Re: What should I do?
As someone who has been salary for the past 15 years, I can see your frustration on switching from hourly. I had a friend who did the same, and he just wasn't happy. I tried to explain to him that to make it in a business, you are going to have to bite the bullet and go exempt. I can guarantee you there are no management positions or higher that are hourly. It's just something you have to do and get used to if you want to climb the corporate ladder. Myself, it was a personal triumph when I finally landed a salary position, so I never really felt bad about it. Sure, it makes for some shitty hours, but it has its benefits. I can take lunch whenever I damn well please, and no one questions my time in and out. I say go for it.
I have also seen situations, like when I worked retail auto parts, where when they asked you to manage a store in BFE, you had better say YES SIR, because they weren't going to ask twice, and it was career suicide if you didn't take it, no matter how crappy the town.
Once you work as a salaried employee for a while, you won't even worry about the difference. Besides, you basically beat out 200 people, hell that's something to be proud of. And with the current economy and job climate, I am guessing some of those 200 would be willing to kiss a lot of ass to get the job.
Good luck with it,