Here's the scenario. I just had the chance to review my municipality's 2008 budget for the first time. I'm working as one of two planners here, though the other planner is technically on maternity leave (I'm in touch with her via email or phone on a very regular basis, however). Upon reviewing the budget, I'm troubled. No - troubled is the wrong word. I'm feeling like a bit of a chump. See, I was hired at a salary of $45k/year. I live in one of the most expensive counties in the entire US, and I'm find that this salary is eaten up real quick every month.
The budget makes it clear that I'm being compensated poorly. I make 1/2 of the salary of my fellow planner and 1/3 the salary of the manager of the municipality. A number of the DPW, building department, and admin staff make quite a bit more than me also. This is a union position with generous benefits (though just one week of vacation the first year, increasing to two the second year). I understand that I shouldn't expect to be raking the dough in as an Assistant Planner, but my issue is with the relative compensation. This is my first municipal planning position. I have a master's degree in regional economic development and worked at a nonprofit previously doing housing development. Am I being taken for a fool here, or am I overreacting? I did check the salary prior accepting the position and it is in line with those offered for new planners at NYC Dept. of City Planning.
I had planned on staying here a couple of years, but I'm not so sure now. Thoughts?