@eliza One more thought: Along with some of the suggestions here that you should look for a new job, I would recommend that you divert your energy away from after-the-fact haggling over $5k at this job (unless you are already demonstrating value way above and beyond what the responsibilities of the job were when you started), and toward doing some work that will really make you qualified for jobs that pay more, so that the next time you go through a hiring process you are positioned better to negotiate.
I have to point out that in addition to the possibility that they are "taking advantage of you" because you're young, not every employee in the same role IS worth the same amount to a company, despite what you may think they should be paying you. Mike is right that you should under no circumstances mention what your predecessor was making. Not because it's wrong for you to know, but because it's irrelevant (so mentioning it will make you sound naive). Salary offers are calculated based on value added to the company (your skills, your experience, your potential to make them money or save them money as a result) combined with market factors (what typical salaries for this title are, how the company and industry are doing financially, what other companies might offer you to do the same job). When you are just out of college, neither one of these parts of the equation is really in your favor. You would be extremely well served to view this as an economic reality as opposed to some personal slight. The best choice for a company is to spend the minimum amount that will attract and retain employees of the caliber and type that they need. Just like your best choice is to accept the highest salary you can find for a job whose requirements are acceptable to you. They shouldn't give you an extra $5k just to be polite and fair, any more than you would accept a lower salary in order to spare the feelings of the company offering it.
Girl, you don't need to justify hiring movers. Disclosure: I haven't moved without movers since 2008, and now the very idea of it strikes me as absurd.
@JanieS I'd add too that if you ever need to correct someone by saying "I'm a [whatever], not a hobbyist"... you are a hobbyist.
@ThatJenn To clarify, my use of the word "dysfunctional" referred specifically to the finances of the situation - it sounds like this arrangement is literally not functioning at a level that is financially sound. To be honest, I'm not even sure this arrangement wouldn't be okay for me. Maybe if I was making enough money to comfortably support someone else, and our expenses weren't too high, I'd be fine with it! But yes, if my finances were in shambles and there was no legitimate reason my partner couldn't earn money aside from his deeply held conviction that he is an Artist, I'd probably be outta there. Hopefully. Glad for you that you are now out of that situation.
@Jane This is splitting hairs I suppose, but I do believe an activity that someone loves but doesn't earn any money from is a hobby. No matter how much they love it.
@ellabella I definitely don't think that a partner who doesn't contribute financially is by default an asshole, or a drain on the relationship and/or society. In fact, I have no issue with an "unpaid partner" (and thank you for that term) in situations where the "paid partner" is able to provide for both without hardship, or in cases where the unpaid partner is doing something mutually beneficial (raising children, pursuing a degree in order to get a better job, taking care of an elderly relative) that the couple has decided is worthwhile. The problem I'm having is that this couple does not seem to fall into any of those categories. Certainly, Jane's income is not enough to provide for them both without hardship... like, groceries-on-a-credit-card level hardship. And it doesn't sound to me that Dick's art OR his domestic contributions are benefitting them both to the extent where it really is worth it to continue this way. As another commenter excellently pointed out, what person who earns $2200 a month would ever decide to pay $1100 a month for a housekeeper? So it's just the fact that this situation seems so evidently financially dysfunctional, plus the fact that it sounds like it's been this way for almost two entire years and shows no signs of changing, that is leading me to conclude that there must be an asshole involved.
@ellabella I don't think (3) is supported by the article (not enough information to know), and it sounds like (4) is debatable. The article gives pretty much equal examples of utility gained from this relationship vs. utility taken away.
@ellabella But the whole thing with this article is that the couple is not getting by ok and happy. It sounds like they're really struggling, actually. And for me, the thing that's making me react to this whole thing by saying "really, WTF are you even doing??" is that the alternative - the other explanation for why they are not getting by ok and happy - is that there is somehow something unfair or wrong happening TO them, which is absolutely not the case.
@ellabella Yes, that kind of seems like the argument here. Here's what I'm hearing: 1. [Partner] really really loves [hobby]. 2. It would be way too hard to [pursue hobby to the extent that they want to] with a job. 3. Therefore, [partner] cannot have a job. It sure sounds like the unstated premise that comes between (2) and (3) is "[Partner] deserves not to have it be hard to [pursue hobby as much as he/she wants to]."