the main reasons they closed their studio -- it was too taxing on their personal lives.

    You are paying for an expert to capture one of the most important days of your life, and you get what you pay for.
    Sure you can trust your wedding to a college student with a single 35mm camera. But is a few thousand more really not worth it to get a trained professional who uses redundent, top-of-the-line equipment?

    But then again, look at how much of the world uses Windoze because it is "good enough".
  • by vsprintf ( 579676 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @09:03PM (#7439825)

    If you look at the mean salary of all the people that TRY to be professional atheletes, I think you would be more satisfied with your CS/IT/Engineering/CowboyNeal salary.
    . . .
    If the one guy that makes a professional team pulls down $5 Million a year for his trouble, he's still only bringing the group average up to just under $30k a year. Makes your $60-100k/year sound pretty nice, doesn't it?

    What does "TRY to be professional atheletes" have to do with it? The kids in the local Special Olympics (bless their hearts) want to be professional athletes. In order to be a "professional", you actually have to be paid for doing work in your "profession" at some point. But, following your logic, you have to consider the millions of truly professional IT workers who are now unemployed or underemployed as burger-flippers or security guards who bring that average to far less than your supposed 60K. And those people put in just as much or more time in college as professional athletes - but studying, instead of playing, and usually at their own expense. And you won't find any coders making $5 million a year.
    Please, cry me no crocodile tears for professional athletes. I like to watch the local team play, but it doesn't mean the star running back is worth more than the local elementary school teacher.

  • Don't be silly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FallLine ( 12211 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @09:31PM (#7440057)
    Firstly, investments of all sorts are generally considered to be assets, not just cash and gold.

    Secondly, do you really honestly believe that the "rich" get richer by squirelling it all away under their beds or something? No, you lose money that way every year with inflation. Gold is generally a pretty poor performer and it has no concrete value (e.g., it is subject to the same laws of supply and demand that your house is) Likewise, if you put it into a standard savings account, you might as well be standing still.

    The rich get richer by buying into higher risk investments, e.g., privately-held companies, publically held stocks, and loans. As a general rule, the higher the return available, the higher the risk. If you look carefully at the numbers, you will see that, with the exception of certain institutional investors, it is the rich that comprise MOST equity in privately held companies. Now you might argue that the rich can do this because they can better afford to take risks or that they can aggregate their risks so as to diminish the overall risk, but the fact remains that they perform a very useful function in society.

    Do you really believe that when a person buys art (a very small percentage of any wealthy individuals income anyways) that it just sits in some hole in the ground? No, it gets transfered to another wealthy person who WILL almost certainly eventually spend it or hopefully to an artist or some agent thereof that directly promotes the arts--in either event, the money keeps on moving. What do you care if it passes through an art house first?

    The stock market on the aggregate over the past century or two has averaged better than 12 percent return per year. While that may not sound like much to you, when you compound the returns over a period of time, it quickly adds up to a lot of money. In other words, the wealthy already have significant encouragement to invest. Putting a gun to their heads and saying that they MUST invest constantly or face losing it all would be silly and counter-productive. Don't forget that the rich must get rich somehow first. If the government starts drastically dictating how the money is to be allocated that it just one more reason NOT to make the effort in the first place.

    I also find it highly ironic that you're arguing for taxes so as to spur the rich to invest. Many of these taxes on dividends and capital gains are what dissuades the rich from investing in some of highest risk investments. [Put in the simplest of terms: If you have a 1 in 3 shot of winning a pool and a 2 and 3 shot of losing every dollar you invest, say, 1m dollars, then that pool must be at least 3M dollars before any rational individual would even THINK about investmenting, else it'd be a net average loss. Let's imagine for most people that that one in 3 shot must offer at least 4M dollars. Now what happens when the government decides to take 75% of that money from you in the event that you do win? Woops, game over. This point is this: If you tax windfalls heavily and don't reimburse losses at the other end, then your tax will have distortionary and undesirable effects on the markets]

    Btw, the rich also lost disproportionately more money when the stock market fell over the past couple of years. It's no coincidence.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @09:35PM (#7440107)
    I live down in Long Beach and know several longshoremen. There jobs are not tough! Several Longshoremen make $150,000 driving cars off of ships. Last I checked, I could drive a car. Others make $150,000 tying up a boat. Last I checked, I could tie a knot. And a few lucky ones just have to hose off a deck for 20 years and can retire rich. As far as I am concerned the Longshoremen union is just a messed up, very selective, welfare system.
  • by Shads ( 4567 ) < minus author> on Monday November 10, 2003 @10:00PM (#7440307) Homepage Journal

    Corporate (Anything) Officer
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @10:20PM (#7440460)
    Here's a couterexample to all this BS.

    Bus-drivers don't get 6-figure incomes. Yet every time you set foot on a bus you are putting your life in the hands of the bus-driver. Also the bus-driver is endangering the lives of everyone (cars, bikes, pedestrians) on the street.

    Bus-driving is a special skill that requires specific training. If you've only driven an automatic-transmission Camry and you hop behind the wheel on a Greyhound, you'd probably kill someone.

    Many, MANY more people get killed on or by buses every year than on or by planes. And plane flight is much more automated that bus-driving, which is still completely manually controlled at every instance.

    SO, by the above reasoning bus drivers are either vastly undercompensated in our society or major-airline pilots vastly overcompensated.

    It all comes down to the irrational risk-perception. We "perceive" death on a plane to be horrific, fiery and awful compared to the "mundane" bus-crashes. This is of course completely untrue, but for some reason dropping from the sky seems much more dramatic than a mass of squashed bodies resulting from a bus crash.
  • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @10:23PM (#7440486)
    I disagree.

    There are pressures to perform in any job, and simply saying that screwing up will cost you money is no reason to charge as much as is charged. If I screw up in my job, the building I work in may end up with a large smoking hole in the side, yet I don't get paid a third of the money they claim a wedding photographer gets.

    I actually have been wowed flipping through the pages of a wedding album from some newlywed friends of mine, and the pictures were taken by what I would call a "cheap" wedding photographer. This was someone who does it as a hobby, and charges commensurately.

    You're right when you say it's like being a drummer. You should and can only do it if you would do it for free. If you feel the need to make boatloads of money off of it, I don't want you taking pictures at my wedding.
  • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:27AM (#7441269) Journal
    You make some good points about HR people that most laymen would never realize.

    I think that's the problem with just about all the jobs listed in this article, and all the bitching in these comments on /. : ignorance. People just don't know what these jobs entail. They see one part of it, think it must be easy, and therefore not worth any money.

    I'm a wedding photographer (#10 on the list), and a lot of people on /. seem to think I only work the 8 hours at the wedding on Saturday, charge $4,000, and leave. They don't seem to consider the several hours of prep work before the wedding, or the 40 or 50 hours of work retouching and editing the photos afterward, or the cost of all my business overhead, including equipment, insurance, rent, phone, internet, etc etc etc. Oh, and I gotta eat and provide my own benefits, too.

    Seems to me people should walk a mile in your shoes before they judge. Might as well ask some programmer, "Well, what does it really cost you to work for your company? I mean, gas mileage to and fro, right? So how can you possibly defend the fact that you charge your employer $50,000 a year for your services?!? It's not like it costs you anything! You're just stealing from your poor employer!"

    Oh yeah, there's that whole "sucking away my life" thing.
  • by jonbrewer ( 11894 ) * on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @02:08AM (#7441765) Homepage
    It blows my mind to see how over paid public servants are in the US it is crazy.

    Have a look at the public servant pay scales []. I think they're very fair. They are adjusted based on where the job is located. I picked this particular scale b/c I was offered a GS-N level job earlier this year and turned it down to go back to school. The salary I was to have drawn was $10k less than I had been making at my previous job, but was still $20k more than that of my Uncle, who has worked in the Social Security Administration for 33 years.

    Maybe you saw a job working for a contractor? That's where the real money goes.
  • Re:Jeez... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bitsy Boffin ( 110334 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @08:32AM (#7442911) Homepage
    Yea. I don't get this whole tipping thing either. I live in New Zealand, we don't tip here (not if your a New Zealander anyway), and I don't understand why other nations do, I mean, the person is paid to do thier job, you should not have to, in effect, bribe them to provide good service. Being helpful and doing your job well should be, natural, it is here anyway.

    If I ever has to go to a nation where tipping is required, I would be forever worrying - am I supposed to tip this person, how much is appropriate, am I giving too much, too little, what if I don't have change or cash, or...

    Tips are wierd, m'kay. You get paid to do your job, no further reward should be necessary.
  • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @12:02PM (#7444489)
    Don't look now, but the market isn't done yet.

    Most pro sports are declining in popularity. Mostly because of poor league structure, overpriced tickets and overpayed players. Especialy when they have the gall to strike on paychecks that among the top 10% and often the top 1% of the country.

    All the points remain true. They are over paid for what they do which is usually throwing a ball in some direction. Hwoever, I don't think the world has finished adjusting to the economies of scale that are present in the televised world and the changes of the internet world.

    It's all about packing the most viewers into each time slice. And since the same show can be shown to 6 billion people, you pay your performers very well indeed if they catch a significant amount of that attention.

    However, the internet's still adapating and growing and changing and so is Television. When more people migrate their attention to specialty channels to streaming content online we should see a reduction in the exhorbitant salaries because they are no longer able to command the attention they once could, under the limited distribution channels of the past.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.