Author Topic: 50 Jobs over $50,000  (Read 14901 times)

Deimyts

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50 Jobs over $50,000
« on: September 11, 2013, 01:02:32 PM »
I know there's a lot of stories in the blog comments, but I'd love to have some more discussion on this subject.

It seems like a lot of people in this forum make decent money. I'm not yet one of them, and my degree (graphic design) tends to pay on the low side if you don't own your own business.

What I'm really interested in is the process: If you make this kind of money, especially in a job that does not necessarily require a degree, how did you get to that point? In most cases, I doubt it happens overnight, so what was it like, building up to that from a smaller income? What were some of the challenges you faced?




ohyonghao

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 03:05:00 PM »
I work in an industry that usually requires a degree, High Tech.  I never went to college, but started learning to program by myself in High School.  I started off with a job paying $10.00/hr when I had no real world experience, and had to bluff my way through promising things I had no idea how to do and reading up every night until I knew how to do it.  I think I maxed out at $12.50 there before taking a break for 2 years serving a mission for my church.
    Once I got back a friend helped me get another job, this time at $14.00/hr doing more programming and running the same routine.  I would put in 60 hours a week but only show 40 on my timecard.  I worked there for about 4 years and ended up making $20.00/hr before leaving for my current job.  Now I'm at Intel, one of the leaders in High Tech, a household name.  I make twice what I did before and the reason they hired me instead of somebody else is because I knew how to use git, a CVS.  I've been here a year and a half and can now do QA testing.  I continue to program on the side, finding odd jobs, or making my own websites.  I've found that if you work hard and show your skills that people will be willing to accept you on your experience, but it is easier to get your foot in the door with a degree.  I now have 11 years experience, which can basically cover for a Masters degree requirement.
   I'd say if you have a shot and can somehow BS your way into a job don't be afraid to work the extra hours to make up for your lack of experience and you can fully expect to eventually see the fruits of those extra labor hours you invested off the clock.
    For me the thing I value the most is flexibility in working hours.  I've worked for places which have you clock out and in for going to the bathroom, lasted 2 weeks there.  I get my 40 hours in, and any goofing off at work I do I make sure that I make it up and that I get things done.  I have no set time to go into the office, and can generally leave by 5.

tooqk4u22

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 01:49:04 PM »
I know there's a lot of stories in the blog comments, but I'd love to have some more discussion on this subject.

It seems like a lot of people in this forum make decent money. I'm not yet one of them, and my degree (graphic design) tends to pay on the low side if you don't own your own business.

What I'm really interested in is the process: If you make this kind of money, especially in a job that does not necessarily require a degree, how did you get to that point? In most cases, I doubt it happens overnight, so what was it like, building up to that from a smaller income? What were some of the challenges you faced?

Qualify that I needed a degree but it is not technical. So what did take?

-work harder, longer, smarter than the next person, and be willing to do the grunt work early in your career.
-seek different roles and responsibilities even if not being paid for it (it is essentially free training and networking)
-be willing to move (different location, lateral within the company)
-be patient
-be willing to jump ship or threaten to (but if you do this understand that it could backfire).
-take calculated risk.
-manage your bosses
-get more educated/training
-BE WILLING TO ASK FOR MORE MONEY

As you can see above, it is not rocket science but it is work.  Some people will throw luck into the equation but I find that the bouts of good luck at one point in time are often offset by bouts of bad luck at another point in time - plus luck is often viewed as some completely random positive event but usually it is being in a position based on a lot of prior work to be able to take advantage of an opportunity.

I really believe that there is almost no excuse not to be in the top 10% for income in the US within 10 years (and really much much shorter than that) simply by showing up and putting in a just a bit of effort. Top 5% is still pretty easy too.   

gooki

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2014, 03:27:46 AM »
The previous comments are very good.

It seems like a lot of people in this forum make decent money. I'm not yet one of them, and my degree (graphic design) tends to pay on the low side if you don't own your own business.

You don't have to own your own business. You can earn six figures if you move in the right direction. I started out as a graphic designer, moved into web design, then multimedia design, now I'm a user interface designer. No degree, just a couple of one year diplomas, and followed a similar method to the previous posters (although I only ever did 60 day weeks about 3 times total in my life).

My process in no particular order.
- Accept any role that has you working with respectable brands
- Don't stop working, even if you don't have a job. Freelance, do personal or non profit projects.
- Be prepared to move
- Understand you have to start at the bottom
- Persistence, it's only in the last year my salary has really taken off
- Keep learning
- Work smarter, not harder
- Know the job market
- Once your skills increase, don't sell yourself short
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 03:36:01 AM by gooki »
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LibrarIan

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2014, 02:13:51 PM »
What I'm really interested in is the process: If you make this kind of money, especially in a job that does not necessarily require a degree, how did you get to that point? In most cases, I doubt it happens overnight, so what was it like, building up to that from a smaller income? What were some of the challenges you faced?

In my case it nearly did happen overnight. I don't have an IT degree (mine is in natural sciences). However, this local insurance company was having trouble filling IT roles (programming), so I took an aptitude test, passed with flying colors and they paid me to learn programming. In three months I learned java and I'm now working FT at 50k/year working on a billing system. It isn't what I want to do by any means, but it certainly pays the bills and has definitely expanded my options.

the fixer

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2014, 03:04:41 PM »
Start by thinking about why you might be willing to pay more for someone you wanted to hire for a service. Employers often say they want "experience," but that's pretty nebulous. What they want is the same things you'd want from hiring, say, a plumber. Do they know what they're doing? Are they confident? Professional? Do they know their limits, when they need to ask for help instead of fudging it? Are they good at communicating with you, so they can understand what you want and how soon? This is what employers mean by "experience," and it's what will get you the higher-paying gigs if you can demonstrate it.

Next, think about what skills you have, or should have, that are most in demand in your field. For anything freelance, being a native English speaker in a similar timezone to your client is worth a lot. In graphic design and some other fields, there can be another big value bump if you have some background in the industry you're working in (e.g. REI probably would prefer to hire a designer who's an experienced outdoorsman instead of someone who spends all her time playing video games, but EA might prefer the gamer). Evaluate yourself according to these criteria, and set your price for each job accordingly.

You'll never get paid more if you don't ask for more. My first raise came after I'd been working for my first company for about 15 months. They didn't have a good performance review process in place so I was getting skipped over until I stood up for myself. A year later I decided to look for new work and stated my salary requirements based on what I thought I was worth, instead of based on what I was making. Luckily for me, that employer never bothered to ask me to tell them what I made! Later, during the recession, raises were hard to come by in the job I was at. Sometimes you get stuck and the only way to get paid more is to find new work.

Finally, a lesson I've recently been applying to my own work: if you're set on earning a lot per hour, don't settle for less when you know you're worth more. A better opportunity will come up. The longer you look, the better your best offer will be (as long as you're not unemployed of course).
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ChrisLansing

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2014, 06:40:41 AM »
Would you like to hear from a contractor who didn't have a degree and wasn't doing IT or some other kind of cerebral work?   

I was a painting contractor for several years.    I made 50K a couple years, usually more like 40K.   This is going back 15-20 years.   

Starting out I'd make about 15K-20K, the first year or two.   Had to supplement with a night job.   

The first step, whether it's painting, carpentry, plumbing, whatever, is to learn your craft.    I was fortunate to learn from my brother who had been through the union apprenticeship program.    People think there is nothing to painting, but there is, and you have to learn it primarily by doing it. 

You work for someone else for a while, learn and practice your craft, accumulate the necessary equipment, then go out on your own.   Then you work and work and work.    I was putting in 70 hours a week and thinking about killing myself (literally).   Then you start to ask yourself what jobs really make money and what jobs are really just using up your time?    You don't have to provide a service to everyone who asks and do everything in your field.    I started by offering any and all painting and wallpaper services.   I painted new homes (as many as 20 a year working alone), repaint jobs, wallpaper jobs, wallpaper stripping, faux finishes -you name it, I did it.   

I was doing different things everyday but the profit margins varied wildly.    I started to focus on what I could do profitably and leave the other stuff for someone else.   What's profitable varies depending on the individual (how good you are at one thing vs another thing) how many employees you have (I usually had none to 1 or 2 being paid under the table) what kind of equipment you have,   Since I had learned my craft well, I found that I could paint for the carriage trade and get paid reasonably well.    At the end I was doing only high end repaint work in the "posh" neighborhoods.    I would still get calls from home builders and I would politely say no thanks; new homes aren't for the small contractor with few or no employees.    Ironically I found I could also make money at the relatively low end of the market - rental units.   Not apartments, but houses that a LL rented out.   The LL would want the cost low, but quality higher than the typical apartment painter.    Since I'm very fast I could make money here as well.   

Most of the building trades, but painting especially, is boom/bust.   You have to work long and hard in the summer because come February there isn't going to be any work.   (In Michigan)

If you have capital you can employ others at much less than the value of their product and make money that way.   But I never had the capital for several employees and a couple vans.     It's a tough balancing act when you have employees, if they can't move fast enough you can't make money, no matter how low you pay them.   If you get someone who can move you  have to pay them well enough that there isn't a lot of profit.    IMO you can make profit on volume with good well paid employees, or you can just go it alone and not have the hassle of being an employer.   

So in short, I made $50K as a painter, by working my *ss off for several years, then settled into mostly carriage trade work.   But I still had no pension or health insurance, sick days, etc.    I had to carry a liability policy, which is a deductible business expense, but is still an expense that has to be paid.   

Finally I came to my senses and got a $30,000 a year job with a pension and health insurance and a 40 hour work week, and a steady paycheck.     I hope and pray I never have to make my livelihood as a contractor ever again. 

I do feel fortunate to have a trade to fall back on.   If it became necessary I could go back to it, and it's a very real possibility for an occasional "extra money" job when I retire, as long as I don't have to do it too often.   

All in all, with the exception of a couple plumbers and maybe one electrician, I don't know many contractors who are having a very good life, even if they do make $50K a year.   

SnackDog

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2014, 06:50:54 AM »
Apparently if you know how to cook, you can earn $325,000 per year working only six months. 

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-04-06/australian-gas-industry-wants-to-curb-pay-as-cooks-earn-325-000

bikebum

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2014, 12:41:59 AM »
Civil engineer here. I think it is one of the more profitable bachelors degrees. Starting average salary is around $50K for a recent grad with just a BS. With a BS plus 2 years of work experience, you can take the Professional Engineer exam. If you pass, you get a professional license, and I think the average pay for a newly licensed engineer is around $70,000. It is one of the few professional fields that you can get into with just a bachelors degree. I am very happy that I went this route.

You can get the license without a degree if you have more work experience, but it would be really hard to pass the tests without the classes.

dragoncar

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2014, 12:58:22 AM »
Civil engineer here. I think it is one of the more profitable bachelors degrees. Starting average salary is around $50K for a recent grad with just a BS. With a BS plus 2 years of work experience, you can take the Professional Engineer exam. If you pass, you get a professional license, and I think the average pay for a newly licensed engineer is around $70,000. It is one of the few professional fields that you can get into with just a bachelors degree. I am very happy that I went this route.

You can get the license without a degree if you have more work experience, but it would be really hard to pass the tests without the classes.

I feel like there's some kind of civil engineering conspiracy around here these days.  There are many higher paying engineering jobs out there:
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2014/majors-that-pay-you-back

bikebum

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2014, 01:03:26 AM »
Civil engineer here. I think it is one of the more profitable bachelors degrees. Starting average salary is around $50K for a recent grad with just a BS. With a BS plus 2 years of work experience, you can take the Professional Engineer exam. If you pass, you get a professional license, and I think the average pay for a newly licensed engineer is around $70,000. It is one of the few professional fields that you can get into with just a bachelors degree. I am very happy that I went this route.

You can get the license without a degree if you have more work experience, but it would be really hard to pass the tests without the classes.

I feel like there's some kind of civil engineering conspiracy around here these days.  There are many higher paying engineering jobs out there:
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2014/majors-that-pay-you-back

I didn't say it's better than other engineering fields. We are actually considered the dumbest of the engineers, haha!

arebelspy

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2014, 01:05:55 AM »
Civil engineer here. I think it is one of the more profitable bachelors degrees. Starting average salary is around $50K for a recent grad with just a BS. With a BS plus 2 years of work experience, you can take the Professional Engineer exam. If you pass, you get a professional license, and I think the average pay for a newly licensed engineer is around $70,000. It is one of the few professional fields that you can get into with just a bachelors degree. I am very happy that I went this route.

You can get the license without a degree if you have more work experience, but it would be really hard to pass the tests without the classes.

I feel like there's some kind of civil engineering conspiracy around here these days.  There are many higher paying engineering jobs out there:
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2014/majors-that-pay-you-back

I didn't say it's better than other engineering fields. We are actually considered the dumbest of the engineers, haha!

Hey, that's not nice to say.  Please try and be civil.
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bikebum

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2014, 01:16:23 AM »
Civil engineer here. I think it is one of the more profitable bachelors degrees. Starting average salary is around $50K for a recent grad with just a BS. With a BS plus 2 years of work experience, you can take the Professional Engineer exam. If you pass, you get a professional license, and I think the average pay for a newly licensed engineer is around $70,000. It is one of the few professional fields that you can get into with just a bachelors degree. I am very happy that I went this route.

You can get the license without a degree if you have more work experience, but it would be really hard to pass the tests without the classes.

I feel like there's some kind of civil engineering conspiracy around here these days.  There are many higher paying engineering jobs out there:
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2014/majors-that-pay-you-back

I didn't say it's better than other engineering fields. We are actually considered the dumbest of the engineers, haha!

Hey, that's not nice to say.  Please try and be civil.

Ohh, I have to do that all day at work, but I'll try ;)

dcheesi

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2014, 02:14:31 AM »
Civil engineer here. I think it is one of the more profitable bachelors degrees. Starting average salary is around $50K for a recent grad with just a BS. With a BS plus 2 years of work experience, you can take the Professional Engineer exam. If you pass, you get a professional license, and I think the average pay for a newly licensed engineer is around $70,000. It is one of the few professional fields that you can get into with just a bachelors degree. I am very happy that I went this route.

You can get the license without a degree if you have more work experience, but it would be really hard to pass the tests without the classes.

I feel like there's some kind of civil engineering conspiracy around here these days.  There are many higher paying engineering jobs out there:
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2014/majors-that-pay-you-back

I didn't say it's better than other engineering fields. We are actually considered the dumbest of the engineers, haha!
In my school, it was more that Civil was seen as the "party major" (of the eng. School at least). The professors apparently arranged the classes so that there were no required Friday sessions, so my CivE roommate and his friends would start parting on Thursday night while the rest of us were still working our butts off!

the fixer

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2014, 08:14:54 AM »
Aerospace and mechanical engineers make the weapons. Civil engineers make the targets!
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bikebum

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2014, 01:25:17 PM »
Civil engineer here. I think it is one of the more profitable bachelors degrees. Starting average salary is around $50K for a recent grad with just a BS. With a BS plus 2 years of work experience, you can take the Professional Engineer exam. If you pass, you get a professional license, and I think the average pay for a newly licensed engineer is around $70,000. It is one of the few professional fields that you can get into with just a bachelors degree. I am very happy that I went this route.

You can get the license without a degree if you have more work experience, but it would be really hard to pass the tests without the classes.

I feel like there's some kind of civil engineering conspiracy around here these days.  There are many higher paying engineering jobs out there:
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2014/majors-that-pay-you-back

I didn't say it's better than other engineering fields. We are actually considered the dumbest of the engineers, haha!
In my school, it was more that Civil was seen as the "party major" (of the eng. School at least). The professors apparently arranged the classes so that there were no required Friday sessions, so my CivE roommate and his friends would start parting on Thursday night while the rest of us were still working our butts off!

Sounds like I missed out. This was the case with business majors at my school.

bikebum

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2014, 01:26:24 PM »
Aerospace and mechanical engineers make the weapons. Civil engineers make the targets!

Let's do some business together, mwuhuhu!

bikebum

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2014, 01:43:41 PM »
Here's something to get this thread back on topic:

My dad teaches 2-day grant-writing and non-profit management workshops all over the US. He also teaches a couple university classes on the subject and does some consulting. I don't know how much he nets, but last year he grossed $140K. I think he had a lot of travel to deduct, but I bet his net was still at least $100K. His only credentials are a bachelor's degree in journalism and a lot of experience in the field. People who work with him usually assume he has a masters degree, be he doesn't.

mayhemmoney

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2014, 06:36:47 AM »
We need to work harder and we should love our job. We should continue to learn everyday.

FIPurpose

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2014, 12:49:35 PM »
I recently graduated with a 4-year CS degree and am making about $70k. I'm not sure what I want to do, as right now I seem to be ambivalent towards my job, but it is paying well. It's hard to complain when I can see my net worth going up by a constant $2-3k a month.

I've honestly thought a lot about making a lateral move in the company, but it would probably mean taking a pay cut. Perhaps after I've been at my position a few more years I can make the transition with minimal reduction in pay. I think FI is appealing to me because I don't know what kind of person I'll become when I reach that point.
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carloco

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2014, 07:50:36 PM »
ONe career some may consider is Firefighter.  The profession is well paid.  Training is provided.  the schedule is great.  ON average firefighters work about 10 days a month.  Many where I work have a side gig, work a part-time job, or many hobbies.  Usually a pension is provided.  Just something to consider....

BlueHouse

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2015, 12:02:51 PM »
I have a cushy desk job that requires little (as in, not years) training or knowledge to get into it and make a decent salary.  Learning and working on your own time is the difference between being one of the pack and being a leader.  For a few years, I went to every free seminar on the subject that I could (and there are many around here).  I also studied on my own time a lot.  Any time I didn't know how to do something, I'd stall, go home that night, and work all night figuring it out or looking it up.  The next day, I'd be the hero.   After a few years of that, I wasn't faking it anymore.  I was really very good at it.  And I started to realize that I was actually better than most of the industry experts, because all they did was talk about it -- they never actually had hands on experience. 
Another benefit of going to all of these meetings, is that other people are doing the same, and they're usually trying to sell something.  I'm now recognized when I walk in the room, and people assume I'm great because all the greatest minds recognize me and say hello.  I've never even worked with 90% of them.  Sure, I have a good reputation for hard work, but even that is waning as I'm more removed from the daily grind (I've been on a single job for a few years and there's no reputation-building here).  I have to keep going to these seminars to keep networking.  I went to a seminar last week after having not been to any in probably six months.  the next day I was asked if I could give a training course.  In a product I've never even used.  Good thing I'm too busy, or I would have spent the last two weeks worth of my nights learning that product and it would have been worth it too! 
A few years ago someone at work asked me for advice on how to get ahead with their job, I asked what was the last book they read about our profession.  The answer:  "You mean on my own time???!?!?!? "
Guess what she's doing now?  yeah, the same thing for the same money.  Different company, but lateral move. 

As for specifics:  I've written long posts about it before which you can search for, but project scheduling is a very well paid profession and you really only have to know a little more than the other guy who's interviewing for the same job.  It is a job where you can be a total hack and get paid for it for a year or two while you learn how to be a real project scheduler. 

Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

cerebus

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2015, 03:20:49 AM »
Just thought I'd post my work history here.

- Got an English Lit degree and started my working life when I was like 30 (previously I was a youth worker with the church so I did work but it was late in the game.)
- When I moved to South Africa 8 years ago (I'm now 37)  I had to start from the ground up. After a year or two of floundering with transcription work I picked up a job as a junior technical writer. Somehow supported a family that grew to 3 kids in the middle of thing by doing 2 jobs. We learned to be very frugal out of necessity during this time.
- 6 years into technical writing I've reached a point where my salary is beginning to be livable by local standards. I also supplement it with after hours online marketing work for a well known PC hardware brand.


- My current salary is around $39k including after hours work. We can nearly afford to buy a house that I would actually want to put my family into. Our debt level is at 0 but so are our assets, practically speaking. I think in the next year I can raise my salary up to $46k-50k which would be very comfortable for us and allow us to save a good amount. We'll still need at least 8 years to pay off a house so I think our savings rate will only really accelerate after that, and once kids are out of university, so I have a hard time seeing myself FIRE-ing before 55-60 but that's fine, at least we're kicking the ass of 95% of the local population.

CabinetGuy

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2015, 05:39:06 AM »
Would you like to hear from a contractor who didn't have a degree and wasn't doing IT or some other kind of cerebral work?   

I was a painting contractor for several years.    I made 50K a couple years, usually more like 40K.   This is going back 15-20 years.   

Starting out I'd make about 15K-20K, the first year or two.   Had to supplement with a night job.   

The first step, whether it's painting, carpentry, plumbing, whatever, is to learn your craft.    I was fortunate to learn from my brother who had been through the union apprenticeship program.    People think there is nothing to painting, but there is, and you have to learn it primarily by doing it. 

You work for someone else for a while, learn and practice your craft, accumulate the necessary equipment, then go out on your own.   Then you work and work and work.    I was putting in 70 hours a week and thinking about killing myself (literally).   Then you start to ask yourself what jobs really make money and what jobs are really just using up your time?    You don't have to provide a service to everyone who asks and do everything in your field.    I started by offering any and all painting and wallpaper services.   I painted new homes (as many as 20 a year working alone), repaint jobs, wallpaper jobs, wallpaper stripping, faux finishes -you name it, I did it.   

I was doing different things everyday but the profit margins varied wildly.    I started to focus on what I could do profitably and leave the other stuff for someone else.   What's profitable varies depending on the individual (how good you are at one thing vs another thing) how many employees you have (I usually had none to 1 or 2 being paid under the table) what kind of equipment you have,   Since I had learned my craft well, I found that I could paint for the carriage trade and get paid reasonably well.    At the end I was doing only high end repaint work in the "posh" neighborhoods.    I would still get calls from home builders and I would politely say no thanks; new homes aren't for the small contractor with few or no employees.    Ironically I found I could also make money at the relatively low end of the market - rental units.   Not apartments, but houses that a LL rented out.   The LL would want the cost low, but quality higher than the typical apartment painter.    Since I'm very fast I could make money here as well.   

Most of the building trades, but painting especially, is boom/bust.   You have to work long and hard in the summer because come February there isn't going to be any work.   (In Michigan)

If you have capital you can employ others at much less than the value of their product and make money that way.   But I never had the capital for several employees and a couple vans.     It's a tough balancing act when you have employees, if they can't move fast enough you can't make money, no matter how low you pay them.   If you get someone who can move you  have to pay them well enough that there isn't a lot of profit.    IMO you can make profit on volume with good well paid employees, or you can just go it alone and not have the hassle of being an employer.   

So in short, I made $50K as a painter, by working my *ss off for several years, then settled into mostly carriage trade work.   But I still had no pension or health insurance, sick days, etc.    I had to carry a liability policy, which is a deductible business expense, but is still an expense that has to be paid.   

Finally I came to my senses and got a $30,000 a year job with a pension and health insurance and a 40 hour work week, and a steady paycheck.     I hope and pray I never have to make my livelihood as a contractor ever again. 

I do feel fortunate to have a trade to fall back on.   If it became necessary I could go back to it, and it's a very real possibility for an occasional "extra money" job when I retire, as long as I don't have to do it too often.   

All in all, with the exception of a couple plumbers and maybe one electrician, I don't know many contractors who are having a very good life, even if they do make $50K a year.   


I agree with damn near everything in here.  I also have no degree...

I started in a small cabinet shop making 8.00 an hour pushing a broom.  I had no experience with power tools, short of handing them to my older brother when I was a kid.  Apparently this made me more desirable as a new hire (no bad habits yet.)  I worked hard, but this was a small family owned shop, and they never demanded crazy hours, so we rarely worked overtime.

I took notes when I was told what to do, and got to watch a coworker make a lot of mistakes and got to learn what not to do.  In les than three years I went from a know-nothing to their full-fledged installer.  I was making 18.00 and hour, had medical and dental insurance, profit sharing, AND a 401k.  At age 22.

Left that job to move south, made much much less for years working in other cabinet shops.  Began looking for something other than shop work, and got into cabinet installation management.  Was in charge of 7 install crews and overseeing a couple million in cabinet sales a year.  Was working crazy hours, 60-70 per week.  But was making 60k a year, company vehicle, phone, medical ins, company credit card.  SPENT EVERY PENNY I MADE.

Guess what?  The economy collapsed, lost my job, and was broke.  Immediately put on my tool belt, and started doing cabinet installs as a sub-constructor.  Five years later, I make pretty decent money, and I have a great reputation in the high-end build community.  Production builders and production work is NOT where I ever want to be.  When I walk into a home, builders damn near out out a red carpet and keep out of the way (they know they don't have to baby sit me).

  My tax returns say I don't make much, but it feels like I make more than I ever have (deductions are a game changer.)  There were times when I thought I would kill myself from working too hard and stressing so much, but you learn from those experiences.  Having savings helps...

So yes, carpentry/trades can be a viable option 

Edit:  this has been a 15 year journey.

Jon
« Last Edit: May 07, 2015, 05:42:47 AM by JCH cabinets »

Philo Beddoe

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2015, 08:17:59 PM »
This thread is near and dear to me right now. I'm currently looking for work. I've been working as a bartender the past 7 years or so...damn time flies. I never intended bartending to be a career, but when the economy tanked I fell back on it. The crazy thing is I do have a degree....but it's in English (but from a top school.) I've tried to get writing jobs (technical) with zero luck...no one will give me a shot without experience. So I've started applying to all sorts of jobs.

In my neck of the woods (Sacramento) there are two applicants for every job posted. It's a really tough job market here. I've started looking at jobs I might have taken in high school or college...jobs that start out at $12-14 per hour. My thought process is that I can move up from there once they see that I'm not all tatted up, show up on time, and work hard. I don't know. I'm tired of restaurants, even though I've been able to make a taxable equivalent to $50k (a few tips fly under Mr. IRS you know.)

While I love this blog and the MMM site, I don't see FI ever coming to be perfectly honest, but many of the principles here can help me improve my condition. I've managed to pay off all debt except a student loan.

Sorry for the rambling, pointless post. I just wanted to share a regional experience.

cerebus

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2015, 12:46:29 AM »
I've tried to get writing jobs (technical) with zero luck...no one will give me a shot without experience. So I've started applying to all sorts of jobs.

I had very little technical experience when I started out as a techwriter. I had done a stint as a web marketing guy for someone, and then used that plus my English degree to get into a junior techwriting role, and by now I'm more or less senior. You have to do a hard graft in it for a while and compared to many other programming jobs it's underpaid, but it's a foot in the door. Good technical writers in the US who understand some coding and APIs, SOAP/REST etc, can earn $130k - it may take a while to get there but it's what I'm aiming towards. If my salary does start to increase, I can foresee FIRE happening in my 50s, which is actually just fine. Even later is fine for me, I'm just grateful to have found a direction with MMM.


Another option I've been looking at is to find remote work as a techwriter. There are quite a good number of jobs out there for qualified writers, which I am by now, and they earn what's an average US or UK salary (I have both citizenships), but what's a very good salary here. For instance a 70000 US salary now comes out to a R70k monthly salary here which is, well, very good - we could get a 50% savings rate even with a house payment on that income here. I haven't actually tried to put feelers yet but it keeps ticking over in my head; I'm just not sure if employers with remote openings would be open to someone from overseas.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 07:06:45 AM by cerebus »

BlueHouse

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2015, 05:51:02 AM »
   I'd say if you have a shot and can somehow BS your way into a job don't be afraid to work the extra hours to make up for your lack of experience and you can fully expect to eventually see the fruits of those extra labor hours you invested off the clock.
+1
I don't bill the hours that it takes me to learn things I should already know. Sadly, most young people I meet on the job feel it isn't their job to learn anything on their own time. Hence, most don't advance as quickly as they like.
Fake it til you make it is a real thing! 
Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

FIRE me

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2015, 06:20:06 PM »

It seems like a lot of people in this forum make decent money. I'm not yet one of them, and my degree (graphic design) tends to pay on the low side if you don't own your own business.

What I'm really interested in is the process: If you make this kind of money, especially in a job that does not necessarily require a degree, how did you get to that point? In most cases, I doubt it happens overnight, so what was it like, building up to that from a smaller income? What were some of the challenges you faced?

I work a manufacturing production job that would pay in the mid 40's but with mandatory overtime pays in the upper 50's. More than 60K is possible if you want to volunteer for  even more 12 hour days and more weekends than are already required.

No degree required, but working conditions are and the work pace are sometimes brutal. Almost 50% fail to make it to their four year anniversary.

When I was self employed, I sometimes made better money when measured by the hour. But on a yearly basis, my current job is the best paying I've ever had.
FIRE'd on January 4, 2017

plantingourpennies

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2015, 04:38:28 PM »
I have a degree in philosophy, but have yet to get paid to think about Nicomachean Ethics. Work history below but the tl;dr is if you are "good with words" then get into sales at a larg-ish corporation.

Big Box Retail Manager-40k/yr
Cell Phone Kiosk Commission Sales-45k/yr
B2B IT sales-80 to 100k/yr
Sales Training-100k/yr

None of the previous required a degree, all required large amounts of hustle. The big break was selling a Blackberry to the recruiter who hired me for the B2B sales job. It took me about 6 years to get from 40k to 100k.
PlantingOurPennies- Our experience with personal finance.

Panchos

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2015, 09:45:51 PM »
ONe career some may consider is Firefighter.  The profession is well paid.  Training is provided.  the schedule is great.  ON average firefighters work about 10 days a month.  Many where I work have a side gig, work a part-time job, or many hobbies.  Usually a pension is provided.  Just something to consider....

For anyone considering firefighter, it's a great path. The minimum training is Fire 1&2 and Emergency Medical technician - Basic. You'll get your Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations in fire school. It takes 4 months to complete if you do it full time. You typically need your training done on your own prior to employment (5k give or take) unless you are getting on with a big city. Upon completion, you're looking at 24-50k a year starting and topping out at 50-85k a year depending on location. You can get your Paramedic license and make about 5k more a year on average. Naturally, as you advance to FAE (driver 61-66), lieutenant, captain (80-85), chief (85-100k) that pay goes up as well. It's a great career and very rewarding, but not for everyone.

At my department, we work 1 day on 2 days off with a kelly day (extra day off every 27 days) which equates to 9 days a month. Naturally, this leaves us with lots of free time for family, leisurely activities, businesses, part time work. I work part time at another fire department and hustle on Craigslist/garage sales a bit. We also get a generous pension as well. With our pension program in MO, you can retire at 55 or as early as 50 with some penalties. If I calculate it correctly, it equates to about $100 a month for every year of service. However, I don't intend on using that pension as I believe I'll FIRE long before that. If anyone wants more info on firefighting feel free to PM or respond here.

Johnez

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2015, 06:47:53 AM »
Warehouse picker here at a beverage company. Would you believe there are guys here that have pulled in $65,000? $25 an hour and OT every week. Love everything about this job, except the shift.

eliza

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2015, 06:04:26 PM »
Financial Services Compliance. This generally does require a degree, but it can often be ANY degree.  In my entry level BSA/AML analyst position many of my coworkers had degrees in history, English, political science, etc.

One of the beauties of this field is hardly anyone outside of it understands it, but it is very easy to learn if you dedicate some time to studying and learning.  I'm an expert in a very narrow area of compliance.  Most people assume I have a JD and/or MBA and/or PhD in economics, but really I just have a BA and several years of in the trenches experience.

I started straight out of undergrad in 2007 making ~45K and am now making ~125K. 

PFHC

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2015, 05:34:46 PM »
Merchant Mariner. Check out this post for more info on what the job entails and how to become one:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/perhaps-the-single-most-mustachian-job-ever/?topicseen

Scroll through for info on how to become one without a college degree.

donut

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Re: 50 Jobs over $50,000
« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2015, 07:46:28 PM »
I work a manufacturing production job that would pay in the mid 40's but with mandatory overtime pays in the upper 50's. More than 60K is possible if you want to volunteer for  even more 12 hour days and more weekends than are already required.

No degree required, but working conditions are and the work pace are sometimes brutal. Almost 50% fail to make it to their four year anniversary.

When I was self employed, I sometimes made better money when measured by the hour. But on a yearly basis, my current job is the best paying I've ever had.

Warehouse picker here at a beverage company. Would you believe there are guys here that have pulled in $65,000? $25 an hour and OT every week. Love everything about this job, except the shift.

Another vote for manufacturing and warehousing. I've worked at a couple different manufacturing plants and pay for full time operators/pickers starts at $14-$20/hr. You can work your way up to shift/team lead pretty quickly (at least half of them I've known were in there 20s or 30s) and that pays anywhere from $20-$30/hr depending on the level of responsibility. Most schedules have either built in overtime or mandatory overtime in certain seasons that will give you another 5 - 10 hours a week at 1.5X pay. These roles don't require any college education, the competitiveness level for them depends on the general skill level of the population in your area and how well known the employer is (Target vs. Rock Tenn ).

If you're technically inclined the pay scales are even higher for maintenance and quality roles. The least skilled Mechanics still usually start near $20/hr all the way up to the Electrical Specialist role at one employer pays $35/hr. Some of the people in these roles went to 1-2 year vocational programs but some just liked to tinker with cars and appliances in their younger days and worked their way up in them. With OT it's not uncommon for some higher skilled maintenance folks to take home $100K+.

Overall I don't think it's extremely difficult to get into this type of work either as there are not an overwhelming amount of applicants like at typical office/service sector work because the industry is seen as not very glamorous and the conditions/hours drive many folks away. Maintenance in particular has an acute lack of qualified candidates and "fresh blood" coming into the roles to the point that many companies are starting to train their operators or new hires to move into those roles. I do electrical work and 90% of my colleagues have been over the age of 50 (I'm in my mid-20s).

Shift/work conditions can leave something to be desired, as FIRE Me and Johnez mentioned. Work conditions vary by employer, things that are temperature sensitive (medical, semiconductor, certain food & beverages) tend to be nicer as the plants have to be climate controlled pretty well. General warehouses and other products aren't as nice but are comparable to a lot of other trade work, while a few industries (injection molding, metal casting) can be downright miserable with extreme temperatures due to the process. The hours are the worst part imo, it's pretty common that you will be working night shift your first few years on the job and you'll work at least some weekends either on overtime or as part of a continuous operations schedule (usually a two week schedule where you work 3 days one week and 4 the next). Overtime is common so a 40 hour week is unusual, the average is closer to 50 over the entire year. There are extreme schedules at times like working 13 days in a row with every other Sunday off, and one electrician I knew worked 31 days straight with the majority of those days being 12 hour shifts.

I like the industry but the extreme hours (I'm in management and am on call 24/7 on top of 50-60 hour weeks) are what led me to find ERE and MMM as I don't plan on doing this past my 30s. I'm not sure how people stay in this line of work for 30+ years. I think it's well suited for FIRE types since you can take advantage of the high pay and leave the stress of it after 10 - 15 years.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2015, 07:49:12 PM by donut »