08 December 2010

Frustrated Asian Professional - Paid in full?

There was a little bit of buzz the other day regarding a study showing that Asian American men working for U.S. employers aren't paid at the same level as 'similarly qualified white men.'  (To be fair, I haven't read the entire study.  I'm only basing my opinion on the same article I think most others have been responding to.)

Maybe I'm being too closed minded about this, but is this really news?  Would any non white, non male group ever be generally surveyed to be on par with similarly qualified white men?

I've spent the majority of my working years (too many I'm beginning to think) employed by corporations.  In almost all cases, I suspect that the ranges of pay between two people doing the same job, within the same group could be huge.  Finding out where you are and where you could be all determined by a bunch of fuzzy math around grade levels or bands or other categories.  Corporate politics dictate that the detail is usually kept under wraps, but the information is written down somewhere.  I've seen too many instances of people finding out that the person they shared an office with was making way more than they were, regardless of background. 

It could be that everything levels out at the executive level.  I've never cared that much about what folks up higher on the food chain make, except that I know it's more than me. 

Of more concern to me, is that we keep measuring our success by the person sitting next to us.  I agree that folks doing the same job, performing in a similar manner should be paid the same.  But outside of the hourly guy punching the clock, how would anyone ensure that? 

The longer I'm in this game the less paycheck size and corporate level matter to me.  Don't get me wrong I'm always game for a raise.  What I'm becoming less game for is sacrificing more of my personal and family time for a raise that doesn't justify it.  That's a personal choice.  Thankfully right now it is a choice.  It's a choice that wasn't an option for my parents as I was growing up because they had to grind it out to make ends meet. 

I admire and thank them for that, but at the same time I think I lost out on a lot because they weren't around so much, and as long as I'm able to I'm not going to have it so my kids feel the same way later.

Thanks for reading...


Jenny Rain said...

"Would any non white, non male group ever be generally surveyed to be on par with similarly qualified white men?"

That's the whole reason why it's news. Because shockingly in this day and age--even though we say we're post-racial and modern and progressive and past all of that BS--we still can't get past pay discrimination. I would love to get past comparing myself to the person sitting next to me, but when that person is making more than me for no other apparent reason than the color of their skin, then it matters a great deal.

My parents worked really hard when I was a kid as well and were never around, so my grandparents had to basically raise my sister and me. But I'm thankful that they worked hard so that I could go to college and be as successful as I've become. But to think that the pay gap for parents might have been even bigger than it is for me just makes my skin crawl.

I've just started reading your blog, but I'll keep reading. Hit up www.marginallyinsane.com if you get a chance.Peace!

Gene said...

Thanks for the word, Jenny. You bring up something that's been killing me for a long while. No matter what most would like to say, we're definitely not post-racial.

If anything all the racism of the past has gone deep undercover. I used to think it was just a Chicago thing, but realizing it's got different flavors everywhere. It's not the same that our folks had to face, but it's something all of us 2nd gen immigrants are gonna have to deal with, in one way or another.

(btw, I found your blog a week or so ago, and it's quickly become one of my must-reads.)

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