"The Pay Cut Is Insane" — Woman at Serving Job Earns More Than Her Degree Has Gotten Her

A woman on TikTok complains about her serving job in which she apparently earns less than what she should be making with her degree.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Oct. 19 2023, Updated 4:41 p.m. ET

Many will argue that finding a job can be just as stressful as having one, and they'd be right. Whether you're looking to get started on adulting with a salary or you desperately need to get out of a job you're currently working, we've all been in the same trenches when it comes to throwing applications at a wall in the hope that something sticks to a recruiter. It can take an emotional and mental toll on folks when they're trying to make the money they deserve and just... aren't.

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Most of us understand the sting of being stuck in a position that doesn't quite match up with the things you planned on doing, but one person on TikTok has had enough. As of this writing, Alison Johnson (@fitnesswithalison) is working a serving job in which she gets paid more money than the jobs she's qualified for with her degree would pay her. However, her comments have sparked an interesting debate on work experience. Let's break it down.

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A woman on TikTok earns more at her serving job than in positions related to her business degree.

"I have a bone to pick with America," Alison begins in her TikTok, which was posted in mid-September 2023. At the time of recording, she was on her way to a serving job that she absolutely hates at a sushi restaurant.

She goes on to reveal that she has a business marketing degree that she'd rather use. Unfortunately, according to her, the disparity in salary between both places is "insane".

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"I make more serving sushi rolls because I've been applying to marketing jobs for weeks now and the pay cut is insane," Alison discloses.

She essentially suggests that the jobs that her degree qualifies her for would pay far less than her restaurant job.

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However, Alison later references the fact her resume often goes up against other folks with more experience in her field when it comes to better-paying jobs in her area of expertise.

"[I'm an] almost 25-year-old chick going against corporate-ass America [and] people with so much experience."

She continues, "People say 'get your degree', but then they don't talk about how you need experience. The degree was the experience!"

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This is where the conversation takes an interesting turn. Now, I'm sure we're all familiar with those gas-lighting job posts for entry-level jobs that demand several years of experience and how that is wildly not conducive to the job hunt grind. But Alison's comments suggesting that earning the degree on its own qualifies you for high-end jobs has given plenty of folks pause.

In the comments section of her video, Alison has some supporters. But others argue that earning a degree doesn't necessarily equate to job experience. After all, learning how to do something and proving that we can do it are two different things.

"The degree is not the experience," one TikToker suggested. "You have to start entry level."

Another person posited, "The degree is a gatekeeper that you have to pass."

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The conversation even continued on Twitter. A marketer with a blue checkmark on the platform (take that for what you will) reposted Alison's TikTok and called his broke era with $30,000 a year in a tiny shared apartment one of the "most fun times of [his] life." He did, however, encourage Alison by saying that few people make anywhere close to $200,000 a year at their first job and that "money will come."

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Other people suggested that internships look very nice on a resume and wondered if Alison had any under her belt.

One Twitter user wrote, "I've talked to some recent college grads with similar mindsets about the degree equaling experience. For me, most of my experience came from internships."

This certainly isn't to say that job postings aren't guilty of making unreasonable demands of desperate people. On that same note, though, there's plenty to be said about the difference between education and application.

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