Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
There are some activities in life where the outcome is dependent on the skill, knowledge, training, expertise, or other abilities of the participant (or participants). It's helpful to be lucky in such situations, but luck doesn't generally dictate the outcome. There are some situations, on the hand, where the outcome is largely — sometimes even entirely — luck-dependent.
We're thinking about luck because of a local news item reported from Washington state, where officials recently observed that participation in the state lottery has soared in recent weeks, with total scratch-off sales up by roughly to $20 million per week over a pre-pandemic average of $15 million per week. That's a whole lot of cashola burning a hole in the pockets of a whole lot of someones.
That's also a proverbial boatload of people who are hoping to get lucky. As most readers already know (or may have heard) there is no such thing as being skilled at winning the lottery. Interestingly enough, it just so happens that right now we're thinking about the lottery more than we typically do around here, on account of one of those Not So Serious Salary Survey questions.
Zero is the amount of time that we typically spend thinking about the lottery, but there are apparently a lot of people out there who devote more than zero of their thinking to the lottery. Hey, we've seen those jackpot numbers. You've seen those jackpot numbers. Everyone has seen those jackpot numbers. Plenty of people have thought about the lottery at least enough to buy a scratch-off.
What we decided to find out from the Salary Survey, just for the halibut as the deep sea fishermen say, is how many, if any, of the people out there buying scratch-offs or, you know, whatever it is people buy to get into the lottery — are certified IT professionals. Because, again, some people somewhere are buying all of those tickets. Tech heads can't be 100 percent immune to the siren song.
Here's what we learned:
Q: Every once in a while I buy a lottery ticket because ...
I never buy a lottery ticket. The lottery is for suckers. — 42.8 percent
Hey, somebody actually wins those things. Why not me? — 41.6 percent
I like to support public education. Or whatever else they're using to justify the lottery these days. — 7.2 percent
Hey, it's better than if I spent the same amount of money on weed or cigarettes. — 4.6 percent
I buy a lottery ticket every day. It's a small price to pay for five minutes of excitement and anticipation in this cold and lonely world. — 1.6 percent
There are only so many gift options available when you're about to leave the office at 5:30 and you remember it's your spouse's birthday. — 1.5 percent
I buy a lottery ticket every day. Please don't tell my caseworker about this. — 0.8 percent
See, we can relate to the people who don't participate at all. And, yeah, there's probably a roughly even split between that group and the people whose attitude is essentially "Eh, why not?" in most walks of life. Actually, polling firm Gallup reported in 2016 that about half of all Americans had purchased a lottery ticket in the past year, so the numbers we found largely reflect reality.
We're semi-discounting the 15 percent of your who cited other reasons for purchasing a lottery ticket, because those answer options were largely written both for your amusement and for ours.
It's certainly possible that 4.6 percent of certified IT professionals are shrugging off the occasional casual investment in the lottery because better that than to just figuratively light the money on fire via smokeables. And maybe there really are 7 percent of you out there who are using the lottery as a vehicle to contribute to the public good.
But actually? We think a lot of those people are just laughing up their sleeves and enjoying a break from the Salary Survey's more pressing questions. We certainly hope that's the real reason behind the 1.5 percent of those surveyed who are purporting to embrace the occasional lottery purchase for gift-giving purposes. Because otherwise you folks should really consider saving that moolah for marriage therapy.