Saturday, May 11, 2013

Questionable Fact: Fu Ping's Employment Income at San Diego

The Original Story:
Some time around the summer of 1986, Fu Ping decided to drop out the University of New Mexico and move to San Diego. When she failed to enroll into UCSD upon arrival there, she happened upon Lane Sharman, an entrepreneur who offered her first "real job." She told the story on Pages 67-70 in Bend, Not Break:
A handsome, thirty-something man walking along the sand approached me and asked if I'd like to walk with him. I said yes... 
...He introduced himself as Lane Sharman, and explained that he was the owner of a computer software company, Resources Systems Group. He gave me his card and told me to stop by if I needed a job. 
...He offered me a job as a computer programmer at fifteen dollars an hour. I enthusiastically accepted. 
Lane asked one day if any of us would be willing to work nights. We would earn double our usual hourly rate, he said, and get paid for every hour that we were on call, regardless of whether a service request came in. I immediately volunteered... 
For the next two years, I answered calls in the middle of the night, mostly from legal clerks working at law firms that handled time-critical court cases. I would drive to the clients' offices during the wee hours and fix their hardware or software problems, which sometimes meant simply rebooting their system. By the time I graduated, I was earning close to eighty thousand dollars a year.
The Debunking:
The income of eighty thousand dollars a year, for an undergraduate student in 1986, is a pretty impressive sum. For an hourly job, it roughly translates to $40 an hour pay rate for a 40 hour per week full time job. Fu Ping was however a full time student who worked part-time.

But her figure may not be totally out of line. She could be paid double (with a rate of $20 per hour) for every hour at night, assuming that she has the on call job all by herself almost every night. It is just very unusual for a small company willing to pay such a high salary to an essentially intern job.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it's just like Ed Snowden's 200K annual salary. They all have their own ways of calculation.