Just as a matter of curiosity, I decided to see how I compare with others in my field. To do this, I landed at the Bureau of Laber Statistics.
I learned some things about my current occupation (mostly that I get paid pretty much normally, which is disappointing because I can't complain as much as I'd hoped), but stumbled onto something far more interesting: the statistics for what clergy earn, nationally speaking:
BoLS Stats on Clergy
It looks like Nevada, where the mean pay for a clergyperson is $55,700, is the place to go if you want to marry and bury people for a living. Here in Ohio, the mean pay for clergy is $37,290 per year (in Columbus proper, the mean pay for clergypersons is $43,110 per year).
Of course, I'm not paid to be clergy. It's odd, though, to see that people *do* get paid to be clergy, and they get paid a damn sight better than I do at my "real" job.
I've recently been thinking about my clergy-ing, and my actual job (which, I should mention, is on the up-and-up recently), and I thought about it like this:
I have two jobs. One that doesn't pay enough cash, and one that doesn't pay any cash at all. One I don't like, and one I love. One I spend 40 hours per week doing, and one I spend 50-60 hours doing, without overlap. One that is a paycheck, and one that pays in amazing and unexpected dividends I can't cash anywhere.I don't think that most people realize how much time I put into both these jobs. I'm not sure I realize how much time I put into both (or I didn't, until I started thinking about it three weeks ago).
I wish I could just do the clergy thing. I drive past churches at night and see the priest planning out his blocking for that Sunday's service through the window. I see another priest changing the sign in front of his church, adding a stupid slogan like, "Fight truth decay: brush up on your Bible daily!" I go to an interfaith service and I'm underprepared, a bit lost, and too short on time to actually help beyond the actual meeting (i.e. you can't count on me to do any sort of homework or volunteer for additional meetings). I often find myself a bit jealous of other clergypersons: I want to do those things!
I've made time for a lot of the really important things that I feel I need to do as Clergy, and it's the sort of stuff I really love. Despite that, it's taken a bit of a toll on some of my personal relationships over the years, and I almost never manage to complete a conversation over email anymore.
The odd thing is, though: I'm not tired, nor lacking energy. I'm not feeling the "burn" that so many people get. I understand my limits and what I'm doing in the scheme of things. In fact, I'm actually busier now than I have been in my life, and yet I'm also more productive and putting out a higher quality of work.
In all, life is pretty good.
Let's see where it takes me, shall we?