Love vs Money
Aside from the tempestuous changing weather in the mid-Atlantic region, I’d have to say last week was pretty decent. I received an email from a fellow alumna of my undergrad institution, who is now running a division of HR for a large media company that I used to “work for” (used loosely as I was employed on two temporary contract jobs that suddenly ended despite being promised they would turn permanent, not bitter). She asked me to give her a call to catch up, and while we chatted, she let me know that she had an opening in her department for a recruiter and asked if I was interested.
I was immediately torn on how to answer because from experience I know that recruiting is typically a pretty well-paying gig, and knowing what I’ve known about the media company, I would stand to do pretty well financially. If I say yes, on the other hand, I would be jumping off the student affairs boat before it even sets sail, but as passionate as I am for it, let’s be real, student affairs does not pay. How do you think I responded?
a) Screw poverty, when do I start?!
b) No way José, my allegiance to student affairs is unbreakable
Joking aside, my response was more of the middle; I told her I’d have to think on it because I had four months of school left and I wouldn’t be able to start until May. Unfortunately she needed someone to start the job right away, so there’s nothing more to think about. BUT this situation is bound to come up frequently throughout my career path, the choice between money over passion. No matter how altruistic we think we are about sticking to our passion for education, in this day and age when Sallie Mae comes knocking (and she’s always knocking), nothing is sexy about being on a shoestring budget.
As “entry-level” Masters student affairs job seekers, we have been told that we can expect to make around $35-40K at best, and that if we ever hope to get around it, we can either marry rich or find another job outside the profession. As tongue in cheek as that is, it bothers me that we have to even joke about it. My bigger beef with this low salary business is that there’s a presumed rite of passage that our elders have put on us that we have to prove ourselves in order to advance. I completely agree to an extent – if I had never worked before, but I am closer to 30 years old, and I fear that my former work experience might not even matter. If I will be knocked down on the totem pole all because I’m a “newbie” to student affairs with no consideration to my former work experience, the deck is stacked against me before I even start, and that is a game I refuse play. Some might say that I’m over-entitled for feeling this way, but after I sacrificed two years to get a Masters, I don’t think it’s wrong that my career aspirations have a price tag greater than $35K/year.
OK, no more ranting. I found a slew of about 9 positions that I plan on applying for this week ranging in function areas of alumni services, admissions, career services, etc. all that are pretty doable locations around Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Northern New Jersey. Here’s hoping something positive comes out of it!