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Don't Just Pay Me - Pay Me Like A Rocket Scientist...

Remember that common cornerstone of childhood mocking growing up?  "What are you, some sort of Rocket Scientist"?

If you persevered though the taunts and actually became a rocket scientist, I bet you thought it would pay a lot more than it does.Rocket_scientist   From the Wall Street Journal:

The job: Aerospace engineer

The pay: The average annual starting salary for recent bachelor's degree graduates is $54,008, according to a National Society of Professional Engineers survey. Those with 25 or more years of experience average $121,679, the trade group says.

The hours: Eight-hour workdays, Monday through Friday, are common, though overtime may be necessary for time-sensitive projects.

Other incentives: "You get to see a lot of cool things a normal person would never get to see," such as stealth fighters and test sites, says Jonathan Nikkel, an aerospace engineer specializing in navigation theory for Raytheon Corp.

That's still pretty good pay for a college grad.  It's just that after hearing the intelligence-challenged openly mocked as "rocket scientists" growing up, I would think the market would bear more for this position.  After all, it's the standard by which raw intelligence (or lack thereof) is measured....


Marc Anderberg

The problem with the "gimme praise" generation is that they think they are rocket scientists simply because they can achieve a high score on a video game. They expect to be paid accordingly even if they dropped out of high school, don't want to get out of bed before noon and can't stand being told what to do by some "bossy" person.


A book called "Choosing the Right Pond" explores relationships among money, status and motivation. Turns out that MENSA members' average pay isn't too different from the US average. When MENSA's president was asked to explain (which has gotta be the ultimate confrontational use of the childhood taunt, "If you're so damn smart, why aren't you rich"), he said that MENSA members are not so much motivated by money, but the content of their work is very important to high-IQ people. If you read the foregoing quote from the "rocket scientist" at Raytheon, it's bang-on to the MENSA president's analysis.

Kevin Jardine

Whoever said that pay and raw intelligence are proportional?!? If that were the case, only the smartest professional athletes, actors, or CEOs would be making eight figures. That being said, beginning my career as a rocket scientist and progressing to my current role as an HR Director in the Aerospace industry, I see plenty of engineers with very potent salaries, well above the averages stated in the article. At the end of the day, most aerospace companies pay for performance, and the very best are handsomely rewarded for their efforts. Show me a rocket scientist that can also interface with others and represent the company well, and I'll show you one who is very well paid.


Geronimo -

Good call on the MENSA stuff. Kind of goes back to the engagmeent issue at work. You can be productive, but unless you are engaged, you won't be truly happy.

Kevin -

Show me a (insert field of choice here) that can also interface with others and represent the company well, and I'll show you one who is very well paid.

Well said. I wasn't sniping at AE's, just thought it was interesting.

Thanks - KD


If height is the best predictor of income, we shouldn't be surprised that intelligence doesn't have the sway we might expect. After all, intelligence and height don't correlate all that much.


ah come on! athletes have an intelligence called body kinesthics intelligence. Remember Gardner?
Only thing they dont have a Mensa

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