Author Topic: How do people make $100+ salary?  (Read 59277 times)

Tabaxus

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 453
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #200 on: January 19, 2018, 10:34:54 AM »
you need to go to a top school or graduate at the top of your class in a non-top school.  Also, it's soul sucking.  So you really need to love the law to do it.

It's not just law.  In my experience, our very top graduates in every field get pulled into soul sucking jobs that eventually teach them to hate the very thing they loved enough to become a top graduate.  Competition is fierce at the top.

That's the nature of our modern capitalist labor market, though.  If you're going to work for somebody else, they will incentive you work as hard as possible.  Because of overhead and insurance costs, it's more cost effective to pay one person to do the work of three than it is to pay three people to each work a casual 40.

FWIW, in my experience, a pretty small percentage of people go to law school because they love the law.  For one thing, no one can actually know they like the law/want to be a lawyer until they've had some experience with it, because only about 5% of legal jobs have any translation at all into what most people think "being a lawyer" is.  So, people that go to law school are often going strictly for the paycheck/"what else am I going to do with my [insert worthless undergrad degree]" solution.  For those of us who are incredibly lucky enough to come out of that with a job that lets us pay off our 160k+ loans (I guess more people over $200k today), we deserve all the pain we've inflicted on ourselves.  I actually feel quite lucky that the legal field actually grew on me AFTER I got the job:  my happiness in the job has increased over the starting line instead of decreased (though 50% of every day is still utterly miserable).

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1775
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #201 on: January 19, 2018, 10:40:12 AM »
you need to go to a top school or graduate at the top of your class in a non-top school.  Also, it's soul sucking.  So you really need to love the law to do it.

It's not just law.  In my experience, our very top graduates in every field get pulled into soul sucking jobs that eventually teach them to hate the very thing they loved enough to become a top graduate.  Competition is fierce at the top.

That's the nature of our modern capitalist labor market, though.  If you're going to work for somebody else, they will incentive you work as hard as possible.  Because of overhead and insurance costs, it's more cost effective to pay one person to do the work of three than it is to pay three people to each work a casual 40.

Sol, I know you have discussed your frustration at work a bit on this forum, but I'm wondering...do you no longer have the opportunity to do field work?  I believe you and my husband are in the same agency, and he also gets extremely frustrated at times with federal red tape, time-sucking 'training' requirements, constant grant-writing and fundraising, and political bs. But he does still really enjoy aspects of his job, which make him unlikely to quit as long as he can keep doing them. Chief among the enjoyable parts is getting out to do field work on his own projects, on big collaborative projects,  and with graduate students. Some years and some projects are more enjoyable than others, of course.  Is that not possible in your particular position?   And if it were, would you be more inclined to keep working?

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7220
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #202 on: January 19, 2018, 11:23:29 AM »
Sol, I know you have discussed your frustration at work a bit on this forum, but I'm wondering...do you no longer have the opportunity to do field work?  I believe you and my husband are in the same agency, and he also gets extremely frustrated at times with federal red tape, time-sucking 'training' requirements, constant grant-writing and fundraising, and political bs. But he does still really enjoy aspects of his job, which make him unlikely to quit as long as he can keep doing them. Chief among the enjoyable parts is getting out to do field work on his own projects, on big collaborative projects,  and with graduate students. Some years and some projects are more enjoyable than others, of course.  Is that not possible in your particular position?   And if it were, would you be more inclined to keep working?

No, I don't get to do field work.  We're far too cost conscious for that; why pay a PhD's hourly wage to dig a hole or drive a boat when there are gs-4 summer interns available?  I only get paid to use my big brain, not my strong back.

I get penalized for sitting on thesis committees, so I've stopped doing it.  I get penalized for organizing conferences, serving on the boards of professional organizations, or running the CFC.  I've even been penalized for stepping up to take on a new program when management specifically asked me to, because I was later told it had been outside my area of expertise and so wasn't relevant experience.

I am an interchangeable cog in a vast federal machine.  My job duties and performance rubrik are exact (though largely irrelevant) and anything outside of those narrow categories is discouraged.  There is no room for growth, no path to promotion, no rewards for branching out.  I sit in a cubicle with a big crank that needs turning, so I come in every day and try to summon the will to turn it.  Find money, do work, publish results.  Now turn it again, same as last time.  Keep your head down, don't look up.

And now that I've successfully turned this thread into sol's personal bitchfest journal, maybe you understand both my desire to get out and my responses to all of the hard working overachievers in this thread.   My office isn't high enough up that I could parachute out the window like BG, but my exit plan is still in motion. Buckling down to fight for a promotion is not in my future, here.  At best, I could learn to embrace my fate as an interchangeable cog.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5830
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #203 on: January 19, 2018, 11:27:42 AM »
All of these stories are very motivating.  Unfortunately they are motivating me to retire sooner, instead of work harder.

Lick that boot!  Get down in the trenches and get dirty!  Smile and volunteer for crap jobs!  Put in long hours with no expectation of reward!  Surely someone will eventually toss you some table scraps, right?

No thanks.  Do you want to cater to the king's whims to avoid having to eat rice and beans, or do you want to eat rice and beans to avoid having to cater the king's whims?  At some point, my dignity is worth more than your paycheck.
I relate to this as I just got a "promotion" without a pay raise, for a position where I am already underpaid by over 30%.  A few folks (VPs, directors) "This is such a great opportunity!  Much more visibility!  Working for the President!"

Sure.  Yeah.  More work.  Still have to do old job too until new guy up to speed.  Even then they took 4 positions and now have 3 people.  I'm supposed to bust my ass even more for no raise?  Last raise was 6 years ago.

My spouse and I used to be pretty close to each other in pay.  He's 2 years older with an extra degree.  He now makes almost $60k more than I do.  Eff this.

Yep. That's when you take the resume you've built at your current job and go elsewhere for a ridiculous raise.

I was significantly underpaid at my last company and quit. It's better now. :)

Exactly this!

In my career, I take on the responsibility (and ideally the job title) even without the raise, do it for a reasonable amount of time (3 months to a year) and then go somewhere else to start at that new level of responsibility and pay. It is so much easier to get serious bumps when you change jobs early in your career.

My specific path went like:

22: Coordinator @ $30K
23-25: Associate @ $42K
26-28: Specialist @ $54K to (promotion) Manager at $70K to (relocation) Director at $99K
29+: $100K+ as heads of departments at various companies.

Now that I'm at a position where I'm comfortable with my salary, I've made choices that aren't as directly tied to salary (ie picking a lower base and more equity, or choosing to stick in a more interesting industry rather than chasing a $20K bump.)
It might be time to shop around again.  Last time I did the job market wasn't awesome - I interviewed a couple of places.  The job I wanted they didn't get (they never filled the position, then decided they wanted a VP, didn't fill that either, closed the position entirely, then re-opened it again in the Bay Area.  Then got bought.  A friend of mine still there ... not very happy?  But says "it's a paycheck!")

The other place was very eager to hire me...with a pay cut, a loss in vacation of 15 days a year, and poor benefits.  "But we have such a hard time hiring people ... um ... like you!"  (Meaning with 15-20 years experience and middle aged.  News flash, people ...ahem...my age with children aren't going to take a pay cut AND lose 3 weeks of vacation a year.)  Funny they got bought and the new company has completely taken over the old culture so...it's an option.

I should really get off my butt and work on it.  It's a small town, with not many companies in my area of expertise.  I just got moved into a Project Manager position, so the question is do I absorb all the experience that I can first?  At least I know people everywhere.  And they mostly like me and my work ethic and capabilities.  I get calls all the time to move to TX, Carlsbad, or Los Angeles to work.  Which...not gonna happen. 

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5830
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #204 on: January 19, 2018, 11:30:46 AM »
You could join the military.  With BAH most of my friends (15ish years in, officers) are clearing $100K now. Even more when they get deployed especially the pilots.

My husband left the air force, and we'd have a lot more money if he hadn't. Oh well, money isn't everything.
Had I stayed in the Navy, or even transitioned to civilian at my organization, I'd be making $30-50k more a year than I am now.

Then again, if I were paid the median for my job at my level of experience, the same would be true.

Within 2 years of getting out of the Navy (E-6 then) I was over $100k without a degree. I could be making much more if I was willing to move again to change companies (little upward mobility available here) but I'm not willing to do that right now.
I'm on a FB page for former nukes who are job hunting.  It's very encouraging as far as salaries go.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1775
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #205 on: January 19, 2018, 12:04:25 PM »
Sol, I know you have discussed your frustration at work a bit on this forum, but I'm wondering...do you no longer have the opportunity to do field work?  I believe you and my husband are in the same agency, and he also gets extremely frustrated at times with federal red tape, time-sucking 'training' requirements, constant grant-writing and fundraising, and political bs. But he does still really enjoy aspects of his job, which make him unlikely to quit as long as he can keep doing them. Chief among the enjoyable parts is getting out to do field work on his own projects, on big collaborative projects,  and with graduate students. Some years and some projects are more enjoyable than others, of course.  Is that not possible in your particular position?   And if it were, would you be more inclined to keep working?

No, I don't get to do field work.  We're far too cost conscious for that; why pay a PhD's hourly wage to dig a hole or drive a boat when there are gs-4 summer interns available?  I only get paid to use my big brain, not my strong back.

I get penalized for sitting on thesis committees, so I've stopped doing it.  I get penalized for organizing conferences, serving on the boards of professional organizations, or running the CFC.  I've even been penalized for stepping up to take on a new program when management specifically asked me to, because I was later told it had been outside my area of expertise and so wasn't relevant experience.

I am an interchangeable cog in a vast federal machine.  My job duties and performance rubrik are exact (though largely irrelevant) and anything outside of those narrow categories is discouraged.  There is no room for growth, no path to promotion, no rewards for branching out.  I sit in a cubicle with a big crank that needs turning, so I come in every day and try to summon the will to turn it.  Find money, do work, publish results.  Now turn it again, same as last time.  Keep your head down, don't look up.



Ugh.  I hear you on the bolded stuff.  The federal promo system for scientists is just batshit-crazy.  In DH's position, he's REQUIRED to have grad students and to teach some classes and to serve in other professional and academic capacities such as on boards, as journal AE and/or reviewers, etc.  Or else he can be demoted or fired.  But those requirements count for NOTHING other than checking a  "meets basic obligations'' box when it comes to his performance raises.  To get raises, it's more or less just publications that count, even though fully 50% of his job duties are tangential or unrelated to that.  Sometimes we're amazed he's been promoted at all.  But your situation sounds much worse.  And we've heard similar stories from feds at research stations, etc.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 12:06:25 PM by wenchsenior »

brooklynguy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2201
  • Age: 38
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #206 on: January 19, 2018, 12:32:10 PM »
It's not just law.  In my experience, our very top graduates in every field get pulled into soul sucking jobs that eventually teach them to hate the very thing they loved enough to become a top graduate.  Competition is fierce at the top.

That's the nature of our modern capitalist labor market, though.  If you're going to work for somebody else, they will incentive you work as hard as possible.  Because of overhead and insurance costs, it's more cost effective to pay one person to do the work of three than it is to pay three people to each work a casual 40.

FWIW, in my experience, a pretty small percentage of people go to law school because they love the law. [...]

I've found this to be true in my experience as well (and I'm a glaring example myself), but I think it's largely a function of the very phenomenon sol described, only the brain drain is occurring at an earlier stage of the process.  Our modern capitalist labor market has created compensation incentives that pull high achievers into the field of law (and, to an even greater extent, the field of finance) and away from other pursuits that may reflect their true passions (and which, not incidentally, probably also have greater utility for society at large, even if not valued that way by the free labor market). 

And now that I've successfully turned this thread into sol's personal bitchfest journal

On the bright side, your loss is our gain, to the extent that your career dissatisfaction drives you to spend more time here.  I know I'm not alone in counting your writing among the best on the internet, and that delightful entry in your bitchfest journal was a gem among gems!

Finallyunderstand

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 135
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #207 on: January 19, 2018, 12:50:08 PM »
I’m in sales but it took me about 7 years to break $200k in a year.  The first year I think I made $15k.  You have to start low and work hard

IllusionNW

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #208 on: January 19, 2018, 12:52:46 PM »
you need to go to a top school or graduate at the top of your class in a non-top school.  Also, it's soul sucking.  So you really need to love the law to do it.

It's not just law.  In my experience, our very top graduates in every field get pulled into soul sucking jobs that eventually teach them to hate the very thing they loved enough to become a top graduate.  Competition is fierce at the top.

That's the nature of our modern capitalist labor market, though.  If you're going to work for somebody else, they will incentive you work as hard as possible.  Because of overhead and insurance costs, it's more cost effective to pay one person to do the work of three than it is to pay three people to each work a casual 40.




FWIW, in my experience, a pretty small percentage of people go to law school because they love the law.  For one thing, no one can actually know they like the law/want to be a lawyer until they've had some experience with it, because only about 5% of legal jobs have any translation at all into what most people think "being a lawyer" is.  So, people that go to law school are often going strictly for the paycheck/"what else am I going to do with my [insert worthless undergrad degree]" solution.  For those of us who are incredibly lucky enough to come out of that with a job that lets us pay off our 160k+ loans (I guess more people over $200k today), we deserve all the pain we've inflicted on ourselves.  I actually feel quite lucky that the legal field actually grew on me AFTER I got the job:  my happiness in the job has increased over the starting line instead of decreased (though 50% of every day is still utterly miserable).

Yup, totally agree.  I started at BigLaw (in a secondary market) to help pay some bills.  Discovered that I'm pretty good at it and like it more than I probably would like any other job.  Ten years later and they made me partner, so I've stuck around.  I believe pretty strongly that it's hard to love something you're not good at, and most first years suck at being lawyers.  So I tell junior associates to wait a few years until they are actually relatively good at their jobs to determine how much they hate being a lawyer.  And yes, 50% of my day is still pretty crappy.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8460
  • Age: 60
  • Location: NorCal
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #209 on: January 19, 2018, 12:54:54 PM »
All of these stories are very motivating.  Unfortunately they are motivating me to retire sooner, instead of work harder.

Lick that boot!  Get down in the trenches and get dirty!  Smile and volunteer for crap jobs!  Put in long hours with no expectation of reward!  Surely someone will eventually toss you some table scraps, right?

No thanks.  Do you want to cater to the king's whims to avoid having to eat rice and beans, or do you want to eat rice and beans to avoid having to cater the king's whims?  At some point, my dignity is worth more than your paycheck.
I relate to this as I just got a "promotion" without a pay raise, for a position where I am already underpaid by over 30%.  A few folks (VPs, directors) "This is such a great opportunity!  Much more visibility!  Working for the President!"

Sure.  Yeah.  More work.  Still have to do old job too until new guy up to speed.  Even then they took 4 positions and now have 3 people.  I'm supposed to bust my ass even more for no raise?  Last raise was 6 years ago.

My spouse and I used to be pretty close to each other in pay.  He's 2 years older with an extra degree.  He now makes almost $60k more than I do.  Eff this.
Sounds like good reasons to walk, IMO. Do you have FU money?

Mississippi Mudstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1792
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Danielsville, GA
    • A Riving Home - Ramblings of a Recusant Woodworker
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #210 on: January 19, 2018, 01:33:33 PM »
It's not just law.  In my experience, our very top graduates in every field get pulled into soul sucking jobs that eventually teach them to hate the very thing they loved enough to become a top graduate.  Competition is fierce at the top.

That's the nature of our modern capitalist labor market, though.  If you're going to work for somebody else, they will incentive you work as hard as possible.  Because of overhead and insurance costs, it's more cost effective to pay one person to do the work of three than it is to pay three people to each work a casual 40.

I was at the top of the class in school. Ironically, I've noticed that the higher up the food chain I move in my industry, the less pressure I face. Part of that is my career path. I've moved into analytics, as opposed to sales/procurement/management, which is almost always a pressure cooker. However, I think my industry (forestry) is simply more relaxed than many others. I've never been expected to work more than 40 hours a week, but I've spent many weeks working less. Still make a damn good living.

TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3006
  • Location: Texas
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #211 on: January 19, 2018, 04:41:15 PM »
Well, crap.

This thread has put me over the edge* and had me actually poking around for open positions near me, and I found an Associate Director position that looks interesting, actually fits my experience pretty well (if a bit of a stretch) breaks the $100k mark and would roughly double my salary (currently well under $100k) - and because it's another State position, I could keep the same approximate pension date. It's going to be a longer commute, but not a horrible one.

I haven't put together a resume since 2004.


*I've been pretty annoyed at my work lately.

Dr. Pepper

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #212 on: January 19, 2018, 08:09:25 PM »
My path:

14-17- worked at a grocery store 5.15-6/hr= 6k a year or so
18-19- Army Reserves, about 18k/year
19-23- College, worked 30hr/week 17/hr as a respiratory tech, also got scholarships, made about 30k/year.
23-27- Med School, on active duty, made about 60k/year as officer O1.
27-33- Residency, on active duty, made about 80k/yr as 03.
33- present= 170k yr as active duty O4. Also have a side hustle that makes an extra 30-50k/yr, basically doing the same thing I do for the Army.

All numbers are pre-tax. Took a long time to work up to 6 figures....

CheapScholar

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 405
  • Location: The Midwest
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #213 on: January 19, 2018, 08:45:38 PM »
I'll agree with some other posts that you need to focus on something that interests you and do very well in that field.  For me, I received a JD but decided I didn't want to practice law.  I decided instead to try a career in higher education, which many of my friends and family could not understand.  I always loved higher ed and wanted to help young people get a chance in life.  I started a university job after the recession making only 35K but luckily the housing market sucked and I bought a foreclosure.  I fixed up the house, got a raise to about 48K and then got noticed by an elite school that offered me about 90K.  I had to sell the first house to move but made money on it.  Within two years at the elite school I was making about 115K and I now get approached by other schools and search firms.  I just started talking to another school last week that is very interested in me and pays about 160K.  The funny thing is, I'll probably turn them down.  I'd rather take a pay cut and go to a smaller school where I can make a bigger impact for people.  I never thought I'd be considered for a job making 160K and now that I am, I realize I don't want it.  I don't care about the money or the prestige.  That's what you can do when you build wealth and have a sense of your purpose in this world. 

Bourbon

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #214 on: January 19, 2018, 09:03:39 PM »
$200K+ lucky man here.

College kick-out
$16K deli work
$22K IT work
$28K Insurance work
$36K Insurance work
Finish up that English Degree
LUCK
$150K Insurance work
Hard work, realignment of priorities
$200k+ Insurance management work


FiveSigmas

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #215 on: January 19, 2018, 09:14:14 PM »
One word: plastics tech. Job-killing robots ain't going to program themselves, you know *.

Seriously, though: I think software development is one of the most well-trodden of the highly paid professions out there right now -- and for the most part it doesn't require post-graduate education or extensive accredidation. You do need to have a passion for it, though.

BTW: I find a certain cosmic balance in the fact that this and the leaving a high paying job thread are two of the most currently active on the forum.

* uh... until they do... and then we're all hosed.

Apple_Tango

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 314
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #216 on: January 19, 2018, 10:10:26 PM »
My old net income of around 8,000-9,000 a month (with half of that as tax free stipends) functionally  put me above $100,000 gross. I hated that job, never actually made it to 6 figures because I kept taking weeks off. Now I’m getting a $50,000 per year job instead (plus some side hustles which should bring in another 10k.)

Path:
Age 18-21 college and part time secretarial work
21-23 grad school and part time tutoring and also cashier/ice cream scooper
23: first real job in healthcare! $32 an hour at a horrible nursing home
23-24: jumped ship to a slightly better nursing home and a raise to $34/hr
24-26: started travel healthcare job (horrible) netting 8-9k per month, about $53 per hour (great)
26: independent contracting now making $75-100 per hour but working less hours. Soon to get another full time job in new industry for less pay.

All my raises happened from quitting old jobs and starting new ones! But I have learned that more money= more problems and stress and that I value a supportive boss and a casual workplace. I relate so much to Sol  for feeling like an interchangeable cog in the widget making machine that is federal policy.

« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 10:20:13 PM by Apple_Tango »

Off the Wheel

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 217
  • Age: 34
  • Location: PNW
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #217 on: January 19, 2018, 11:09:54 PM »
One word: plastics tech. Job-killing robots ain't going to program themselves, you know *.

Seriously, though: I think software development is one of the most well-trodden of the highly paid professions out there right now -- and for the most part it doesn't require post-graduate education or extensive accredidation. You do need to have a passion for it, though.

BTW: I find a certain cosmic balance in the fact that this and the leaving a high paying job thread are two of the most currently active on the forum.

* uh... until they do... and then we're all hosed.

My husband just left a 10-year career in consulting engineering to go back to school for statistics and machine learning, and now is some kind of 'functional programmer' for a big data analytics company. First job in a new carer with no formal software development experience, and making $70K. I have no doubt he'll be making double my $110K within a couple of years when he's programming the robots.

toocold

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #218 on: January 20, 2018, 08:28:16 AM »
Another approach at this -- especially when you are very early in your career --  is look at positions where you can make $1M plus and work backwards.  Even if you don't make $1M, you'll still be better off.  You also need to marry this with what you want to do.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7220
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #219 on: January 20, 2018, 08:52:13 AM »
You also need to marry

This snippet is technically another possible pathway to earning 100k+/yr.  It seems to have worked for Melania, for example.

HenryDavid

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 392
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #220 on: January 20, 2018, 09:03:28 AM »
Academia could work, once upon a time. Wouldn’t suggest it now unless you’re so passionate to do it that you have no choice.
-be top 10% undergrad
-compete for grad school admission and $. Win.
-repeat each year for scholarship funding, for 6 -7 years
-compete for post-doc $, move to wherever to accept.
-compete, eventually, for tenured jobs, move wherever to accept.
-compete to become tenured, then to get annual performance raises.
In 7-10 years after that, profit!
OTOH if it’s the kind of work you need to do in life, ain’t no other life that will support you while doing it, at any level. And if you hang in there you will become well compensated. Like so many stories here: excel, persist, profit. It’s just a matter of different time scales.


PDXTabs

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 655
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #221 on: January 20, 2018, 09:13:47 AM »
My path in a HCOL area:

  • Picked a major that I liked that paid well (Computer Science / Software Engineering).
  • Graduated in 2007 with BS in CS from a state school.
  • Started working with base salary of $60k (had offer before I graduated).
  • Salary cut to $57K during recession.
  • Stayed at company for 9 years to eventually be making $94.5K.
  • Jumped ship for $105K at a company that had substantially higher bonuses.
  • Jumped ship again for $125K to go back to first company (converted bonuses into base salary).
  • Just got a raise to $128.5K

From starting school to having a $100K base salary took me ~15 years.

EDITed to add: If I was going to start again today, and I didn't want to do software, I would strongly consider becoming a nurse anesthetists.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 10:01:29 AM by PDXTabs »

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7220
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #222 on: January 20, 2018, 09:24:14 AM »
Academia could work,

I suspect that the percentage of people who are successful after setting out to make 100k in academia is significantly lower than the percentage of people who are successful after setting out to make 100k in engineering or programming or even nursing.  Academia has an incredibly high failure rate.  There just aren't that many jobs available nationwide, and there are tons of new people competing for them every year.  Not recommended.

Thinking about this thread question from the practical perspective numbers game, what jobs are abundant and easiest to get?  Just because every single nfl player makes more than 100k does not mean anyone would recommend it as a career path, because getting that job is nigh impossible.  Ditto for surgeons. 

And from that perspective, I'm guessing that the most abundant 100k job in the country is something boring like "manager" or "supervisor" and is therefore largely independent of industry choice.  Go to work for a large corporation.  Work hard, be dependable, slowly climb the corporate ladder, graduate from doing the work to supervising the people who do the work, and bam you're there. 

Looking around my upper middle class enclave, I assume basically everyone makes approximately that much money.  Lots of my neighbors are dentists.  Title insurance. Retired police officers, a pilot, a small business owner, a nurse, and lots and lots of people who are managers and supervisors in different industries.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 10:06:32 AM by sol »

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4297
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #223 on: January 20, 2018, 09:41:58 AM »
I am really good at what I do and work in a field (software) where being really good at what I do adds a lot of value to my company.

DeanHedlund

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #224 on: January 20, 2018, 10:04:17 AM »
Academia could work,
I'm guessing that the most abundant 100k job in the country is something boring like "manager" or "supervisor" and is therefore largely independent of industry choice.  Go to work for a large corporation.  Work hard, be dependable, slowly climb the corporate ladder, graduate from doing the work to supervising the people who do the work, and bam you're there. 

Totally agree. And I am one of them. Nevertheless, some industries pay better than the other.

Michael in ABQ

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 457
    • Military Saints
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #225 on: January 20, 2018, 02:32:15 PM »
Sales is obviously one area where income can be well over $100k. If you're selling appliances or used cars you probably won't make $100k but if you're selling pharmaceuticals, business equipment, real estate, etc. there are plenty of top salespeople making hundreds of thousands. I have an uncle who sells mattresses and while I have no idea what his income is, judging by the kind of lifestyle his family has maintained for many years I'd say he's got to be at least around $100k, if not more.

I work in the commercial real estate industry and the top people in my office have made over $500k in their best years. One in particular went from a year making $500k to 18 months with zero income during the recession. He sells large apartment complexes ($20-50 million) and even though the commission may only be 1% or less, and get split up, that could still be $50,000 - $100,000 net to him for a single deal that might have taken a few months. Do a few of those in a year and you're doing pretty well.

MaybeBabyMustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1208
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #226 on: January 20, 2018, 02:46:06 PM »
Academia could work,
I'm guessing that the most abundant 100k job in the country is something boring like "manager" or "supervisor" and is therefore largely independent of industry choice.  Go to work for a large corporation.  Work hard, be dependable, slowly climb the corporate ladder, graduate from doing the work to supervising the people who do the work, and bam you're there. 

Totally agree. And I am one of them. Nevertheless, some industries pay better than the other.

Ditto both points. I'd put tech on the list of industries that pay well

undercover

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 792
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #227 on: January 20, 2018, 03:02:18 PM »
You can certainly stumble into six figure by working your way up as many here have. It sounds like many people weren't necessarily looking for six figures, they were just constantly bettering themselves, working hard, and looking for/being open to opportunities.

The fastest way to get to six figures though would be to "become so good they can't ignore you" as someone else already mentioned. Develop skills that have the potential to pay six figures and that's much quicker than trying to game the system by working your way up from a low paying entry level job. So basically, this thread could have ended at the first reply. Work on attracting people versus chasing people. If you work on yourself, opportunities will come naturally.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7220
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #228 on: January 20, 2018, 05:23:52 PM »
The fastest way to get to six figures though would be to "become so good they can't ignore you" as someone else already mentioned.

Fastest?  I don't think so.  Most reliable, maybe, but also the least likely to make you $500k/year or more. 

I think owning a small business is probably faster.  It also has a high risk of making much less, and some chance to make much more.


FenderBender

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #229 on: January 20, 2018, 06:01:01 PM »
Try having lunch with those above you and your peers, but always try to have regular outings with those above you, don't leave them out.  This can help you move up and/or get better raises.


HawkeyeNFO

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 289
  • Location: Moose Scrotum, Alberta
  • Retired at 44
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #230 on: January 20, 2018, 06:25:36 PM »
The fastest way to get to six figures though would be to "become so good they can't ignore you" as someone else already mentioned.

Fastest?  I don't think so.  Most reliable, maybe, but also the least likely to make you $500k/year or more. 

I think owning a small business is probably faster.  It also has a high risk of making much less, and some chance to make much more.
Agreed.  To make the maximum money, you need to work for yourself.  You'll never make the maximum if you are working for a boss (or several bosses).  Those who take risks can reap the rewards.  Or get crushed.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 06:28:35 PM by HawkeyeNFO »

SnackDog

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1123
  • Location: Latin America
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #231 on: January 20, 2018, 11:29:54 PM »
Not sure how this evolved from earning $100k to earning the maximum possible. Two very different goals. Plenty of jobs earn $100k entry level or after a couple years. You can google for them. They range from unskilled to post grad educational levels. If you want max riches you need to be in sales or owning part of a scalable business.

Remember “those who specify” do not typically get rich. “Those who sell” can earn income limited only by their skill, drive, and determination.

LorettaLynn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
  • Location: East of the Punjab
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #232 on: January 21, 2018, 05:48:36 AM »
it blows my mind. I see on here with sometimes close to 200k. How? What do you do and what am I not doing? lol.

I am in this well paid category and my secret to success has been to A. Be good at my job.  B.  Be reliable at my job.  C.  Stick with it for the seniority.  D.  Move to where the good jobs exist. 

MrUpwardlyMobile

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 396
    • The Upwardly Mobile Life
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #233 on: January 21, 2018, 07:43:36 AM »
Random garbage men make 100k.... that’s not really a high income threshold anymore.  If I planned on living in my hometown my entire life, I would have gotten a job as a garbage man and made 100k (you actually get more for being the guy driving the truck) and then make extra whenever the town needs all hands on deck to plow for a major snow storm.

Real high income thresholds are $250k+ per spouse. You’re killing it if you make 500k+ per spouse.


EngineeringFI

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 95
  • Age: 32
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #234 on: January 21, 2018, 08:40:59 AM »
Salaries tend to obey the laws of supply and demand, so if there is high demand for a skill that few people can supply, then companies are willing to pay a lot of money for it. Conversely, if a ton of people can do the job, then it's not going to be highly paid.

To that end, my own electrical engineering career which pays $250k+ was the result of a few things:

1. I realized in college that most electrical engineering students were being lied to when they were told "analog is dead". Humans are analog, we interact with the world through analog means (sound, light, pressure, temperature, etc.). So for every 100% digital component in a system (embedded processor, micro, or other) there is a whole host of analog components which must convert the analog world into a string of 0's and 1's for that digital component to work on. I really liked analog circuit design and worked very hard in school to learn as much as I could in this area.

2. Towards the end of my master's degree, when I was starting the job hunt, it became immediately obvious that my theory was correct. Semiconductor companies were desperate to find candidates that could design and build high-performance mixed-signal systems, but were finding hoards of EEs that only wanted to code. I had my choice of jobs from several companies. I should note that among the specific industries needing EEs, semiconductor development tends to be higher pressure, but the pay is higher as a result. Starting pay: $75k

3. I chose a job with a great ratio of salary to cost of living. In my experience there was no need to live in California to make a great salary. I started in Dallas and then jumped on a great opportunity in Tucson. At this job, I worked hard to learn as much as I could, volunteered for opportunities, and did extra things that weren't required, like writing articles for external publications, filming instructional videos, sponsoring and mentoring university senior design projects. Pay grows over 5 years from $75k to about $150k (including stock compensation, profit sharing, bonuses).

4. Up to this point in my career I had become very good at practicing "empathy" for customers. That is, I would put myself in their shoes and imagine what challenges they were facing and wonder if my company had the right products to solve their problem? Furthermore, would our website recommend the right product to solve that problem? For this reason, my company gave me the opportunity to move into new product development. Previously I had only been supporting products that were developed by others. This is a higher risk position, because it involves convincing the company to invest a lot of time and money into turning your ideas into products. If those products fail the company loses money, competition gains ground, people lose jobs. For the higher level of risk, my pay grew to about $200k including base salary and all incentives.

5. My products do exceedingly well in the market. Who would have thought that listening to your customers, doing your best to understand their challenges and concerns, and then thinking long and hard about how you can solve their problem with a product that's both profitable for you but still within their budget, would be successful? These products also are developed on-time and on or under budget, because if you aren't a dick to your coworkers and appreciate their hard work, they'll really shine for you. For these reasons I was promoted to manage all new product development for my team and pay grew accordingly to the current $250k+ level.

5+ I admit my product developments tend to be riskier. I'm willing to push the boundaries of what's "possible" and do something that's never been tried before because I don't care if I get fired. I've got enough money saved up to survive for a while. This is where FIRE can really support your existing career. Technology advancement requires people willing to take risk, but engineers like me take intelligent risks and always have a backup plan.

TLDR: Identify an under-served need in the job market, become good at it. Chose a job that let's you flex your muscles in your role, go above and beyond to bring value to your team and your company, and do your best to understand your customers and what they care about. Volunteer for new opportunities and be willing to take some risks to go to the next level. Don't step on people on your climb up, respect everyone around you as a valuable connection you may need help from some day.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 08:46:34 AM by EngineeringFI »

dodojojo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 508
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #235 on: January 21, 2018, 10:48:11 AM »
Short story for me was to leave nonprofit sector and join huge corporate company. Not what I had envisioned a couple of decades ago, but that's life.  In my HCOL area,  education level and at my age, I'm actually an underachiever salary-wise. 

twbird18

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #236 on: January 22, 2018, 12:15:02 AM »
Join the Navy as a nuclear operator - get out after 6 yrs - go to work in practically any tech industry for $100K+

For real though I'm a senior reactor operator at research facility so it's pretty cake.

Don't want to join the military for 6 years?  Go online, learn about electricity. Pay $600, take a NERC exam. Become a transmission system operator.. If you get a cert first you won't need any experience to get hired at most utility companies. You'll make <$100K for your 6-12 mo. training period & then >$100K after that.

Like working outside? Go to community college & get into their linemen's program.......become a lineman or substation worker in an area that has bad weather.

dodojojo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 508
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #237 on: January 22, 2018, 01:13:44 AM »
Don't want to join the military for 6 years?  Go online, learn about electricity. Pay $600, take a NERC exam. Become a transmission system operator.. If you get a cert first you won't need any experience to get hired at most utility companies. You'll make <$100K for your 6-12 mo. training period & then >$100K after that.

How competitive is the market for this line of work?  Are they in need of bodies?  May recommend this to my brother who complains his job doesn't pay enough.  I checked in his area and a local community college does offer a program. It's a fulltime program though and my brother couldn't afford to ditch his current to go to school fulltime.

jlcnuke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 776
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #238 on: January 22, 2018, 05:02:00 AM »
Don't want to join the military for 6 years?  Go online, learn about electricity. Pay $600, take a NERC exam. Become a transmission system operator.. If you get a cert first you won't need any experience to get hired at most utility companies. You'll make <$100K for your 6-12 mo. training period & then >$100K after that.

How competitive is the market for this line of work?  Are they in need of bodies?  May recommend this to my brother who complains his job doesn't pay enough.  I checked in his area and a local community college does offer a program. It's a fulltime program though and my brother couldn't afford to ditch his current to go to school fulltime.

There aren't a ton of job openings and there are a lot of people with power industry (civilian and/or military) that apply for the jobs that do come open. That's my impression from seeing people post those type jobs up on groups for Navy Nuclear Trained operators looking for work.

twbird18

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #239 on: January 22, 2018, 06:39:42 AM »
Don't want to join the military for 6 years?  Go online, learn about electricity. Pay $600, take a NERC exam. Become a transmission system operator.. If you get a cert first you won't need any experience to get hired at most utility companies. You'll make <$100K for your 6-12 mo. training period & then >$100K after that.

How competitive is the market for this line of work?  Are they in need of bodies?  May recommend this to my brother who complains his job doesn't pay enough.  I checked in his area and a local community college does offer a program. It's a fulltime program though and my brother couldn't afford to ditch his current to go to school fulltime.

Well you've asked one question & quoted a different part of my answer :)

Utility work is competitive. It's a trade like being a plumber or mechanic and you have to work your way up from being an apprentice. How difficult it is to get into depends on your location. Some places are exceedingly difficult to get hired into and some aren't. My hometown is practically always hiring because the pay isn't competitive to a major utility, but you get the same education & experience & then it's easy to jump ship as an experienced person.... Which is why they're always hiring.

Becoming a transmission operator is easier if you can pass the certification first. If you're not certified then you're in competition with the military & other experienced people, but if you are certified, it's only difficult if you're intent on living in a certain area. If you can take a job at a location that has difficulty getting people then you can gain experience & move where you want later. You do have to pass what is basically a psychological profile at most companies as well in order to get hired.


CSuzette

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #240 on: January 22, 2018, 06:55:28 AM »
You should not overlook the value of “looking the part.”  Sometimes the advice on here to cut your own hair or touch up your roots makes me laugh. I did some of that when I was younger and it is not going to work in Boston or New York. You are also not going to get away with thrift store clothes. You don’t have to have a lot but they need to be quality. I buy suits from Banana Republic and can often get on great sales. Trendy cuts and 100 percent wool with stretch. Sign up for their e-mails. They also have talls and petites. I changed my hair once and the first thing jealous boss asked me was whether I was after her job!

CSuzette

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #241 on: January 22, 2018, 07:00:30 AM »
Being physically fit and the right weight for your height is vitally important. I am in my mid-50s soon to be late 50s and come across much younger when people who don’t know me meet me. That is why I was able to get my recent promotion without the managers thinking I have one foot out the door. The people around me who look like that are going no where fast.

Mississippi Mudstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1792
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Danielsville, GA
    • A Riving Home - Ramblings of a Recusant Woodworker
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #242 on: January 22, 2018, 07:18:36 AM »
You should not overlook the value of “looking the part.”.... You are also not going to get away with thrift store clothes.

That's odd. The nicest clothes I have are from the thrift store. Guess I'll never make it :)

Lan Mandragoran

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 240
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #243 on: January 22, 2018, 08:02:19 AM »
Random garbage men make 100k.... that’s not really a high income threshold anymore.  If I planned on living in my hometown my entire life, I would have gotten a job as a garbage man and made 100k (you actually get more for being the guy driving the truck) and then make extra whenever the town needs all hands on deck to plow for a major snow storm.

Real high income thresholds are $250k+ per spouse. You’re killing it if you make 500k+ per spouse.

lol w/e. Partly depends on where you live I suppose, but even then...this is a ridiculous thing to say.

MrDelane

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 495
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #244 on: January 22, 2018, 08:13:51 AM »
You should not overlook the value of “looking the part.”  Sometimes the advice on here to cut your own hair or touch up your roots makes me laugh. I did some of that when I was younger and it is not going to work in Boston or New York. You are also not going to get away with thrift store clothes. You don’t have to have a lot but they need to be quality. I buy suits from Banana Republic and can often get on great sales. Trendy cuts and 100 percent wool with stretch. Sign up for their e-mails. They also have talls and petites. I changed my hair once and the first thing jealous boss asked me was whether I was after her job!

All depends not only on where you are but, more importantly, what field you're in.
Some careers bring with them an expectation of presentation (The Millionaire Next Door covered this pretty well).

I work in a creative field (not in Boston or New York).  I once worked with a guy who showed up in a suit on his first day.  When our boss saw him he laughed and told him no one trusts an artist in a suit.  "Looking the part" can be important, but it doesn't always mean spending more money.  It all depends on what that part is.

I've cut my own hair for the past  20+ years, worn t-shirts and jeans to work pretty much every single day, and make well over 100K.

I don't doubt that your experience in your particular field is accurate - but just wanted to point out that there are many different ways to get to a six figure income, and the particulars of each will most likely be dictated by what field and city it is in.

One size definitely does not fit all.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 08:15:31 AM by MrDelane »

mskyle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 696
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #245 on: January 22, 2018, 08:16:10 AM »
You should not overlook the value of “looking the part.”  Sometimes the advice on here to cut your own hair or touch up your roots makes me laugh. I did some of that when I was younger and it is not going to work in Boston or New York. You are also not going to get away with thrift store clothes. You don’t have to have a lot but they need to be quality. I buy suits from Banana Republic and can often get on great sales. Trendy cuts and 100 percent wool with stretch. Sign up for their e-mails. They also have talls and petites. I changed my hair once and the first thing jealous boss asked me was whether I was after her job!

Wellll it's all about the job and the environment, isn't it? I'm in Boston and just crossed the $100K mark (still can't believe it!) as a software developer. I have long salt-and-pepper hair (I do get it cut professionally because I like getting my hair cut and, obviously, I can afford it). I haven't worn a suit since I was applying to librarian jobs (my previous career, almost ten years ago). I've only seen my CEO wear a suit a handful of times. Right now I'm wearing leggings, a nice t-shirt, and a cardigan and I'm probably in the top 25% of the company in terms of how well I'm dressed.

My coat is J. Crew but I got it used ;) But definitely sign up for the emails if you want to shop at Banana Republic: there will ALWAYS be a 40%-off sale or coupon if you wait long enough.

My personal job/income history:

Pre/during college: small amounts of retail work
1999: Graduated college
1999-2002? Lab technician/research assistant - started out making ~$18K in Virginia, later made maybe $24K in Masssachusetts, some unemployment, second jobs, temping, and a stint at Target in between main jobs
2002: Decided to get my masters in Library Science (went part-time while working two jobs, finished in 2006)
2002-2010: Library paraprofessional jobs - ~$35K, plus a second job at a museum; probably averaged $40K all around during this period
2010: Got a professional librarian job in a a lower-COLA, $45K
2013: Decided to retrain as a software developer; quit my job, took two months off and then went to a 10-week software bootcamp
2013-present: Working as a software developer; I started at $60K and am now at $100K

For me, it really was all about choosing the right career.

CSuzette

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #246 on: January 22, 2018, 10:28:35 AM »
As I said you have to look the part. :). If you work in IT you would want to figure out what the bosses are wearing and do that.  I go to a lot of meetings with judges and lawyers and have to wear suits. No offense to people who shop at thrifts but to fit my body type I have to buy special sizes and BR fits the bill. We are giving advice to people that want to make bigger bucks and this is a fact of life that cannot be overlooked.

SilveradoBojangles

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #247 on: January 22, 2018, 12:23:29 PM »
My path to a high paying job was having data analysis and coding skills (though I don't work in tech). In grad school I had a choice to go in a less mathy/technical direction, but I realized that the majority of people are terrified of anything that involves math, and so I decided to force myself to take the more difficult path so that I would be more employable. It has definitely paid off.

Something else that has helped me - not only do I have technical skills, but I also have the communication skills to explain what I'm doing to a non-technical audience. This has proved equally valuable in my line of work.

Note that I never made more than 30K a year until I was in my early 30s, though...

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1429
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #248 on: January 22, 2018, 12:49:25 PM »
Become a licensed HVAC technician. Today my Hub got a postcard from a local HVAC company soliciting for employees. Hub is licensed in CT with an S1 HVAC license. All kinds of bennies, vacation, 401k, cell phone and most employees make $100K a year.

dustinst22

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Re: How do people make $100+ salary?
« Reply #249 on: January 22, 2018, 05:53:11 PM »
You should not overlook the value of “looking the part.”  Sometimes the advice on here to cut your own hair or touch up your roots makes me laugh. I did some of that when I was younger and it is not going to work in Boston or New York.

That's one reason I enjoy CA, none of that matters.  All that matters is what you can do.  My old boss, who is worth north of 100 M dresses like your average person on the street.  It's very difficult to tell what people are worth or earn here based on appearance/clothes.  Even attorneys and bankers don't wear suits here.  I guess it's an East Coast/West Coast thing.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 05:56:44 PM by dustinst22 »