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Dreamseeker2011 said:   EggplantWizard said:   Gender: Male
Age: 32
Location: Manchester, NH
Occupation: Landlord and Ticket Broker
Education: BSBA Accounting from a non-prestigious state university
2010 Comp: 185k (est,+/- 10k -- still a few days left)
Benefits: None (on wife's benefit plan -- she's a consultant of sorts, earning $175kish)
Future Projection: Depends on people's preponderance to spend discretionary and on the value of property. Honestly, I expect a minor paycut next year

Own several multifamily properties and have a business buying and reselling event tickets. Pretty straightforward self-employment. I have never earned over $100k / yr as an employee, though have done multiple things.

Would I recommend to others:

without reservations, if you can handle the social stigma of ticket brokering and/or landlording.


EggplantWizard, can you expound on your entrepreneurial career?

How much of your $185K is from brokering tickets?

What kind of events do you broker tickets for? Concerts, football, basketball, tradeshows, etc?

I'm really interested in doing something on the side and brokering tickets sounds like a cool venture. I'm just not sure how to get started or what events generally have a higher chance of selling tickets.

Any help is greatly appreciated for a fellow FWer!


For those interested in ticket brokering... I have no idea about any career aspects of the field. But I did know someone (kind of a family friend) who was a ticker broker and he was pretty close to filthy stinkin' rich most of his adult life. He got one of those suitcase-sized cell phones in 1983 (I remember him showing it to me), always drove high-end Mercedes vehicles, had a huge house, and on and on. I don't think he had a college degree either.

Gender: male
Age: 23
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Occupation: Technical writer
Education: B.S. in Engineering Psychology
2010 Compensation: $62k
Future Salary Projection: Nominal increases until more experienced/educated
Benefits: Medical plan (vision and dental options), 401(k) match up to 6%, 16 days leave annually (sick+vacation), health and dependent FSAs available, life and disability insurance (limited benefit, additional coverage available), discounted stock purchase plan, tuition reimbursement
What's the job like? I work in the field of human factors engineering writing technical documents for military systems and assisting in various other capacities. Some weeks it's really interesting, some weeks it's kinda boring. I do get to work with experts in the field and am getting a great deal of experience. I plan on getting a master's degree soon and becoming a full-fledged engineer (though I'm a pretty good writer, but I don't see myself being a technical writer for long).
Would you recommend the career to others? I would recommend technical writing to folks with a technical mindset who like writing. I would recommend human factors to folks like myself who enjoy multidisciplinary fields (human factors can be a mix of psychology, physiology, systems engineering, and/or other fields depending on how you apply it). It's still a pretty small field and it might be hard to find a gig outside of a few key areas (military and aerospace, primarily), though it is growing.

Gender: Male
Age: 34
Location: Major midwestern city
Occupation: Equity Market Data Consultant
Education: BBA Finance, MS Finance
2010 Compensation: ~$101k
Future Salary Projection: Flat to slightly higher
Benefits: 4.5% 401k immediate vest, 4 weeks vacation (this is after 10 years of service), 3 weeks paternity (huge for me as we're expecting), decent health benefits, pretax commuter, FSA, fairly liberal expense account to attend industry events in area
What's the job like? I work with portfolio managers, equity analysts, and other market data consumers at asset management firms. My company sells market data to these firms and I help build models for my clients to use my data. I won't say I get secret formulas on how my clients pick stocks, I come pretty darn close to being able to figure it out. I also work with technical staff to get my data in-house, and a lot of what I write is in SQL, so I have to have some of that skillset as well. Being that I work for a large corporation, I have to deal with all sorts of BS, which makes me think twice about the company I work for.
Would you recommend the career to others? My particular job, no. The asset management industry is getting interesting. With the proliferation of ETFs, it's getting harder and harder to justify asset management fees, so my clients have to produce alpha year in and year out or they lose clients pretty quickly. I was lured to the industry because of the economies of scale - it doesn't take much effort to manage $1m as it does $10m or $20m. The revenues goes up, but expenses don't go up at the same rate.

Dreamseeker2011 said:   
EggplantWizard, can you expound on your entrepreneurial career?

How much of your $185K is from brokering tickets?


About 80%.

Dreamseeker2011 said:   
What kind of events do you broker tickets for? Concerts, football, basketball, tradeshows, etc?


Mostly sports -- I'm focused on football and hockey at the moment, though I have season tickets for the Bulls, Heat, Lakers, Celtics and Knicks as well. Sports seasons wind up being around 60% of the business, with sports tickets bought at a general public onsale or presale 20% and concerts around 18%. 2% Are things like speaking engagements and the like. I have not dabbled with tradeshows.

If you're interested in getting in, PM me.

Gender: M
Age: 30
Location: Big Southeastern City
Occupation: eBusiness Analyst
Education: BSBA (Starting MS in Finance program on the 10th)
2010 Compensation: 55k
Future Salary Projection: Really no idea
Benefits: 2 weeks vacation, full medical 401k matching up to 3% & 1/2 matching up to 8%
What's the job like? Restrictive, not that flexible. 40 hours in the office, typical corporate America. Basic EDI and Project Management.
Would you recommend the career to others? uhhh, it pays.

Gender:M
Age:26
Location:Big city, AZ
Occupation:Sales/Warehouse Manager in family Plumbing Supply House
Education:State University (Tier 2) drop out (my biggest regret)
2010 Compensation:~$52,000
Future Salary Projection:Probably less due to a decrease in commission and hours to go back to school.
Benefits:Great Medical, Dental, Vision, company truck and 10 day sick/vacation leave. Also the flexible hours so I can go back to school. (See below)
What's the job like?Very similar to retail, M-F and 2 out of 3 Saturdays, however also the pain of dealing with the trades who have no sense of planning, tact or patience.
Would you recommend the career to others?Like any family business, it comes with the pros (see the benefits) and the cons. Being family you are expect to do more than a typical employee and get no accolades in return. However, the perks far out weigh these cons. Like any sales driven job, it is very volatile. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they had a back up plan. Speaking of which, I am going back to school in January to get an Associates in some sort of health care position.(RN, Radiography, Sonography, etc. Not the biggest job opportunity for new RN grads here in AZ, but in any retirement state like AZ, it is projected to have a huge need of RNs in the next few years. I would then like to get my Bachelor's to be a Physician's Assistant. Like I said, you need a back up plan. I wish I thought of mine sooner.

ragedogg69 said:   Gender:M
Age:26
Location:Big city, AZ
Occupation:Sales/Warehouse Manager in family Plumbing Supply House
Education:State University (Tier 2) drop out (my biggest regret)
2010 Compensation:~$52,000
Future Salary Projection:Probably less due to a decrease in commission and hours to go back to school.
Benefits:Great Medical, Dental, Vision, company truck and 10 day sick/vacation leave. Also the flexible hours so I can go back to school. (See below)
What's the job like?Very similar to retail, M-F and 2 out of 3 Saturdays, however also the pain of dealing with the trades who have no sense of planning, tact or patience.
Would you recommend the career to others?Like any family business, it comes with the pros (see the benefits) and the cons. Being family you are expect to do more than a typical employee and get no accolades in return. However, the perks far out weigh these cons. Like any sales driven job, it is very volatile. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they had a back up plan. Speaking of which, I am going back to school in January to get an Associates in some sort of health care position.(RN, Radiography, Sonography, etc. Not the biggest job opportunity for new RN grads here in AZ, but in any retirement state like AZ, it is projected to have a huge need of RNs in the next few years. I would then like to get my Bachelor's to be a Physician's Assistant. Like I said, you need a back up plan. I wish I thought of mine sooner.


Hey man, big ups for getting yourself together and getting back to school. You're still quite young in the grand scheme of things, so it shouldn't put too big a dent in your overall financial picture to finish up some school of some sort (either the State Uni you went to before or a separate bachelor's to become a PA, etc.). Good luck with whichever path you end up on!

Gender:M
Age:46
Location:NJ
Occupation:McDonalds Chef
Education:graduated top 50% in middle school
2010 Compensation:~$6.75/hr
Future Salary Projection:$7.00 if I get promoted to head chef
Benefits:free McNuggets and Big Macs
What's the job like?very challenging, some don't want pickles, some don't want cheese, others want extra ketchup, WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST TAKE THE PICKLES OFF IF THEY DON'T LIKE PICKLES?? WHY CAN'T PEOPLE ADD KETCHUP TO THEIR OWN SANDWICH??? It is hard to remember everything.
Would you recommend the career to others?NO!!!!!! STAY AWAY, if you don't do your job right, the manager comes out with a McBelt and whips your @$$.

Gender: M

Age: 28

Location: Large city in the Southeast

Occupation: Equity Analyst, Buy-side

Education: Nationally recognized public school, CFA charter

2010 Compensation: $70,000 Base + $22,100 cash bonus + ~$2000 profit sharing = $94,100

Future Salary Projection: Already got my annual review. 2011 Base salary will be $100,000, add in bonus and profit sharing will probably be looking at $130,000 or so.

Benefits: 5 sick days, 17 PTO, 401k matching, AWESOME medical, reimbursed parking (a big deal considering the area), company phone.

What's the job like? This is the 4th year I've posted on this thread. Basically, the job description didn't change too much but I was given more responsibilities in terms of the industries covered.

Would you recommend the career to others? Absolutely. Someone mentioned the scalability of this business, so new job openings are scarce. This is one of the few positions in front office financial services that you can actually have a life. I work on average 45~50 hrs a week and maybe 60 hrs one week out of the year.

Gender: M
Age: 26
Location: California
Occupation: Senior Audit Associate at a Big 4
Education: BA in Economics, Minor in Accounting, Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner
2010 Compensation: $61.5k + ~$2k bonus
Future Salary Projection: Not really sure. Probably steady ~6% assuming we don't lose too many clients or cut the fees
Benefits: The usual health benefits and 401k. Free smart phone, fitness subsidy (which is awesome), some travel, nice hotels, 5 weeks vacation
What's the job like? It's not the most exciting, but it depends on which clients you get put on. I'm pretty much fully involved in our firm's investment management group so its interesting for me to see what companies are investing in and just how a company manages other peoples assets. From January-April the hours are brutal. I think I'll be doing 60-70/wk starting in 2 weeks. But outside of those months its actually pretty relaxed. We aren't supposed to take PPTO during busy season so its nice having 5 weeks lined up between April-December.
Would you recommend the career to others? If you are business minded and are not interested in investment banking, then I think going through the Big 4 is a great path. Again it depends on which clients you get put on, but there are some really nice exit opportunities which can offer you better hours and a significant pay increase. Basically, the longer you can stick it out at a Big 4, the better options you have when you leave.

Gender: M
Age: 26
Location: Washington State
Occupation: Field Service Engineer
Education: BS and M.Eng in Mechanical Engineering
2010 Compensation: $72,000 base + $8000 living allowance + $4000 overtime. I switched into this role mid-year prior to a nice raise so my total compensation was $78,000.
Future Salary Projection: Likely 3% increase in base in 2011. If my OT rate continues as it has, likely total compensation will be $90,000 in 2011. Similar 3-5% annual raise expected going forward if I stay with this role.
Benefits: Decent health, dental, 401K: company matched 4%, 10 days vacation + 12 holidays.
What's the job like? Lots of responsibility and expectations to understand complex products. I act as an interface between my company (based in another state) and the one I am located at who purchases our products. It's an interesting mix of engineering, customer service, and project management.
Would you recommend the career to others? Yes; I enjoy it a lot. I've held normal hours for the most part, but often have to stay late or work weekends as unexpected problems arise. It works for me as I'm single, but it could be stressful long-term. Being new to the role is difficult because there is so much I am expected to know as the representative of my company, but fortunately we have a pretty big team on site with a lot of experience to learn from.

Gender: M
Age: 30
Location: Pacific
Occupation: Engineer (construction)
Education: BS
2010 Compensation: $57k
Future Salary Projection: Hoping to be getting 65k for 2010, more would be nice, but I have a feeling that I'll be lucky to break the 60k barrier, so it might be time to go shopping around for alternate options.
Benefits: Decent health, dental, 401K: company matched 5%, 10 days vacation + 10 combined PTO/Sick days
What's the job like?: 630a-5p M-F. Can't do anything with my mornings and after work kinda of burnt out to do anything else. A lot of work and responsibility with little to no thanks in return.
Would you recommend the career to others? Based on the posts of others, there appears to be more lucrative careers out there with shorter work hours, so "it depends".

njguy646 said:   Gender:M
Age:46
Location:NJ
Occupation:McDonalds Chef
Education:graduated top 50% in middle school
2010 Compensation:~$6.75/hr
Future Salary Projection:$7.00 if I get promoted to head chef
Benefits:free McNuggets and Big Macs
What's the job like?very challenging, some don't want pickles, some don't want cheese, others want extra ketchup, WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST TAKE THE PICKLES OFF IF THEY DON'T LIKE PICKLES?? WHY CAN'T PEOPLE ADD KETCHUP TO THEIR OWN SANDWICH??? It is hard to remember everything.
Would you recommend the career to others?NO!!!!!! STAY AWAY, if you don't do your job right, the manager comes out with a McBelt and whips your @$$.


Why all the red??? I thought this was hilarius!

sammy1224 said:   njguy646 said:   Gender:M
Age:46
Location:NJ
Occupation:McDonalds Chef
Education:graduated top 50% in middle school
2010 Compensation:~$6.75/hr
Future Salary Projection:$7.00 if I get promoted to head chef
Benefits:free McNuggets and Big Macs
What's the job like?very challenging, some don't want pickles, some don't want cheese, others want extra ketchup, WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST TAKE THE PICKLES OFF IF THEY DON'T LIKE PICKLES?? WHY CAN'T PEOPLE ADD KETCHUP TO THEIR OWN SANDWICH??? It is hard to remember everything.
Would you recommend the career to others?NO!!!!!! STAY AWAY, if you don't do your job right, the manager comes out with a McBelt and whips your @$$.


Why all the red??? I thought this was hilarius!

FWF is not known for it's sense of humor.

Gender: Female
Age: 33
Location: Small metro area (population of less than 1 million) in Northeast
Occupation: product manager for company producing life science reagents
Education: BA in a hard science from an Ivy, PhD in a hard science from a top 20 program
2010 Compensation: $76,900
Future Salary Projection: 2011 base will start at $80,300, and I expect a 4-5% raise in March. According to my salary research, this is low compared to similar positions.
Benefits: 401k match of 4%, some additional retirement contributions, medical/dental/vision, and 27 PTO days/year along with about 7-8 holidays/year. A PTO bank is great. If my time was broken into vacation versus sick time, I know I would never get to take it all since I would take very few sick days on average. With the PTO system, I can take off the full time for any reason without feeling guilty or having to explain. This is definitely something I would look for if switching employers.
What's the job like? 15-25% travel. Set strategy and revenue projections, develop marketing plans and materials, perform financial analysis, etc. Lots of interaction with many different parts of company as well as directly with customers.
Would you recommend the career to others? Yes. If you're not interested in continuing to work at the bench, this is an interesting alternative career for a scientist. As with all jobs, your individual satisfaction is highly dependent on the overall company culture as well as your relationship with your direct manager.

Gender: M
Age: 28
Location: Chicago, IL
Occupation: is Corporate Senior Tax Analyst
Education: Bachelors, Top 3 Accounting; MST
2010 Compensation: $83K + Modest Bonus
Future Salary Projection: $83K + 3-5% increase
Benefits: Medical, Dental, 6% 401K match, 2 weeks vacation, 1 week personal time

What's the job like?
Highly analytical and mentally stimulating at times. Tax law is always changing. Some projects can be tedious. Tax is typically the most thankless department. I've worked in public accounting and at another corporation. Each has its pluses and minuses. I'd say the corporate environment is highly dependent on the company your work for and who your direct superiors are. If you corporation isn't doing anything particularly interesting (international, M&A, IPO, etc..) then the job probably will be more on the tedious side. Public accounting can be rewarding but it tends to wear down and weed out many who start there.

Would you recommend the career to others?
It's definitely not for everyone. Tax accounting takes a specific type of person. I'm still trying to figure out if its ultimately the right fit for me.

Gender: M
Age: 41
Location: my house on a suburban street in the heart of it all (although I know others working remote from the beach, mountain hideaways, or even foreign locales).
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter
Education: BA History
2010 Compensation: $105k plus $10k bonus
Future Salary Projection: 2-3% per year unless I move to another company
Benefits: 4+ weeks vacation, 2-3 floating holidays; Medical/Dental/Vision, 401k matching up to 6%
What's the job like? Work from home, typically 7-8 hours/day. Take a flight 1-2x per year to the home office for 2-3 day seminars. I review medical records and financial reports on wealthy clients (individuals and businesses) to determine their mortality risk for a large insurer. I've been asked if I'm a man of leisure by more than one neighbor or acquaintance as I have the ability to take a break for however long I would like throughout the day--provided I don't have a scheduled conference call. I have banker hours without the suit and tie, or the need to leave the house.
Would you recommend the career to others? Depends on the person. When I tell people what I do, that I work from home, and ballpark my salary they ask where to sign-up. It is a challenge to work in isolation year-round although I'm on the phone quite a bit. I should be better at multitasking and looking for other daytime income streams. I volunteer at night and have the whole nuclear family thing going, so I do get my fill of much needed socializing. It has been a good career for someone who wants to do just enough to have a fairly successful existence. Insurance is not for the faint of heart...you might die of boredom.

Gender: M
Age: 29
Location: Small town in a mid-Atlantic state
Occupation: Post-doctoral fellow
Education: PhD Biomedical Engineering
2010 Compensation: 40K
Future Salary Projection: 42K next year, ~100K whenever/if I get an assistant professor position
Benefits: Free health insurance, not paying social security due to a fellowship tax loophole. I have the ability to set my own schedule, so I can go in early or late when I need personal time. I get 4 weeks vacation in addition to university holidays.
What's the job like? I work at a big research oriented university under the mentoring of a big wig professor. Sounds great on paper but a post-doc can amount to a glorified lab technician. We are generally treated rather poorly by the university and we do get less benefits than most employees (I do not receive any retirement but almost all other workers get it). I have the worst parking assignment and have to park with the secretaries and maintenance people while LPNs and even med school students get better parking.
The professor I work with has horrendous social skills and as a result sometimes the working environment in my lab is very poor because he doesn't understand how to treat people with basic courtesy. On the flip side he is not a slave driver (in some labs the professor would expect 10+ hour days including both Saturday and Sunday). The work other post-docs publish is in high impact journals (e.g. Nature), and my project has been going extremely well and will likely lead to a few great publications. For those outside of the academic world, the publications you get in your post-doc basically determines whether or not you can get an independent position as an assistant professor. You can find a good mentor for a post-doc or you can go to a big lab that publishes great papers. It is difficult to find someone who fits both categories.
Unfortunately my professor has decided to move this Spring to a more prestigious University in the Northeast. He will keep the lab open until Summer 2012 which should allow me to get most of my work completed, but might not be enough time to also find a faculty position. He has been putting pressure on me to move with the lab, but the general decrepitness and high cost of living in this particular city, combined with the lack of a raise (most post-docs are paid on an NIH scale which has no cost-of-living adjustments), makes moving not a good option. I am currently rethinking my career aspirations, looking into other labs in the area to continue my post-doc, and possibly looking at taking a job in the private sector.
Would you recommend the career to others? Academics is a bizarre world. I can only speak for the life-sciences fields, but many of the big name people basically ride on the backs of their grad students/post-docs and it is a giant pyramid scheme where for 10 post-docs there might be one faculty position. I think I am in the top 10-20%, but it is still stressful thinking about the future, even though I am confident in my ability to land a job in at least a second-tier university. I really love my work, I like collaborating with other groups, and think it is great I get to study things that no one else has looked at. But it is a huge risk and financial sacrifice to work in basic science research. The appeal of the private sector is that I wouldn't be at the whim of NIH funding and could make much more money, but I would have to give up the ability to research what I am personally interested in.

Gender: M
Age: 30
Location: ~2mil metro area in Southeast
Occupation: Network Engineer for Telco
Education: *JUST* got my BS in IS/IT, multiple network certs
2010 Compensation: 80k salary
Future Salary Projection: 2-5%/yr, next level Engineer provides an 8% salary bonus paid based on: 70% Company Performance; 30% Employee Performance; Top Engineer position makes 100k+ 12% bonus.
Benefits: Up to now we had a set pension based on years of service * x% of salary (what has been earned stays with you and compounds- but no more "contributions" after 2010). 2011 offers 50% match of 401k up to 7% (up from variable % up to 6%- depended on company performance), Employee Stock Purchase Plan @ 30% off, decent medical/vision/dental options- but nothing like government jobs. Also offers some Educational Reimbursement (paid for my AS & BS- the FW way)
What's the job like? Pretty flexible schedule in before 9a, out before 5p, with some on-call responsibility and overnight maintenance. I could also shift the times around to like 7a-3p, 8a-4p, 10a-6p, etc. Also option for Work From Home/Remotely (ie: co-worker working from another state this week). Work Duties: Analyze configurations, reports, configure multiple types of vendor hardware, schedule changes, etc. However, I think we really get paid for our ideas, ingenuity and insight.
Would you recommend the career to others? It took me 11 years to get here, and I really busted my butt to get where I am. I could have skipped ~5 years of work promotions by completing my Bachelors before starting my career. I had to work some grueling jobs before this (lowest CS jobs- but got job promotions every 2yrs or so), but now that I'm here- yes I would recommend THIS career to others. BUT choose the company wisely- my company has recently been making ridiculous decisions from the top down, so I'm starting to look elsewhere- and honestly it's a shame.

sidenote: I like this thread- thanks zhelder!

Gender: Male
Age: Late 20s
Location: 500k population city in the Midwest
Occupation: Accountant at a local firm (not a regional or Big 4)
Education: B.A. (and a CPA license)
2010 Compensation: A little bit over 50k.
Length in field: A little bit under 6 years
Future Salary Projection: Probably a 3-5% cost of living increase (which is about what I got this year) as there are no further advancement opportunities at the current employer.
Benefits: Simple plan with match, mostly paid for health insurance (but the plans just keep on getting worse ever year during renewals in the spirit of trying to decrease costs), 2 wks vacation, some sick time, CPE paid for

What's the job like? Since it is a small firm, I have to wear a lot of different hats. I would ballpark that I spend about 30% of my time doing auditing work, about 35% doing tax compliance (personal and business returns) and the remainder is a little bit of everything else (simple bookkeeping, payroll and the oddball things like investigations or research). The "off" season is 4/16-12/31 where we work M-F 8-5 and during tax season, we have to be in the office by 7 M-Sat and work a minimum of 55 hours a week.

On one hand, I really enjoy the flexible that I have (being able to take off during the off season on short notice) and enjoy getting to interact with a variety of clients across a lot of industries (which creates a lot of learning opportunities). I also enjoy the unique projects that crop up a few times a year, such as litigation support and complex business income calculations.

On the flip side, there really isn't any future advancement opportunities in the firm (due to the size of the firm and a lack of desire to be a partner, which does require the ability to generate business). Also, unfortunately, there aren't a lot of greener pastures to jump to, since there is a big preference at larger companies for accountants with Big 4 or regional firm experience (primarily due to name recognition as well as more than likely the people in charge of hiring came such backgrounds). You also have to keep track of your time for billing purposes and dividing your day into 6min, 10min or 15min chunks gets old very fast.

Gender: M
Age: 30-35
Location: Pacific Northwest
Occupation: Commercial Banker - Public Finance
Education: Bachelors from a state school; MBA in process
2010 Compensation: 80k salary; 22k bonus
Future Salary Projection: 4-5%/year increase; bonus should be in the 30-35k range most years (2009 was lousy)
Benefits: 20 days vacation, defined benefit pension plan

What's the job like? Dealing with client issues. Fighting internal policies to grow business. Deal with a lot of policies created by gray hairs because, "that's the way we've always done it."

Would you recommend the career to others? Banking can be really good for people, but it gets repetitive. I'm not on the steep end of the learning curve anymore. The although media reports suggest otherwise, the industry is extremely conservative and independent thought is discouraged. Regulatory changes will put a damper on the ability to do things I would consider "fun" (read: customer-facing) as banks are focused inward on these changes.

What recession?

I wonder what the AVG salary of the Career Thoughts and Compensation Thread's are and if they have increased/decreased with the economy.

zerolast said:   Gender: M
Age: 41
Location: my house on a suburban street in the heart of it all (although I know others working remote from the beach, mountain hideaways, or even foreign locales).
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter
Education: BA History
2010 Compensation: $105k plus $10k bonus
Future Salary Projection: 2-3% per year unless I move to another company
Benefits: 4+ weeks vacation, 2-3 floating holidays; Medical/Dental/Vision, 401k matching up to 6%
What's the job like? Work from home, typically 7-8 hours/day. Take a flight 1-2x per year to the home office for 2-3 day seminars. I review medical records and financial reports on wealthy clients (individuals and businesses) to determine their mortality risk for a large insurer. I've been asked if I'm a man of leisure by more than one neighbor or acquaintance as I have the ability to take a break for however long I would like throughout the day--provided I don't have a scheduled conference call. I have banker hours without the suit and tie, or the need to leave the house.
Would you recommend the career to others? Depends on the person. When I tell people what I do, that I work from home, and ballpark my salary they ask where to sign-up. It is a challenge to work in isolation year-round although I'm on the phone quite a bit. I should be better at multitasking and looking for other daytime income streams. I volunteer at night and have the whole nuclear family thing going, so I do get my fill of much needed socializing. It has been a good career for someone who wants to do just enough to have a fairly successful existence. Insurance is not for the faint of heart...you might die of boredom.


Zerolast, that sounds like a great work/life balance. Someone recently suggested that I try selling life insurance. I don't want to leave my current job so I'm curious if it's possible to do this on the weekends? Or if there're any other ways to get in on it... perhaps through referring a new client? Just looking for ideas and would appreciate your insight since you do this for a living. Thanks!!

Gender: Male
Age: 26
Location: Midwest
Occupation: Actuarial Analyst
Education: B.A. in Mathematics
Length of time in this field: Two years.
2010 Compensation: 71k
Future Salary Projection: My future compensation depends greatly on my ability to pass actuarial exams. Assuming I pass both of my exams in the coming year, I should earn ~85k in 2011. If I pass only one exam, ~80k, If I don't pass any, ~75k.
Benefits: Health, dental. 6% 401k match. Company stock purchase plan with 15% discount (max purchase = 15k in one calendar year)
What's the job like? At my level (which is an entry level grunt), I spend most of my time in Microsoft Excel and statistical software playing with numbers. The main goal of my job is to analyze historical loss data from insurance companies and use that to try to predict what's going to happen in the future year. It's fun if you like math. Most of my time is spent in front of a computer and it currently isn't a very people-oriented job. However, as you move up on the ladder, you tend to spend more time trying to explain results to people and don't do so much of the number crunching yourself. For instance, my boss is constantly on the phone or in a meeting somewhere.
Would you recommend the career to others? Depends. If you like applying math to real world situations, then you'll like this job. However, it takes a lot of work to become an actuary. For the first five to ten years of an actuarial career, you are studying for difficult actuarial exams in addition to working a full-time job. Supposedly, after you get past the exams, the career becomes a lot easier. However, right now I average 50 hours a week at my job and then another 20-25 hours studying for my exams. I love my job, but it can be a lot of work sometimes to pass exams in addition to the workload.

.

Man I thought I was doing good, boy was I wrong, maybe need to get out of Hawaii

Gender: Male
Age: 27
Location: Hawaii
Occupation: Data Analyst/Report Writer/System Engineer
Education: BS in CS
Length of time in this field: 2 Years
2010 Compensation: 62K
Future Salary Projection: yearly increase between 2% to %5
Benefits: Medical/Dental, 401k Matching 3%,
What's the job like? Work a lot after hours but still only work about 40-45 hours a week, wasn't like that before but I've taken on a lot more responsibily and haven't gotten compensated for it yet. Get to come in at 930, which is great since I don't wake up.
Would you recommend the career to others? I use to love my job, now I only like my job. I would recommend this for somebody who can analyze data and is a creative problem solver, it not a tough job

Dreamseeker2011 said:   zerolast said:   Gender: M
Age: 41
Location: my house on a suburban street in the heart of it all (although I know others working remote from the beach, mountain hideaways, or even foreign locales).
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter
Education: BA History
2010 Compensation: $105k plus $10k bonus
Future Salary Projection: 2-3% per year unless I move to another company
Benefits: 4+ weeks vacation, 2-3 floating holidays; Medical/Dental/Vision, 401k matching up to 6%
What's the job like? Work from home, typically 7-8 hours/day. Take a flight 1-2x per year to the home office for 2-3 day seminars. I review medical records and financial reports on wealthy clients (individuals and businesses) to determine their mortality risk for a large insurer. I've been asked if I'm a man of leisure by more than one neighbor or acquaintance as I have the ability to take a break for however long I would like throughout the day--provided I don't have a scheduled conference call. I have banker hours without the suit and tie, or the need to leave the house.
Would you recommend the career to others? Depends on the person. When I tell people what I do, that I work from home, and ballpark my salary they ask where to sign-up. It is a challenge to work in isolation year-round although I'm on the phone quite a bit. I should be better at multitasking and looking for other daytime income streams. I volunteer at night and have the whole nuclear family thing going, so I do get my fill of much needed socializing. It has been a good career for someone who wants to do just enough to have a fairly successful existence. Insurance is not for the faint of heart...you might die of boredom.


Zerolast, that sounds like a great work/life balance. Someone recently suggested that I try selling life insurance. I don't want to leave my current job so I'm curious if it's possible to do this on the weekends? Or if there're any other ways to get in on it... perhaps through referring a new client? Just looking for ideas and would appreciate your insight since you do this for a living. Thanks!!



I'm on the other side of the equation from the producer/agent. I tell the sales people whether or not the company will accept the risk (and if they get paid). However, if you have a large network of people (or a small network of wealthy people), selling life insurance can be a great endeavor. I cannot obtain my life sales license as it is a conflict of interest. I would if I could. Good Luck.

Just like other late 20's folks.. I thought I was doing OK -- but location does make your salary look bigger. Finishing college should give me a 30K bump over a few years time. I was in the Army for 5 years -- so while you other folks were in college.. I wasn't so fortunate. I didn't have all the time some did to do college while in the Army either.

Gender: M
Age: 27
Location: Suburban Minnesota
Occupation: Sr. IT Tech Support for large corporation.
Education: AA - Almost done with BS in Comp Info. Systems. Various IT certs from CompTIA and Microsoft.
Length of time in this field: 4 yrs
2010 Compensation: $50-$55k salary.
Future Salary Projection: 2-4% a year -- Pursuing promotions once college is done -- in server support preferably.
Benefits: Great medical, good dental, 5% matched 401K, paid short-term disability, 2wks vacation, 3wks next year (woohoo!)
What's the job like? I walk our employees through computer problems over the phone.. remote into their machine, etc. They aren't allowed to get real mad at me like some horror stories I've heard of tech support with customers at Dell, HP, etc. I work 40 hours and go home at night. Some folks love that aspect of this job. It was a good place to start after the Army. I am exposed to lots of people in different roles at my job and can feel which ones I might like.
Would you recommend the career to others? It's an absolutely great field to start up in IT while you get an education if you didn't take the traditional route some do. I would recommend it to someone who ripped apart computers as a kid or blows up their operating systems on a regular basis for the heck of it. Some folks stay in it forever -- I wouldn't recommend it. It tends you make you a little bitter. It pays well enough in my opinion -- I have no problem managing my bills. People worry about being outsourced -- Whatever! That's what severance and an emergency fund is for.

Gender: Male
Age: 23
Location: Kentucky
Occupation: Financial Analyst
Education: Bachelors in Finance and Real Estate
Length of time in this field: 6 Months (graduated from college in June, 2010)
2010 Compensation: $40k/year with very little opportunity for bonuses and no potential overtime
Future Salary Projection: If I make the career steps I'm hoping to make, the sky is the limit. However in the next five years, if I stay at my current company in finance/accounting, I'll probably be around 80-90k
Benefits: Blue chip company, so excellent medical/dental/vision, company paid life insurance, pension (yes, now a rarity in the private sector) and a 401k with a light match, 2 weeks PTO + 14 holidays, FSA, tuition reimbursement (which will be awesome when I go back for my MBA, likely in 2012), dollar for dollar donation matching, occasional seats in the company luxury box at sporting events, and all the coffee I can drink.
What's the job like? I spend my life in Excel, I basically make reports for the big boys upstairs, monthly reporting and some light monthly accounting duties.
Would You Recommend This Career to Others? My job is essentially a revolving door and I will only be doing this for a year or two, and it's the job that will get me the required experience to move up in the company. If you have an interest in being part of running a business, finance is a great place to start because every part of any business involves money at some level. The only downside is that for those who actually want to stay in finance/accounting there is a very short career path because even in almost a billion dollar line of business, there's only about 20 people in finance from top to bottom.

Folks shouldn't feel bad. I think this is an interesting exercise, and useful for those with related careers to use as benchmarking. Keep in mind that for some careers, people have to obtain advanced degrees or certifications, meaning they may not start their earning careers until they are much older 25-30+, depending. I sometimes think it would have been a better idea to skip grad school and start earning at 21. Since I didn't get my first real job wasn't until I was 28, I sometimes think I missed out by not having even an entry level salary from 21-28.

Bigmarley in 2008 said:
Gender: M
Age: 26
Location: DC-area
Occupation: Product Manager, Email Marketing
Education: BS-Business, BA-Spanish from top-30 university
2008 Salary: $67K+~$7-10K bonus
Future Salary Projection: Should be promoted, so ~$85K + 10-20% bonus in 2009.
Benefits: 401K w/match, dental, vision, 24 days PTO, work is 1.5 miles from home = GREAT commute. Young company with huge sales force = lots of young pretty women to date.
What's the job like? Its interesting. I'm enabling B2B marketers to email potential clients, so really, I'm helping to spam business professionals. The product management aspect is good, and the experience is good for prod mgmt positions elsewhere.
Would you recommend the career to others? Yes. At the end of the day though, I'm helping very large corporations to make more money, so I don't really get that "my work is good and meaningful" feeling that others do.



Bigmarley in 2009 said:
Gender: M
Age: 27
Location[b/]: Still DC-area
Occupation: Marketing Technology Consultant
Education: BS-Business, BA-Spanish from top-30 university
2009 Salary: ~120K (I'm an Indep Contractor and worked 1/2 yr as employee at former job so hard to say, but that's how its tracking right now)
Future Salary Projection: ~120K-150K, depending on how much business I bring in personally vs what is assigned to me.
Benefits: None (domestic partner with gf so use her healthcare).
What's the job like? Love it so far. Work from home, on the road, wherever. Can take "vacations" and work a few hours each day. Or can buckle down and rack up the hours to make a lot more. Projects are different, and you learn a TON. I think my job now is like how work should evolve to in the future -- work as much as you want when you want, and compensated based solely on performance. However it also means you are never really "off" completely. Just like last year, At the end of the day though, I'm helping very large corporations to make more money, so I don't really get that "my work is good and meaningful" feeling that others do.
Would you recommend the career to others? Yes, but there's no way to get into on purpose really. It takes a unique skillset between marketing professional, coder, designer, and project management.


2010:
Gender: M
Age: 28
Location[b/]: West Coast, Bay Area
Occupation: Marketing
Education: BS-Business, BA-Spanish from top-30 university
2010 Salary: 125K + 10% bonus, equity options
Future Salary Projection: 2011: ~130K, 2012 w/promotion hopefully ~150K w/options
Benefits: Good. 401K match, BCBS medical. Free food, drinks, coffee. Once again I have a great 12 minute walk to work.
What's the job like? No longer doing the 1099 -- joined a company full time. I manage a few folks remotely, and my manager is also not in the same office, so it's a challenge to stay on top of all projects and also manage my individual contributions.
Would you recommend the career to others? Yes. Traditional "creative" marketing is pretty saturated but for those with a combination of marketing skills and technical know-how, the sky is the limit. PM me if you want to discuss further.

Thanks everyone else for great responses once again!

Modern said:   Folks shouldn't feel bad. I think this is an interesting exercise, and useful for those with related careers to use as benchmarking. Keep in mind that for some careers, people have to obtain advanced degrees or certifications, meaning they may not start their earning careers until they are much older 25-30+, depending. I sometimes think it would have been a better idea to skip grad school and start earning at 21. Since I didn't get my first real job wasn't until I was 28, I sometimes think I missed out by not having even an entry level salary from 21-28.

Exactly. Don't feel bad at all -- if you can live decently, save money, and enjoy life and work, kudos to you regardless of the hard dollar amount you earn.

Updates to last year:

Gender: Male
Age 29
Location: PA & SoFLA for the winter
Occupation: Expert IT Consultant & Service Provider (various Internet services)
Education: PA Homeschooling HS Diploma baby!
2010 Salary: ~$275,000 (down from $300K+ in 2009)
Future Salary Projection: No idea, entrepreneur at it's finest
Benefits: Last year joked about Timothy Ferris and VA's not working much. I still get to work from anywhere, but have worked much much harder this year in redeveloping myself and my business to ensure long term success and stability. The recession is taking more of an effect now as my business is what you would consider the "last wave" of effect where businesses can hold out for a while, but then eventually run out of cash and then it hits.
What's the job like?: I'm still in PA, so it's very cold, snowing right now, and not pleasant. Oh yeah, we're talking about the JOB. Well, it's actually very difficult. It took many years to build up to this (14 to be exact)
Would you recommend the career to others?: It depends who I'm talking to, it requires a certain skill-set and personality traits to do what I do, but remember the grass is always greener on the other side... Don't let my sarcasm's fool you, it is very hard work and still requires a substantial amount of time but it is flexible. And it does require a commitment of plenty of education, I just never believed that you needed that education to come from an official school so I took the road less traveled.

Gender: Male
Age: 28
Location: Southwest / Metro-city
Occupation: Software Developer
Education: BS in CS, MBA at part-time school, 1/2 done with MS in CS
Length of time in this field: 5 years
2010 Compensation: $85k/year flat
Future Salary Projection: At the current job, probably the usual 2%-5%. There are some opportunities at the beginning of the year to go to another firm making $100k+. We'll see how that goes.
Benefits: F500 company. Decent benefits. HDHP w/ $500 employer contribution into HSA, 401k matching, 2 weeks PTO + holidays
What's the job like? All day, every day behind a computer working in an IDE. Occasionally, a design/requirements meeting and status meeting here or there. We do sit in cubes by they are min. height walls which helps collaboration quite a bit more than 6ft walls at my previous employer.
Would You Recommend This Career to Others? If you can sit behind a computer and do knowledge work all day long than yes. Otherwise, you won't excel. In a large organization, a non high-performer can get lost in the crowd and do mediocre work his/her whole career making some decent money. But if you want to advance quickly, you need to stay focused. Other than that, it's challenging/fun work and you get to interact with people that are equally intelligent (albeit quite nerdy at times). Also, like others have said about the IT industry, you need to stay current and don't just be a buzz-word repeater. If you start throwing around words like NoSQL, DVCS, AMQP, Kanban, software guys will inquiry about details.

Modern said:   Folks shouldn't feel bad. I think this is an interesting exercise, and useful for those with related careers to use as benchmarking. Keep in mind that for some careers, people have to obtain advanced degrees or certifications, meaning they may not start their earning careers until they are much older 25-30+, depending. I sometimes think it would have been a better idea to skip grad school and start earning at 21. Since I didn't get my first real job wasn't until I was 28, I sometimes think I missed out by not having even an entry level salary from 21-28.

Exactly. I didn't get my first real job as a lawyer until I was 26, so I missed out on several earning years. It's just one more thing you need to consider before going to grad school, and those types of decisions should not be made lightly. Here is a good paper on whether or not a law degree is a good investment, and although it focuses on lawyers, the logic is the same for other professional fields.

zerolast said:   Dreamseeker2011 said:   zerolast said:   Gender: M
Age: 41
Location: my house on a suburban street in the heart of it all (although I know others working remote from the beach, mountain hideaways, or even foreign locales).
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter
Education: BA History
2010 Compensation: $105k plus $10k bonus
Future Salary Projection: 2-3% per year unless I move to another company
Benefits: 4+ weeks vacation, 2-3 floating holidays; Medical/Dental/Vision, 401k matching up to 6%
What's the job like? Work from home, typically 7-8 hours/day. Take a flight 1-2x per year to the home office for 2-3 day seminars. I review medical records and financial reports on wealthy clients (individuals and businesses) to determine their mortality risk for a large insurer. I've been asked if I'm a man of leisure by more than one neighbor or acquaintance as I have the ability to take a break for however long I would like throughout the day--provided I don't have a scheduled conference call. I have banker hours without the suit and tie, or the need to leave the house.
Would you recommend the career to others? Depends on the person. When I tell people what I do, that I work from home, and ballpark my salary they ask where to sign-up. It is a challenge to work in isolation year-round although I'm on the phone quite a bit. I should be better at multitasking and looking for other daytime income streams. I volunteer at night and have the whole nuclear family thing going, so I do get my fill of much needed socializing. It has been a good career for someone who wants to do just enough to have a fairly successful existence. Insurance is not for the faint of heart...you might die of boredom.


Zerolast, that sounds like a great work/life balance. Someone recently suggested that I try selling life insurance. I don't want to leave my current job so I'm curious if it's possible to do this on the weekends? Or if there're any other ways to get in on it... perhaps through referring a new client? Just looking for ideas and would appreciate your insight since you do this for a living. Thanks!!



I'm on the other side of the equation from the producer/agent. I tell the sales people whether or not the company will accept the risk (and if they get paid). However, if you have a large network of people (or a small network of wealthy people), selling life insurance can be a great endeavor. I cannot obtain my life sales license as it is a conflict of interest. I would if I could. Good Luck.


Do you get free insurance as a benefit?

zhelder said:   OK, gang, since a few of you asked, here's some more information about my "illustrious" teacher career:

Teachers in my district work 186 days. However, I average about 50-55 hours of work per week. The number used to be higher, but as I'm getting more experienced, I'm learning how to better manage my time. I work before school, after school, and at least part of every weekend. I even had to call in a few times during my illness a few weeks ago to make sure we didn't have any technology meltdowns. (I'm a technology teacher, BTW.) I work several days over the summer to prepare for the upcoming year. I work AT LEAST 2080 hours a year.



Not to detract from the necessity of your job or anything, but 186 days=26 weeks (assuming 5-day weeks) and 26 weeks*55 hours=1430 hours. So that's not even close to 2080 a year.

tmolloy said:   zhelder said:   OK, gang, since a few of you asked, here's some more information about my "illustrious" teacher career:

Teachers in my district work 186 days. However, I average about 50-55 hours of work per week. The number used to be higher, but as I'm getting more experienced, I'm learning how to better manage my time. I work before school, after school, and at least part of every weekend. I even had to call in a few times during my illness a few weeks ago to make sure we didn't have any technology meltdowns. (I'm a technology teacher, BTW.) I work several days over the summer to prepare for the upcoming year. I work AT LEAST 2080 hours a year.



Not to detract from the necessity of your job or anything, but 186 days=26 weeks (assuming 5-day weeks) and 26 weeks*55 hours=1430 hours. So that's not even close to 2080 a year.


186/5 = 37 weeks

Ahh, you're right. I could've sworn I divided it by 5, but I guess I divided it by 7 even though I knew it had to be divided by 5. Well, that works.

Gender: Male
Age: 24
Location: CA
Occupation: Software Engineer
Education: MS in Computer Science
Length of time in this field: ~1 year
2010 Compensation: $95,000 + private equity (of unknown value)
Future Salary Projection: Not really sure, perhaps a small increase. Will start getting a bonus though.
Benefits: 401k, fully-paid, health/dental, 20 days PTO, free food at work
What's the job like? Work on a fairly well-known website. I have a lot of independence with respect to what I work on within my team. I get to make changes and work on things that millions of users see. I work on everything from data analysis, internal tools, user-facing features, and backend infrastructure, and I love having that much diversity in what I do. The amount of work varies widely, but I try to stay in the 40-50 hours/week range (the SO complains). If I wanted to I could work less, but usually I want to do more .
Would you recommend the career to others? If you are interested in programming/software development then this is obviously an excellent career. It can be fairly challenging and it really has to be something you have a passion for or it is difficult to succeed (at larger companies, e.g. Microsoft, this is less the case).



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