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Bell Curve


New Ranch Hand. Salary: $30,000 or less 

You head in to your first day on the ranch wearing your best cattle rancher outfit. The Stetson on your head fits you like a glove and the boots you're wearing are the shiniest leather you've ever seen. The boss remarks on how great you're dressed—as he hands you the shovel and tells you to go deal with the cow piles.


Stable Rancher. Salary: $50,000 

You're given your first head driver job on a cattle drive. Everything starts out just fine, until you get to the first creek. One of the cows starts panicking, and instead of getting it under control, you start panicking as well. Let's just say things get a little wet, and nobody likes a wet cow smell, much less the smell of three hundred of them.


Regular Cattleist. Salary: $70,000 

The ranch was finally starting to make some money, but unfortunately, the drought this summer really caught you unaware and a wheat-killing fungus invaded the crops on the property. You now have to buy food for your cows at the grocery store. The ironic thing is that's probably where they're going to end up anyway.


Cattle Entrepreneur. Salary: $95,000 

Whole Foods comes a-callin' and wants you to raise your organic grass-fed cattle only for them. You've always said that you're going to stick to your independence, but then they throw a couple extra zeros on the end and you suddenly only want to know where you can sign.


Top Cattle Rancher. Salary: $120,000 

You've discovered the secret to the best-tasting beef ever created. Your land-holdings have grown by twenty-five percent over the last few years, and the corporations actually want to invest in you so that they can figure out what the secret is. You make so much money you don't need to sell to anybody. Now look who's feeling bullish.