Six months after she started, Macmillan raised its starting wage to $35,000. “I was so thrilled; I remember being so grateful. Oh my god, $2,000 more a year,” she says. “And now I feel like, after actually trying to live on that for years now, it’s just not sustainable. It affects the way you live your life.”
When she started in publishing, Miller made her salary work by sharing an apartment in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood with four other roommates. Now, she lives with her partner in Central Jersey. “I commute an hour and a half to get here,” she says. (During non-strike times, HarperCollins requires employees to work from the office at least two days per week.) “And it still feels worth it to work in this industry.”
That’s the general refrain from those on the picket line: Wages are too low in publishing, but the workers still love it there.
The more you love the job the less you’ll get paid to do it. Because some goodly part of your compensation is coming in the joy not the cash.