Here's an article that says some people expect me to get a 25% pay cut by the end of my contract.
I feel like the five most-important years of my life were from the spring of 1996 to the spring of 2001. During that period of time, I didn't do very much. The period begins with me finishing high school, and it ends with me getting married. In between I served a mission, attended college for a while, failed out, and got engaged. Once I was married, I tried to make up for the lost time, but the damage was done. Everything is ruined now, and there's no catching back up.
What sucks about this is that I didn't feel at the time that I was doing anything especially dangerous. Yeah, I was going sort of leisurely about stuff, but when you're young you have time to do things like that, right? It seems like if I was ruining my life as badly as it turns out I was, I should have had feelings of foreboding and misgiving and whatnot.
If I had graduated university in the spring of 2001, I wouldn't be about to slide from the Chinese middle class to the Chinese lower class. Hell, I wouldn't be the Chinese anything class, because I wouldn't have failed out of the American lower class like I have.
I have more to say on this issue, but none of it is of interest to anyone else. Suffice it to say, I wish I had the years 1996 to 2001 to do over again.