What Each Character Of ‘Friends’ Would Earn In 2019

There are few things in life considered timeless, among them are The Beatles, red lipstick, and, of course, Friends. Seriously, that show kept me alive during my junior semester abroad in a city that’s tied for least things to do and worst food. If you’re ever in Spain, be sure to not visit to Salamanca. Anyway, as an English major, I was trained to genuinely believe that characters live past the end of the story, so I’m really hoping that 15 years after the last episode aired, the Friends have all been promoted many, many times and can now afford their multi-bedroom apartments in one of New York’s most expensive neighborhoods.

That got me thinking, what are these guys up to in 2019? Not IRL, of course, but in Friends land aka a set in L.A. the streets of Greenwich Village. Did Joey ever get cast again? Did Chandler graduate from his internship? Are they still spending 23 hours a day in a f*cking coffee shop? And more importantly, what are they actually earning in order to afford these multi-bedroom apartments in one of New York’s most expensive neighborhoods? Let’s find out!

Monica: Chef

Monica is my favorite. She’s loud, she’s pushy, and she’s clean af. Yep, she’s a Jewish mom, alright. In the last episode, she, Chandler and their twin babies moved upstate to Westchester County. If you’ve ever been there, you know that it is a beautiful place with absolutely nothing to do. Before she moved, Monica worked hard for her head chef position at a ritzy resto called Javu’s (fictional, I checked), and I’m guessing she didn’t just give that dream up to push a double stroller around the sidewalks of Chappaqua, New York. Nothing against moms—in fact, I hope to be one some day in the distant future—but Monica has always fostered a serious and not-to-be-f*cked with work ethic and I can’t imagine she’d work her butt off to throw her professional goals away just because she moved upstate. My guess is that, after a few years, the Bings moved back to Manhattan so that Monica could open her own French fusion restaurant on, like, the Upper West Side. To put things in perspective, a head chef at Union Square Hospitality Group, which owns Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe, makes between $53k and $96k. Given Monica’s extensive time spent in kitchens/diners all over the city, I’m guessing she’d make a salary closer to the right end of the spectrum. Good call saddling up next her, Chandy.

Monica Geller

Ross: Paleontologist

Good god, I hope he at least got tenure at NYU after what must feel like 75 years of studying fossils. Assuming he did get tenure, I’m also going to assume he’d be the director of the paleontology department at this point in time. Mostly because there prob weren’t too many people up for never getting laid as the most academic department’s leader. So the average salary of a department director role at NYU is $101k. Excuse me, what?! Are young Americans buried in student loans because their disgustingly expensive tuitions are being used to finance department heads’ six-figure salaries? As a young American who graduated from college, I think I speak for all of us when I say we need answers on this. Knowing Ross, he is spending his influx of cash money on more wannabe vintage decor from Pottery Barn and, like monthly Birchbox Man subscriptions. That’s honestly all I have to say about him because I refuse to discuss the least likable character for more than 200 words.

Ross Geller

Rachel: Fashion “Executive”

I put “executive” in quotes because wtf does that mean? Whenever I’m swiping through Bumble and land on a guy with something vague af like “Associate at Company” as his job title, I just assume he’s unemployed and waiting for his trust fund to become available. So, in the last episode, Rachel gets an offer from Louis Vuitton for a “fashion executive” position in the company’s Paris office and she almost goes, but doesn’t because Ross’s whiney bullsh*t gets to her before the plane takes off. After Rachel decides to stay in New York, we don’t really get answers about what she does re: her job. I am guessing she just decided to work for LV’s New York office, but who knows? And given her experience in buying, I’m also going to assume that she’s a buyer at Louis Vuitton, in which case, she’s making around $40k. Sounds about right. Good thing she has Ross’ income to fall back on. As a survivor of the fashion world, I can confirm that it’s a terrible industry if you want to be able to enjoy simple pleasures of life like wifi or electricity. 

Rachel Green

Joey: Actor

This is another favorite Bumble job title. When I see “actor” on someone’s profile, it’s safe to say that he’s a Flywheel instructor. I honestly have no idea how much Joey made during the show, but considering he was, like always out of work, his typical income was prob close to zero. And because I’m a cynical New Yorker who’s seen everyone in film except for Emily Ratajkowski’s sneaky bastard of a husband get f*cked by the industry, I’m assuming the most prestigious work Joey has to offer is supporting roles in NYU student films. Since Joey clearly didn’t realize that he could be living rent-free in a beautiful Noho loft courtesy of the New York Multiple Dwelling Law (the only kind thing New York government workers have done for creatives), Joey is probably a bartender at a dive bar, where he’d be making a whopping $3/hour, not including tips. As a former waitress, I’m not totally shocked by this considering most people in the service industry earn their income through tips, and something tells me this Italian meatball is doin’ just fine.

Joey Tribbiani

Phoebe: Masseuse

After her failed massage van idea, I’d really hope Phoebe would get a stable job at a spa or something. The mystery of how she affords her apartment will forever be one of the best kept secrets to date, but maybe after she gets hired by a place like Red Door Spa, she can make her living situation more believable. Knowing Phoebe, though, she probably works at some parlor in Korea Town that offers happy endings after a mediocre rub down. Let’s hope not. Either way, she’d be taking home between $15-$35 plus tips. We know her music career won’t be taking off anytime soon, so I’m really hoping she put the guitar down and took on a few extra hours at the spa.

Phoebe Buffay

Chandelier: Transponster

One of Friends‘ most famous plot lines is that no one knows what Chandler does for a living. I’ve seen the show at least five times since it ended, and I still don’t know what he does, even when I actually pay attention to the office scene. So after hours of research, I discovered that Chandler’s official job was data processing and statistical reconfiguration for multi-national corporations (???) before he became a junior advertising copywriter at some young agency. I don’t even know what to Google for his first job, so I am assuming he stayed in advertising and climbed up the ladder until he reached Don Draper boss status. Chandler is prob working at a mid-level agency that earns between $2-$6 million in revenue, but he’s a senior account executive, so he’s making around $100k. Not bad for someone who was an actual unpaid intern in his 30s. Good thing he and Monica are raking in the cash because, if my twin brothers taught me anything, it’s that twins are f*cking expensive. Lastly, I’m glad he finally got his sh*t together because he really hated being a transponster and no one should work at a job they hate, even if the money is good, and that is why I will never understand why people become traders on Wall Street. 

Chandler Bing

Images: Netflix; Giphy (6)

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