• Joe the Plumber and the Middle-Class Squeeze

    Joe Wurzelbacher is getting his 15 minutes of fame--raising questions about what it means to be middle class. Better known as Joe the Plumber, he stepped into the limelight earlier this month when he asked Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic contender for the White House, about his tax plan. According to a New York Times story, Wurzelbacher asked Obama if he believed in the American dream, and voiced concern about having to pay higher taxes as a small-business owner. “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year,” he told Obama. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?" Obama gave a lengthy response, toward the end saying, “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

    In the time since, the episode has made the rounds on the Internet, TV, in print and perhaps most notably, during the final presidential debate at Hofstra University. Sen. John McCain raised the issue of Joe the Plumber, and both he and Obama went on to explain why their tax plans would be more beneficial for America. According to a New York Times breakdown of the candidates' tax plans, Obama would repeal the Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000, extend middle-class cuts, like the $1,000 child tax credit and the marriage penalty relief, and triple the earned income tax credit for workers earning minimum wage. McCain would make permanent nearly all of Bush's tax cuts, increase $3,500 personal exemption for dependents by $500 a year, until it reaches $7,000 in 2016, and offer the option to pay taxes under a simplified code with only two tax rates.

    So what do the plans mean for middle-class workers like Wurzelbacher? Tax analysts in a NYT article said neither Wurzelbacher's personal taxes nor those of his business would be likely to rise under Obama's tax plan. However, a NYT graphic in the same story illustrates that the tax bill of a plumber in a situation similar to Wurzelbacher's would be slightly less under McCain's plan--$20,468--compared to $21,068 under the Obama plan, assuming no retirement contributions.

  • Non-Profit Careers - Social Worker

    Name: Josh Cutler
    Job Title: Branch Director/Social Worker
    Where: Bellevue, Washington
    Employer: Alpha Supported Living Services (Non-profit Organization)
    Years of Experience: 4.5
    Other Relevant Experience: Direct Support Staff, Program Coordinator, Business Manager, etc.
    Education: B.A. in Human Services
    Annual Salary: Use PayScale’s Research Center to find Non-Profit Director Salaries and the Salary of an Assisted Living Director.

    There are two factors that guide most career decisions: salary and personal satisfaction. At the end of the day, you have to bring home a paycheck big enough to pay the bills and put food on the table. But most people also want a work environment that satisfies them on a personal level. For some people, that kind of job satisfaction comes from collaborating with like-minded coworkers, or creating a quality product.

    For Josh Cutler, a non-profit director at Alpha Supported Living Services in Seattle, job satisfaction means going home knowing his work has helped improve someone else's quality of life. Starting out within an entry-level caregiver job and working his way up the non-profit career ladder, Josh also provides a perfect example of the non-profit career opportunities available to those with a strong work ethic and a passion for social work.

  • Average Salary Increases: What's On the Horizon for 2009?

    Over the last several weeks, it seems the United States has come entirely unglued--at least financially. It's enough to make any worker uneasy about job security and compensation. With all the fiscal unrest, we wonder: what can we expect for an average salary increase in 2009, in light of the sorry state of the economy?

  • 5 Salary Secrets Your Company Won't Tell You
  • Telecommuting From Home Success Stories

    Csmonitor.com devoted an entire article to telecommuting from home success stories. In the age of Blackberry, Skype, e-mail and instant messaging, it is becoming more common for businesses to allow employees to telecommute from home, or even the local coffee shop. I touched on this in my previous post about legitimate work at home jobs. 

    Exactly how many people are working in their PJs? WorldatWork, a national organization of HR professionals, says that around 28 million Americans are working from home at least one day per month, and that number could reach 100 million by 2010. Which jobs were included in these telecommuting from home success stories?  Keep reading!

    How does your salary compare to telecommuting from home success stories?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator. You can also use the PayScale Cost of Living Calculator to see how much you would need to make to maintain your current standard of living in a different city. 

  • Spanish Speaking Jobs: Hispanic Marketing Manager

    Name: Melissa Kopecko Meyer
    Job Title: Hispanic Advertising Manager; Hispanic Marketing Manager; Bilingual Marketing Manager; Bilingual Advertising Manager
    Where: Seattle, WA - USA
    Employer: WaMu (Washington Mutual) & JPMorgan Chase
    Years of Experience: 5
    Other Relevant Experience: Six Sigma Green Belt training and an internship at the Spanish Council for Demographic Research in Madrid, Spain
    Education: University of Phoenix MBA - Global Management, Summa Cum Laude; University of Wisconsin Madison - Bachelor of Science Spanish/Sociology/Business, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa; Universidad Complutense de Madrid - Various coursework completed all in Spanish, also worked at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Madrid
    Annual Salary: Median Marketing Manager Salaries range from $40,000 to $76,000. Use PayScale’s Research Center to compare Marketing Manager Salaries by City.

    Whether you’re planning to work abroad or keeping your career stateside, there are countless career opportunities for bilingual job candidates. With the rising development of a world economy, bilingual fluency opens the door to greater career possibilities within various industries. And, as the Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. continues to grow, there is an increasing demand for employees who are bilingual.

    In this Salary Story, Melissa Kopecko Meyer describes her career path as a Hispanic marketing manager. When asked how she got started as a bilingual marketing manager, Melissa says she simply followed her strengths and interests. If you’ve ever asked, “What job can I get with a Spanish degree?” here’s just one example of the many Spanish-speaking jobs awaiting you, along with some sound advice from a career insider.

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