How did California get so screwed up? Well...here is the simplistic explanation. And it is a make-believe and fictional account of how the system works.
Randy barely graduated from high school in 1972. His uncle helped him get a job with the city parks organization of a small town in California. His take-home pay? $9k a year.
Randy got to know his boss well and eventually moved up in 1976 to a cushy assistant manager job in the parks department that paid $15k a year.
Randy met a guy via the county parks commission that helped him in 1979 move up to another job which paid $24k a year.
Randy takes a few night classes in 1980 to get a certificate in financial planning. By the summer of 1982, he's offered a promotion to a $32k a year job in the parks finance department.
Randy meets Bob the local young political guy from the county. Randy helps to arrange a deal to benefit Bob's friend who runs a asphalt company. The parks department paves six parking lots around the city in support of better parks and recreation. Bob gets a $8k pay-raise for Randy in 1984 (he's making $40k a year now.
The county starts acting on an idea of giving a 3 percent payraise each year by 1985. Workers are happy now....especially Randy ($1,200 more that year for Randy).
Another special pay-raise is given to Randy in 1986 for more help in redoing tennis courts around the city (he's making $48k).
By 1989, Randy is making $54k a year with pay-raises of three percent in effect.
Old Karl, the city chief of parks and recreation retires in 1991 and Randy is offered his job at the age 37. He negotiates with the city bosses over the new pay deal and finally gets offered $68k a year.
A year later (1992), Randy gets the three percent pay-raise and a special out-of-cycle five-percent pay-raise (roughly $4,500 added....so he's up to $72.5k a year now).
Around 1995, Randy is offered this swell county-level job as their number two boss...which pays $84k a year. He accepts.
By 1999...just four years into the job and getting three-percent pay-raises each year, with two out-of-cycle pay-raises as well....Randy is now making $95k. He goes to the Bahamas that year and buys a British Land Cruiser.
In 2002, Randy is offered the chief of county parks and recreation job...at $128k a year. He accepts.
In 2003, with the three percent pay-raise and a special out-of-cycle pay-raise....he's now given a $137k pay situation.
In 2004....Randy is offered a state-level job in parks and recreation as the number three guy in the entire state. His incentive? $162k a year. He naturally accepts. Twelve months later...with a three percent payraise and another out-of-cycle payraise...he's now up to $178k a year now. He takes a three week cruise over the south Pacific to celebrate this achievement.
In 2007...Randy is moved up to number two in the state parks and recreation situation at age 53. He's now making $209k. Twelve months later, with a three-percent payraise and another out-of-cycle raise...he's now making $224k. Oh, and the state authorized a leased car for Randy (a nice $52k Mercedes).
In 2009, as the house-market collapses in California...Randy's $1.4 million house is now revalued at around $820k. Luckily, his pay is now $232k as the number two guy. He's scheduled to move up to number one of the state parks and recreation. We won't talk about salary but its pretty hefty.
So now multiply Randy by 10,000 and look around the state at a bunch of managers who all make $100k or more....and they are getting older.
Randy can retire in three years, and likely collect at least $195k a year from the state. Randy could move to Mississippi and buy a mansion by the age of 56 and live the rich life dream.
Only in America....could a guy working at parks and recreation...mowing turf around the outfield...dream of making $200k a year in retirement.
So if I had any advice for you punks out there who are seventeen and aspire in life...move to California and get into parks and recreation. Dream like Randy...and maybe one day...you will be pulling in $750k a year as the chief of some city's parks department.