Author Topic: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?  (Read 8623 times)

rob in cal

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high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« on: February 09, 2019, 03:54:17 PM »
   I'm intrigued about high income earners, say people making over 125 k a year.  For those not in specialty positions which took lots of schooling to get there, is it competitive to keep your job? Do you face tough performance/sales quotas?  Is there a threat from a younger worker taking your job at less pay, or your job being outsourced? Do you find yourself working much harder than you did when you had a much lower paying job?   

singpolyma

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 04:25:53 PM »
No. I expect industry, company, skill, and other factors to matter much more than compensation when it comes to job security.

Data point: I gross (Canadian $) 150k/yr in salary alone (currently estimated to be over 1M total compensation for this year) and am virtually untouchable.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 05:10:18 PM »
It is interesting but in working with people, Iíve come to learn thst very successful people donít try to hold onto their job, they set themselves up to be replaced so they are free to take on bigger and better roles. If you make yourself irreplaceable, you canít be moved up. Donít let insecurity and fear guide you. Do great work, train successors and keep aiming higher.

use2betrix

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2019, 05:33:22 PM »
My belief is that any loss of my job would be solely due to my own poor performance. Holding myself accountable for my success is a huge part of what got me to this point ($300k-ish at 30 years old with an associates degree). Could something happen 100% out of my ownership? Sure, but honestly itís very slim. Unless a company completely goes under or something crazy, if you make yourself valuable enough, they will keep you around.

I work much harder now than when I was younger. Not physically, but the mental work is unreal. I have to be available a ton to keep projects going. Iíll take calls at night or holidays if I need to, again, it makes me valuable. The last 6 months Iíve honestly been doing 4 peopleís jobs. They just gave me a $15/hr raise without me asking, so how do I really complain. I was venting to my boss one evening about some issues and then we both laughed when I said ďhow do I really bitch that much when you just throw more money at me.Ē Lol. My bosses treat me very well and I am very appreciated. We just filled two of the positions I had basically been covering so that helps even though my main responsibility will be getting busier.

I have a lot of anxiety about work. Tons. As much as it sucks, again, I feel like it is a huge contributor to my success. It makes me remember important things and cover all tasks.

As an example, during a kickoff meeting last week the contractor casually mentioned a spec they planned to follow which did not align with our companies. I put a huge stop and we are working to resolve that. In the long run that one spec they changed would have cost our company approximately 1.2 million dollars over the following year. No one picked up on that other than myself and there were a lot of high level people in that meeting.

HBFIRE

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2019, 07:28:42 PM »
No.  Most stable high earners in general bring real value to a company.  Such employees are hard to find and companies will do what they can to hold onto them.  Usually these types of workers would earn far more running their own businesses, and the companies they work for understand this.   If you want to be valuable and indispensable, approach your work as if you're part owner of the business.  Or, start your own business.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 07:33:01 PM by dustinst22 »

Severian

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2019, 08:26:38 PM »
   I'm intrigued about high income earners, say people making over 125 k a year.  For those not in specialty positions which took lots of schooling to get there, is it competitive to keep your job? Do you face tough performance/sales quotas?  Is there a threat from a younger worker taking your job at less pay, or your job being outsourced? Do you find yourself working much harder than you did when you had a much lower paying job?   

At the moment my salary is about 130k, so I just squeak by your high-income test (I consider my salary kind of low for what I do.) There's a lot of politics where I work, but I'm not very threatened by it because no one else there could even begin to work on the critical features I've implemented. It helps to be very good at what you do, I suppose. I think my employers ought to fear me leaving a lot more than I fear losing my job.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2019, 04:46:17 AM »
I share Severians sentiment, and ironically salary.

I do have very high sales target (realistically unattainable), but outside of my direct revenue generation, bring a ton of value/indirect revenue to the company. I fear not losing my job, because there is very little work-life balance here, and it would likely be an improvement anywhere else I went. I'm also a bit jaded with enough FU$ to last over a decade, and could easily absorb a pay cut for more free time.

merula

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2019, 06:39:42 AM »
I'm not at your threshold in terms of salary, but I'll answer for my company.

I work for an insurance carrier. Insurance, as an industry, is very risk adverse and doesn't want any part of any lawsuits, so it is virtually impossible to be fired. (The one person I know of that was actually fired assaulted a coworker.)

However, it is possible to be managed out. I'll use the example of an old boss of mine. Things were going great, got promoted into a fancy VP job, and then there was a reorganization. Now, instead of being a VP of the stuff he liked, he was a VP of stuff he didn't like. So he majorly slacked off (getting in at 10, hours on lunch, leaving at 4, refusing meetings, etc). That went on for over a year before another reorg meant his job went away completely.

He was offered a non-VP job, but refused it as beneath him, and so he ended up at a not-as-prestigious company because they'd give him a VP title. I sometimes wonder if he changed his work habits there.

For the record, there's no specialized skill or degree required for insurance. The VP above never went to college, started in the mailroom at 19 and worked his way up. I have a business degree, but I work with a lot of people with liberal arts degrees or no degree.

There are some roles in my company that are being outsourced to India, but that hasn't caused any layoffs that I know of; more that they're not replacing retirees and those that remain have part of their job as supervising the outsourced work.

Similarly, there's no concerns about younger, less experienced people taking over jobs. I am one of those people, relatively speaking; I'm early-30s, and 20-30 years younger than anyone with my title in my group. I almost certainly get paid less in salary, but I'm a high performer, so I get a larger chunk of the bonuses.

MayDay

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2019, 06:59:55 AM »
I'm in engineering.

I've seen older engineers who are in it for the pension, slack off and either barely skate by other demoted. I doubt they'd get fired unless they did something really bad but they could absolutely get laid off or further demoted.

These are people who aren't particularly good at their job. I've never seen it with even middle of the road engineers, just the bad and lazy ones.

Gone_Hiking

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2019, 09:01:06 AM »
My belief is that any loss of my job would be solely due to my own poor performance. Holding myself accountable for my success is a huge part of what got me to this point ($300k-ish at 30 years old with an associates degree). Could something happen 100% out of my ownership? Sure, but honestly itís very slim. Unless a company completely goes under or something crazy, if you make yourself valuable enough, they will keep you around.

In general, it seems to me that this observation holds true, unless the company needs to cut staff.  I experienced a layoff engineered by a multinational pharmaceutical company that largely cut higher-compensated and older employees.  Having said that, high-performing employees are more likely to do what they need to do to get back to their previous level of seniority.

undercover

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2019, 09:23:40 AM »
I don't believe anyone is as valuable as they say they are. If you think you're not expendable, you're joking yourself. Everyone is replaceable, and of course that's only becoming increasingly true as time goes on.

That said, replacing someone has a cost and that's why I don't think you're any more likely to lose your job in a position making $200k than you are making $30k other than your own mental fortitude.

Sometimes income is correlated with amount of work but often times not really.

HBFIRE

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2019, 09:37:52 AM »
I don't believe anyone is as valuable as they say they are. If you think you're not expendable, you're joking yourself. Everyone is replaceable, and of course that's only becoming increasingly true as time goes on.



As a business owner with employees, I can tell you this is totally inaccurate.  Employees that bring real value to a business are very rare, and a business does whatever it can to hold onto them.  These employees are what drive a business by either saving costs or increasing revenue.  Unfortunately, these employees usually get a better offer from a competitor before too long or start their own businesses.

jlcnuke

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2019, 09:40:34 AM »
I don't believe anyone is as valuable as they say they are. If you think you're not expendable, you're joking yourself. Everyone is replaceable, and of course that's only becoming increasingly true as time goes on.



As a business owner with employees, I can tell you this is totally inaccurate.  Employees that bring real value to a business are very rare, and a business does whatever it can to hold onto them.  These employees are what drive a business by either saving costs or increasing revenue.  Unfortunately, these employees usually get a better offer from a competitor before too long or start their own businesses.

And the business moves on without them, and likely replaces them with someone else... meaning they were expendable...

soccerluvof4

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2019, 09:42:45 AM »
There are a lot of variables to this question from size of company, profit margins etc.. as to what Companies will do or not do in retaining employees. A person making 60k for Company A might be more Valuable than a person making 200k From Company A but if overstaffed in said department than still might be fist to be cut. With a smaller company could just come down to overall payroll. I agree anyone that thinks there not replaceable is foolish but there definitely is more tolerance for the better performers as it should be. With unemployment being so low and it being hard to find quality people right now I think employees have a bit of an upper hand but I am not insinuating in all businesses or companies.

HBFIRE

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2019, 09:49:01 AM »

And the business moves on without them, and likely replaces them with someone else... meaning they were expendable...


Not at all easy to do for some businesses.  I can tell you this first hand.  Sometimes it even causes the business to fail.  And in the cases where they are able to move on, it might be in a less  efficient manner.  To clarify, by "expendable" I mean a business won't willfully let a valuable employee go as it's basically throwing money away.  Sure, if a real valuable employee leaves, usually the business can recover with a lot of expense and time, but its not something the business wants to have to do.  This is why if you're an employee that brings real value to a company, you have quite a bit of safety.  If you're a person that directly drives revenues or reduces costs due to a specific skill set, you have high value.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 10:01:31 AM by dustinst22 »

undercover

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2019, 11:35:21 AM »
I don't believe anyone is as valuable as they say they are. If you think you're not expendable, you're joking yourself. Everyone is replaceable, and of course that's only becoming increasingly true as time goes on.



As a business owner with employees, I can tell you this is totally inaccurate.  Employees that bring real value to a business are very rare, and a business does whatever it can to hold onto them.  These employees are what drive a business by either saving costs or increasing revenue.  Unfortunately, these employees usually get a better offer from a competitor before too long or start their own businesses.

Depends very highly on your definition of "real value". Let's not kid ourselves and think that we all know what the market wants at any given time. Cutting costs and raising sales is not enough in today's world. Look at all the hugely successful businesses that went out of business because they had the wrong people and made the wrong decisions (Good to Great is a good book illustrating this). I highly doubt they knew at the time that the people in their organization weren't providing "real value".

Point being that even as a business owner, you're not always the best judge on what needs to be done any more than anyone else. It is simply hard to replace people you perceive as valuable, but it doesn't make them any more valuable. What you perceive as rare does not mean it's actually rare. Rare is subjective.

But I do agree that most companies think like this and is why inevitably few companies risk changing things up or are willing to replace someone.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2019, 12:20:35 PM »

And the business moves on without them, and likely replaces them with someone else... meaning they were expendable...


Not at all easy to do for some businesses.  I can tell you this first hand.  Sometimes it even causes the business to fail.  And in the cases where they are able to move on, it might be in a less  efficient manner.  To clarify, by "expendable" I mean a business won't willfully let a valuable employee go as it's basically throwing money away.  Sure, if a real valuable employee leaves, usually the business can recover with a lot of expense and time, but its not something the business wants to have to do.  This is why if you're an employee that brings real value to a company, you have quite a bit of safety.  If you're a person that directly drives revenues or reduces costs due to a specific skill set, you have high value.

All that says to me is that the business did a poor job of planning. If youíre entire business is wholly dependent on one or two people, that business is vulnerable. As soon as you have ďinvaluableĒ people, then start a succession plan, as a way to train someone to take over or to ensure that if someone left, you can replace the person. Also, if that person is so invaluable, they should never leave because of a better offer, pay them more! If s business owner is too cheap, arrogant or short-sighted than those are the causes of failure moreso than losing someone irreplaceable (when, at some point thst person would leave, even if it was just death or retirement).

Severian

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2019, 03:02:37 PM »
And the business moves on without them, and likely replaces them with someone else... meaning they were expendable...

Yeah- I'm not irreplaceable, and I wasn't trying to imply that I was. If I decided to leave my current job the business would carry on. They have plenty of money at the moment, so they could find someone to do what I do. It would be expensive though, I think. There's a lot of competition between employers in my industry right now, and salaries for people with my skill-set are often quite a bit higher than what I'm making at the moment.

They're getting a fairly good deal on me, because of geography and also the fact that they're not my only source of income. I have another 60k guaranteed to come in this year without me doing anything (unfortunately a one-time deal) and a company I work on on the side that... well, we're going to launch our first product this year, after years of work, and we'll see how that goes.

I insisted when I was hired here that outside of the occasional emergency I was going to work 40 hour weeks, and that I would be allowed to work on outside projects on my own time. There has been some tension over that since, because they would really like me to work more, but I've stuck to my guns on that for the most part (there have been a few times when I've worked >30 hours in a weekend because there was a solid reason I needed to, like delivering a sudden ask to an important prospect in order to close a sale, and I figure that sort of thing just comes with the territory in this industry.) This is one reason I don't negotiate my salary more aggressively. I don't want to have that conversation again at the moment.

So I'm not irreplaceable. But the cost to my employer of replacing me would be significant. The cost to me of losing my job would be that I might have to relocate and work more hours, but I would probably wind up making significantly more money. Possibly quite a lot more money. It's not that I'm irreplaceable. It's that the cost to my employer of me leaving would be much higher than the cost to me of losing my job. It helps that I live on about 25k a year too- if I were suddenly unemployed I would be able to be fairly choosy about my next job, because even if it took a year for me to settle on one it wouldn't dent my savings all that badly.

And that's the nice thing about living modestly- knowing that I can go without a paycheck for quite a while is a powerful negotiating tool. It's one thing to pretend you can walk away from the table, but quite another thing to actually be able to.


use2betrix

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2019, 04:34:53 PM »
I donít think anyone here thinks they are irreplaceable. I do think several posters here are very very wrong by seemingly insinuating that a person can be replaced easily (or not easily) by someone else of the same skill set and income. Can some people? Sure, but certainly not all.

I work in a very niche and skilled position. Yes - thereís tons of people that ďdoĒ what I do, but many will not be on the same level. I came onto a billion dollar project last winter that was 85% complete and the person I replaced (who had 20 years more experience) completely messed up huge costly parts of the job and I came in and turned it around. I received countless compliments, references, and outside job offers due to my work on that project. Not many people understood the systems and were able to take the steps I took to fix things.

Sure, everyone is ďreplaceableĒ but someone would be way off to think that there arenít valued employees that excel so much that companies will do a LOT to keep those employees.

Granted, if youíve never been one of these employees itís be hard to really understand.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 04:40:58 PM by use2betrix »

alcon835

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2019, 04:51:40 PM »
I make just above your income requirement and I'm a bit underpaid for my industry (though there are reasons for that and some negotiations in place to get me higher).

Regardless, I'm not in danger of losing my job any time soon because of my industry. And if I suddenly lost my job, finding a new one would be relatively easy. Like others have said, I don't believe anyone is irreplaceable, but I do believe that hard work reaps rewards. I strive to work hard and keep bettering myself and in doing so I've found myself becoming more valuable year-over-year while also keeping myself very employable no matter what my situation.

And due to the FIRE lifestyle, even though I'm not at my FI goal, I do have plenty in the bank to cover any temporary lapse in pay.

singpolyma

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2019, 07:21:28 PM »
Employees that bring real value to a business are very rare, and a business does whatever it can to hold onto them.  These employees are what drive a business by either saving costs or increasing revenue.  Unfortunately, these employees usually get a better offer from a competitor before too long or start their own businesses.

Or you pay them so much that the FIRE ;)

HBFIRE

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2019, 08:07:16 PM »

Granted, if youíve never been one of these employees itís be hard to really understand.

Precisely

EnjoyIt

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2019, 10:41:22 PM »
It is interesting but in working with people, Iíve come to learn thst very successful people donít try to hold onto their job, they set themselves up to be replaced so they are free to take on bigger and better roles. If you make yourself irreplaceable, you canít be moved up. Donít let insecurity and fear guide you. Do great work, train successors and keep aiming higher.

This right here.  Those people that work hard at keeping their job eventually fail.  Those that work hard in helping their people succeed get promoted.  Great leaders do just that.  They improve the people around them and succeed because everyone succeeds. Good leaders give a shit about everyone and not just themselves.

On the same note, the higher up the chain you go, the more responsibility you have.  In a sense that makes keeping your job more difficult.

Rubyvroom

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2019, 02:43:14 PM »
I am in Finance. I would say that it is definitely not difficult to keep my job, though the higher up I go in my career the more difficult it is to find similar high paying roles, so you start to feel the golden handcuffs. Every company needs a bazillion analysts, but only a handful of Directors, VPs, etc.

I am in my late 30s so I am not really at risk of a younger worker taking my job, though I do think quite often about how technology will likely replace at least half of my job sometime in the next 10-20 years.

I definitely am not working harder than I did when I had a much lower paying job, and I don't get chased to put in a lot of OT because nearly every boss I've had in my career has told me the same thing - that I get more done in a shorter period of time than most of my colleagues. I put in OT whenever it is critical (maybe 2-3 weeks out of the entire year, by my own choice, not "mandatory"), but otherwise I work 40 hours a week.

Also, for those chasing high salaries, coming from the perspective of a female in Finance, ALWAYS negotiate a higher starting salary than you believe is "fair." The gender pay gap is very real, and you'll often be surprised by how much money you'd leave on the table if you "go with your gut" on salary negotiations.

therethere

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2019, 03:01:14 PM »
DH and I are both in engineering. In the 12 years we've been out of school, there has only been two years where both of us were employed the entire year. Defense industry is boom or bust and has layoffs every 1-3 years in our experience. So for middle of the road engineers, I would say it can be depending on your industry.

Schaefer Light

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2019, 03:09:20 PM »
I think you are more likely to get caught up in a layoff the more you earn.  If your company wants to cut costs, then the higher salaries are going to be more heavily scrutinized (especially in middle management positions).

londonbanker

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2019, 04:10:33 PM »
It is interesting but in working with people, Iíve come to learn thst very successful people donít try to hold onto their job, they set themselves up to be replaced so they are free to take on bigger and better roles. If you make yourself irreplaceable, you canít be moved up. Donít let insecurity and fear guide you. Do great work, train successors and keep aiming higher.

Thatís exactly how I have always approached my roles. Today, I am in a low stress position working 40-45h a week and earning over $500k a yr.
50% of my time is spent driving business through teams and thinking strategically, and 50% is spent on developing my direct reports and their teams for them to be better at and more empowered in what they do.
I am sure that colleagues in my position in the same company are probably more stressed about their role than I am, and spend less time developing and chatting w their teams...
Making myself ďredundantĒ from the doing and being a great leader, coach and mentor, while developing myself, will hopefully help me progress and take more responsibilities so that I can continue to empower, energize more people to be better at driving our business together etc etc...

If I get fired or if my company goes bust (despite being a fortune100 company), well... why do you think I am working forwards FIRE

A job is a job at the end of the day, you lose it and you still live :-)

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2019, 04:31:55 PM »
I make over $500k. I've worked for companies that have five tiered rating systems. At no time has my performance ever fallen below the second from the top tier (minus right after promotions, where you're expected to sort of "reset"). I work hard, & I don't think I'm irreplaceable. But, some roles are a lot harder to fill than others. It took two years to fill a people manager role on my team. I'm in a niche part of an industry, combined with a lot of experience built up over years. I also have the big people management side down (teams of 20+, managing managers), which combined with the niche industry skills, are hard to find. For an exact candidate match (e.g. someone who does something very similar to what I do), there are maybe 20 people. The company I work for works hard to retain those people they've recruited.

I'll also add that the company I work for has an incredibly rigorous hiring process. To the point that, generally, once you've been hired, you're tremendously skilled. They aren't exactly looking to get rid of you. Anything could change in our industry, financial changes, etc that could require a downsizing, but it's not top of mind currently.


Sultan58

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2019, 08:55:54 PM »

And the business moves on without them, and likely replaces them with someone else... meaning they were expendable...


Not at all easy to do for some businesses.  I can tell you this first hand.  Sometimes it even causes the business to fail.  And in the cases where they are able to move on, it might be in a less  efficient manner.  To clarify, by "expendable" I mean a business won't willfully let a valuable employee go as it's basically throwing money away.  Sure, if a real valuable employee leaves, usually the business can recover with a lot of expense and time, but its not something the business wants to have to do.  This is why if you're an employee that brings real value to a company, you have quite a bit of safety.  If you're a person that directly drives revenues or reduces costs due to a specific skill set, you have high value.

I think we get your point, but the fact is, they often still walk every day for better offers, and what could be done to keep them is not done. If you won't counter offer--you just placed a set value on them. 

obstinate

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2019, 09:37:43 PM »
For me, it is easy. I work, to be honest, not that hard. I work an eight hour day, and almost never work weekends. I continue to get strong performance reviews for reasons I donít entirely understand. Sometimes I think I suck and maybe itís just that everyone else sucks even worse. But I do enjoy what I do and I try to do it well, even though I fail.

But my company is notorious for not being very aggressive about getting rid of people. So maybe itís just that. Maybe Iíd have been let go somewhere else. Or maybe not.

Ftr I make about $600k each year and Iím in the 30-34 band.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 09:42:24 PM by obstinate »

FIRE 20/20

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2019, 08:10:07 AM »
I don't believe anyone is as valuable as they say they are. If you think you're not expendable, you're joking yourself. Everyone is replaceable, and of course that's only becoming increasingly true as time goes on.

That said, replacing someone has a cost and that's why I don't think you're any more likely to lose your job in a position making $200k than you are making $30k other than your own mental fortitude.

Sometimes income is correlated with amount of work but often times not really.

In my medium-sized town my company has about a hundred openings, and has for the last year.  I'd guess there are about 4 other companies that are of similar size plus a lot of smaller companies all fighting for talent.  There simply are not enough people out there with the qualifications to come even close to filling all the jobs, so we're holding on to extremely low performing engineers and paying them a lot of money as well.  In fact, even the borderline incompetent engineers can probably hop to another company and get a significant raise if they wanted to.  While it's true that everyone is expendable, when I FIRE in a few months there won't be anyone to take my place because where I live there are many hundreds or a few thousand open jobs going unfilled.  As for income being correlated or uncorrelated with amount of work, I think it's a lot more about supply and demand.  Does a professional athlete do more work than a <insert common low-paid job>?  Whatever job you put in there, the answer is almost certainly no.  While STEM degrees and engineering knowledge aren't as rare as first round draft picks, there certainly is a lot more work than qualified people to do that work.  I certainly know that I don't do nearly as much work as the average teacher, but I earn a whole lot more because there are just fewer people with my experience. 

jlcnuke

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2019, 08:30:57 AM »
I don't believe anyone is as valuable as they say they are. If you think you're not expendable, you're joking yourself. Everyone is replaceable, and of course that's only becoming increasingly true as time goes on.

That said, replacing someone has a cost and that's why I don't think you're any more likely to lose your job in a position making $200k than you are making $30k other than your own mental fortitude.

Sometimes income is correlated with amount of work but often times not really.

In my medium-sized town my company has about a hundred openings, and has for the last year.  I'd guess there are about 4 other companies that are of similar size plus a lot of smaller companies all fighting for talent.  There simply are not enough people out there with the qualifications to come even close to filling all the jobs, so we're holding on to extremely low performing engineers and paying them a lot of money as well.  In fact, even the borderline incompetent engineers can probably hop to another company and get a significant raise if they wanted to.  While it's true that everyone is expendable, when I FIRE in a few months there won't be anyone to take my place because where I live there are many hundreds or a few thousand open jobs going unfilled.  As for income being correlated or uncorrelated with amount of work, I think it's a lot more about supply and demand.  Does a professional athlete do more work than a <insert common low-paid job>?  Whatever job you put in there, the answer is almost certainly no.  While STEM degrees and engineering knowledge aren't as rare as first round draft picks, there certainly is a lot more work than qualified people to do that work.  I certainly know that I don't do nearly as much work as the average teacher, but I earn a whole lot more because there are just fewer people with my experience.

In general I agree with the principles of supply and demand, but in practice I think the availability of talent, or lack thereof, is very location dependent. We've hired engineers for jobs that pay much less than their degree would normally command (and which realistically doesn't even need the degree) because they want to stay in this area and it doesn't have the abundance of STEM jobs available found in some other areas.

big_slacker

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2019, 08:50:08 AM »
I'm in engineering and over $200k. The short answer is no. I'm not egotistical enough to think I couldn't be replaced but the company I work for and most of the industry realizes that proven performers in specialized fields at a certain level are not that easy to come by. So they try very hard to retain them once they have them.

On the flip side, I wouldn't feel comfortable taking my foot off the gas when it comes to impactful work, constant learning of new skills and work discipline. I don't think I'd get fired if I did, but I wouldn't get as nice a bonus, might get relegated to the 'do not promote' bucket and so on. I see a bit of that in some people around me.

Quick edit on some of the other Qs.

Not sales related so no quotas. I do have deadlines but I generally help scope the projects I do. Sometimes timelines change but all in all it's not unreasonable. Hours wise I don't track and focus on meeting daily goals. Less than 50 for sure, fairly often less than 40.

As others have said I'm not worried about younger folks 'taking my job', I mentor them so they can. I'll either move up or move on when the time is more or less right.

Outsourcing has been tried in our company and it's swinging back the other way due to quality issues and a focus on small teams owning their work soup to nuts.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 05:53:21 AM by big_slacker »

SKL-HOU

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2019, 09:53:40 AM »
I am a mechanical engineer. I make slightly over your threshold (hopefully will increase towards the summer with a job change). It is not competitive to keep my job. I am not working much harder than when I first started at 40k almost 20 years ago. Not in sales, no quotas of any kind. Just delivering projects and as a senior engineer and a project manager the biggest issue is getting other people to do their part. No threats from younger engineers yet. I am currently at the height of my career, plenty of opportunities and interest out there in my field (I am in Houston but not in Oil&Gas so it helps a lot). It is not a specialized field, just not as in demand by engineers as O&G probably because it pays less. And with that comes more stability in general.

dogboyslim

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2019, 11:35:24 AM »
It is not hard to keep my job.  I'm a middle manager with ~30 people in my team in the financial services industry.  I work with the really technical folks.  My value is that I speak IT, Data Scientist and business.  I'm also very good at laying out projects.  Why I got and keep my job is that in addition to the required skill I am tireless when it comes to connecting staff and their work to company objectives (keeps folks happy or at least happier with their work) and identifying development opportunities for them so they can handle a wider variety of roles.  Part of my value is that I'm not afraid to call BS on the office politics even from leaders higher on the hierarchy than myself, and I let little political digs roll off my back and just keep finding ways to complete objectives.  A working rapport with the regulators helps to smooth the timelines for our product deliveries also.

I don't think I'll likely ever go higher in the org, mostly because I don't want to.  My take home is similar to BlueHouse , not counting LT incentives, DC Pension or 401k matches.  I'd be very happy if I had someone on my staff to replace me.  Right now I have 3 with the talent, but not yet the experience.  I'm working on it and should have them ready to go within 5 years.  At that point I may move on or I may stay put and help them move up in other areas.  The education and licencing requirements for my position are undergrad degree in a specific set of technical fields, a couple of industry specific licences which require regular CE.  I work 40-50 hours a week and get 4 wks paid vacation. 

The biggest downside for me is the random nature of when things will become urgent (due to company president's whims) and the need to always be connected, even when on vacation.  By far the most difficult part of my job is dealing with people issues.  Keeping the screaming finger-pointing executive away from my staff, explaining to someone with multiple policy violations from the prior year that their self accountability is not above target, and firing people that I genuinely like, but who cannot or will not complete the job to the expectations of their position.

mm1970

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2019, 12:19:08 PM »
It is interesting but in working with people, Iíve come to learn thst very successful people donít try to hold onto their job, they set themselves up to be replaced so they are free to take on bigger and better roles. If you make yourself irreplaceable, you canít be moved up. Donít let insecurity and fear guide you. Do great work, train successors and keep aiming higher.

Pretty much this.

I'm not quite at your threshold.  I guess I'm not worried because I'm massively underpaid for what I do.  But also, I'm an engineer. 

While my job isn't hugely technical anymore, my engineering and industry knowledge makes me far more successful at this job than the last guy who had it.

OurTown

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2019, 01:47:42 PM »
As my first boss used to say, "No one is indispensable.  Especially you."

WSUCoug1994

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2019, 02:53:45 PM »
I find this thread very interesting.  I am in professional services (100% commission) and I have been in the industry for 25 years and at my current company for 20.  The whole point of running a services firm is to hire young talent and train them to replace the more senior partners as they retire (in a perfect world).  So our whole model is to develop the next generation of leaders.  I am in the top 10% of performers in my firm globally and I have been for at least the last 10 years and I happen to have a specialty that most people don't want any part of but is in very high demand.  I am also in a leadership role.

What is funny about professional services is that if you look across most pure-play professional services companies and you look deeply into the personalities of the top performers they are highly insecure about their job and often have a fairly large but fragile ego.  Less so about losing their job but really being obsessed (to the point of being insecure) about servicing their clients.  In our business you are only as valuable as your last project.  So it is important to do the best work for the best clients which will get you more work at other best clients (if that makes sense).  It does have a recency effect because we get awarded work by doing recent and relevant work at other companies that our clients respect. 

So I am busy developing my successors, I am not insecure about losing my job (although that could happen) but I am obsessed and highly insecure about any of the 10-12 projects I have going on going bad.  In this particular industry (or maybe just our small fraction of the industry) it pays to be insecure and I am sure that could easily translate to some kind of job insecurity although not a real concern for those highly paid and senior partners.

This job on average comes with 70-80+ hours a week, a heavy travel schedule, 24/7 availability expectations, an incredible high level of stress/satisfaction, intellectually difficult problems to solve and often ends with severe burnout.  But there is simply no ceiling on compensation - if you want to make $500K or $1M or $5M it is really up to you and how much time and energy you want to invest and the sacrifices you are willing to make.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 03:06:02 PM by WSUCoug1994 »

Neo

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2019, 07:24:42 PM »
First I am stunned by some of the salary/earnings figures in here. Some of you guys and gals are really making a boatload. Second I have found that literally nobody is irreplaceable. Most people who think they are would be surprised at how little their company's operations would suffer if they left or got laid off.

I work at a large bank and my company does routine RIFs (reductions in force) as part of its operating model. I dont stress about it because I have other income streams which I created due to the existence of these RIFs. My boss and 7 other people in my division just got let go recently with no warning. None were poor performers. It can happen to anyone and to think otherwise is naive.

FIRE 20/20

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2019, 08:13:47 PM »
   I'm intrigued about high income earners, say people making over 125 k a year.  For those not in specialty positions which took lots of schooling to get there, is it competitive to keep your job? Do you face tough performance/sales quotas?  Is there a threat from a younger worker taking your job at less pay, or your job being outsourced? Do you find yourself working much harder than you did when you had a much lower paying job?   

I realized I replied but didn't answer the questions. 
For those not in specialty positions which took lots of schooling to get there, is it competitive to keep your job? No - not at all.  As long as I don't commit fraud or something similar I can stay as long as I want.  In the 19+ years I've been with the company they've never laid off any engineers.  There are a decent number - 5%? 10%? who are incompetent or nearly so.  But the company gets paid if they're working - even if it's just "work" that causes re-work - so they all stay.  I've tried to get rid of a few but everything is set up to keep them employed.
Do you face tough performance/sales quotas?   Nope.  I have worked only 2 full pay periods (80 hours in 2 weeks) since last June.
Is there a threat from a younger worker taking your job at less pay, or your job being outsourced? None.  The work I do cannot be outsourced.  By the time a younger person got to my level they'd make the same amount I do, so that isn't likely either.
Do you find yourself working much harder than you did when you had a much lower paying job?   No - I work a lot less now.  This is due to two factors. First, I had to work hard earlier in my career to get to where I am but don't want to move up any more so I stopped working hard.  Second, I now understand the game.  I can put in a tiny amount of effort in the areas that are important to leadership to make sure I'm seen as a top performer, and I am vastly more efficient than I was when I was starting out.  While I cannot say, "Iíd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work" - I can say I do not need to exert any significant effort to get all of my tasks completed to top tier standards in under 40 hours per week. 

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2019, 08:21:21 PM »
First I am stunned by some of the salary/earnings figures in here. Some of you guys and gals are really making a boatload. Second I have found that literally nobody is irreplaceable. Most people who think they are would be surprised at how little their company's operations would suffer if they left or got laid off.

I work at a large bank and my company does routine RIFs (reductions in force) as part of its operating model. I dont stress about it because I have other income streams which I created due to the existence of these RIFs. My boss and 7 other people in my division just got let go recently with no warning. None were poor performers. It can happen to anyone and to think otherwise is naive.

Not sure who you are addressing with this comment, but I agree that anyone can be replaced. The question is how expensive will it be for the company to replace you, how long will it take to find a replacement, and how much will the company have to pay to train & hire your replacement. That's assuming the company would like someone to continue doing the exact job you do now. There are other ways to solve staffing gaps - you can consolidate teams, shuffle work around, etc. I've RIFd & fired plenty of people before. On the performance side, I think the question from the original poster was trying to understand how people retain the job they have. Performance is certainly a factor to that. Of course, if your company is laying off an entire division, your personal performance is unlikely to matter.

Archipelago

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2019, 08:41:28 PM »
I'm also stunned by the earnings people are reporting here. I'm 24 with 2 years of experience. I make $52k at pretty much entry level. I also make another $45k in side hustles. Altogether I make $95,000-$100,000 annually working 50-60 hours a week. It's fascinating how people make 4 or 5 times that working 40 hours a week, under fairly low stress.

Interesting thread, following.

big_slacker

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2019, 06:06:41 AM »
I donít think anyone here thinks they are irreplaceable. I do think several posters here are very very wrong by seemingly insinuating that a person can be replaced easily (or not easily) by someone else of the same skill set and income. Can some people? Sure, but certainly not all.

I work in a very niche and skilled position. Yes - thereís tons of people that ďdoĒ what I do, but many will not be on the same level. I came onto a billion dollar project last winter that was 85% complete and the person I replaced (who had 20 years more experience) completely messed up huge costly parts of the job and I came in and turned it around. I received countless compliments, references, and outside job offers due to my work on that project. Not many people understood the systems and were able to take the steps I took to fix things.

Sure, everyone is ďreplaceableĒ but someone would be way off to think that there arenít valued employees that excel so much that companies will do a LOT to keep those employees.

Granted, if youíve never been one of these employees itís be hard to really understand.

I alluded to this in my post. Replace the position yes. Replace the effectiveness, not so much. There are about 2300 or so folks with the cred I have working in the US (not that you can't do the job without the cred, but lets say so for the sake of argument) and maybe 10-15% of those are real rockstars. These are the folks that will do things like the example above, making serious business impact. Captain save the day.

So you've got under 400 people nationwide that will do an awesome job at this particular niche and you've got one on your team. You know recruiters are contacting them constantly, friends/former coworkers are calling wanted them to come work again, etc. You damn sure are going to be paying retention bonuses, raises, promotions, unofficial vacations and on and on. Things can change of course, but these people are not short of opportunity, they'll just leave and be fine somewhere else.

lukebuz

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2019, 06:44:23 AM »
I'm also stunned by the earnings people are reporting here. I'm 24 with 2 years of experience. I make $52k at pretty much entry level. I also make another $45k in side hustles. Altogether I make $95,000-$100,000 annually working 50-60 hours a week. It's fascinating how people make 4 or 5 times that working 40 hours a week, under fairly low stress.

Interesting thread, following.

Remember, this is the Internet.  Unverifiable identities and people living in fantasy-land.  The "trix" guy above is virtually certain to be a troll.   

Are there 30 year olds making $300,000?  Sure, but they created something (think Zuck).  They don't work for someone.  Also, what $300,00 professional says stuff like this?

"I was venting to my boss one evening about some issues and then we both laughed when I said ďhow do I really bitch that much when you just throw more money at me.Ē Lol."
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 06:48:29 AM by lukebuz »

brute

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2019, 07:08:13 AM »
Eh, one of those "you're expendable" people here. Here's the deal. I got fired (not the good kind) from a job in 2012. 30 minutes later, the company called and asked me to do "one last thing". I refused. They then began paying me 3x my old rate. Eventually I got tired of them, they spent over $12M trying to replace a small portion of what I did, failed, and were bought by another company. The old power structure is gone, the CEO and VPs jobless. So, I mean, I guess I'm replaceable. But not in a way where the business survives.

My last company, I heard the same thing. I left, and the project failed. There's someone in my old position, but they're on the way out. No project, no money, no job.

Oh yeah. The one before that, they've hired 26 people to replace me (thats 26 people to fill what I did alone). They can't match what I did. So there's that too.

"Everyone's replaceable" is what grumpy people with mediocre skills tend to say. It's true mostly, but the best of the best can leave a crushing vacuum when they move on.

SwordGuy

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2019, 07:51:10 AM »
It is interesting but in working with people, Iíve come to learn thst very successful people donít try to hold onto their job, they set themselves up to be replaced so they are free to take on bigger and better roles. If you make yourself irreplaceable, you canít be moved up. Donít let insecurity and fear guide you. Do great work, train successors and keep aiming higher.

That's great advice.

And remember, every person you mentor into a better job is an ambassador for you at whatever companies they later move to.   



HBFIRE

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2019, 10:28:48 AM »


Are there 30 year olds making $300,000?  Sure, but they created something (think Zuck).  They don't work for someone. 



This is very untrue.  There are many 30 yr olds (and younger) making this income (and much higher) in CA working for companies.  Certain skills are extremely valuable in today's market.  I have several friends in software earning double+ this amount.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 10:30:46 AM by dustinst22 »

itchyfeet

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2019, 11:08:37 AM »
The incomes stated here are pretty incredible.

I am on a high salary, but some numbers of this thread. wowsers!

I could be fired at any moment I suppose, but feel pretty confident that wonít happen any time soon. I donít feel the threat of competition.

I donít work any harder now than I did when I was young, I am generally in the office from 9am until 7pm 5 days a week, and take every one of the 6 weeks of holidays that I negotiated to receive each year.

Advice I received from my first boss was ďmake it so the company doesnít need your job and Iíll promote youĒ. I delivered on the challenge by automating most aspects of my job, and my boss stuck to his word and increased my salary by 50%.

Roboturner

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2019, 11:16:22 AM »
No. It sure seems like it's nearly impossible to get fired in most jobs, especially something like engineering, unless you are actively terrible. With boom or bust cycle industries like O&G, there are frequent layoff troughs, but as long as you're in the top 50% or so of performers, you should be able to land on your feet.

londonbanker

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Re: high income earners, is it hard to keep your job?
« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2019, 05:02:17 PM »
Eh, one of those "you're expendable" people here. Here's the deal. I got fired (not the good kind) from a job in 2012. 30 minutes later, the company called and asked me to do "one last thing". I refused. They then began paying me 3x my old rate. Eventually I got tired of them, they spent over $12M trying to replace a small portion of what I did, failed, and were bought by another company. The old power structure is gone, the CEO and VPs jobless. So, I mean, I guess I'm replaceable. But not in a way where the business survives.

My last company, I heard the same thing. I left, and the project failed. There's someone in my old position, but they're on the way out. No project, no money, no job.

Oh yeah. The one before that, they've hired 26 people to replace me (thats 26 people to fill what I did alone). They can't match what I did. So there's that too.

"Everyone's replaceable" is what grumpy people with mediocre skills tend to say. It's true mostly, but the best of the best can leave a crushing vacuum when they move on.

If I make over $500k being completely replaceable, and you claim you are irreplaceable - or ďbusiness crushing replaceableĒ, I sure hope you are getting paid a lot more than I do... If not you probably should seriously reconsider the arrogant style of your post...