Wal-Mart announced it will raise entry level wages to at least $9 an hour by April and $10 by next February, according to a recent Associated Press story. The changes affect less than 6,000 workers who make federal minimum wage. After those changes take effect, the average full-time Wal-Mart employee will make $13 an hour, while part-time employees will make $10 an hour.
This is more than I make — with a college degree from the third-largest university in the state that listed an enrollment of more than 12,000 last semester.
What is my degree worth in the field I have chosen?
It seems like it’s not worth much at all, considering a high schooler could enter the workforce at the world’s largest retailer and make more money per hour than I do in a competitive field with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism.
But those few bucks added behind the dollar sign don’t always equal happiness, and all aspiring journalists are aware a career in writing isn’t the most profitable.
Sure, I won’t ever make as much money as a college graduate in the nursing, business or science field, and I don’t make as much money per hour as a part-time retail employee. However, I do find other sources of gratification when my paycheck is deposited every two weeks.
Each day, I talk with professionals in fields ranging from law enforcement to elementary education. After corresponding with a source through call, email or text, I get to share his story using my own words and creativity. When deadlines are lenient, I have the pleasure of meeting a source face-to-face and relating with them one-on-one, which is a reward in itself.
The expectations the public presents are difficult to live up to at times. It is unrealistic to be everywhere at once, and finishing the day’s work when hours are eaten by meetings, photo opportunities, newsroom discussions and slow Internet connections is a challenge.
If it was easy, everyone would do it.
But that’s the point — not everyone was made to be a journalist, just as I wasn’t made to be a doctor, accountant, chemist or even a retail worker. Some people are. Some people have the talent and desire it takes to operate a cash register, stock inventory and assist customers.
If there is one facet of my life I am sure about, I know God made me to be a journalist. I don’t make very much money, and that’s OK. I still love my job and wouldn’t trade my career path for any other. I would live with my parents and eat a can of beans each night if that meant I could make a living out of this profession.
Find what you are good at — what makes you happy — and do it. Do it if your parents think you’re crazy. Do it if it’s not financially smart. Do it if it’s what you are absolutely passionate about. Do it, and love it because at the end of your life, you’re not going to reflect on how much pleasure those green, meaningless bills brought.