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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Aloysius_Poutine on October 15, 2012, 03:24:11 PM

Title: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Aloysius_Poutine on October 15, 2012, 03:24:11 PM
I'm at a crossroads with respect to career choice. I'm 29, just finishing college (late start), and deciding on my next step. I see so many of you folks posting about your excellent financial positions, and I wonder, "how did they make their money?"

So I'll put it out there: what was your career path? What job has enabled you to think about FI/RE?
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: rjack on October 15, 2012, 03:30:32 PM
Software engineering/programming
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: freelancerNfulltimer on October 15, 2012, 03:34:06 PM
I make $60k salary plus freelance between $10k-$21k a year as a website/graphic designer. I do mostly websites and the money is in the ability to code.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: sol on October 15, 2012, 03:39:25 PM
Physical sciences (geology), seven years of graduate school, then government job with good benefits.  MMM retired at just about the same age that I collected my first real paycheck, so I don't really recommend a Ph.D. as a path to early retirement.

Marrying another frugal but high-earning professional helped a lot.  If I work ten years in total in my career, together we'll have over $1m saved.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: okits on October 15, 2012, 05:04:39 PM
I've been all over the place. Highest income has been from the job with the highest stress and most hours which, sadly, seems to be the correlation the majority of workers experience. (It makes sense, just wish it wasn't so!)

I understand the interest behind the question ("what fields of work pay well?"), but would like to add that I would not have been able to save a thing had my parents not instilled an attitude of modest spending in me (I will take a smidge of credit for actually listening to them.  :) As MMM has shown, FI is possible on any income, as long as your expenses are just a small fraction of that.  On the surface it would seem that this would be easier with a bigger income, but I do think there's definitely a point of diminishing returns on the higher-earnings-equals-higher-savings continuum.

I hope one of your career choices is something you will enjoy, because even if you only work for five years and save like a fiend, that's five years of your life you'll never get back.

(Will now sit back and enjoy, with curiosity, the other Mustachians' responses!)

Spelling edit.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: AJ on October 15, 2012, 05:08:10 PM
Software engineering/programming

DH is a website/graphics designer
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Russ on October 15, 2012, 05:47:12 PM
Professional intern (and student), as I try to get experience in as many types of mechanical engineering jobs as I can before I have to commit to one.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Zaga on October 15, 2012, 05:48:21 PM
Food science for me.  I've worked up to earning about $40K a year.  DH is in IT and earns double what I do.  We have a very long way to go, I'm not sure we qualify as mustachians.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: grantmeaname on October 15, 2012, 05:50:57 PM
I'm going to try a summer out at a financial firm, hopefully an investment bank in a financial analyst capacity. After that, I'll have a summer at a Big 4 accounting firm, then a decade's enslavement at whichever I like better.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: pepper on October 15, 2012, 05:55:18 PM
I am also in Software Development (currently game development).  In my experience it can be very rewarding but can also lead to burnout so don't take your enjoyment of your career early on as a sign you don't need to save.  I know I am preaching to the choir here, but I see a lot of posts of people saying, "I love my job why would I want to retire early", but things can change especially in a high stress career.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: gooki on October 15, 2012, 06:37:36 PM
User Interface Designer/Multimedia Developer

My income is nothing stellar - but we got to our financial position through being more aggressive with debt repayment than your average Joe.

When we hit FI, I intend to do part time Cabinet Making from home along with what ever else comes my way.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: kkbmustang on October 15, 2012, 08:27:44 PM
Tax Lawyer: BigLaw, Big 4, In-House Counsel, Tax Consulting. High stress, ridiculous hours, not worth the money, IMHO.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: herisff on October 15, 2012, 08:38:45 PM
Registered Nurse, currently working in surgery (circulator). Prior jobs included writing medical policy, utilization review, intensive care, floor nursing - all with one professional degree. Not extremely high paying per se, but I've always been frugal and I'll always have a job opportunity (especially now that I work in surgery - high demand for that specialty). Cons are that it's hard work (many nurses have back issues), irregular days off, and for surgery I'm on call a minimum of 1 day a week and 1 weekend a month. Very doable, but my time is not my own when I'm on call. It's a very flexible and, in many ways, satisfying job. I'm very task oriented, and working in surgery suits me very well.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: arebelspy on October 15, 2012, 08:40:35 PM
The wife and I are high school and elementary schools teachers, respectively.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Nords on October 15, 2012, 08:57:48 PM
24 years in the U.S. Navy, mostly in the submarine force.

http://the-military-guide.com/for-the-media/authors-biography/

The pay was OK, but the real financial compounding came about due to a lack of liberty to spend the pay...
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 15, 2012, 09:16:03 PM
Geologist.

It pays similarly to the engineering types (six figures 4 years out of uni).  I'm in oil and gas.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: prosaic on October 15, 2012, 09:30:01 PM
Higher education administrator and former college professor.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: inthebiz on October 15, 2012, 09:52:48 PM
Financial advisor. As others have mentioned, it's not so much about what you make, it's what you're willing to save. I see many of my colleagues in the nicest cars and biggest houses but they are hoping to bank enough for retirement in their 60's.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mustachio on October 15, 2012, 10:05:22 PM
Agriculture (government). Second career (went back to school in a totally different field than my previous education and got the job while a student).
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Mr. Sharma on October 15, 2012, 10:14:31 PM
CPA with a focus on small business tax and accounting.  Have been working in this capacity since college for about three years now and love it.   
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: JJ on October 15, 2012, 11:59:18 PM
Hmmm - few geos and software engineering types.  I studied geology and geophysics, but became a software engineer fairly shortly after being let loose in the corporate world.  In the boom/bust cycle, geophysicists are first to get laid off and last to get rehired, so not a great original choice.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: marty998 on October 16, 2012, 12:13:05 AM
Financial Accountant at a bank. Hours not bad, commute horrendous (increased from 2 to 3.5h/day due to a "restructure" - don't you just love management buzzwords). Please don't berate me, trying for 6 months now to find a new job.

Sometimes I think I should identify myself as an Accountant/train rider
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: JJ on October 16, 2012, 01:36:40 AM
Speaking of commutes - the downside of life as a geo/natural resources/engineering job is the sometimes crazy long commute.  The upside is it tends to crazy in other, fun ways.  Here's a couple of examples:

Home -> Airport: 20mins
Fly to Dubai: 10hrs
Fly to Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania): 4.5 hrs
Hang around in a dodgy hotel for a few hours
Fly to regional Tanzanian airport: 1hr
Hop on little prop plane and fly to operation with a fat, wheezing "heart-attack-about-to-happen" pilot in command: 15mins

Home -> Airport: 20mins
Fly to Jakarta (Indonesia): 5 hrs
Fly to Balikpapan (Kalimantan, Indonesia): 2 hrs
Drive to river: 3 hrs
Speed boat up river deep into jungle: 4 hours. +20 mins for a refuelling stop - with a sock over the gas tank to filter out the rust from the gasoline, and the guy filling up having a smoke just to ensure there was enough imminent danger to keep you awake.

On the financial side of things it can work very, very well.  If you are single and don't blow all your cash on a binge when you get back home you can stash a lot of money away as you do tend to get well paid visiting crazy parts of the world, particularly as an expat from a western country.  You also tend to have all food, accommodation and transport paid for, and can end up on a tax free gig depending on where you go and where you base yourself [unless, of course, you are a US citizen where the IRS hunts you down and taxes you wherever you happen to be - good to be an Aussie sometimes]. 

To put it into perspective, you could probably buy a reasonable place in Longmont, home of MMM, every 18 months or so or a foreclosure project every 8-10 months.  It is easily possible to retire in style after 5 years unless you develop an expensive lifestyle.  A couple of other bonuses: 1) you may get an expensive habit [travel] out of your system on someone else's expense account, 2) you end up roughing it due to circumstances from time to time, so you toughen up a bit [see stoicism post], 3) you don't accumulate stuff, 4) and most important, you see how the rest of the world lives, really understand the inconceivably good conditions we have in the west and also see the incomprehensible waste with fresh eyes.

However, to have the experience where people will pay crazy expat rates, likelihood is you won't be single.  In which case chances of getting divorced due to long absences and having big maintenance payments for the rest of your life is quite high.  So be careful ;).

I have seen guys retired with a large property portfolio aged 32 and guys without a penny to their name drowning their sorrows in a sleazy bar in the middle of the jungle aged 60.

BTW - you don't need a particular degree to get good $s - you just need to become expert in something important to a high value industry.  Degrees which can get you there include engineering (mining, civil, oilfield), IT, geology, surveying, process engineering, but I have seen guys do well with less academic qualifications and experience.  For example, drillers, blasters, fitters/mechanics, carpenters/builders/electricians [short stints building camp accommodation].

Me, I was a software systems consultant to these kinds of guys so was never fully in the lifestyle but I did observe it up close for years.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: JT on October 16, 2012, 02:09:28 AM
Assistant Accountant for a Design company.  Prior to this I did management (ie organisational development and process re-engineering).
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: simonsez on October 16, 2012, 05:33:08 AM
Statistician for the federal gov.  I like the work, good training opportunities, decent benefits, and pretty good experience I can label as "project management" should I want to springboard into something else.

1 year of grad school at out of state public university.  Still have loan debt higher than my salary, will finally change in 2013.  Go to grad school if you must to land a job or a better job or whatever but be smarter than I was and find ways to not fund it 100% on loans, or perhaps find a place where you can be a TA/RA or not pay out-of-state/private tuition rates.  I did the 12 month intensive Master's program in another state thinking I'd come out ahead with another potential year of salary but turns out I'll be behind compared to if I would've went to a normal 2 year Master's program in my home state.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: lauren_knows on October 16, 2012, 05:33:46 AM
Bachelors in IT and Masters in Systems Engineering, led me to the position of Software Test Director as a government contractor.

Wife is a hard worker, and despite being in a consulting job that has zero to do with her degree, she has excelled and makes just a little less than I do.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: jrhampt on October 16, 2012, 06:45:08 AM
Interesting to see some geologists on here...that was my original undergrad degree, but it wasn't doing so well when I graduated (1999).  Part of that could depend on location; here in the NE, most of my geologist friends do environmental geology, which doesn't pay as well as oil/gas.  Hours are long, lots of travel, and I'm happier with my current career as a SAS/SQL developer in the health insurance industry.  I'm also finishing up a master's in statistics (paid for by my job), and have an earlier master's in English/TESL (used that one for test development). 

Edited to add:  I'm married to a fellow geologist undergrad who has done his career in operating power plants - operator, safety supervisor, chief engineer, and now environmental specialist.  It helps to have two high earners and no kids.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: igthebold on October 16, 2012, 07:02:12 AM
Freelance iOS and Rails programmer.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: maryofdoom on October 16, 2012, 07:24:52 AM
Technical writer/editor for a federally funded research and development organization that is part of a university.

I get all the benefits of being in both a government job and an academic job, with every single one of the attendant drawbacks.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: trammatic on October 16, 2012, 07:38:35 AM
Mathematician. (Also with the government)  I specifically found a less-analytical focused agency to work in so that I'd be unique and in demand.  I permanently work at home and can live anywhere I want in the US...and have a low-stress 40-hour/week job.

I'm in the process of downsizing housing and moving farther out into a small town with a lower cost of living.  I currently live in a DC suburb which is expensive, but since I don't need to commute anymore, woohoo!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: lauren_knows on October 16, 2012, 08:02:23 AM
but since I don't need to commute anymore, woohoo!

Wow, that is nice in the DC area. I'm out in NoVA and would kill a man to work at home.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: James on October 16, 2012, 08:13:37 AM
I provide anesthesia as a nurse anesthetist.  It's an unbelievably great career for those in nursing, excellent job satisfaction and great pay.  Faster and cheaper than becoming a doctor, and I make more than some doctors.  If I had followed MMM for the past 8 years I'd be FI right now, but unfortunately I'm fixing financial mistakes still at this point.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: JohnGalt on October 16, 2012, 08:23:49 AM
Statistician/Programmer for a small consulting firm
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: kaeldra on October 16, 2012, 08:32:35 AM
I'm a graphic designer and my partner's a project manager in computer stuff. He makes more than I do though I'm the one with a degree! (To be fair, my degree is unrelated to my job.)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Use it up, wear it out... on October 16, 2012, 08:56:37 AM
I'm an enterprise architect, formerly a network architect (IT mumbo-jumbo). My original degree: English Literature with a minor in Economics

DW worked admin jobs out of college the first time (degree: theater). She just graduated with a BS in Textile Development, and is working in a fabric design department for a large retailer.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Osprey on October 16, 2012, 09:12:42 AM
Medical doctor in a developing country. At this stage it's a love/hate relationship. If I could go back in time I wouldn't change anything but having said that, I would strongly discourage my kids from joining the profession.
Evidently there are lots of engineers here (and off topic, but a lot of engineery/analytical types in early retirement forums in general.)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Taylor on October 16, 2012, 09:17:41 AM
I'm a psychotherapist (master's degree in social work and clinical license). I love what I do everyday, but it defiinitely does not pay well (especially working in a non-profit, as I choose to do).

In response to an earlier poster in regards to asking about potential income in a certain field:
("As MMM has shown, FI is possible on any income, as long as your expenses are just a small fraction of that.") There really IS a floor to basic expenses and I understand that the blog and advice is geared toward very high-income individuals in certain fields (ahem, engineers and software developers:).  I think it's more important to find a career that you actually enjoy and makes a difference, then set realistic financial goals from there.

Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Aloysius_Poutine on October 16, 2012, 09:21:25 AM
^^No doubt. These engineers have taught us how to engineer our personal finances to great effect!

Thanks for all the interesting responses.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: tooqk4u22 on October 16, 2012, 09:44:06 AM
I'm going to try a summer out at a financial firm, hopefully an investment bank in a financial analyst capacity. After that, I'll have a summer at a Big 4 accounting firm, then a decade's enslavement at whichever I like better.

What happened to the high satisfaction/low pay prospects of anthropology?
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: jpo on October 16, 2012, 09:48:04 AM
Another notch in the software engineer column.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: totoro on October 16, 2012, 09:54:57 AM
Lawyer in private practice.  Work half-time directly for clients.  Enjoy my job and it was well worth the schooling to have the lifestyle options I now have. 
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: sideways8 on October 16, 2012, 10:26:17 AM
Career A: Office job for a non-profit. I talked to my boss recently about my interest in moving up. Wee! Currently, I make just over $41K plus benefits.
 
Career B: My piano teaching business. This is what I really want to do and it will be part of my retirement. In fact, one of the reasons I desire FI/ER is so that I can do just music. Right now, I have just two students and pull in about $1400/year. One of these days I'll get around to putting some effort into getting more students but I'm pretty happy where I'm at...for now!

Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: etselec on October 16, 2012, 10:26:54 AM
Nonprofit administration. Pays beans but I work for a small shop and like what I do. And it's not a permanent position at all - potential to move in 1-2 years to something better-paid and more intellectually challenging.

I'm with Taylor - that floor to basic expenses makes it really hard to keep a high savings rate. But I think people in low-paying jobs by choice are more likely to be happy with what we do, and therefore less motivated to reach FI quickly. I could probably make nearly double my salary if I went for-profit, but I'd probably also hate my job and want to get to FI ASAP. It's a trade-off.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: grantmeaname on October 16, 2012, 10:33:04 AM
What happened to the high satisfaction/low pay prospects of anthropology?
I became less enamored with museum curatorship during the year I worked in a museum (in a non-curatorial capacity). I totally love the subject material, but it wears on me to be around people who don't have my skills and values even while I enjoy the subject matter. Analytical work in something I'm tangentially interested is better than descriptive/qualitative work in a fascinating field if I feel like my faculties are going totally unused.

I'd love to do analytical work in Anthro someday as a professor or a curator at a really academic museum (AMNH/Field/Smithsonian). A PhD takes almost a decade, on average, and even if I could do it a few years quicker that places it firmly in the extravagance territory. After I retire, I may get one (hard to say, it's hard to imagine how I'll feel when I have kids), but it's just not worth a decade of my life in my wage-slavery years.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: tooqk4u22 on October 16, 2012, 10:46:00 AM
What happened to the high satisfaction/low pay prospects of anthropology?
I became less enamored with museum curatorship during the year I worked in a museum (in a non-curatorial capacity). I totally love the subject material, but it wears on me to be around people who don't have my skills and values even while I enjoy the subject matter. Analytical work in something I'm tangentially interested is better than descriptive/qualitative work in a fascinating field if I feel like my faculties are going totally unused.

I'd love to do analytical work in Anthro someday as a professor or a curator at a really academic museum (AMNH/Field/Smithsonian). A PhD takes almost a decade, on average, and even if I could do it a few years quicker that places it firmly in the extravagance territory. After I retire, I may get one (hard to say, it's hard to imagine how I'll feel when I have kids), but it's just not worth a decade of my life in my wage-slavery years.

Totally get it - I definitely enjoy analytical work more than the alternative.  Besides once you hit FI you can do whatever you want.....get a PhD or not, and i would imagine you can study/analyze/participate in anthro field with or without PhD. 
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Taylor on October 16, 2012, 11:13:09 AM
Nonprofit administration. Pays beans but I work for a small shop and like what I do. And it's not a permanent position at all - potential to move in 1-2 years to something better-paid and more intellectually challenging.

I'm with Taylor - that floor to basic expenses makes it really hard to keep a high savings rate. But I think people in low-paying jobs by choice are more likely to be happy with what we do, and therefore less motivated to reach FI quickly. I could probably make nearly double my salary if I went for-profit, but I'd probably also hate my job and want to get to FI ASAP. It's a trade-off.

It definitely is a trade-off. I hear a lot on these forums of people who absolutely hate their jobs and want FI so badly. I can't really relate to that, as I put a lot of thought into my career path and wouldn't quit even if I had tons of moolah. I still want to be FI in the sense of working part-time if I want, or starting my own non-profit someday.

That being said, it's hard to keep the 'comparison monster' in check and not compare my savings rate to those who make 3-4x what I do. Currently hovering at 40% and that's not bad for a 30k take-home salary :)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 16, 2012, 11:14:03 AM
Hmmm - few geos and software engineering types.  I studied geology and geophysics, but became a software engineer fairly shortly after being let loose in the corporate world.  In the boom/bust cycle, geophysicists are first to get laid off and last to get rehired, so not a great original choice.

I'm about as non-corporate as you can get as far as a geo goes (I work on the rigs).  The office geophs do get paid slightly better though, and I know a bunch that made it through our last recession without getting laid off.  I know a lot of geos though, that were unemployed all the way through.  I guess it depends.  But spending on geophyisical acquisition did drop a lot.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 16, 2012, 11:19:05 AM
Speaking of commutes - the downside of life as a geo/natural resources/engineering job is the sometimes crazy long commute.  The upside is it tends to crazy in other, fun ways.  Here's a couple of examples:


I have the longest and shortest commute of anyone I know!

I have a 2 day commute to work once a month or so, (and then back home) but when I'm at work, 4 steps from the bedroom to the 'office'.  I routinely work in my pajamas, and I can, if being really lazy, spend most of my shift sleeping on the couch, waiting for alarms to go off.  It's great most of the time.  However, having to trudge through the mud or snow about 50% of the time sucks.

Edit:  I should have mentioned though, that I am paid handsomely for my commute.  I get paid from the moment I walk out the door, to the moment I walk back through it.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: sideways8 on October 16, 2012, 11:38:09 AM
That being said, it's hard to keep the 'comparison monster' in check and not compare my savings rate to those who make 3-4x what I do. Currently hovering at 40% and that's not bad for a 30k take-home salary :)

I think I really needed to hear/read that! And 40% at your salary is f-ing impressive if you ask me. Hell, I'm trying to rev my self up to 30% by age 30 (just over a year)... and I'll probably cheat and include the employer 401K contributions just to hit that number. My salary is similar so it's cool to see someone sort of like me doing so well. Very good inspiration.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Bank on October 16, 2012, 11:50:55 AM
What happened to the high satisfaction/low pay prospects of anthropology?
I became less enamored with museum curatorship during the year I worked in a museum (in a non-curatorial capacity). I totally love the subject material, but it wears on me to be around people who don't have my skills and values even while I enjoy the subject matter. Analytical work in something I'm tangentially interested is better than descriptive/qualitative work in a fascinating field if I feel like my faculties are going totally unused.

I'd love to do analytical work in Anthro someday as a professor or a curator at a really academic museum (AMNH/Field/Smithsonian). A PhD takes almost a decade, on average, and even if I could do it a few years quicker that places it firmly in the extravagance territory. After I retire, I may get one (hard to say, it's hard to imagine how I'll feel when I have kids), but it's just not worth a decade of my life in my wage-slavery years.

Warning:  Unsolicited Advice --- You may find the consulting side of corporate finance to be more satisfying than either accounting or i-banking, given your liking for analytical work and research.  Those of us in the field tend to think of investment bankers as primarily sales guys, and accounting as too process driven to be interesting.  If you haven't already considered and rejected this option, check out The Brattle Group, Cornerstone, Analysis Group, Duff & Phelps advisory services.  These are big practices, but there are many smaller firms too.  Pay is worse than i-banking and better than accounting.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: grantmeaname on October 16, 2012, 12:01:09 PM
Thanks for the tip; I definitely haven't written anything off yet.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Taylor on October 16, 2012, 12:07:33 PM
That being said, it's hard to keep the 'comparison monster' in check and not compare my savings rate to those who make 3-4x what I do. Currently hovering at 40% and that's not bad for a 30k take-home salary :)

I think I really needed to hear/read that! And 40% at your salary is f-ing impressive if you ask me. Hell, I'm trying to rev my self up to 30% by age 30 (just over a year)... and I'll probably cheat and include the employer 401K contributions just to hit that number. My salary is similar so it's cool to see someone sort of like me doing so well. Very good inspiration.

Thanks! My number one issue/frustration with the MMM blog and community is that it seems so geared toward very high salaries (although it's usually framed as a 'regular' salary) and that's not most people's reality (especially those who choose to work with vulnerable people or serve their communities). Keep it up, 30% is a great goal!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Orvell on October 16, 2012, 12:18:14 PM
That being said, it's hard to keep the 'comparison monster' in check and not compare my savings rate to those who make 3-4x what I do. Currently hovering at 40% and that's not bad for a 30k take-home salary :)

I think I really needed to hear/read that! And 40% at your salary is f-ing impressive if you ask me. Hell, I'm trying to rev my self up to 30% by age 30 (just over a year)... and I'll probably cheat and include the employer 401K contributions just to hit that number. My salary is similar so it's cool to see someone sort of like me doing so well. Very good inspiration.

Thanks! My number one issue/frustration with the MMM blog and community is that it seems so geared toward very high salaries (although it's usually framed as a 'regular' salary) and that's not most people's reality (especially those who choose to work with vulnerable people or serve their communities). Keep it up, 30% is a great goal!
This is super refreshing for me to hear too! I'm a customer service assistant for an iron foundry. Not the most perfect career for me, but at the moment it gives me time and energy to work on my art and illustration skills when the day is over. I hope to transition into freelancing. But for the moment, my after tax take home is just a hair above 26K and as much as I want a 75% savings rate... that just can't happen right now (or rather, I enjoy having at least some heat in winter.)
I usually manage to hit 50% savings, but I enjoy living in a low cost of living part of the states.
Awesome to hear from other people in similar situations!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Aloysius_Poutine on October 16, 2012, 12:21:36 PM
^I'm in the same boat. My gross is 40k/year at this customer service job, but I live in a very expensive place so I need to seriously level up in order to even achieve retirement by 65.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 16, 2012, 12:31:20 PM

Thanks! My number one issue/frustration with the MMM blog and community is that it seems so geared toward very high salaries (although it's usually framed as a 'regular' salary) and that's not most people's reality (especially those who choose to work with vulnerable people or serve their communities). Keep it up, 30% is a great goal!

I started out making 36,000/year out of university, so we didn't all land the huge-paying jobs the second we graduated :)  After 2 raises, I was at $42,000 and that's when I bought my house.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Melissa on October 16, 2012, 12:32:31 PM
Husband is Director of IT at a large energy company (but degree is in mechanical and serospace engineering).  He used to like his job, but now hates the project he is currently working on.

I was a SAHM for over ten years before going to school and becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant.  I am just starting with a company doing PRN work so that I will still have flexibility to handle kids activities and the household.  I am also a personal trainer and do some occasional work there.  I enjoy both jobs and only had to get and Associates degree in Applied Science
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: freelancerNfulltimer on October 16, 2012, 12:35:09 PM

Thanks! My number one issue/frustration with the MMM blog and community is that it seems so geared toward very high salaries (although it's usually framed as a 'regular' salary) and that's not most people's reality (especially those who choose to work with vulnerable people or serve their communities). Keep it up, 30% is a great goal!

I started out making 36,000/year out of university, so we didn't all land the huge-paying jobs the second we graduated :)  After 2 raises, I was at $42,000 and that's when I bought my house.

I made $17,000  the first year out of college and really hustled to build my freelance business. This is the first year I feel truly well compensated. (I'm 6 years out of college.)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: tooqk4u22 on October 16, 2012, 12:39:16 PM
Warning:  Unsolicited Advice --- You may find the consulting side of corporate finance to be more satisfying than either accounting or i-banking, given your liking for analytical work and research.  Those of us in the field tend to think of investment bankers as primarily sales guys, and accounting as too process driven to be interesting. 

Good point - accounting skills are transferable and highly valuable, but the reality is that accountants put the data together and finance people break it down and make it usable - way more fun and intelectually satisfying.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: kudy on October 16, 2012, 12:44:30 PM
Web development and search marketing.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: grantmeaname on October 16, 2012, 02:25:10 PM
Good point - accounting skills are transferable and highly valuable, but the reality is that accountants put the data together and finance people break it down and make it usable - way more fun and intelectually satisfying.
I'm at a school with a top-10 accounting program and an undistinguished and unchallenging finance program, as far as I can tell. I figured it would be better to teach myself finance if that's the way I end up going (and it looks like it may be).
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Sparky on October 16, 2012, 04:20:50 PM
Kinda not shocked that just about everyone has a degree of some sort and works more in an office type situation.....

I'm a Electrician in the Oil and Gas industry. Awesome industry to be in; your consistently reinventing your 'job title', you'll never go a day where you haven't learned something new, huge responsibilities, and the money is fantastic (often $150k plus a year). Bad side is it's extremely difficult to maintain a relationship, standing in -40C weather for 12 hours a day and your unemployed often as your employed.

I can't stand being in an office where I have to wear a tie, having clean, pressed clothing or have to watch what I say. Nor could I handle doing 4 to 8 years of Uni life, I hate writing papers/homework beyond belief and find most of students to be incredibly immature. The GF enjoys it though as a Masters student now and likely a PHD student next year....
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Worsted Skeins on October 16, 2012, 05:05:13 PM
Both my husband and I have master's degrees in Mathematics.  I no longer work for a paycheck but, when I did, I earned considerably less as a community college instructor or university adjunct than what he earns in his computer engineering work.

Both of us were TAs in grad school.  We lived in poverty but managed to escape student loan debt.  Students in other disciplines may not be as fortunate to find assistantships as those in Math are.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: needmyfi on October 16, 2012, 06:09:41 PM
Mechanical engineer until 9 years ago. I now work part time in horticulture and part time in conservation (same organization) and have health insurance through them.   Dh and I take home/net only 50k (with rental income) , but spend only 40k and have no debt.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: burly on October 16, 2012, 06:23:50 PM
Private Banker at a Wealth Management firm. Many of my clients are NOT mustachians.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: lauren_knows on October 16, 2012, 06:27:37 PM
Private Banker at a Wealth Management firm. Many of my clients are NOT mustachians.

I work as a contractor to the federal government. Now they aren't exactly mustachian either  ;)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Soccermom2b on October 16, 2012, 09:59:11 PM
Private Banker at a Wealth Management firm. Many of my clients are NOT mustachians.

I work as a contractor to the federal government. Now they aren't exactly mustachian either  ;)

procurement fraud attorney for the fed gov't.  Got something you need to get off your chest?
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: $_gone_amok on October 16, 2012, 11:30:00 PM
Software engineer at a very large software services company. Looking forward to start my own software development shop some day.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Dr Dave on October 16, 2012, 11:36:29 PM
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Would not recommend this career choice to anyone. I lucked out and had a scholarship all through vet school so graduated with zero debt, which is about the only good thing I can say about that.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: happy on October 17, 2012, 03:44:27 AM
Doctor of Human Medicine. "High stress, ridiculous hours, not worth the money, IMHO".
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mustachecat on October 17, 2012, 06:09:35 AM
Another nonprofit admin. Easing out of fundraising and hanging out in finance for now. High five, fellow nonprofiteers!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: lauren_knows on October 17, 2012, 06:19:44 AM
Private Banker at a Wealth Management firm. Many of my clients are NOT mustachians.

I work as a contractor to the federal government. Now they aren't exactly mustachian either  ;)

procurement fraud attorney for the fed gov't.  Got something you need to get off your chest?

Haha, nice.  No, I just wonder about the efficiency of these huge government contracts sometimes.  Luckily, the contract that I'm on was just re-bid and a big consolidation is in the works.

Plus, I'm just a peon and never see actual $ numbers... what do I know? :)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mustache brony on October 17, 2012, 07:15:37 AM
2 Years postgraduate (Masters in Chemistry), and I still work as a Chemist in the federal government. 
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 17, 2012, 07:33:50 AM
2 Years postgraduate (Masters in Chemistry), and I still work as a Chemist in the federal government.

Any breaking bad-style chemistry on the side?  I imagine you'd build your 'stache quickly that way ;)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Dumb blonde on October 17, 2012, 07:40:58 AM
Worked a boring job for the first two years after my graduation. Got married, had 3 babies and stayed at home for 5 years. Started my own internet business out of boredom. Made money. Husband joined business. Made more money. Gradually competition showed up and made less money. And less. Lost interest. Started working freelance. Husband started a new business.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Bank on October 17, 2012, 09:27:27 AM
Good point - accounting skills are transferable and highly valuable, but the reality is that accountants put the data together and finance people break it down and make it usable - way more fun and intelectually satisfying.
I'm at a school with a top-10 accounting program and an undistinguished and unchallenging finance program, as far as I can tell. I figured it would be better to teach myself finance if that's the way I end up going (and it looks like it may be).

That sounds like a good idea.  I have never worked for an accounting firm or done audit in my life, but I use what I learned in accounting classes and studying for the CPA exam every day.  IMHO, finance concepts aren't that hard.  The challenging part is applying them to real world situations, which no class will teach you no matter how many HBS cases they force you to slog through.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: tooqk4u22 on October 17, 2012, 10:31:55 AM
To clarify my comment - I think if you had to choose I would get a degree in accounting and the CPA BUT would work in finance.  An accounting degree is transferable to finance but a finance degree isn't as transferable the other way.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Cary on October 17, 2012, 10:54:57 AM
I'm an architect. Went back to get my Master of Architecture when I was 31. I had worked as a bicycle mechanic and environmental planner previously. Lots of school and hard work as an architectural intern, then licensed by 39 same year I was laid off from a good firm when recession hit the industry hard in 2009. Started my solo firm within a year and the business is grossing a modest $55K/year despite the downturn. This career has its rewards, but in a nutshell it's a ton of school and job experience to do an often demanding, challenging and frequently thankless job. I love the autonomy of self employment, being creative, solving problems, helping owners and getting things built. We're in the Seattle area, so cost of living is pretty high. My wife is a public school teacher and she's our anchor with 20+ years of experience. I've been lurking here since the inception of MMM's blog. We aren't totally Mustachian but are learning a lot about how to rapidly move in the direction. Reading MMM and the forums, along with GRS and many personal finance books has changed my financial paradigm and radically altered our savings goals. Much appreciate the MMM community.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: igthebold on October 17, 2012, 11:14:13 AM
Worked a boring job for the first two years after my graduation. Got married, had 3 babies and stayed at home for 5 years. Started my own internet business out of boredom. Made money. Husband joined business. Made more money. Gradually competition showed up and made less money. And less. Lost interest. Started working freelance in web content management. Husband started a new business with another companion.

Ah, the complex answers to "so.. what do you do?" of the entrepreneur. :)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mustache brony on October 17, 2012, 11:34:12 AM
2 Years postgraduate (Masters in Chemistry), and I still work as a Chemist in the federal government.

Any breaking bad-style chemistry on the side?  I imagine you'd build your 'stache quickly that way ;)

Nah, I did physical and analytical chemistry (meaning I analyzed the characteristics of things, as opposed to making new things). Now Iím out of the wet chemistry business and just a desk jockey. 
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: ivyhedge on October 17, 2012, 11:37:02 AM
Astrophysics --> IR --> finance --> ... [7yrs] ... --> hedge fund manager.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: lauren_knows on October 17, 2012, 11:39:45 AM
Astrophysics --> IR --> finance --> ... [7yrs] ... --> hedge fund manager.

This is the most interesting path to me.  Cool story.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: ivyhedge on October 17, 2012, 11:58:58 AM
Astrophysics --> IR --> finance --> ... [7yrs] ... --> hedge fund manager.

This is the most interesting path to me.  Cool story.

Thanks, bo! And a good portion of my time was spent in your neck of the woods!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: artimus on October 17, 2012, 12:32:38 PM
Ages: 25 year old married couple.  One child (3 yr old)

Jobs/Income: Professional Poker Player, wife is a school teacher.  Income fluctuates month-to-month, sometimes year-to-year because of the high variance inherent in short-term investments (think each hand of poker = investment).  When online poker was available it was nicer, commute was 0, work from home...Now I have to commute to the casino.  Hourly ~$80, work 30-40 hours per week depending how I feel; wife's income is 36k starting salary in her first year teaching.  Fingers crossed for online poker returning soon...Considering moving to a country with low expenses to play online poker again.  Good thread, interesting jobs from a lot of people.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Mrs MM on October 17, 2012, 12:34:58 PM
MMM was a software engineer and went to school specifically for that. 

I went into Management Information Systems (MIS), which is a bachelor of commerce with a side of computer science.  I ended up getting work as a software developer, but later moved more in the project management area.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: rtrnow on October 17, 2012, 01:08:10 PM
I'm a research scientist working in telecommunications for almost nine years now. I was able to get a job with a university right out of undergrad. They payed for my master's degree and govt benefits are great. I'm 34 now and hope to retire before 38.

Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: palvar on October 17, 2012, 01:40:37 PM
I've been developing wind farms for about 8 years, but my undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 17, 2012, 01:52:20 PM
I've been developing wind farms for about 8 years, but my undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering.

Might be the most mustachian job out there.  Congrats!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: JohnGalt on October 17, 2012, 02:00:14 PM
Ages: 25 year old married couple.  One child (3 yr old)

Jobs/Income: Professional Poker Player, wife is a school teacher.  Income fluctuates month-to-month, sometimes year-to-year because of the high variance inherent in short-term investments (think each hand of poker = investment).  When online poker was available it was nicer, commute was 0, work from home...Now I have to commute to the casino.  Hourly ~$80, work 30-40 hours per week depending how I feel; wife's income is 36k starting salary in her first year teaching.  Fingers crossed for online poker returning soon...Considering moving to a country with low expenses to play online poker again.  Good thread, interesting jobs from a lot of people.

$80/hr playing live poker?  What limit are you playing?  A few years ago when I was playing 15-20 hours / week (mostly 1/3 with some 2/5 tossed in occasionally at underground games) I averaged something like $25/hr for a 6 month period and, since that was slightly more than I made at my day job at the time, was considering taking a shot.  Had I been anywhere close to $80/hr I would have definitely gone for it. Instead I took a new position for more money and used my bankroll as a downpayment on a house - but I still wonder about what could have been from time to time.

Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: arebelspy on October 17, 2012, 02:41:41 PM
$80/hr playing live poker?  What limit are you playing?  A few years ago when I was playing 15-20 hours / week (mostly 1/3 with some 2/5 tossed in occasionally at underground games) I averaged something like $25/hr for a 6 month period and, since that was slightly more than I made at my day job at the time, was considering taking a shot.  Had I been anywhere close to $80/hr I would have definitely gone for it. Instead I took a new position for more money and used my bankroll as a downpayment on a house - but I still wonder about what could have been from time to time.

His blog is at http://www.thewh00sel.liquidpoker.net/ - I've been reading (through RSS feed) since he posted the link in April.  It gives more details about his income (and expenses, but the latter is more interesting to those of us poker / former poker players).
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Masha on October 17, 2012, 02:49:20 PM
Museum curator. Freelance right now.  I went to undergrad for costume design/history and auto mechanics, and have a graduate degree in antiques. Seriously. I am pretty resourceful, and always have several projects going in different areas, none of which (thankfully) involve french fries.  My DH is also an (employed!) curator, and he makes reproduction uniforms on the side and does movie work sometimes too.

We have several income streams because of our many skills with fabric, leather, etc, but I haven't figured out a way to make them passive in any way. LOL. This shit doesn't sew itself.

My work is really interesting, doesn't pay much, and sometimes feels in conflict with our FI goals, but it is what I do, and our mustaches are growing all the time...I'm still giddy over opening my Vanguard account this morning!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Dumb blonde on October 18, 2012, 02:17:10 AM
Worked a boring job for the first two years after my graduation. Got married, had 3 babies and stayed at home for 5 years. Started my own internet business out of boredom. Made money. Husband joined business. Made more money. Gradually competition showed up and made less money. And less. Lost interest. Started working freelance in web content management. Husband started a new business with another companion.

Ah, the complex answers to "so.. what do you do?" of the entrepreneur. :)

Haha, I guess so. :-)


Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: vieja on October 18, 2012, 08:08:10 AM
Dh and I own a restaurant in a very small town.  Our income is limited.  It 12-18 months the place will be paid off and our income will double.

We saved the down payment on the place by waiting tables and cooking in restaurants.  Frugality and determination are the only reasons we have anything.  Dh has a 6th grade education and I spent 5 years wandering through various colleges.  I never managed to earn a degree but thankfully didn't accumulate any student loans either.

Its nice to see that there are other low income earners here.  I hesitate to share much because I feel a bit out of my league.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: ivyhedge on October 18, 2012, 08:45:41 AM
Dh and I own a restaurant in a very small town.  Our income is limited.  It 12-18 months the place will be paid off and our income will double.

We saved the down payment on the place by waiting tables and cooking in restaurants.  Frugality and determination are the only reasons we have anything.  Dh has a 6th grade education and I spent 5 years wandering through various colleges.  I never managed to earn a degree but thankfully didn't accumulate any student loans either.

Its nice to see that there are other low income earners here.  I hesitate to share much because I feel a bit out of my league.

Vieja,

There's absolutely no reason you should question whether to post here or not. Some folks have truly shaped their lives into precisely what they want despite a gloomy and unresolved start while the elements against them seemed insurmountable. We wish you well!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Guardian on October 18, 2012, 08:57:59 AM
I've been developing wind farms for about 8 years, but my undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering.

Might be the most mustachian job out there.  Congrats!

In my opinion, you wouldn't think it was Mustachian if you'd seen the Documentaries I've seen... I guess Wind Turbines (the 300-400ft ones) are horrid, and it's all part of schemes...
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: palvar on October 18, 2012, 08:59:13 AM
Dh and I own a restaurant in a very small town.  Our income is limited.  It 12-18 months the place will be paid off and our income will double.

We saved the down payment on the place by waiting tables and cooking in restaurants.  Frugality and determination are the only reasons we have anything.  Dh has a 6th grade education and I spent 5 years wandering through various colleges.  I never managed to earn a degree but thankfully didn't accumulate any student loans either.

Its nice to see that there are other low income earners here.  I hesitate to share much because I feel a bit out of my league.

Owning your own business is very impressive - especially in such a competitive industry!  I'd love to own my own business at some point in my life.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 18, 2012, 09:23:40 AM
I've been developing wind farms for about 8 years, but my undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering.

Might be the most mustachian job out there.  Congrats!

In my opinion, you wouldn't think it was Mustachian if you'd seen the Documentaries I've seen... I guess Wind Turbines (the 300-400ft ones) are horrid, and it's all part of schemes...

Everyone has their propaganda I guess.  *shrug*
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Snow White on October 18, 2012, 09:34:36 AM
I am a Registered Nurse with a BS in Nursing and a BA in psychology.   I love nursing and feel fortunate that I can always get a job.  I work in State government and have a decent salary with great benefits.  A big part of FI for me was marrying a frugal but high earning professional.  We have lived way below our income for years and that is another important part of the equation!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: artimus on October 18, 2012, 09:45:18 AM
Ages: 25 year old married couple.  One child (3 yr old)

Jobs/Income: Professional Poker Player, wife is a school teacher.  Income fluctuates month-to-month, sometimes year-to-year because of the high variance inherent in short-term investments (think each hand of poker = investment).  When online poker was available it was nicer, commute was 0, work from home...Now I have to commute to the casino.  Hourly ~$80, work 30-40 hours per week depending how I feel; wife's income is 36k starting salary in her first year teaching.  Fingers crossed for online poker returning soon...Considering moving to a country with low expenses to play online poker again.  Good thread, interesting jobs from a lot of people.

$80/hr playing live poker?  What limit are you playing?  A few years ago when I was playing 15-20 hours / week (mostly 1/3 with some 2/5 tossed in occasionally at underground games) I averaged something like $25/hr for a 6 month period and, since that was slightly more than I made at my day job at the time, was considering taking a shot.  Had I been anywhere close to $80/hr I would have definitely gone for it. Instead I took a new position for more money and used my bankroll as a downpayment on a house - but I still wonder about what could have been from time to time.
I play 5/10nlhe, and a little 2/5 if the game is awful/not going. 
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: frugal rph on October 18, 2012, 11:21:01 AM
I'm a retail pharmacist currently working part-time with full-time benefits.  It is financially rewarding but rather boring and really more of a customer service job than an intellectually stimulating one.  When I first started, there was a large shortage of pharmacists, but now the field is saturated.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Guardian on October 18, 2012, 11:48:05 AM
I've been developing wind farms for about 8 years, but my undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering.

Might be the most mustachian job out there.  Congrats!

In my opinion, you wouldn't think it was Mustachian if you'd seen the Documentaries I've seen... I guess Wind Turbines (the 300-400ft ones) are horrid, and it's all part of schemes...

Everyone has their propaganda I guess.  *shrug*

I agree, here's what I was talking about http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/02/03/movies/windfall-a-documentary-on-wind-turbines-by-laura-israel.html?_r=0
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 18, 2012, 11:59:44 AM
I haven't seen that documentary in particular, so I can't comment on it directly.  However, I work on an oil drilling rig, and I know how many resources (money and environmental) go into our fossil fuel industry, so I think I can say first hand, that it isn't a good solution either (not that I think you were implying that either).

Things have gotten a lot better in this industry in the last few years, but until we replace fossil fuels with alternatives (wind being one of those), (and decrease our waste of energy as a society on the whole), we are going to need to make choices, and trade-offs for our energy. 

Am I happy that birds and bats are dying from wind farms, no.  But, the alternative is also not that great sometimes either (what chemicals are involved in the making of solar panels, for instance).  And total energy consumption is rising in many parts of the world (even if per-capita use is decreasing) as we continue to grow our world population.

Solar Panel Discussions:
http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/03/the-ugly-side-o.html (http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/03/the-ugly-side-o.html)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: tooqk4u22 on October 18, 2012, 01:47:49 PM
Dh and I own a restaurant in a very small town.  Our income is limited.  It 12-18 months the place will be paid off and our income will double.

We saved the down payment on the place by waiting tables and cooking in restaurants.  Frugality and determination are the only reasons we have anything.  Dh has a 6th grade education and I spent 5 years wandering through various colleges.  I never managed to earn a degree but thankfully didn't accumulate any student loans either.

Its nice to see that there are other low income earners here.  I hesitate to share much because I feel a bit out of my league.

I wouldn't feel bad, you worked hard, saved your money, invested it in something you know, and are making enough to live and pay off the related debt (maybe more).  Great story.  In fact, I wouldn't mind reading more about your experience and the economics of buying/running a restaurant.

Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Guardian on October 18, 2012, 02:46:50 PM
I work at a Quality Assurance company, basically monitoring Norton/Symantec agents 40hrs/week. I make $11/hr and do not enjoy it.

I am trying to find a way to get into Sustainability - really think it would be cool to be a coordinator or a specialist that certifies places/buildings/etc. I do NOT want to go to the local State University at 10,000/year as that just kills my hopes. I'd rather "hack" my way into the field. Just need to find more ideas.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 18, 2012, 02:52:14 PM
Jason, a friend of mine recently got a job with our city, as a waste and recycling educator.  She has a polysci background, but is heavily involved in non-profit work surrounding sustainable jobs, and she's big into permaculture. 

Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Bank on October 18, 2012, 03:20:27 PM
Dh and I own a restaurant in a very small town.  Our income is limited.  It 12-18 months the place will be paid off and our income will double.

We saved the down payment on the place by waiting tables and cooking in restaurants.  Frugality and determination are the only reasons we have anything.  Dh has a 6th grade education and I spent 5 years wandering through various colleges.  I never managed to earn a degree but thankfully didn't accumulate any student loans either.

Its nice to see that there are other low income earners here.  I hesitate to share much because I feel a bit out of my league.


I wouldn't feel bad, you worked hard, saved your money, invested it in something you know, and are making enough to live and pay off the related debt (maybe more).  Great story.  In fact, I wouldn't mind reading more about your experience and the economics of buying/running a restaurant.

I agree with this comment.  You are one serious and inspiring badass.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mm1970 on October 18, 2012, 06:28:46 PM
Engineering. I have a bs in chemical eng. I work in semiconductors.

Spouse has a phd in electrical engineering, in image processing.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mm1970 on October 18, 2012, 06:32:40 PM
24 years in the U.S. Navy, mostly in the submarine force.

http://the-military-guide.com/for-the-media/authors-biography/

The pay was OK, but the real financial compounding came about due to a lack of liberty to spend the pay...
And that's how we started. ROTC scholarships then navy for five years to pay it back.  Worked in nukes, but at a desk.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: cosmie on October 18, 2012, 06:46:38 PM
I'm currently a student, employed as a student worker doing web content management, digital marketing campaigns,event planning/staffing, Opinionator (I'm one of the first in a new degree program, and they pay me to give them constant feedback). This job pays handsomely at $17/hr, but the hours are sporadic between 10-40 per week.

Soon (in January) I'll start a 6-month internship as a Supply Chain Analyst (technically a Customer Service Excellence Analyst). This will pay about $4,000 per month, with the fulltimers starting out closer to $5,500 per month. Career growth can easily see you making over $100,000 in 3-5 years. If you're a traveler (or want to be) it offers some great opportunities to travel to Europe and Asia.

Depending on how the internship goes, I may stay at my school for a (free) Master's degree. In which case my career would lead more towards statistically heavy jobs such as modeling, simulation, forecasting, etc. Since neither the BS or MS is supply chain specific, this offers a broader range of job possibilities than getting stuck as a supply chain analyst, but there is large pay variation in this area that may result in a lower income than the career progression of the analyst job.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mm1970 on October 18, 2012, 08:19:00 PM
Geologist.

It pays similarly to the engineering types (six figures 4 years out of uni).  I'm in oil and gas.

Maybe I'm in the wrong location or industry, but it was 18 years out of uni to make six figures. Unless you count stock options.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: grantmeaname on October 18, 2012, 08:36:15 PM
Six figures in 2017 is not as much money as six figures in 2001, either.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: sol on October 18, 2012, 09:38:46 PM
Six figures in 2017 is not as much money as six figures in 2001, either.

Geology is kind of weirdly split industry.  The oil and gas side pays almost double what the environmental side does, for equivalent levels of education, but is more susceptible to economic cycles.  Depends on what the going rate is for what hydrocarbon this year, which changes dramatically.

Overall, though, oil is the most profitable business in the world and the wages reflect that.  All of the major oil companies have university programs where they will pay you to get a masters degree if you agree to work for them for a minimum number of years upon graduation (usually two), which means guaranteed job when you graduate.  When I was in school, they couldn't find enough bodies to put into such programs, but that may have changed.

I dated one of them.  Two years at a top state school learning to find oil, guaranteed job at $70k (ten years ago) when they got out.  They had to live in Houston or New Orleans for the first year, then they all took overseas assignments because the pay is better if you live in another country.  I'm still in touch with some of them, this is a crowd that gets drunk on $12 martinis on a Thursaday night and decides to fly to Switzerland on Saturday to going skiing.  Makes for amazing facebook pages, lifestyles of the young and wealthy.

Another friend skipped the industry-supplied masters degree and got a Ph.D instead.  They offered her $120k/year salary plus a cool million in startup funds to set up her own laboratory.  She's a research scientist for Exxon/Mobil, studies ancient biomarkers.

I work in the environmental side, and was thrilled to find a job starting at $65k right out of a seven-year long stint in graduate school.  Most of my peers in geology instead took postdoc positions, which are typically about $35k for a limited two year term, then you have to find something else.  The lucky ones get tenure track faculty jobs at $55k teaching geology, and if they work their asses off and suffer for six years, they might make tenure for $75k by 40.  Meanwhile my overseas oil-finding friends are maintaining second homes in Europe by age 30.

It comes down to what you really believe in.  Would you accept a million dollar per year paycheck to torture kittens?  I recognize that we need oil and gas to run our economy and I'm not saying we should stop digging the stuff up, but from the inside the whole industry has some unresolved moral hazards.  I suspect they feel much like the poor kids flipping burgers and serving lard-drenched supersized value meals to the fat couple on their Hoverounds (http://www.hoveround.com/); "Yes, this is paying the bills, but am I doing more harm than good for society?"
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 18, 2012, 10:12:52 PM
I work the job I do, because I know that I'm out here, making sure it gets done the right way, with as little environmental impact as possible. 

It pays well in the good times, which allows me to save for the times when I'll be out of work.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: MooreBonds on October 18, 2012, 11:18:39 PM
Designer of plumbing and related mechanical piping systems for buildings. Graduated w/ a bachelors in Mech E in 2000, along with tacking on econ and business majors. Worked in the family construction company for about 7 years, and was beyond burnt out (thanks to family as much as the industry).

Tried the other side of the table for design, and found out I enjoy it fairly well. Some competing job offers helped encourage my employer to bump up my salary two different times, up to the low 90s. Have gone back and forth on getting my PE, but plan on hanging up the hat in less than 10 years, so not too inclined to go through the hassle and continuing education time/expense for just a few years of marginal benefit.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: zinnie on October 19, 2012, 02:32:38 AM
I work in publishing. It isn't lucrative until you make it closer to the top, but I've been lucky to have good connections and get promoted quickly. Now I am an editor for a digital textbook publisher. I only have a bachelor's degree, which is typical for this field as it is more about experience and who you know.

My husband was a naval officer after college, now he is just starting out in architecture/construction after completing his master's.

We can both supplement our income with freelance, which we continue now to keep our connections so we can earn extra when needed for when we FI. He does a lot of graphic design work on the side to supplement his starting salary.

Edit: removing too personal information from posts.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Anguilla on October 19, 2012, 05:56:53 AM
Senior Tax Specialist making $70k in the Baltimore, MD area.
I have a Masters degree in Tax & CPA license. I make additional money on the side consulting on taxes.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: jrhampt on October 19, 2012, 06:50:06 AM
Sol, good comment about geology.  My experience lines up with yours, since all of my friends from undergrad are in the environmental geology field, which I think is more prevalent in the northeast states.  I worked for a couple of years in the field (state environmental agency and a university environmental institute) before realizing that I hated working outdoors in CT winters for meager pay (I think I was making less than $30k working for the university back in 2001).  I think I might have stuck with it for a few more years if I had been in a higher-paying field, but as it is I lucked into a decent-paying job eventually anyway (totally unrelated to geology).  I'm not jetting off to Switzerland on a whim, but that story reminds me of a college roommate friend who did contracting in Iraq for several years, and she's getting ready to retire in her mid-thirties.  No signs of frugality, either, so she's probably making more money than God in order to soak up all the spending ;-)
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: shadowmoss on October 19, 2012, 08:02:23 AM
I work for a DOD contractor providing IT support to the Military.  For the past 2 years I've been living and working in Honduras.  The tax advantages of working outside the US have me just a few months from being debt free from credit cards or consumer loans.  Depends on how long it will take to get the deadbeat tennent out of my house in TN and sell the house to be able to be totally debt free.  Cutting ties and going outside the US to work has been the best financial step I've made, and I've learned a lot about hedonic adaptation.  I went from common working class status to part of the rich 1 percent down here in the time it takes to fly down.  Very much an eye opener.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: vieja on October 19, 2012, 08:31:09 AM
Thanks for all the positive comments.  At the moment all our extra money goes back into the business to pay it off.  Once that is accomplished, I am totally clueless as to where to invest the money.

I'm not trying to hijack the thread-just making a comment-because this is where I feel like I don't fit in.  I'll keep reading and learning and ask serious questions as I get closer to being debt free.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: MoonPilgrim on October 19, 2012, 12:10:14 PM
I make $80K per year as a grant/contract manager working for a medium-sized nonprofit with an IT-focused mission.  My teaching certificate, library science degree, and experience got me in the door doing "outreach" to schools and libraries (essentially an outside sales position, no commission plan, around $55K/year), and after a few years I switched departments and started managing staff.  This is a headache which, for me, is only sometimes worth the pay.  :) 

My organization has a close relationship with a nearby university, and all of our HR and payroll goes through the university, so I'm technically a university employee--the benefit plans offered are fantastic, and we get a ton of paid time off.  Not all schools are created equal, but I would recommend looking into openings at any higher ed institutions that are close to you.

Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Undecided on October 19, 2012, 01:04:02 PM
Tax Lawyer: BigLaw, Big 4, In-House Counsel, Tax Consulting. High stress, ridiculous hours, not worth the money, IMHO.

Are you still doing it?
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: thrifted on October 19, 2012, 07:57:33 PM
I do accounting for a small nonprofit. I started at $55k here but was at a university doing the same work for $45k just a few years ago.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Nords on October 19, 2012, 08:35:25 PM
And that's how we started. ROTC scholarships then navy for five years to pay it back.  Worked in nukes, but at a desk.
Well, I'm jealous!

But then you're probably wishing that you had a chance to go to sea and run engineering drills...

Designer of plumbing and related mechanical piping systems for buildings. Graduated w/ a bachelors in Mech E in 2000, along with tacking on econ and business majors. Worked in the family construction company for about 7 years, and was beyond burnt out (thanks to family as much as the industry).
Tried the other side of the table for design, and found out I enjoy it fairly well. Some competing job offers helped encourage my employer to bump up my salary two different times, up to the low 90s. Have gone back and forth on getting my PE, but plan on hanging up the hat in less than 10 years, so not too inclined to go through the hassle and continuing education time/expense for just a few years of marginal benefit.
This is interesting.  I don't know much about the engineering career field, but I was under the impression that Mech Es and Civil Es couldn't get very far without a PE.  My daughter's college experience has just tended to reinforce that.  Yet after she graduates and starts her military payback, it's going to take her quite a few years to pursue a PE.

By the time you had your seven years of experience, was that considered the equivalent of a PE?  Or was your experience in other areas of the business where a PE was just superfluous?
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Sparky on October 20, 2012, 10:41:01 AM
I work the job I do, because I know that I'm out here, making sure it gets done the right way, with as little environmental impact as possible. 

It pays well in the good times, which allows me to save for the times when I'll be out of work.

Well said. You and I are in the same boat. When it's good its great but when its bad it's really bad.....
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 20, 2012, 07:28:56 PM
Thanks Sparky :)

I'm glad to know that there are a few others out there in the same position.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: ShanghaiStashing on October 20, 2012, 07:51:41 PM
I work in management consulting.

Pros
Great pay, huge advancement, pay will stay with you even after you transition to industry (e.g., you can expect to make 80% or so of your last years pay when you go to industry).

The travel is fantastic and you can end up with most vacations for free from miles / hotel points, and if you're lucky you see the world (I think I'm on 18 countries for work now)

Cons
Absolutely no work life balance -- I regularly work 80+ hours per week
High, high, high stress environment with tight deadlines and bosses who can be assholes
Perfectionism and materialism -- people constantly judge each other and are highly materialistic

For me I stay because following this path I can reach my FI goal in 5-7 years and be phenomenally secure if I ever want / need to return to the work force.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: MooreBonds on October 20, 2012, 08:21:35 PM
Designer of plumbing and related mechanical piping systems for buildings. Graduated w/ a bachelors in Mech E in 2000, along with tacking on econ and business majors....Have gone back and forth on getting my PE, but plan on hanging up the hat in less than 10 years, so not too inclined to go through the hassle and continuing education time/expense for just a few years of marginal benefit.
This is interesting.  I don't know much about the engineering career field, but I was under the impression that Mech Es and Civil Es couldn't get very far without a PE.  My daughter's college experience has just tended to reinforce that.  Yet after she graduates and starts her military payback, it's going to take her quite a few years to pursue a PE.

By the time you had your seven years of experience, was that considered the equivalent of a PE?  Or was your experience in other areas of the business where a PE was just superfluous?

To answer your question....no, experience isn't considered "equivalent" to a PE by most firms*. Most firms merely want as many employees to have those two letters after their name for eye candy for clients. Has absolutely nothing to do with your competency - at least, directly. Obviously, if you really suck, then eventually they'll be forced to get rid of you

*Don't interpret that to mean that no employer will ever want to hire you unless you have a PE - it just means that there are more job openings by the top-notch firms for engineers that have a PE, and of course you can command a higher salary as well.

However, the Plumbing area is a slightly specialized part of the architecture/engineering field. Many Plumbing designers don't have an engineering degree (higher percentage than the Electrical and Mechanical people), and some companies merely have their Mech E (who normally does the HVAC ductwork/piping designs) do a half-assed attempt at the plumbing system. So someone who has an engineering pedigree in Plumbing is a bit of a stand-out. Add in my 7 years of 'real world' experience, and some employers can appreciate the somewhat unique skillsets and perspective I offer.

If I didn't have both my experience, skill sets and engineering degree (even though I don't have a PE) then I certainly wouldn't have gone as far in my salary package - from my research (glassdoor.com, my job search 5 years ago, and the occasional check on Monster/Career Builder for the rare posting that includes a salary range, just to see what salaries are at), I'm definitely in the top 10% of MEP consulting engineers who has 5 years of consulting experience.

I would tell your daughter to take her Fundamentals Exam IMMEDIATELY (she can take it as a senior). She has several FE tests to pick from, regardless of her major. Get that out of the way now while everything's fresh. She'll be surprised how much she forgets after just 1 year, let alone 12. :) After her FE exam is passed, she can then take the PE exam whenever (1, 5, 10, 20 years)....although there is a strong undercurrent within the registration boards to require new PEs to have a Master's degree before qualifying to take the PE test. If it ever does get enacted, it will be like 2020 before it is, so she has time - but life (and a growing portfolio) has a way of attacking your drive and ambition for some licensures.

Also, I believe (but not 100% positive) that she can take the PE exam any time after she takes the FE exam, regardless of whether she has her 'mentoring/supervising' by another PE - it's just that she can't fill out the form with the engineering board and receive the formal PE stamp from her home state until she can list the PE that has mentored her. So encourage her to take the PE exam as well, and then it's home free....until the annual continuing education classes start.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Nords on October 20, 2012, 08:41:59 PM
I would tell your daughter to take her Fundamentals Exam IMMEDIATELY (she can take it as a senior). She has several FE tests to pick from, regardless of her major. Get that out of the way now while everything's fresh. She'll be surprised how much she forgets after just 1 year, let alone 12. :) After her FE exam is passed, she can then take the PE exam whenever (1, 5, 10, 20 years)....although there is a strong undercurrent within the registration boards to require new PEs to have a Master's degree before qualifying to take the PE test. If it ever does get enacted, it will be like 2020 before it is, so she has time - but life (and a growing portfolio) has a way of attacking your drive and ambition for some licensures.
Also, I believe (but not 100% positive) that she can take the PE exam any time after she takes the FE exam, regardless of whether she has her 'mentoring/supervising' by another PE - it's just that she can't fill out the form with the engineering board and receive the formal PE stamp from her home state until she can list the PE that has mentored her. So encourage her to take the PE exam as well, and then it's home free....until the annual continuing education classes start.
Thanks, I'll pass that on.  She's a sucker for this qualifications stuff.

I'm glad I stuck to chemistry and then nuclear engineering...
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 20, 2012, 09:56:49 PM
PE in the states must be a bit different than here (Canada).  In my province, We have P. Eng (and P. Geol and P. Geoph and P. Geo) all under the same regulatory association.

When you graduate, you become a M.I.T (Member In Training) for engineering (or Geol IT/Geoph IT/Geo IT) and once you have 4 years of experience (and have written the ethics exam) you can get the professional designation.

Without 4 years of supervised experience as an IT, you can't get the professional designation, even if you come out of school with a Ph. D.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: MooreBonds on October 21, 2012, 10:06:53 AM
PE in the states must be a bit different than here (Canada).  In my province, We have P. Eng (and P. Geol and P. Geoph and P. Geo) all under the same regulatory association.

When you graduate, you become a M.I.T (Member In Training) for engineering (or Geol IT/Geoph IT/Geo IT) and once you have 4 years of experience (and have written the ethics exam) you can get the professional designation.

Without 4 years of supervised experience as an IT, you can't get the professional designation, even if you come out of school with a Ph. D.

Perhaps I didn't describe it clearly, because it sounds like the US format is fairly similar:

1. Graduate from an accredited engineering school with a Bachelor's Degree.
2. Pass the Fundamentals in Engineering exam (broad test with a few questions from every discipline, with one section focused more heavily on a specific discipline)
3. Pass the Professional Engineer's exam (specific to whatever discipline you want to get the PE registration in)
4. Work under another PE for 4 years or so.

You can do #3 and #4 in any order. And each state's engineering board oversees (I believe) all PE registrations for that state. Nearly all states have reciprocity with another state's PE registration, so you only have to pass the exams one time in your life - you merely have to fill out a form and (usually) pay an annual licensing requirement to keep it active.

Perhaps one difference is that in the US, some states will let a PE stamp any drawing (a Civ E could stamp an Electrical drawing), while in other states, you can only stamp a drawing that is for the specific discipline you have a registered PE stamp in.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 21, 2012, 10:57:40 AM
PE in the states must be a bit different than here (Canada).  In my province, We have P. Eng (and P. Geol and P. Geoph and P. Geo) all under the same regulatory association.

When you graduate, you become a M.I.T (Member In Training) for engineering (or Geol IT/Geoph IT/Geo IT) and once you have 4 years of experience (and have written the ethics exam) you can get the professional designation.

Without 4 years of supervised experience as an IT, you can't get the professional designation, even if you come out of school with a Ph. D.

Perhaps I didn't describe it clearly, because it sounds like the US format is fairly similar:

1. Graduate from an accredited engineering school with a Bachelor's Degree.
2. Pass the Fundamentals in Engineering exam (broad test with a few questions from every discipline, with one section focused more heavily on a specific discipline)
3. Pass the Professional Engineer's exam (specific to whatever discipline you want to get the PE registration in)
4. Work under another PE for 4 years or so.

You can do #3 and #4 in any order. And each state's engineering board oversees (I believe) all PE registrations for that state. Nearly all states have reciprocity with another state's PE registration, so you only have to pass the exams one time in your life - you merely have to fill out a form and (usually) pay an annual licensing requirement to keep it active.

Perhaps one difference is that in the US, some states will let a PE stamp any drawing (a Civ E could stamp an Electrical drawing), while in other states, you can only stamp a drawing that is for the specific discipline you have a registered PE stamp in.

Ahh.  Thanks.

I was at a professional registration seminar 6 months ago (to explain all the hoops, and how to fill out the experience forms etc) and they told me that the US and Canada were quite similar, and that reciprocity agreements existed.  To get a P.Eng (and all the rest of the P's) in Canada, only one year of your experience needs to be Canadian, and the other 3 can be from anywhere in the world that has some sort of P.Eng type certification (so a professional can sign your experience forms).
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: kkbmustang on October 21, 2012, 02:12:14 PM
Tax Lawyer: BigLaw, Big 4, In-House Counsel, Tax Consulting. High stress, ridiculous hours, not worth the money, IMHO.

Are you still doing it?

At the moment I'm on long-term disability for a serious back injury, recovering from spinal fusion surgery. So, this red hot second, no. I'm seriously doubtful that I will physically be able to work 14-16 hour days again, which is a job requirement.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: TomTX on October 21, 2012, 03:55:11 PM
Geologist.

It pays similarly to the engineering types (six figures 4 years out of uni).  I'm in oil and gas.

Maybe I'm in the wrong location or industry, but it was 18 years out of uni to make six figures. Unless you count stock options.

Most likely the industry, unless you are already in oil & gas. I got a recruiter call last month that would double my salary - if I moved over to oil & gas. Would require relocation, longer hours, more intense environment and either a lot of time in the refinery or a lot of time away from home.

For engineering students - take the FE exam while you are in school!

Depending on your specialty, you may or may not go for a PE later - but you should get that FE out of the way. If you do go into a PE-centric field or employer, having the FE will make you likely to be eligible for some sort of assistance program, ranging from formal mentoring at the low end all the way to "Hey, we'll pay for a PE prep course you take on company time, exam fees, 45 days of paid study time before the exam and a guaranteed salary bump when you pass."
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: rob waters on October 21, 2012, 04:14:49 PM
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Would not recommend this career choice to anyone. I lucked out and had a scholarship all through vet school so graduated with zero debt, which is about the only good thing I can say about that.

This is exactly the advice I got while a Tech for a Vet.  He said the business side squeezed the life out of the career.  I promptly changed my post-grad training to another science.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: rob waters on October 21, 2012, 04:19:48 PM
Environmental Services - waterway permitting compliance, flood management compliance and wetland mitigation specialist for department of transportation.  Previously worked contract for clean water grants.  Education - BS Zoology and Masters in Environmental Science and Public Policy.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Self-employed-swami on October 21, 2012, 04:29:10 PM
Geologist.

It pays similarly to the engineering types (six figures 4 years out of uni).  I'm in oil and gas.

Maybe I'm in the wrong location or industry, but it was 18 years out of uni to make six figures. Unless you count stock options.

Most likely the industry, unless you are already in oil & gas. I got a recruiter call last month that would double my salary - if I moved over to oil & gas. Would require relocation, longer hours, more intense environment and either a lot of time in the refinery or a lot of time away from home.

I have a field job.  A lot of the office people I know are in the high 5 figure range, low 6 figures at 4 years out.  The field always pays better, I call it the inconvenience bonus.  I get no stock options or any benefits though, I pay for them myself (through my own company).  I am away from home 160 to 185 days a year though.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Sparky on October 21, 2012, 10:56:22 PM
Quote
I call it the inconvenience bonus

We call it 'doing time in (name the project) _____ prison'..... Really if you think about, when your out in the field your at work 24/7. Your ass is always on the line and more people get removed from their positions from being 'off work' and there actions than on the job site itself. It's a wonderful life :)

Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: atlbrew on October 25, 2012, 01:56:37 PM
I am a CPA working in Internal Audit for a medium size grain/barge company and my wife works in marketing for a small oil and gas electrical instrumentation company.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Nancy on October 25, 2012, 03:41:01 PM
I read for a living and love it. A very very long trudge to a decent salary - though I'll never be in the range of the engineers salary-wise. I'm a newspaper editor (and adjunct professor).  Old school, baby. Dig it.

I do dig it! How did your long trudge start? Editorial assistant?
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Matte on October 26, 2012, 01:00:23 PM
Power Engineer, work in oil and gas.  Good job, shift work, Went to BCIT 2 years, 29 bucks an hour as a summer student, and full time work is alot more.  Industry standard is overtime is double time, it is a regulated trade in Canada so you need a diploma + write Provincial exams for certification.  Work with steam and pressure vessels, rotating shift, its a good gig.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: palvar on October 26, 2012, 02:21:30 PM
I would tell your daughter to take her Fundamentals Exam IMMEDIATELY (she can take it as a senior). She has several FE tests to pick from, regardless of her major. Get that out of the way now while everything's fresh.

Also, the 180 page book they give to as a reference during the exam contains everything you learned in 4 years of college.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mm1970 on October 26, 2012, 09:55:14 PM
And that's how we started. ROTC scholarships then navy for five years to pay it back.  Worked in nukes, but at a desk.
Well, I'm jealous!

But then you're probably wishing that you had a chance to go to sea and run engineering drills...


Well, yes, kinda.  I was a nuke back in the dark ages (early 90's) before they let women on combat ships (and now, subs!)  So driving a desk was my only option for a nuke.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Nords on October 26, 2012, 11:48:15 PM
And that's how we started. ROTC scholarships then navy for five years to pay it back.  Worked in nukes, but at a desk.
Well, I'm jealous!

But then you're probably wishing that you had a chance to go to sea and run engineering drills...


Well, yes, kinda.  I was a nuke back in the dark ages (early 90's) before they let women on combat ships (and now, subs!)  So driving a desk was my only option for a nuke.
I think we both felt the grass was greener.

When my spouse (a meteorologist/oceanographer) was finally eligible for sea duty aboard a combatant, her detailer offered her the USS TRIPOLI.  She proudly relayed the news to the other surface warriors at her ASW training command, and they looked at her like she was nuts.  Once they'd explained to her what METOCs were used for on those ships (admin correspondence) and what TRIP's schedule looked like (shipyard), she was ready to try something else.  Somehow the detailer gave the impression that she'd be Horatio Hornblower...

Our daughter is dead-set on being a submariner (and a trailblazer living inside a fishbowl) because of the quality of the people.  I have to agree with her there.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mindaugas on October 29, 2012, 12:22:13 PM
30 now, in and out of college the past 10 years with no degree and work IT in sys admin related roles. I started at a small PC repair shop making $8 an hour, learned a LOT of stuff and gained tons of XP and eventually moved up to a DBA where I am now at a little over $80k.

I feel IT should be treated like a journeyman-ship (if that's the correct term) wherein you learn through apprenticeship like a plumber/electrician. Yes there should still be certs but it seems like a waste to get a CIS degree and learn some basic java so you can land a job as an entry level network/sys admin. You an learn what you need to know to get started through a cert bootcamp and the rest on the job.   
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mindaugas on October 29, 2012, 12:41:41 PM
Dh and I own a restaurant in a very small town.  Our income is limited.  It 12-18 months the place will be paid off and our income will double.

We saved the down payment on the place by waiting tables and cooking in restaurants.  Frugality and determination are the only reasons we have anything.  Dh has a 6th grade education and I spent 5 years wandering through various colleges.  I never managed to earn a degree but thankfully didn't accumulate any student loans either.

Its nice to see that there are other low income earners here.  I hesitate to share much because I feel a bit out of my league.

Ditto, a far fetched dream of mine is to own a restaurant. I admire anyone who does, especially if you're living off that.

I wouldn't feel bad, you worked hard, saved your money, invested it in something you know, and are making enough to live and pay off the related debt (maybe more).  Great story.  In fact, I wouldn't mind reading more about your experience and the economics of buying/running a restaurant.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: MrsKensington on October 29, 2012, 07:25:37 PM
Quote from: MrsKensington on October 21, 2012, 07:55:32 PM
I read for a living and love it. A very very long trudge to a decent salary - though I'll never be in the range of the engineers salary-wise. I'm a newspaper editor (and adjunct professor).  Old school, baby. Dig it.

I do dig it! How did your long trudge start? Editorial assistant?



Yep. I was a news aide making $16,000/year. 1991. With a few years out of the biz in the mid-90s to teach overseas, I've been lucky to end up in a good place. I also got a fellowship and was paid to earn a masters by teaching at a university AND working full time in a newsroom AND taking classes all at the same time. No sleep for those years, but no debt and bought a house.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Bakari on October 30, 2012, 11:05:33 AM
Career?
What's that?

After college (which I didn't finish the first time around) was a bike messenger, then a private security guard, then an armored truck driver, then a fork lift driver, then a security supervisor (same job as before, but with a gun and a patrol car) - then drove halfway across the country and was a live-in nanny for my 2 year old 1/2 cousin, then worked as a carnie (setting up and operating rides), then drove the rest of the way across the country and worked as a bike messenger in Manhattan, then a street fundraiser for Save the Children and GreenPeace, then worked in a seafood warehouse, then a tungsten factory, drove back to CA worked as an administrative assistant for a contractor, went back to college and got associate degrees in biology, earth science, economics, and liberal arts (plus EMT and reserve police officer certificates).
I didn't stay at any one job for more than 10 months.  In between I worked shorter gigs, lasting from one day to 2 weeks, including HVAC technician, TV commercial actor,  ditch digger, cold calling ad sales, medical test subject, "adult" actor, driving imported cars from the ship yard to the train yard.  I think there was more, but I can't remember what.

At the age of 26, when I graduated college, my plan was to become a park ranger (hence the biology and earth sci degrees, and emt and police certs).  Went through a long application process, tests, psychological evaluations, interview board, obstacle course, passed them all, was offered the job about one week before budget cuts eliminated the position.

While I was looking for another park ranger job, I posted an ad on Craigslist that I had a (biodiesel powered truck) truck and could move stuff in and/or do minor repairs.  It was supposed to be a way to pick up a little side cash until I was able to start my real "career"
That was six years ago.  Biodiesel Hauling is a certified green business, and jobs are 100% repeats and referrals.
It still remains my primary source of income, but six months after I started the hauling/delivery/handyman work, I also started working part-time at a little non-profit community bike shop that offers free indoor valet day parking for bicycle commuters.  In 2009 I joined the US Coast Guard reserve, and spend a couple days a month doing training and  search and rescue missions in the SF Bay.  In addition I work for the local bicycle coalition supervising the volunteers at festivals and other special events spring through fall, I write the blog for ecomodder.com, and I run the local polling place each election.

Total income between 4 jobs is approximately $35k, which is by far the most I have ever made in my life (half my adult years I earned 10k or less). 
I paid the last of my debt and opened an IRA on February 18th, 2010, and current savings and investments stands at $33,500 for about a 35% savings rate.

I'm currently saving for a downpayment on a two unit house.  I plan to rent both units out, at least at first, but I may move into one of them eventually.  At my level of spending I expect the rent from one would pay the majority of my living expenses, the rent from both should pay all of my living expenses with plenty left over for saving.  Assuming I can get a loan, (given my lack of a traditional job), I could be FI in 1-2 years (4 years after I started actually trying to be conscious of saving).

Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Vahla on October 30, 2012, 03:46:39 PM
Graduated college a few years back and I am doing IT support currently.  Pay isn't fantastic but it got me out of debt.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: MMMdude on October 31, 2012, 06:05:56 PM
I"m a CA in Canada (same as CPA in US).  Income is good (135k) and generally under 45 hours per week.  Where I live though, housing is fairly expensive (avg home 400K) and your average blue collar tradesmen makes about what I make so it's all relative.  Can be stressful at times, but everything considered I can't complain.  Would I get into it now if I was 22?  Possibly not as it seems to be a popular choice with grads these days and my feeling is that there are too many accountants in the market now.  Similar thing happened with pharmacy about ten years ago and teachers before that.  I am aiming to retire in about 10 years so not too concerned about any glut.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: grantmeaname on October 31, 2012, 06:36:15 PM
Here in the US accounting schools are pumping kids out as fast as they can and its still not enough to fill the seats of the retiring boomers each year.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: MMMdude on October 31, 2012, 06:44:36 PM
Here in the US accounting schools are pumping kids out as fast as they can and its still not enough to fill the seats of the retiring boomers each year.

I recently put up an ad for a Corp Accountant opening in my group and received 60 responses.  Granted, the vast majority of them were from recently immigrated individuals with overseas qualifications which is somewhat puzzling. 
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Another Reader on October 31, 2012, 08:37:52 PM
If your experience is anything like ours was, some of those recently immigrated applicants with accounting degrees will barely be able to explain the difference between a debit and a credit.  We would routinely have to consult the college equivalency publication to see if "College of ____"  or "______ University" wasn't really equivalent to a high school or a junior college when we hired entry level auditors.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: liquidbanana on November 01, 2012, 01:18:54 AM
Dang, after reading this thread, I really wish I had known about the job prospects of Geology.

I don't have a career. That word freaks me out. Hence, I am 28 and broke. High five to the low earners! You all are making more than me, I'm sure.

I'm a mostly a stay at home parent for now. I also average about $10-15 per hour writing spam (think ehow). But I work part time and have no benefits, so it doesn't amount to much.

I have dropped out of college three different times because I am flaky. But now I'm a student again working toward a BA in Special Education. It won't pay six figures ever, but I expect that I'll reach FI before 40 because I don't spend much at all. Unless a health catastrophe hits again (that's another reason I'm broke.)

Also, since I'm majoring in Special Ed, my degree is going to be essentially free after grants and student loan forgiveness programs for Special Education teachers. That will make FI a lot easier.

My SO doesn't have a degree either. He works in tech support for the evilest corporation in the world. (guess!) He makes like $25K or something. I'm not sure. He just quit a $40K management job with the same company because it was giving him ulcers.

We don't deal well with high demand jobs round here.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: arebelspy on November 01, 2012, 08:25:43 AM
He works in tech support for the evilest corporation in the world. (guess!)

Monsanto?
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: TLV on November 01, 2012, 01:27:23 PM
He works in tech support for the evilest corporation in the world. (guess!)

Monsanto?

I can picture that tech support call: "Hi, my soybeans aren't growing as well as they should be." "Have you tried defragmenting your pesticides?"
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: liquidbanana on November 01, 2012, 01:29:25 PM
Oh yeah, you just reminded me that he doesn't work for the most evil corporation. It's not nearly that evil.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Jay-Fazed on November 01, 2012, 03:17:48 PM
6 Years US ARMY working as an Unmanned Air Vehicle Operator ( Drones), And 1.5yrs now doing the same thing as a civilian, But early next year I will be done with my current employment . I only work in undesirable locations ( Iraq/Afghanistan) and think its time to go home to Colorado.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: cadamsgis on November 01, 2012, 06:33:53 PM
I have a BA in Geography. I currently work for local county government making 81K but that because they brought me in classified as an engineer (other people with geography degrees are planners and they have a lower pay scale).

my husband is a construction laborer

I have made a bunch of really dumb money decisions (from previous marriages) in the past and am currently working on my 5 year plan to be debt free. I'm one year in and have already paid off 36k.

my county has execlent benefits and I am eligible for retirement in 15 years. but as I told my husband after we dig out of the debt we then can save for FI. we are planning to relocate to mexico at that time.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: mm1970 on November 03, 2012, 09:13:27 PM
And that's how we started. ROTC scholarships then navy for five years to pay it back.  Worked in nukes, but at a desk.
Well, I'm jealous!

But then you're probably wishing that you had a chance to go to sea and run engineering drills...


Well, yes, kinda.  I was a nuke back in the dark ages (early 90's) before they let women on combat ships (and now, subs!)  So driving a desk was my only option for a nuke.
I think we both felt the grass was greener.

When my spouse (a meteorologist/oceanographer) was finally eligible for sea duty aboard a combatant, her detailer offered her the USS TRIPOLI.  She proudly relayed the news to the other surface warriors at her ASW training command, and they looked at her like she was nuts.  Once they'd explained to her what METOCs were used for on those ships (admin correspondence) and what TRIP's schedule looked like (shipyard), she was ready to try something else.  Somehow the detailer gave the impression that she'd be Horatio Hornblower...

Our daughter is dead-set on being a submariner (and a trailblazer living inside a fishbowl) because of the quality of the people.  I have to agree with her there.
I would totally agree with here there too.
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: YK-Phil on November 04, 2012, 09:35:49 PM
Cool, there are geographers here too!!

I am a geographer and environmental scientist (MSc.), had a fantastic career and life in the Arctic for 28 years, living among the Inuit in some of the most remote settlements in the Arctic. My last job, which I held for 12 years, was CEO of a federal agency. Dropped out of the rat race at 50, decided to try something new, as far away as I could from bureaucrats, lawyers, politicians, and their corporate masters. I now work about half of the month as a flight attendant, making about 12 times less money than my last "real" job. My wife owns a small clothing consignment store that pays a very modest after-tax stipend. We are happy (and well-dressed on the very cheap) not FI yet, but we have a very frugal but healthy lifestyle centered on traveling on the cheap (thanks to travel benefits) and good food (lots of home cooking, restaurants once a month), no consumer debt and a mortgage-free condo, which means that we can live on less than $30,000 a year in an expensive city like Calgary. In the current economic context in Alberta, I could easily find an executive job with any oil and gas corporation and make an obscene amount of money, but why work my butt off for the Man if I don't need to?
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Ozstache on November 05, 2012, 02:06:01 AM
Started out as an electronics technician, switched to software engineering (seems to be a common theme here) and am now in project management. The closer I get to the front of the management bus, the less I want to go where it's heading and plan to get off pretty soon. I've just got to convince myself that I've hit FI already and cut the safety line of my stable, well-paying and relatively unstressful job. If I was advising someone like myself, I'd say just do it!
Title: Re: What is (was) Your Career?
Post by: Allison on November 05, 2012, 11:58:31 AM
I buy robots and automation equipment for one of the largest car manufacturers in North American.  Started out with a BS in Marketing and kinda fell into manufacturing.  I make in the mid-50's with a 10-20% yearly bonus.  I should be FI by 40.