Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What does a sports agate clerk make?

I just checked out what has been bringing people to the blog lately, and I find that a recent arrival was looking up the starting salary for a sports agate clerk.

Well, let me start by saying that being a sports agate clerk doesn’t pay all that well in terms of money, but it’s a really fun job.

What I got, ten years ago, was $7.50 an hour plus benefits. But those benefits were really good – health insurance, a bit of life insurance, and once I’d been on the job for a year, a 401(k) retirement account in which, for every dollar I put in, the employer put in an extra half-dollar. That’s an instant 50% return on investment, not shabby. And the investment company holding the 401(k) was one of the best, and I had a choice of about a dozen investment funds, all of which were very good.

Of course, at $7.50 an hour, after the insurance and retirement-fund contributions were taken out, the take-home pay was pretty skimpy. But the immediate boost to my bank balance was not the main reason I kept the job.

Working on the sports desk of a newspaper is just plain a whole lot of fun. At the newspaper I worked for, the sports desk was known as the “toy department,” for good reason. Sports is mostly about fun and games. The people I worked with were all, to some extent, children having fun. Jokes and laughter were a constant part of the daily routine. And even when the action got the most hectic (for example, when the school year was drawing to a close, and multiple high-school sports were in state tournaments, so box scores were coming in at an avalanche pace), everybody kept up a sense of humor. We were all working together, and that feeling of teamwork just can’t be duplicated in an ordinary office environment.

Yes, there were some lows. I remember the time a promising young athlete died in a freak pole-vaulting accident, and one of our reporters had to call the kid’s grieving family to get information to put into the article. That was a heart-wrenching day. But we leaned on each other, and we got through it.

So, if you want to be a sports agate clerk, I can highly recommend the job, in particular if you’re a young adult just starting out and you don’t need a whole lot of money. Take the job, enjoy the company of your coworkers, and just plain have fun.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

$7.50 an hour? You were rich! When I started as a sports agate clerk at the defunct Gwinnett Daily News in Lawrenceville, Ga., I was making $5.50 an hour. But talk about a fun start to what has become a now 20-year career as a sports journalist! I remember those long nights well.

Wed Mar 04, 07:05:00 AM MST  

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