If we all had different jobs and the same salary

 

Oh hey! Welcome to another installment of “What if Wednesday!” Let’s let our imaginations run wild….

Imagine that everyone made the same amount and switched jobs every 3 years!

The rules are:

  1. You cannot opt out.
  2. Everyone between ages 15-65 who is able to work, must do so.
  3. Work assignments last 3 years, and not a day longer.
  4. At the end of a 3 year assignment, each person is re-assigned to a completely new position.
  5. You have no choice in what your next assignment will be.
  6. Reassignments must be completely different from your current position. For example, if you are a bus driver, your next job cannot be driving-related. If you work in an office, your next job cannot be in an office.
  7. You will not be reassigned to the same job twice.
  8. Everyone receives the exact same salary. It doesn’t matter what your job is, or your rank. You get the same salary as everyone else. This means the president earns the same amount as the bus driver.
  9. There is no option to acquire additional money in any way. No working multiple jobs or stealing/laundering money, etc. Your salary is all you get!
  10. Everyone will be able to live comfortably on their salary.

Eeeenteresting. Ok, so this is a fictional scenario, and I realize I have to suspend my disbelief. After all, this would never actually “fly” in today’s world. Especially since many professions require more than 3 years of training to become full-fledged (eg, surgery, scientists, lawyers, etc). But let’s just pretend this could actually happen, for the sake of imagination…

One of the things I find interesting about this setup is the “all salaries are equal” thing. From government officials to factory workers. Just think of it. If we all made the same amount of money, there would be no 1%. There would be no poverty. There would be no hunger. And no filthy filthy rich people. Also, there would be no need to worry about the pay gap for women or minorities. We would ALL bring home the same dollar.

If all salaries were equal, would it be a relief? If everyone is able to live comfortably, then yes, I’d imagine that many among us would be relieved. Think about how wonderful this may sound to the many who make minimum wage or less. Removing that stress of where the next meal will come from would be a God-send to many out there. Rather than focusing on mere survival, you’d be able to do things like read books, have new experiences, maybe even travel.

Doesn’t sound half bad, right?

But what about this — there would be no chance to get a raise or increase your pay in any way. If you are a CEO, you’d be making the exact same amount as the janitor. While this is great for the janitor, I’m sure the CEO might have reason for side-eye. Would people in positions of authority feel that they are not being fairly compensated? Would resentment begin to rise in the upper ranks?

No matter how hard you work, you would never get a pay-raise, unless of course everyone got the exact same pay-raise too. Would this eventually result in reduced motivation? I mean, why work hard at all? I wonder how many people would only do the bare minimum at their jobs, knowing that they will still get to take home the same paycheck.

Have you ever gotten a promotion and/or raise? Remember how rewarding and good it feels to finally get that recognition for your hard work? Would you have put in all that effort if you knew that your pay would never go up? What about if you knew that the biggest slacker was getting the same salary as you? Would you still put in the hard work?

And then there is the other part of the setup…

The part about having to switch jobs every 3 years. Hmm… let me tell you why this is intriguing to me.

One of my good friends, Gina (not her real name) was a nurse for 11 years, and recently switched careers to go into real estate. What a drastic change! Gina’s perfectly-executed career pivot got me to thinking… what would it be like to do something totally new? Maybe it would be refreshing. Maybe it would be scary.

What if it were mandatory to switch jobs/careers every so often? And not just any minor change, but a major change that involved doing something completely new…

Would this prevent things from getting “stale”? Possibly. I have worked a few jobs that were insanely mundane, weird, or gross. It didn’t take long for them to get stale lol! For example, one of my college jobs was cleaning rat cages in the biology department. This was a super icky job. After I found a decaying rat (smelled it first!!) I knew I had to #gitouttathrr. I would have jumped at a “mandated reassignment” at that point.

Would it be an disruptive to be forced to change jobs? Probably yes. Especially for people who enjoy their current jobs. Case in point, Joel has been an engineer for 12 years, and loves his work — he has never remotely entertained thoughts of doing anything else.

I wonder how many of us would find a change refreshing… versus disruptive. Maybe it would depend on what the next job assignment is.

If right now, I were reassigned to be a chef, it would be a major change from my current desk-job. But I wouldn’t hate that! I enjoy cooking, and I could learn plenty of cool new dishes and techniques in 3 years.

But say, I were to be reassigned to a construction worker, I’d be mildly terrified… I am terrible with handy tasks and would probably break more things than I built. But I’d probably catch on eventually and manage to do something productive. And hey, I’d still get paid equally no matter WHAT. And it would only be 3 years, not forever!

In any case, it’s all some good food for thought! I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions!

Oh and PS, have you checked out the last “What if Wednesday” on time travel? What about this one on coworker conflict?

What job assignments would you want? Which would you NOT want? How would you feel about everyone making the same salary? 

111 thoughts on “If we all had different jobs and the same salary

  1. That sure is an interesting thought! It would suck majorly if you liked your job but be the best thing ever in order to not get stuck in to something. I would like to try to be a veterinarian. Which is strange considering I would really not want to work in health care for humans ;)

    1. It would certainly be interesting to be a vet, that’s for sure! I agree, i would like to give that a try too! 😊

  2. Hm, I think having everyone earn the same salary is nice so that there’s no reason to be scared about switching jobs and being able to afford what you need. I would totally want to have my assignments as a cook or baker and not have to be in the health care fields. I’m too squeamish.

    1. Agreed, it would be nice to never have to worry about money again. Yes, it would be so fun to be a cook or baker! I would love that! 😊

  3. Boy, would you need an incredibly powerful government to do anything like this! Powerful enough to eat you alive.
    Anyway, it would be unfair to the human race if they made me be a cook.

  4. Less wage disparity between the upper echelons and the lowest paid worker would be a step in the right direction ~> but if everyone is earning the same amount (no matter how hard or easy the job) then the $’s received are more like an allowance or an allotment, not a wage earned for effort.

    I can see people cutting corners on the job ~> if they don’t like their assignment or they are due for a transfer, etc. And if there is no incentive to gain expertise, there will be less innovation, etc.

    1. I agree! Equality in wage might be wonderful in terms of financial stability for all, but would likely have implications inn terms of quality of work, motivation, etc. Thanks for contributing your thoughts! I how you have an amazing day! 😊

    1. It would certainly be very different from the way society is today! Thanks for stopping bye Zoeshing, I hope your week is going well so far! :)

    1. Me too! When I was in college, I wanted to become a surgeon – I sometimes wonder how things would have been different! Thanks for stopping by, I hope your day is going well so far! :)

    1. Agreed! Motivation might be affected for some people and not others. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jenny! I hope you’re having a great evening! 😊

  5. I would definitely argue that people would most likely do the bare minimum. People operate on incentives. If there’s no incentive to try harder, to do better, to compete in any way, nobody would. But on the other hand it would be SO nice to not worry about whether your bills will be paid or if you might lose your job once the busy season ends. Very interesting post! Got my wheels turning, that’s for sure!

    1. Hi Amanda! I totally agree! Without incentives like promotions/raises, it would be tough to motivate a lot of people to do more than the bare minimum. But yes it would be nice to have financial stability and not have to worry about money! I’m glad you found this interesting, it definitely got my wheels turning too! 😊

  6. I tend to think an ideal world is more in the line of “star trek” era when there is no such thing as money and people just do a job because they want to and for self fulfillment.
    I find my job very satisfying and rewarding and I would hate to be reassigned to a job that does not meet that level of self satisfaction. I think people should direct their careers towards their strengths and what they love to do to be happiest, a happy worker is a motivated and productive worker.
    Your what if is very thought provoking, and initially it sounds wonderful but I am certain it is not a world I would enjoy!

    1. It would definitely be ideal if we could all do jobs purely for fulfillment! You’re super fortunate to be able to do just that. I’m glad this was thought-provoking! Thanks for sharing your perspective, and hope you enjoy your evening! 😊

    1. Oh Janella, it’s so tough to feel like your not getting paid what you’re worth — and what your work is worth. I appreciate that you shared your thoughts. I hope your evening is going well!

  7. I think this would definitely reduce the tension in society which is associated with inequality but create new ones because as you said, CEOs and top ranking politicians may feel resentful towards those who have far less demanding jobs yet still make enough money, and people may deliver subpar goods/services because they would have no incentive to make them better and improve customer experiences.. I feel like this is such a good idea for a potential book, in which it seems like a perfect solution to all problems at first and over time new ones start to emerge!!
    Absolutely loved reading this xox

    1. I think you really hit the nail on the head — this scenario would “solve” some of the issues our society struggles with, but would likely introduce a whole new set of issues. I’m glad you enjoyed reading this! Have an amazing Thursday! 😊

    1. Agreed, sometimes it’s fun to imagine what the possibilities are! Thanks for stopping by! I hope your Thursday is off to a great start! 😊

  8. Well, the only part of this scenario that I like is that everybody could live comfortably with their salary, but this sounds a lot like Communism! Intersting way of thinking but to me, it wouldn’t work: first, it removes your freedom to choose, as you are not able to opt-out. Also, you can’t choose what your next job will be. What if I suck at it? What if my next job is to be a mathematician and I’m more comfortable drawing? I think it takes away individuality, and prohibit people from being themselves, but I have to say, it will be an absolutely amazing post-apocalyptic book, like the ones by Aldous Huxley and George Orwell!

    1. I agree Cynthia! Living comfortably sounds pretty amazing… but there would probably be new issues, like loss of individuality and freedom. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I hope you have an awesome day! 😊

  9. such an interesting concept! I love the thought of everyone earning the same amount but then there will be no motivation to work harder .

  10. That’s really interesting and will definitely allow you to think! It’s kinda fun to imagine how it will all go but I bet the chance to change your job after 3 years is refreshing and will keep you from feeling burnt out.

    1. That’s a good point, Carol! Changing jobs would definitely keep those feelings of burnout at bay. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a lovely day! :)

  11. It would certainly be very different from the way society is today! Thanks for stopping bye Zoeshing, I hope your week is going well so far! 🙂

  12. It’s an interesting idea, one my friend has mentioned to me before! But, I do think people should paid for how hard their job is and how much training is required. Also, I like the idea of having new jobs or tasks, but within the same field of work.

    1. Hi Cole! New jobs within the same field would probably be an easier ‘sell,’ that’s for sure! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful day! :)

  13. This is an interesting idea. I can definitely get on board with the equal pay, but some jobs just aren’t as hard as others. It would be nice to change professions and get a new change of pace every three years. But then you’re taking away peoples choice, especially if they get a job they love or hate. I think I’ll stick to our current way of life. I love being a stay at home mom and would hate to give that up to have to work.

    1. Very true, some jobs require much more than others. The way we have it now is definitely pretty great compared to taking away peoples’ choices! Thanks for weighing in Amanda, I hope you have an amazing day! :)

    1. I agree Amber! It would be hard to have to leave a job you love, or to have to do a job you dislike! Thanks for sharing your perspective. I hope you have an awesome afternoon! :)

  14. Interesting article. Personally, I don’t think I would like for everyone to make the same salary. While I don’t agree that sports and celebrities should make so much, I do think that those who’ve gone to college or started their own business or do more (physical) work should make more money than others in less taxing jobs. Also, what would be the motivation or incentive to work if you got paid the same? There has to be some kind of carrot that you dangle to keep others motivated. I’ve worked in the military with some that were, let’s say “not so motivated” compared to me, but we were the same rank so our pay was basically the same. I didn’t think that was fair since I ended up doing a lot more of the work and had way more responsibility.

    1. It does seem super disproportionate that some celebrities make so much, doesn’t it. I agree that sometimes you need a carrot to dangle in front of those who need a little extra motivation. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I hope you have an amazing evening :)

  15. I don’t think I can agree with everyone being paid the same wage regardless of profession, but less disparity would certainly be nice! I’ve personally done a major career shift from a research scientist to a beauty blogger, and I recommend keeping doors of change open! Both career paths have suited me well at there own times, and I feel my previous career gives me a different perspective that I may not otherwise have had.

    1. Less disparity would definitely be nice! I agree, keeping our options open is always a great idea. Way to go on your “career pivot” :) Sounds like you’ve successfully managed the transition! I hope your weekend is off to a great start Jen! :)

  16. This is an interesting idea. I like the 3 year cap. You would never get bored of your job and would be able to try new things!

    1. true! i feel like 3 years is a decent time frame to commit to a new job assignment too! thanks for stopping by! :)

  17. That’s a really interesting idea. I think my biggest concern would be that three years isn’t long enough for us to have anyone who is truly an expert at their jobs. I don’t think I’d want someone giving me brain surgery who’d only been in medicine three years! Fun to think about, though.

    1. So true! There are many professions that take longer than 3 years to become “full fledged”… I would definitely be wary of a brain surgeon who had only been in medicine a couple years! Thanks for dropping by Heidi! Enjoy the rest of your evening! :)

  18. What an interesting idea. I think it is important to provide reward to people who really put in the effort to serve, improve and lead. If everyone were paid the same the motivation to excel I believe would not be there.

    1. Totally agreed –> providing reward can be major incentive to work harder and improve! Thanks Debbie, I hope you have a lovely weekend! :)

  19. So interesting, I would love to see all people earning same amount, this can reduce the disparity so much and then changing and owing different works would be fun! What a cool read.

  20. This is so intriguing. I do think everyone should earn the same salary–but then again, would people be motivated to work harder if there’s no chance of a raise. Hmmm..

    1. It would probably be hard to be motivated to do a job that you didn’t like, that’s for sure! Especially when there’s not chance of a raise! Thanks for sharing your perspective Amber! I hope you have a nice evening! 😊

    1. True, there’s definitely a loss of control which probably wouldn’t be great for motivation. I hope you are having a nice evening Sarah!

  21. I’m not sure I would like everyone earning the same amount I mean I know I go to work my butt off but then look around and think why the heck are they still here. I give all I have when I am there and leave knowing I did everything I could.

    1. Yes, those who work as hard as you would probably not appreciate that the less-motivated are getting the same salary. It doesn’t seem fair from that perspective. Thanks for stopping by, i hope your day is wrapping up well! 😊

  22. I think I would probably be ok as long as I got to do something I really wanted to do. I wonder what jobs are out there that nobody would do unless they really got something extra.

    1. That’s such an interesting question Rachel! I would probably need something extra to be a fishmonger because of the smell! Lol 😊

  23. I kind of like that idea except what is the salary? I would like any people services job and no factory or production jobs. WHEN DO I START?

    1. Good question! The salary isn’t really defined except that it’s “enough to live comfortably.” So i suppose is whatever number you feel fits that description. Thanks for stopping by, and i hope you have an awesome weekend! 😊

  24. Interesting idea. As someone who hated making the same $ as people I worked with who did way less I wouldn’t be on board lol

    1. I totally understand that! It would not be an easy pill to swallow from that perspective. Thanks for weighing in, i hope you have an amazing weekend! 😊

  25. This is a fun idea! I think this should be required for a few years after you graduate college so you get really varying experiences before choosing which career lane you’d like to stay in.

    1. That’s such a cool idea! It would be awesome to get a feel for different fields before committing to one. I hope you have a fun weekend! 😁

  26. This is a really fascinating idea! Would our new 3-year assignments take into account at all our personal abilities (even if hidden to us) and disabilities? I’ve worked manual labor jobs before, but as I’m now 16 weeks into a broken foot (no walking or driving), I would not be a good fit for a job like that right now! :)

    1. Good question! For the sake of your foot, let’s say YES injuries are taken into consideration! I hope your foot heals up quickly, and you’re able to get back to normal activities very soon! 😊

    1. I second that!!! I wouldn’t want to deal with porta-potties either! 😷 Have an awesome weekend Kelly! 😊

    1. haha yeah there are plenty of jobs i wouldn’t do well at too. I hope your weekend is off to a nice start Barbara! :)

    1. It would be tough, I’m sure. Thanks for stopping by! I hope your weekend is off to a nice start! :)

  27. an interesting concept but what if you got stuck in a job you absolutely hated for 3 years and couldn’t change. And like you say there would be no motivation to strive to be better as there would be no compensation for hard work!

    1. Very true Emma! There would certainly be some downsides for sure. Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a lovely weekend! 😊

    1. I understand what you mean, it would be nice to get pay-raises every so often, that’s for sure! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend so far! 😊

  28. Oh the possibilities. Some jobs you would def. not want over others. Driving would be one for me, especially if it was something big like a bus or a semi. ;)

    1. I hear you! I’ve never driven anything bigger than an SUV, so I’m not sure I’d want to drive a bus or semi for a living either. Thanks for stopping by, have an amazing weekend, Rosey! 😊

    1. It’s true, its hard to get a good job even with an advanced degree! It can be discouraging for graduates who are job searching. Thanks for sharing your perspective! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 😀

  29. Elon Musk from Tesla believes that a universal truly livable wage paid for to all will become a necessity with automation. Wage disparity is a big problem and one of the worst things for the American economy :(

  30. I’m glad we don’t have this system. Not because I want people to go without, but because I love self-determination. I love to work hard for whatever reward I perceive, whether is learning something I’m interested in, acquiring new desired skills, or working my butt off to change the course of my financial future. I agree with an earlier poster that without incentive, motivation wanes.

    1. true, self determination is pretty amazing — getting to choose what jobs to apply for and when (if ever) to leave, is huge. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tanya! I hope your weekend is off to an amazing start! 😊

  31. This is a post with full of interesting imaginations.I also like to have a job which gives a good wage,but it is not easy to gain sometimes… :)

    1. I agree, well-paying jobs can be difficult to locate. It seems to have gotten even harder in recent years. Thanks for stopping by Amila! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend so far! 😊

  32. It’s an interesting thought experiment for sure. Of course, like you said, because of some jobs requiring years of training, it wouldn’t work. But magically assuming it could work, aside from not being able to feel good by getting raises, I think having to put all those hours in in certain jobs without the incentive to get more, you would not go the extra mile. And without that extra incentive, the jobs would not get done well.

    1. I could totally see that. Its true, its likely that some jobs wouldn’t be done all that well. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of your Saturday! 😊

  33. Wouldn’t that be nice if we could all be equal? It’s a goal for sure, but we have a long way to go!

    1. It’s definitely very different from the way things are currently set up! Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of your Saturday! 😊

  34. Such a great food for thought piece. It would certainly be interesting to trial such a way of life! I would love to be a pilot if I had a choice, or a marine biologist.

    1. It would definitely be a new way of life! I’ve wondered what it would be like to be a pilot too! I think it would be pretty awesome. Thanks Krysti, i hope you are having a lovely weekend! 😊

  35. I love the idea of everyone receiving the exact same salary and changes jobs every 3 years. It would be very educational constantly learn new things. Plus that’s like treating everyone equal. It’s an excellent thought!

    1. We would definitely learn a lot of new skills! Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 😊

  36. This idea is fun to imagine, but in reality, it won’t work because different people have different skills sets and level of intelligence. Can’t have a high school dropout do a rocket scientist’s work.

    1. Very true Leo, i completely agree! And yes, it sure does make for an intriguing thought experiment! Thanks for stopping by, i hope you have an amazing week!

  37. I struggled to get through my undergrad classes because I had no real support from my family–nobody in my family had done it before, but I did it. My parents wanted me to do it, so I wouldn’t have to struggle like they did. Then, I did it better getting a graduate degree. Why would I bother wasting those six years when I could start making the same money out of high school…Why would I even finish high school? How would you regulate the quality of work everyone did? We would all become mechanical? Who decides what job you get? You know what? I’ll take the same salary with a graduate degree as a kid who works at a fast food joint if he/she works 40 hrs/wk and I work 8 hrs/wk. The problem in our society is not wage disparity, it’s corruption. Nobody wants to participate in civil service, so it’s been left to the few who did participate and learn that nobody was paying attention, so they (those we now call politicians) did as they pleased with no accountability and now, others have caught on and want a piece of the pie. Politics was born but never meant to be a career. It’s our civic duty. Who’s done jury duty without trying to get out of it? Who does their own research before voting?

    1. You raise a good point Farrah, some occupations require many years of education and training, and often have higher salaries compared to jobs that don’t require as much experience. I also agree that corruption is such a critical issue in our society. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate hearing your perspective. I hope you have an amazing day Farrah!

  38. What an intriguing post! Hmmm, I would imagine on the one hand, some people would appreciate the opportunity to change jobs completely. But on the other, if you truly enjoy the job and have already worked hard to attain the education and experience to expand your skills and advancement opportunities … not so much! Definitely thought-provoking, however, to ponder removing any stigma about certain jobs or inequality of pay based on gender.

    1. I agree – it could be great if you are up for a career change, but terrible if you don’t want to switch jobs. Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate your thoughts on this! I hope you have an amazing day! :)

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