It's in the nature of humanity to keep up with the Jones family.
It's in the nature of capitalist humanity to get ahead of the Jones family so that the Jones family looks askance and defeated.
With this in mind, I have accidentally landed upon a survey which purports to reveal which software engineers are the highest paid.
I had imagined, along with most of the world, that Google's engineers were the very best and therefore the highest paid.
These figures suggest not. Indeed, they suggest that Google's engineers come a frightening second in average earnings.
How could this be? Which arrogant upstart company dares to pay its software brains more than Google?
Might it be Apple, keen to continue its thermonuclear war upon its rival? Might it be Microsoft, keen to make a renewed impact on a skeptical world?
It is neither. It is Juniper Networks. Yes, the company that asks you to "Amplify Agility. Cut Complexity" supposedly offers the highest average base pay at $128,378.
Glassdoor's respondents are, however, at pains not to suggest that working for this money is not without its pains. The biggest, apparently, is that there is much bureaucracy to wade through while one swims toward one's riches.
While Google's average base pay lurks at $124,520, other famous names aren't far behind.
Third is Twitter. Fourth is Facebook. And Apple comes in at a relatively modest fifth.
However, some might be moved to tears of one sort or another, as the survey quotes one current employee about the downsides of working at Apple: "There are no downsides working at Apple. It's a great place to work."
It seems Nirvana doesn't have to overpay, perhaps because it's Nirvana.
At number six comes LinkedIn, seventh is Brocade Communications, while Microsoft doesn't even make the top 10.
Perhaps it's cheaper to live in Seattle, but Microsoft wanders in at a relatively modest number 15. It's still ahead of Amazon, however.
Naturally, average base salary doesn't tell the whole story. I understand that Steve Jobs' base salary was $1 and he seemed to have a very nice Mercedes.
I can imagine, though, that some engineers will now be scrupulously scrutinizing these numbers to check whether they are being undervalued by their paymistresses and then attempting to change their situation.
There is surely nothing more joyous that giving those overpaid and underemployed members of the human resources community an additional angst-center or two.