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Anybody pay a decent standard of living anymore?


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My husband is looking for a job after more than 10 years with the same company. He's done an excellent job according to all of his reviews and has been told he is one of the best in the business according to his company and other companies he works with. Due to odd curcumstances beyond his control, his pay is being cut 20%. The company is doing fine financially. This salary will put us in food shelf status in our town along with a bunch of other low income helps. Does anyone pay a decent standard of living anymore? I'm beyond frustrated.

 

Beth

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It is getting harder and harder these days---esp. here in West Michigan where we have very high unemployment.

 

The factory my husband worked at 20 years ago is paying the SAME wages now as what my dh earned there.......and the cost of living has gone WAY up in 20 years. Same job, same pay---just 20 years later.

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In a discrete generic way (because people would recognize his company in these circles)- public relations - he's worked with all types of media and has been involved in product development. It's not the highest paying career and we have always tried to live below our means. It's paid the bills to this point. He's starting to think sales. God has always provided a job when he needed one. He'll do it again.

 

Beth

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It's mostly just him although there have been some other changes. The problem also becomes is that they capped his salary at that level. Yes, he is looking pronto. Thankfully, he still has a job and is getting a very good recommendation letter from his former boss who thinks he was very much slighted.

 

Beth

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Engineering does, but most companies expect their employees to work crazy hours. I think DH has worked a min of 55 hrs a week for the past two years, though many weeks he works 60-75 hours. He takes his computer and works during vacations. He works most weekends, either going in to the office or bringing his computer home.

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Oh, sorry :grouphug: Dh's department is department of defense, national security type stuff, so we don't really worry about that... what kind of programs get cut?

 

When your program gets cut, do you straight up lose your job, or do they "move you around"?

 

I assume if you are a government civilian then you get moved. If you are a contractor some companies try to find you a job in another area but most likely you lose your job. We have a timeframe so there is time for dh to find a new job. He has been looking but nothing yet. I think something will turn up, fingers crossed.

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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

 

Jobs that pay good salaries are typically found in areas where the cost-of-living is insanely high, and then the government taxes you up the wazoo because just looking at the gross salary and not the purchasing power, you're well-off. :glare:

 

$100k here in the San Francisco metro area is the equivalent of $39.9k in Detroit because of the cost-of-living differences.

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I assume if you are a government civilian then you get moved. If you are a contractor some companies try to find you a job in another area but most likely you lose your job. We have a timeframe so there is time for dh to find a new job. He has been looking but nothing yet. I think something will turn up, fingers crossed.

 

Ahh, yes. There is a big difference between contractor and civilian. DH was contractor when he first got out of the military and then we DID have to worry about him losing his job (and we couldn't afford the insurance either). When the contract was "up" he had to start looking for another job and we were freaking out, even thinking about going back into the military, but at the last minute, he got a civilian job. We were SO relieved. It is my understanding that when you are civilian, they just move you around. Everyone congratulated him on getting the job and MANY people said, "The only thing harder than getting a government job is LOSING a government job."

 

Good luck!!!

 

OP, my (not that close) cousin does some type of medical sales job. Business is booming and she makes a LOT of money. She doesn't have a medical degree, I believe she has a degree in business, or something like that.

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Because so many women work now, I think companies believe most people are two-income families and don't feel obligated to pay better salaries. It's rather unfortunate for those of us that don't have two incomes.

 

I actually agree with this. Affordable insurance is not available through dh's work (over $1600 a month for crappy insurance) because they assume everyone has a spouse that can get better insurance. Not so for us. Dh has good work hours but terrible benefits, and somehow no job security even though he's a tenured professor. They've dumped many teachers but not taken a dime from the overpaid administration. I mean, how do you run schools with 3 extra deans but a distinct lack of teachers? Anyway, on paper we make decent compared to minimum wage, but it only carries so far. Definitely not middle class.

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Engineering does, but most companies expect their employees to work crazy hours. I think DH has worked a min of 55 hrs a week for the past two years, though many weeks he works 60-75 hours. He takes his computer and works during vacations. He works most weekends, either going in to the office or bringing his computer home.

 

:lol: Are those unusual hours? My husband's schedule and expected out-of-work time commitment sound pretty similar, and he's a restaurant manager. I think he provides quite well for our family, but I'd be making more money if I had finished my engineering degree.

 

 

Because so many women work now, I think companies believe most people are two-income families and don't feel obligated to pay better salaries. It's rather unfortunate for those of us that don't have two incomes.

 

No kidding. My husband's boss sent us a list of places to look for a house when we moved here. My husband said, "You know exactly how much money I make. How would I afford anything there?" His boss asked how much I make. Do you think we would have been able to move out of state with no notice if I had any kind of substantial traditional form of employment?

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Because so many women work now, I think companies believe most people are two-income families and don't feel obligated to pay better salaries. It's rather unfortunate for those of us that don't have two incomes.

 

Which double sucks for everyone really bc ideally even if they do have two incomes, the best thing is STILL to live off ONE as much as possible.

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Government jobs rock. I don't know about State government jobs, but Federal government jobs are awesome.

 

:iagree: and contractor jobs in areas that are unlikely to get cut are great too. Though explaining why you only worked 6 months at xyz before switching companies to do the exact same thing at the exact same place because abc won the contract and kept all the general employees on, confuses non-government based companies.

 

Also depending on what you do CS/IT (high levels) pays well and a lot of the hours are not ridiculously insane. DH works an average of 40 hours a week and checks his e-mail at home in the evenings sometimes. DH did just take a slight pay cut to change from government contractor to non-government based job. However his commute is going from 3 hours a day to 10 minutes a day, so we count it as a win anyways. He did debate going civil servant, but decided he didn't want to deal with the commute into DC anymore regardless of what he was doing.

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Overall, there is so much competition for jobs that employers have their pick of overqualified candidates. Employers no longer have to hold out the $$ carrot to get good employees.

 

Dh has a former coworker friend who now places employees in temporary jobs. She is very aware of the job market and wages paid.

 

Dh was offered a job recently that paid $10-20,000 less/year that they used to make (they had the same job, bonuses varied). When dh told her about the job offer, she told him "rip their arm off for it". It is so hard to get a good job in our area that people are happy to just have anything at all!

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He's starting to think sales.

 

My DH is in sales. It's been a good gig for us! He makes pretty good money. He's reasonably good at it, so our comission is nice, plus our base salary is enough to pay the bills.

He's with a financially sound, respected company in the industry (he's in high-tech business-to-business sales). The benefits are good (comparable to the benefits my dad gets through his civilian government job), the perks are nice (lots of bonus potential, etc.).

Also, we found that once DH "broke in" to a good sales job (we sent out a zillion resumes, did a ton of interviews) and was employed for a sales company with a solid reputation, we started getting a lot of recruiter calls/offers from other companies. There's security for me to know he could get another job fairly quickly if he wanted/needed.

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Nuclear power!

 

We got out of the Navy early in '08, right before the economy really tanked. Dh served 10 years in the Navy working in nuclear power. He got a management operator job with his experience and a Nuclear Engineering degree. While our base salary is lower (he works for a public utility) than it would be if he had taken a job with a private company (like Exelon or Entergy), he gets overtime pay and excellent benefits. We get yearly COL raises (2.5%, but I won't complain-a raise is a raise). Yes, he works crazy hours-rotating shift work and mandatory overtime- but we get compensated for that, so again I really cannot complain. Since we live in the middle of nowhere, and it's hard to get people to come out here, every 3 years his company gives out a hefty (to me) retention bonus just for staying and maintaining your license. Now, we won't be taking any European trips, buying luxury cars (I consider my 2009 Pilot a fancy car), or buying a fancy house (our house cost $200,000 with 8+ acres of land), we live comfortably. We have always lived well within our means, have saved a bit of money, and we just don't care what the Joneses are buying.

 

So, if anyone here has a slightly techy/mechanically-inclined dh, you can easily find a job at a nuclear power plant. Starting salary for operators is about $70,000, plus real overtime pay.

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I actually agree with this. Affordable insurance is not available through dh's work (over $1600 a month for crappy insurance) because they assume everyone has a spouse that can get better insurance. Not so for us. Dh has good work hours but terrible benefits, and somehow no job security even though he's a tenured professor. They've dumped many teachers but not taken a dime from the overpaid administration. I mean, how do you run schools with 3 extra deans but a distinct lack of teachers? Anyway, on paper we make decent compared to minimum wage, but it only carries so far. Definitely not middle class.

 

How is that possible when college tuition has increase dramatically in the last 20 years? I figured they were hiring more teachers, paying better, and offering more benefits. Where is the money going?

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There's a lot of truth to companies assuming two incomes and paying accordingly. We live in a 'bubble' where most families have one income. It's the norm for us. Everyone drives decent cars but keeps them a long time. Most people live in military housing, which is basically renting. No one takes lavish vacations. It's unusual in that everyone knows how much everyone else makes so if a family has a much nicer house or 'stuff' than others people talk and it gets out that they must be carrying debt.

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Hubby is in the semi-conductor industry which pays well but does not have job security. His company is relocating people out of state.

 

$100k here in the San Francisco metro area is the equivalent of $39.9k in Detroit because of the cost-of-living differences.

 

$100k in San Jose also goes further than in Palo Alto :glare:

 

We always joke about the US101N commute jam into SF in the morning. Some of my neighbors work in SF.

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There's a lot of truth to companies assuming two incomes and paying accordingly.

 

I don't think there is an active assumption so much as plain old economics at work. With a significantly larger percentage of the population in the workforce, wages are lower since there is way more competition for jobs. There are other factors at play, such as rising income inequality and that basically none of the fruits of increased productivity have been returned to middle earning workers but good old supply and demand is certainly in play.

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How is that possible when college tuition has increase dramatically in the last 20 years? I figured they were hiring more teachers, paying better, and offering more benefits. Where is the money going?

 

In the case of a lot of state schools (especially community colleges), offsetting the reduced funding from states.

 

Also, sports:glare:, administrators, etc.

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How is that possible when college tuition has increase dramatically in the last 20 years? I figured they were hiring more teachers, paying better, and offering more benefits. Where is the money going?

 

Part of it to pensions.

 

In my school district, the superintendent was promoted 2 years before his retirement to get a higher pension. It was the old boys club mentality. So in 4 years, we had two superintendent who retired with nice pensions while layoffs were happening to teachers.

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Contract and direct engineers, designers, project managers make good money in the oil and gas and mining industries. You have to be able to move to where the next project is though and that is every 4 months to a year a lot of times right now for oil and gas. I am not sure how long the mining jobs are running typically. You also have to be pretty good at what you do to get and keep a job. Contract work for mechanical/structural stress analysis also still pays well in the aerospace industry among others.

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Part of it to pensions.

 

In my school district, the superintendent was promoted 2 years before his retirement to get a higher pension. It was the old boys club mentality. So in 4 years, we had two superintendent who retired with nice pensions while layoffs were happening to teachers.

 

This has been going on for public school teachers and administrators ever since anyone can remember in my state. Salaries are boosted in the last three years as pensions are based on the last three years of employment. It's changing now that the public is aware of it and pensions have tanked.

 

I was just contacted to interview for a teaching assistant position that pays what I've heard is minimum wage plus benefits. The kicker--and why I didn't apply--is that they were advertising for a certified high school math or science teacher. I thought is was pretty nervy. I actually am going to go to the interview and see if the terms are still the same now that they haven't been able to find anyone for 6 weeks.

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My dh got his first raise in 6 years (2.5%) along with a notice a week later that insurance and retirement was going up 5%. Raises around here don't mean much and he is looking for another job.

 

Sounds like the Virginia teachers. In our area, it was the first raise in 5 years (2%), along with a 5% increase in retirement. (The powers that be were "kind enough" to raise the teachers' pay 7%, so they'd get taxed on the 7% but then hand back 5% to retirement, which also had its benefits slashed). Overall, it ended up being a few dollar pay DECREASE.... Plus, the state is adding in tolls to the area's tunnels, so some teachers will have to pay >$3 a day ($540/year) just to have the privilege of getting to school. Already some great teachers have switched districts in anticipation of that hefty driving fine coming soon to the roads.

 

Now, a teacher who just graduated from college would have to work 43 years to reach eligibility for retirement (even though they're paying 5% more than teachers have historically). Additionally, from the past decade as any indicator, the teacher can expect to get no raises for longevity / experience with the district. Sixth-year teachers make the same as first-year teachers in our district, and they make the same (less due to retirement fees) than they did when they started.

Edited by OSUBuckeye
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STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.

 

Within the sciences, medicine - BSRN's in our area get $40.00 - 50.00 per hr. plus benefits. Radiologists, O.R. Techs, etc. all work reasonable hours for decent pay.

 

Chemists, chemical engineering, petroleum or geological engineering, aerospace engineering and robotics, civil engineering, alternative energy engineering if you can find a company that has been awarded good-sized grants, etc.

 

Mathematics - the NSA alone is desperate for mathematicians and not only offers the SMART scholarship (up to $25,000.00 per year in college scholarships for each year - up to $100,000 - you are willing to work for them post-graduation). Starting pay and benefits straight out of college is very good for a new grad. NASA needs mathematicians as well.

 

Ten years from now the computer industry will be losing 50% of it's work force to retirement. Due to offshoring, computer departments have practically dried up in many colleges across America and the problem is that DoD and other government contracts cannot use offshort workers due to security risks. IBM and the like will be hurting for workers at that point. Of course, it doesn't stop them at present from firing workers, needed workers, in order to raise the bottom line/stock prices even higher in the short term so CEO's and major stock holders can loot and pillage the company for personal gain. HP just let go 26,000 workers and these were not slackers. It will, at some point, raise stock prices however, 3-5 years from now they'll be losing contracts left and right because their customers have had it....they can't meet deadlines nor can they make good on customer support because there aren't enough workers around to do what they promised in their contracts. So, at that point, there may be computer programming jobs available and since there will be competition, the pay will have to go back to being competitive.

 

Oracle DBA's and JAVA programmers can make VERY comfortable livings if they are willing to live in Asia and Indonesia. We'd be there now if it weren't for Dh's mom.

 

Faith

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Because so many women work now, I think companies believe most people are two-income families and don't feel obligated to pay better salaries. It's rather unfortunate for those of us that don't have two incomes.

 

Yeah, I think somehow there is this expectation, but, given the number of people who aren't married, plus all the people who have only one income (or the second income is part time), it seems ridiculous. It's even worse for minimum wage type jobs. People with these tend to have two (or more!) and the spouse has two, too. Just to survive. What are we doing?

 

Btw, I read something about how the large number of qualified employees actually makes companies NOT hire. It was weird. Anyway it chaps my hide that these companies and "job creating" wealthy people get all these tax breaks because of their supposed value in the economy, when really, they just keep the money. These banks who got bailed out by the American people have just refused to give loans and raised fees, to keep themselves cozy.

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I'm the OP - here's the weirdo situation. The company felt that all their employees at certain positions should make the same amount of money. Problem is - their company is scattered in different states. So, they made his salary comparative to an employee in the company's headquarter's state. Basically, you can live on 20% less in that state than you can where we live, so, factoring in cost of living between the two states, he is now making significantly less than their employee of similar status in the headquarter state. Basically, all their company employee levels make the same salary regardless of where they live. He got screwed.

 

Beth

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Software Engineering. My nephew has just graduated from WSU and immediately started at $72K per year. There were very few American born students in his classes throughout college. I read somewhere that 80% of the software engineers hired here have work Visa's. I think being a native-born American helped him secure his job. He had many offers.

 

K

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They know the COL factors. More likely they want him to move on.

 

The thing is, they also screwed another employee who was just hired at his position less than 6 months ago (he transferred positions within the company). He negotiated a salary where he thought eventually he could make more money than his other position eventually and they capped his salary also without warning. There were also a few people also with years of experience and talent who were regulated to "consultation" people - essentially fired, but we'll call you if something comes up. I think they just don't know what they're doing. There are other things that have made dh wonder what they are thinking. Either way, they can re-hire some cheap fresh college grad who will put them back years just because they don't know what they're doing - dh's job require years of getting to know company contacts. He takes all of that with him.

 

Beth

Edited by bethben
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The thing is, they also screwed another employee who was just hired at his position less than 6 months ago (he transferred positions within the company). He negotiated a salary where he thought eventually he could make more money than his other position eventually and they capped his salary also without warning. I think they just don't know what they're doing. There are other things that have made dh wonder what they are thinking. Either way, they can re-hire some cheap fresh college grad who will put them back years just because they don't know what they're doing - dh's job require years of getting to know company contacts. He takes all of that with him.

 

Beth

 

 

They do know what they are doing. They do not care that hiring someone without experience will set them back. The reason for this is that high paid upper management and CEO's make money off pay-cuts, lay-offs, firings, and hiring cheap labor. It's a short term money maker, but it increases profits in the short run before the long term effects of those decisions are felt by the company. Since many bonuses are paid out in company stock, they cash in on the higher stock price or they take their cash bonus for raising profits for that quarter, or whatever and run. When the fur hits the fan and the company gets into financial trouble (DH's company is going through this and can't meet obligations but LET GO 26,000 computer programmers and contract managers WHO KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING in order to get the quarterly profit margins up), these same CEO's and managers retire with their golden parachute.

 

When Dick Brown looted and pillaged EDS until it was a hollow shell and still grabbed 27 million in cash bonuses plus more stock options, his comment when confronted by an angry shareholder (if memory serves, an economics professor from Texas A & M confronted him at a shareholders meeting with the press hovering around), his comment in front of the press was, "I have an expensive wife!" The next CEO then looted what was left and EDS was sold for a low price to HP. If HP (executive) upper management keeps it up - making these same bonehead decisions - it will end up in the "bargain basement" company sale. However, the individuals involved in making these bonehead decisions will be very, very rich as a result. I have no idea if IBM would buy HP, but if they do, given how little consulting and custom software programming is being done by smaller firms, IBM will have a monopoly on the computer services market unless some middle size company can pull off enough loans and has a big enough vision to buy HP out and do something with it.

 

This is how it is done. Company loyalty, long term health, slow/steady incremental growth with an eye to the future, nope...that's not company business anymore. Get rich quick schemes and who you can screw over for a $1.00 is the name of the game.

 

Make no mistake. These executives know exactly that they are doing and they do.not.care. what they do to families. They have a lord and serf mentality.

 

Faith

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My Dh works in IT for a large insurance company. They've been very good to us so far; yearly raises, Christmas bonus, good health plan. It's good work if you can get it.

 

In my circle of friends, this hold true. Hard sciences, engineers, computer sicentists, and the like, are doing very well. My friends who do things like HR, PR, Communications, Consulting, etc, are not doing as well.

 

I guess the goal in these times is to get a hard science/computer degree/skill, and EXCEL at it. Be top of the class, and top of the dept. where you work, putting in long hours way past 5 pm., and proving yourself without a doubt. Everythign else is suffering (at least from what I see, I'm sure there are exceptions!)...and I don't see that changing any time soon.

 

We've been unscathed and even promoted because dh is workaholic who won't let things go at work until he has don't the best job possible. He skips lunches, works into the night, and etc.

This may be the (unfortunate) key.

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They do know what they are doing. They do not care that hiring someone without experience will set them back. The reason for this is that high paid upper management and CEO's make money off pay-cuts, lay-offs, firings, and hiring cheap labor. It's a short term money maker, but it increases profits in the short run before the long term effects of those decisions are felt by the company. Since many bonuses are paid out in company stock, they cash in on the higher stock price or they take their cash bonus for raising profits for that quarter, or whatever and run. When the fur hits the fan and the company gets into financial trouble (DH's company is going through this and can't meet obligations but LET GO 26,000 computer programmers and contract managers WHO KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING in order to get the quarterly profit margins up), these same CEO's and managers retire with their golden parachute.

 

When Dick Brown looted and pillaged EDS until it was a hollow shell and still grabbed 27 million in cash bonuses plus more stock options, his comment when confronted by an angry shareholder (if memory serves, an economics professor from Texas A & M confronted him at a shareholders meeting with the press hovering around), his comment in front of the press was, "I have an expensive wife!" The next CEO then looted what was left and EDS was sold for a low price to HP. If HP (executive) upper management keeps it up - making these same bonehead decisions - it will end up in the "bargain basement" company sale. However, the individuals involved in making these bonehead decisions will be very, very rich as a result. I have no idea if IBM would buy HP, but if they do, given how little consulting and custom software programming is being done by smaller firms, IBM will have a monopoly on the computer services market unless some middle size company can pull off enough loans and has a big enough vision to buy HP out and do something with it.

 

This is how it is done. Company loyalty, long term health, slow/steady incremental growth with an eye to the future, nope...that's not company business anymore. Get rich quick schemes and who you can screw over for a $1.00 is the name of the game.

 

Make no mistake. These executives know exactly that they are doing and they do.not.care. what they do to families. They have a lord and serf mentality.

 

Faith

 

:iagree:I have lived this. They know exactly what they are doing. There long term goals are about how much money they can grab and can they get out before the carp hits the fan.

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How is that possible when college tuition has increase dramatically in the last 20 years? I figured they were hiring more teachers, paying better, and offering more benefits. Where is the money going?

 

Lining the pockets of politicians and administrators. Dh teaches chemistry at a small college. There are four very tiny colleges in the system. There is a President, a CEO, and four deans. They make huge bucks, especially for a rural low COL area. Most students here do not pay tuition. Not even student loans. Many are random scholarships, and many sports scholarships, which is hilarious since our teams are some of the worst in the state.

 

Add on the fact that our last two governors are in prison and embezzled tons of money and our state can NOT pay our bills, most colleges in IL were not paid at all what the state owed them the last few years. They finally put a rise freeze on administration, but by doing so froze the low salaries of the staff (like receptionists and janitors). The only overtime pay for faculty is so atrociously low that it is less than minimum wage. Sorry to say, but tuition increases aren't going to better classes or professors.

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