This is part of the story, but not all of it. I’m a college prof and I tell Ph.D. applicants that success is based on two axes: how necessary your skillset is and how unique your skillset is. So a professor in the humanities, like me, makes a relatively crappy wage because while my skills are unique (i.e., I’m hard to replace). They’re not perceived as necessary by society. I’m stuck on one axis. Thanks, I guess? Planning on leaving in a few months anyway. Just too tired of being wet, always behind, and the last to leave. The high stress of trying to keep up can just be translated to another position in the restaurant anyways. And I won’t be wet or the last to leave. Rather leave the position open for the guys who smoke and drink though as is proper for many a restaurant dishwasher. Or a high school kid. The circle of life and all. Rather be fulfilled than paid.
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There are some professions (social worker, teacher, etc.). Where the people that are drawn to those fields will stay despite sub-standard treatment. These same people will go through the effort of getting the qualifications necessary for those jobs despite having a fairly good idea of what is to come. Game development and zoo work are the same. Game dev skills are very transferable to other fields but the devs make shit pay because there are lots of passionate people following their dreams into games programming. The cunning programmers work at banks and Norton. I think I would have picked a different career path going into college because of the pay. Despite having a 4-year degree, I found myself working as a TA for years before getting a teaching position. My first job out paid me 9.89 to be a TA at a school for children with disabilities. I happily took it thinking I was going to be on the teaching side.
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Wrong. Toileting and personal care. I’ve met a ton of crazy people working in these fields some truly appalling stories, but I’ve learned a hell of a lot. I’ve also met my fair share of people who have a heart of gold and are truly making differences in the world. I feel for them. I know many teachers who work two jobs or have quit. It does suck, and I’m sorry. Unfortunately, the perception (with which I disagree) is that it’s not hard to get the minimum qualifications to teach (assuming K-12), so I’d say this falls high on the necessary but low on the “unique” scale. But please keep doing what you do. As someone with kids, I really really value what their teachers bring to the table.