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Gender: M
Age: 32
Location: IL (rural)
Occupation: Assistant Professor - state school
Education: Ph.D. - top 5 school in my field (social sciences)
2010 Compensation: $70k
Future Salary Projection: base remains at 53k, but because of extra classes and summer school a salary of 60-70k can be achieved. 2012 will be less because wife and I just had a baby girl, thus not taking an overload class starting in January - expect about 60k in 2012. Once tenure is achieved (2013) the base salary is bumped by 7.5k a year.
Benefits: Probably the best aspect of the job. Medical, dental, vision, etc. have very low monthly premiums ($200 mo. pre-tax for myself, wife, and child). State contributes 8% of salary to retirement, I then match - though IL may try to change this in 2012. Major benefit is the autonomy. Besides teaching 2-3 days / week I can set my own hours, work from home, or take a Thursday off if I desire. Additionally, even when one works in the summer, time off a year still equals about 12 weeks of vacation.
What's the job like? Good balance of teaching and research for me. Yes, one has the deal with 18-22 year olds who feel entitled (were we all like that?), administrators who believe progress = meetings, and a load of state red-tape; but most of the time you get to run your own life. The best way to describe the job is to remember all the annoying things that professors use to do when we were in college and then I can alter my classes so my students never experience those pet peeves.
Would you recommend the career to others? Last year I said yes, but this year I am on the fence. Most of this centers around salary concerns / state budgets. Dealing with the latter first, every year in higher education is the worst it could possibly be... until the next year. Thus, when the dean and chair talk about how we have to "tighten our belt" this year even more than last, but professors have no decision making power related to the budget, we pretty much tune them out because the problem always gets solved somehow. Additionally, I am very proficient at my job (i.e., have already met all tenure requirements in 1/2 the time necessary), but make 4k less than a new hire and about 7-10k less and a comparable professor with the same experience / productivity level. I have presented my case and have been told that raises are only given when one receives another offer, not based on years of experience or productivity. This is frustrating and causes me to spend my time "playing the game" and not perfecting my craft. I still believe there has to be another solution to this problem... but have yet to find to it - I will take suggestions though

first off, thx op for putting this together. very insightful and informative.

Gender: Male

Age: 33

Location: New York City

Occupation: Manage a team for a large international investment bank

Education: BA in Financial Economics and Cognitive Science (2000). NYU MBA (Part-time program, 2009)

2011 Compensation: $570k

Future Salary Projection: Should be within the ~500-600 range, but really largely dependent on the overall trading industry/wider economy

Benefits: Medical, vision, dental plan choices (HMO, PPO, High indemnity, etc.), dollar-for-dollar match of 401k up to 6% of total comp after 1 year of employment, full vest at 5 years. HSA and Commuting pre-tax programs. 4 weeks vacation. NO pension.

What's the job like?
At the task level, my team coordinates the interaction of different functions to allow large institutions to begin trading through our broker/dealer (i.e. Anti-Money Laundering/Know-Your-Clients, legal, accounts, technology, back-office, etc.). At any given time, there are 100+ requests in the queue with varying degrees of complexity and ETA. I was intimately involved with all the intricacies my first 1.5 years here, but we've managed to stabilize this function enough that I only get involved intermittently now for high-visibility requests or escalations.

Much more of my day is spent around the "softer" side: Making sure people play nice, spotting/surfacing/resolving conflicts and personality clashes. Managing expectations upwards, planning resourcing, and occasionally termination (this one sucks). We're actually in a very interesting (read: not good) time right now as we shift from the investment-minded 09/10 to the cost-conscious 11/12 mentality. The cost to maintain a team of 9 people is getting to be a bigger priority than capacity planning and operational continuity. Rather than sit around waiting for the order to come down to 'right-size', I'm trying to find/define other challenges that I can redeploy 5 people to tackle.

Would you recommend the career to others?
This would have been an 'unreserved, emphatic yes' pre-2009. I don't personally believe what I do is a 'noble profession', but assuming you are satisfied with money and stability, this is a great field to be in. It is not difficult to be able to get a 6-figure salary in nearly any functional role after a few years as long as you're not messing things up and are minimally socially-adept. With some luck, and a lot of work in the social/people/political arena, making it to mid/senior management can pay off handsomely compensation-wise. Unfortunately, along with it, you do have to sell your soul a little bit.

The past several years have been a different story. For someone just out of school and looking to start a career, I'm not sure I would recommend this line of work. There's so much uncertainty at this point (firms are firing more than they're hiring, focused on preserving more than growing) that all I can see is attrition for the next several years, with no turning point in sight. Everybody I've talked to recently is going through some level of job-depression

edit: typos

Gender: Male

Age: 31 as of today

Location: Wichita, KS

Occupation: Clerical/Administrator for fortune 500 aviation company

Education: BA in Business Management

2011 Compensation: Base $28,728 + overtime + IPP (bonus) = $41,410.27 net

Future Salary Projection: I've received 3% - 5% annual raises for the past six years except 2008 due to the downturn.

Benefits: Full dental/vision (basic services with option to upgrade plan for small monthly premium), choice of HMO/EPO/PPO insurance plans with varying deductibles/copays, $300 annual credit toward health insurance premiums if you complete annual wellness program, HSA/FSA depending on insurance plan, 3 weeks paid vacation, 1 week paid personal/sick leave (can cash out balance yearly), ~14 paid holiday days/year, ESPP, 401K (3 year vesting period) plus match on first 8%, tuition reimbursement

What's the job like?: I basically do order fullfilment for customers and inventory control in a warehouse enviornment. I work out of a small office with no/low supervision. My job is extremely stress free and relaxed and very secure. I had no fear of lay offs at all during the economic downturn and the company tried very hard to minimize layoffs (I think there were 500 nationally). As opposed to the 2000+ layoffs among the other local aviation companies.

I do have a lot of daily responsibility but am pretty much left to my own devices as to how I approach tasks. I can wear shorts/jeans + T-shirt to work pretty much everyday. Tons of vacation/holidays and they are very flexible with hours and personal leave. I work 7:00a - 3:30p daily w/ 30 minute+ lunch. If I needed to leave unexpectedly in the middle of the day it wouldn't be a problem. I have access to the internet (yay FWF). I have the option of working about as much overtime as I want and I have volunteered for weekend on call duty (about 1 weekend/month; sometimes more) for as long as I've worked here which pays overtime for hours on the clock on Saturdays and double time on Sundays + 2 hours automatically granted each day for carrying on call phone overnight. There is a fair amount of problem solving/trouble shooting involved in my job that keeps me challenged just enough for things to stay interesting.

The downside is that there is an old guard mentality among management and no room to move up within the company locally until they retire/die. I would have to move to see a better chance at advancement. Managers are generally unorganized and top down communication is awful. My boss has only a small inkling as to what my job actualy entails. Due to the relaxed work enviornment there are lots of slacker employees and the slack is expected to be picked up by the dependable ones. There is a temporary employee process before hiring that can extend up to a year.

Would your recommend the career to others?: It is really more of a job than a career. The pay is adequate (low cost of living here), but the benefits/flexible schedule is what have kept me here for so long. It is very easy to maintain a great personal/work life balance. My original plan was to stay here for three years to meet 401K vestment requirements and take advantage of their tuition reimbursement program (which has become a lot more stringent in the last two years). I'm considering beginning to train for EMT and then paramedic in the Fall so I'll be here for at least a couple more years because the schedue here will make that much easier.

jkimcpa said:   Believe it or not you're still overpaid.This is FWF. No one can be overpaid. If anything, we are all underpaid.

blok said:   Would you recommend the career to others? Yes, but most wont put the time in to be successful, I busted my ass to get to a point of exponential growth, working 80 hours a week is a must, fortunately it paid off. We live in the matrix folks, once you realize that you will have the world by the balls.Please spare my balls. I only have 5 left.

Squeezer99 said:   ClaimsGuy said:   The states are broke because they pay nearly all of the employees: firemen, police, corrections, teachers, garbagemen, elected officials, train conductors, toll collectors and countless others above market wages and benefits.

While that is true in some states, that's definitely not the case in mine. I was a state employee up until 2009 and made 42600 a year, plus 9% of the paycheck was taken out for the pension, and health insurance for a wife + kid was almost $700/month. In other words, as a state employee I made less than most private IT workers, and had to pay more for retirement and health care than most private workers. In my opinion (some of) the states are broke because they are paying 1/3 of the state money into Medicaid/WIC/Food stamps most of which goes to single moms that continue to pop out babies, 1/3 into K-12 education of which only about 60% makes it to the class room because they keep building and expanding onto sculptured school buildings, and unfunded liabilities in the state employees's pension plan due to mandated guaranteed cost of living increases for retirees.


Agree .. I'd be careful with a blanket statement like the above, if you wanted to make it MORE accurate (but still not 100%):

The states that enable public service workers to collectively bargain are broke ........

(note don't take my remark above to be a political one, e.g. adverse to unions .. just something I've noticed between states that enable public service unions and ones that don't)

tag1979 said:   Gender: M
Age: 32
Location: IL (rural)
Occupation: Assistant Professor - state school
Education: Ph.D. - top 5 school in my field (social sciences)
2010 Compensation: $70k
Future Salary Projection: base remains at 53k, but because of extra classes and summer school a salary of 60-70k can be achieved. 2012 will be less because wife and I just had a baby girl, thus not taking an overload class starting in January - expect about 60k in 2012. Once tenure is achieved (2013) the base salary is bumped by 7.5k a year.
Benefits: Probably the best aspect of the job. Medical, dental, vision, etc. have very low monthly premiums ($200 mo. pre-tax for myself, wife, and child). State contributes 8% of salary to retirement, I then match - though IL may try to change this in 2012. Major benefit is the autonomy. Besides teaching 2-3 days / week I can set my own hours, work from home, or take a Thursday off if I desire. Additionally, even when one works in the summer, time off a year still equals about 12 weeks of vacation.
What's the job like? Good balance of teaching and research for me. Yes, one has the deal with 18-22 year olds who feel entitled (were we all like that?), administrators who believe progress = meetings, and a load of state red-tape; but most of the time you get to run your own life. The best way to describe the job is to remember all the annoying things that professors use to do when we were in college and then I can alter my classes so my students never experience those pet peeves.
Would you recommend the career to others? Last year I said yes, but this year I am on the fence. Most of this centers around salary concerns / state budgets. Dealing with the latter first, every year in higher education is the worst it could possibly be... until the next year. Thus, when the dean and chair talk about how we have to "tighten our belt" this year even more than last, but professors have no decision making power related to the budget, we pretty much tune them out because the problem always gets solved somehow. Additionally, I am very proficient at my job (i.e., have already met all tenure requirements in 1/2 the time necessary), but make 4k less than a new hire and about 7-10k less and a comparable professor with the same experience / productivity level. I have presented my case and have been told that raises are only given when one receives another offer, not based on years of experience or productivity. This is frustrating and causes me to spend my time "playing the game" and not perfecting my craft. I still believe there has to be another solution to this problem... but have yet to find to it - I will take suggestions though


Would the state school you work at be University of Illinois at Chicago? Curious. However, rural would mean a far commute to the city.

Gender: Male

Age: Upper 30's

Location: Washington DC

Occupation: Engineer / Business Owner

Education: Tech Degree + MBA from state schools

2011 Compensation: $100k salary, 300k+ from online business

Future Salary Projection:
Salary should grow modestly at 2-3%. Maybe 4-5%. Realistically, I should be making $150-$200k with my experience and capability level, but I love the current position because it's stable, secure, low stress, 9-5, lots of vacation, and good benefits. Business income is from a 3 year old online business. I expect this income to double in 2012 as we have been consistently hitting our growth targets in monthly sales reviews.

The US economy is solid, but it is very efficient currently: if you are capable, you will have no problems surviving and thriving. But if you are not capable, you will find it very tough to find above-market rewards. The business appears to have a good formula, so I am optimistic about how well it will work out in the future.

Benefits:
20 days a year, plus 10 holidays. 401k, pension, dental, health, vision, FSA, HSA, the works. This is from the job. There are no benefits from the business. It's a benefits sink in terms of vacation and holidays.

What's the job like?
My job-job is like any other engineering job. A lot of time is spent with formal documentation. 2-3 meetings or conference calls a day. As mentioned previously, I picked a low stress job.

Running the business has very different demands, of course. I have to deal with a much wider range of issues, and spend a significant amount of time planning. I have to give the people I lead a high level goal - where the company is heading towards. It's funny because as an engineer grunt I've sat in on countless employee meetings where bosses mouthed off company "vision", and etc. I always found it completely meaningless to what I do every day. So I try to keep it tangible and measurable.

Why not quit the day job and focus on the business? I learned from my first business that I need to delegate. By nature I am too detail oriented and will tend to micromanage a situation. By occupying my days with a job, I am forced to focus on the big picture. Sure, some things fall through the crack and end up not getting done just how I like it. But in net, it's beneficial.

Would you recommend the career to others?
I typically would not recommend a tech field when someone who I think is intelligent ask me for opinions. The typical tech job is boring, lacks potential, and isn't particularly rewarding. Sure, if you are one of the star performers and can manage $180k at 27 years old, go for it. But for most people, it's a sentence to a lifetime of beige. However, if you like stable jobs with above average income, then it's a great fit.

I would not recommend business ownership to most people. To get to the point where it really starts to become rewarding in an above-average way, you have to be willing to work extremely hard and make a lot of sacrifices in other ways.

No, not at UIC, the school itself is in a rural location.

Gender: Male

Age: 26

Location: TN (rural)

Occupation: Mechanical Engineer

Education: BS Mech. Engr. from state school

2011 Compensation: ~$55,000 salaried, no bonuses, no overtime

Future Salary Projection: Switching to a new position, ~$63,000, overtime eligible, bonus eligible. Lots of potential in new role.

Benefits: Full medical (includes vision) and dental. Gambled and took the HDHP to catch company matching funds. (Won the gamble 2 years, lost 1 year.) 3% match for 401k. 10 vacation days / year, no limit to personal/sick days.

What's the job like? Interesting. Never know what I'll be doing the next day. Split time pretty equally between production support and R&D projects. Some days I'll sit at my desk 8 hours, then the next there will be an emergency in production and I'll spend 12 on the floor. I am mostly a "project engineer" and I work unsupervised, so I have a wide degree of latitude to get things done; on the other hand, I don't have anyone to blame.

Would you recommend the career to others? Yes. The job will vary a huge amount based on the company you work for. There are extremely laid-back companies and very uptight companies. It's a good "common sense" job - it's not really that hard, you just have to be meticulous and think through decisions you are making. Most of the skills you learn are easily transferable to other companies or even to other fields. One caveat: it is easy to be pigeon-holed into specialized fields if you aren't careful, so make sure you give that thought before staying at one place too long.

Yankees said:   first off, thx op for putting this together. very insightful and informative.

Gender: Male

Age: 33

Location: New York City

Occupation: Manage a team for a large international investment bank

Education: BA in Financial Economics and Cognitive Science (2000). NYU MBA (Part-time program, 2009)

2011 Compensation: $570k

Future Salary Projection: Should be within the ~500-600 range, but really largely dependent on the overall trading industry/wider economy

Benefits: Medical, vision, dental plan choices (HMO, PPO, High indemnity, etc.), dollar-for-dollar match of 401k up to 6% of total comp after 1 year of employment, full vest at 5 years. HSA and Commuting pre-tax programs. 4 weeks vacation. NO pension.

What's the job like?
At the task level, my team coordinates the interaction of different functions to allow large institutions to begin trading through our broker/dealer (i.e. Anti-Money Laundering/Know-Your-Clients, legal, accounts, technology, back-office, etc.). At any given time, there are 100+ requests in the queue with varying degrees of complexity and ETA. I was intimately involved with all the intricacies my first 1.5 years here, but we've managed to stabilize this function enough that I only get involved intermittently now for high-visibility requests or escalations.

Much more of my day is spent around the "softer" side: Making sure people play nice, spotting/surfacing/resolving conflicts and personality clashes. Managing expectations upwards, planning resourcing, and occasionally termination (this one sucks). We're actually in a very interesting (read: not good) time right now as we shift from the investment-minded 09/10 to the cost-conscious 11/12 mentality. The cost to maintain a team of 9 people is getting to be a bigger priority than capacity planning and operational continuity. Rather than sit around waiting for the order to come down to 'right-size', I'm trying to find/define other challenges that I can redeploy 5 people to tackle.

Would you recommend the career to others?
This would have been an 'unreserved, emphatic yes' pre-2009. I don't personally believe what I do is a 'noble profession', but assuming you are satisfied with money and stability, this is a great field to be in. It is not difficult to be able to get a 6-figure salary in nearly any functional role after a few years as long as you're not messing things up and are minimally socially-adept. With some luck, and a lot of work in the social/people/political arena, making it to mid/senior management can pay off handsomely compensation-wise. Unfortunately, along with it, you do have to sell your soul a little bit.

The past several years have been a different story. For someone just out of school and looking to start a career, I'm not sure I would recommend this line of work. There's so much uncertainty at this point (firms are firing more than they're hiring, focused on preserving more than growing) that all I can see is attrition for the next several years, with no turning point in sight. Everybody I've talked to recently is going through some level of job-depression

edit: typos


Can you talk a bit more about your pre-MBA experience and how you got to this level? I assume you started as a trader and worked your way up to your current position via your MBA, but this sounds like a really interesting job, so I'm curious how you get to where you're at.

motuwallet said:    if one must work in the finance industry, one should pursue a sales-oriented or "deal-making" type job. (for which an ivy degree and/or parents in the biz are usually needed.) sales-oriented finance jobs can be incredibly lucrative

I'm curious about this, does this drive you nuts? Above you mentioned that you work with very intelligent, competitive people. Do the sales people strike you the same way? Or does it drive you nuts that their jobs are so incredibly lucrative and yours is so competitive?

tag1979 said:   Gender: M
[but make 4k less than a new hire and about 7-10k less and a comparable professor with the same experience / productivity level. I have presented my case and have been told that raises are only given when one receives another offer, not based on years of experience or productivity. This is frustrating and causes me to spend my time "playing the game" and not perfecting my craft. I still believe there has to be another solution to this problem... but have yet to find to it - I will take suggestions though


Look for a new job. I was in academics once - the only time they offered me a substantial raise (40%) was when I told them I was quitting. Unfortunately, that's how the game is played in academia.

Gender: Male

Age: 28

Location: NJ

Occupation: IT (work for a medical practice, ~100 employees)

Education: AS

2011 Compensation: $61,000 salary + $5k stipend for health insurance

Future Salary Projection: Going nowhere fast, seems to be about 3%/yr increases.

Benefits: Dental, 401k (100% match first 3%, and 50% match next 2%), 50k life insurance policy, wife & kids see our doctors with no copay/expenses. I work from home 2 days/week, and get 4 weeks vacation + 5 personal days/year.

What's the job like? I am the only IT person supporting the entire network (9 locations, 12 servers, 100+ workstations & laptops) and am expected to be on call 24/7/365. This is entirely incompatible with my expectations/family life (2 kids + 1 on the way) so I take a lot of flak for not answering phone calls off hours or when I'm on vacation. Other than that I enjoy the work.

Would you recommend the career to others? I wouldn't recommend NOT going down this path. I think in any position, you have to be able to stand up for yourself, because nobody will stand up for you. I was promised many things when I started with this company and they have a tendency to 'forget'. I do not expect to be working there in 5 years. I'm not nearly as bitter as this post ended up sounding. I actually like it there, it's just a dead end salary-wise.

61k/year with 2k/year raise and working from home 2 days/week seems pretty good to me.

Gender: Male

Age: 28

Location: Non-coastal city, USA

Occupation: Lawyer

Education: BA, large public school in the Midwest; JD, top 5 Law School (graduated in 2010)

2010 Compensation: $50K (edit: this is not entirely correct; that is my current annual salary, but since I've only been here for 5 months, my actual, 2010 comp is in the neighborhood of $22K.)

Future Salary Projection: $72K in 2011; $50-70K clerkship bonus + $180K salary in 2012

Benefits: Government job, standard benefits

What's the job like? I graduated law school in spring 2010 and currently work as a law clerk for a judge. I will be in this job until August 2011 and then I am moving on to a one-year clerkship for another judge until August 2012. At that point, I will be joining a private law firm and will get a significant salary bump (along with clerkship bonus). Clerking for a judge is akin to a fellowship or specialty training for another profession -- you sacrifice salary now for future bumps later on -- and is well respected in the legal community. Currently, I love my job. I work directly with the judge, learning how decisions are made and having a hand in drafting opinions that will be released. It is fantastic training and will really leave me well positioned when I enter private practice in a few years.

Would you recommend the career to others? I have been extremely lucky in lining up these two clerkships (along with an offer to join a great law firm in 18 months). The problems with legal education are well documented and I won't rehash them here. However, if someone was planning to go to law school, I'd strongly recommend going to a very top school or to a good regional school on a full scholarship. Outside of those two scenarios, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for the next few years until we see what the market for lawyers looks like. In my opinion, the market is heavily saturated and after the last few years, law firms seem to be doing more with less so I'm not convinced that hiring will pick up enough to the point where all of the current grads and students will be absorbed into the profession.


Above is what I posted in last year's thread and it accurately lays out exactly how this year went. I'm now 29, living in the same city and I am in the middle of my second judicial clerkship (salary bumped to $73K this past year). In August I'm moving to the east coast and will be joining a law firm. I did get confirmation that I'll get a $50K clerkship bonus and my salary will be as expected. In general, it looks like law hiring is picking up somewhat (for people I know, there are certainly many people in the industry who are still hurting) and I'm excited about my long-term prospects.

I would definitely recommend the judicial clerkship route to those who have an interest in litigation -- it really has taught me a ton about how judicial decisions are made and I'm sure I'll be a better litigator because of it. In addition, coming in as a 2nd (almost 3rd) year associate will allow me to bypass some of the grunt work (but certainly not all) that is normal in being a big firm Associate. The one thing I really will appreciate about working at a law firm is the ability to zealously argue one side of an issue. In drafting bench memos or judicial opinions, I often times find that the cases are close and I'm unsure how to recommend that the judge decide an issue. It will be nice to have a more pre-determined outcome for me to argue (even if it doesn't carry the day).

ltcm said:   Can you talk a bit more about your pre-MBA experience and how you got to this level? I assume you started as a trader and worked your way up to your current position via your MBA, but this sounds like a really interesting job, so I'm curious how you get to where you're at.

Actually I started out in the technology side in a role that's similar to trade support. Always wanted to be a trader, but my grades in college were horrendous and never made it in to any of the rotational programs. In no particular order, I'd say the below things are the biggest contributors to my progression:


  • Being able to let go of the things that made you successful at the previous level as you level-up. When I was first promoted to manage someone, I used to agonize over things that he wasn't able to do as well as when I did it myself. Rather, my time was better spent on my new job, which was making sure that he wasn't overloaded/burnt out, and to provide air-cover when needed and help plan his career.

  • Recognizing that bullsht soft-skills are actually not so bullsht. I used to think that doing a good job should automatically equate being recognized and rewarded, and that networking and marketing yourself was just a waste of time. Over time, I realized that they're as important as getting the job done well, and not only that, it's a separate 100% full time job in and of itself that you need to layer in on top of your "job"

  • Marking to market. I've been at 4 different banks over 10 years (not counting a 6 month stint at a startup), and the moves have helped me ramp up my comp (anywhere from 20% - 60% per jump) and increase my responsibility (managing projects, another person, a team, a global team)

  • Networking. and I don't mean the 'official' definition where you have to go to trade shows and keep up an appearance. Just respecting and appreciating people for their influence on your life/career pays off in spades karmically, and oftentimes it comes with tangible rewards as well. All 3 of my jumps have come from being referred by people I have worked with in the past.

  • Giant heaping of luck. Not having uncontrollable macro factors crush you (i.e. your firm going bankrupt), being at the right place at the right time (incoming managers who are like-minded thinkers)


The MBA actually hasn't had a direct impact. On the I-banking side, you need one to even get in the game. On the trading side, most people don't have one, and at some places it may even be looked down upon. I did find it good for putting complex concepts into a more readily digestible framework (i.e. decision matrices) and for sources of learnable experiences across industries (i.e. if Six Sigma can help assembly lines be more efficient, what parts can be leveraged if your output is 'services' and not 'goods').

Not sure if this answers your question, I hope it helps.

Found my post from the 2008 edition for compare/contrast. Both 2008 and 2011 were bad years for the financial industry. I was working longer hours, making less money, and dealing with more crap, yet I had a positive outlook on this type of career vs the negative one now. Dunno how much is due to actual worsening conditions vs me getting older/more jaded.



2008
Gender: Male
Age: 30
Location: NY
Occupation: Financial Services IT Management
Education: B.A. (almost done with MBA)
2008 Salary: $268,000 (150K Base + $118K year end bonus). base is flat from 07, and bonus is significantly down (44%). Given the lashing that the markets gave this year, there were times that our expectations dipped to expect nearly nothing (i.e. 80 - 90% down), I don't think anybody expected better than 30% down. So in the end, it's as bad as we had thought it's going to be, but not as bad as we feared it could be.

Future Salary Projection: completely unpredictable. If finance and financial services stabilize from their plummet, I would think that 2009 would flatten out to +/- 10% of 2008. If things continue on a downward trend, there would be an increased number of out of work people along with the continued pressure to squeeze costs. This would mean that a segment of people (with more experience and talent) would voluntarily leave the industry, vacating the roles for cheaper/less experienced people, and driving down the average compensation.

Benefits: Standard medical/dental. Very good vacation allotment. Commuter pre-tax program. 1-for-1 401k match to 5%, but no pension. Virtually 100% tuition reimbursement (18 credits a year). Matched charitable contributions.

What's the job like?
Difficult with constantly changing demands/pressures, exacerbated by frequent management and organizational changes. Need to constantly balance managing up, down, sideways, onshore, offshore as well as deal with top-down and matrix organizational demands. Hours are long, but not terrible (typically 8-6, 15 mins to bring food back to eat at the desk, but 7-7 at times), minimal work after hours and over the weekend, but most holidays need to be managed and accounted for due to international schedules.

Managing people is not a fun, and often thankless role. It kinda reminds me of Michael Scott, it's very hard to be friends and boss at the same time. Dealing with turnover is typically a very time consuming process lasting 3 - 5 months starting Feb, lasting until September most years. This year, it should not be a big problem as low voluntary turnover is expected.


Would you recommend the career to others?
Absolutely. The industry I am in has surprisingly remained a niche despite being in mainstream financial services and mainstream IT. There's a relatively small group of people that comprise the industry network, and they rotate pretty frequently amongst the handful of big players. It allows for a lot of networking opportunities, and reduces the risks/unknowns of moving on to a new opportunity.

It does provide adequate entryways for growth either via going up vertically into tech management or laterally (albeit at a lower grade) into the business/finance/trading side. There's enough of a big-company protection that people who want to coast can get away with it for a few years before they feel their jobs are threatened. On that topic, burn-out and complacency rates are relatively high (we're definitely not a Google or an Amazon) due to the high(ish) comp and job security.



Yankees said:   first off, thx op for putting this together. very insightful and informative.

Gender: Male

Age: 33

Location: New York City

Occupation: Manage a team for a large international investment bank

Education: BA in Financial Economics and Cognitive Science (2000). NYU MBA (Part-time program, 2009)
2011 Compensation: $570k

Future Salary Projection: Should be within the ~500-600 range, but really largely dependent on the overall trading industry/wider economy

Benefits: Medical, vision, dental plan choices (HMO, PPO, High indemnity, etc.), dollar-for-dollar match of 401k up to 6% of total comp after 1 year of employment, full vest at 5 years. HSA and Commuting pre-tax programs. 4 weeks vacation. NO pension.

What's the job like?
At the task level, my team coordinates the interaction of different functions to allow large institutions to begin trading through our broker/dealer (i.e. Anti-Money Laundering/Know-Your-Clients, legal, accounts, technology, back-office, etc.). At any given time, there are 100+ requests in the queue with varying degrees of complexity and ETA. I was intimately involved with all the intricacies my first 1.5 years here, but we've managed to stabilize this function enough that I only get involved intermittently now for high-visibility requests or escalations.

Much more of my day is spent around the "softer" side: Making sure people play nice, spotting/surfacing/resolving conflicts and personality clashes. Managing expectations upwards, planning resourcing, and occasionally termination (this one sucks). We're actually in a very interesting (read: not good) time right now as we shift from the investment-minded 09/10 to the cost-conscious 11/12 mentality. The cost to maintain a team of 9 people is getting to be a bigger priority than capacity planning and operational continuity. Rather than sit around waiting for the order to come down to 'right-size', I'm trying to find/define other challenges that I can redeploy 5 people to tackle.

Would you recommend the career to others?
This would have been an 'unreserved, emphatic yes' pre-2009. I don't personally believe what I do is a 'noble profession', but assuming you are satisfied with money and stability, this is a great field to be in. It is not difficult to be able to get a 6-figure salary in nearly any functional role after a few years as long as you're not messing things up and are minimally socially-adept. With some luck, and a lot of work in the social/people/political arena, making it to mid/senior management can pay off handsomely compensation-wise. Unfortunately, along with it, you do have to sell your soul a little bit.

The past several years have been a different story. For someone just out of school and looking to start a career, I'm not sure I would recommend this line of work. There's so much uncertainty at this point (firms are firing more than they're hiring, focused on preserving more than growing) that all I can see is attrition for the next several years, with no turning point in sight. Everybody I've talked to recently is going through some level of job-depression

edit: typos

Gender: Male

Age: 24

Location: Cincinnati

Occupation: Currently - Financial Analyst, but last day there is 1/12 and then the new job title will be Pricing Analyst

Education: Bachelor's in Finance, I forsee starting an MBA in 2012.

2011 Compensation: $41,200

Future Salary Projection: I'm taking almost a $20,000 pay increase at the new job, I couldn't be happier. Between that and a side project I'm working on, I'm hoping to total around $65,000 in 2012. While that might not necessarily be "having the world by the balls" to other people, I have 0 debt and live in a low cost of living area so I'm a happy guy.

Benefits: Currently, exceptional medical, dental, vision, life insurance, 401k with a puny match, pension (that I'll never get because I'm leaving), 2 weeks vacation and 14 holidays. I'm leaving that great benefits package for not as good insurance, less vacation, better 401k match and fewer holidays. I really don't like sitting at home doing nothing, so I'm hoping I won't miss the vacation.

What's the job like?
I'm the guy who does all the reporting for every executive, every facility, etc. The company I work for is extremely large and so reporting processes are very uniform. Basically I spend the first two weeks of any given month doing the month end reporting and then the second half of the month are done improving processes, creating new financial models, etc. I like the second half of the month and hate the first half.

Would you recommend this career to others?
I have told myself for the two years I've been at that job that it was paying dues for better future jobs. I wouldn't recommend my job as a career, but as I've seen with hard work, some luck and willingness to learn and ask questions it's an amazing stepping stone to better things. The great thing about being where I am in corporate finance is that I am on a first name basis with every executive from CEO down and that's not something many people can say they had at 24. If you find business genuinely interesting, you will do well in corporate finance. That being said, if you are just doing it because it's more likely that you will have a paycheck than if you majored in art history (like a co-worker of mine) you'll be miserable.

Age: 27

Location: gulf of mexico

Occupation: mud logger at one of the larger oilfiled services companies

Education: BS petroleum engineering

2011 Compensation: $97k (salary + day rate). my salary is less than a third of my total compensation. the majority of my pay comes from my day rate, which I get paid for each day I spend on a rig. I was overpaid this year because of the moratorium and I worked an extra 30 days this year.

Future Salary Projection: anywhere between 80k-130k, depending on how many days I work and if I get a raise.

Benefits: medical ($500 deductible), dental, and vision comes out to be $100/mo. we have an ESPP with a 15% discount and 401k matching 100% to 3%, 50% to 7%. so, if I contribute 7%, the company matches 5%.

What's the job like?

I work 14 days offshore at a time, 12 hours a day, and I get 14 days off at home. it's quite hectic while we're drilling. I have to keep up with all of our sensors, data transmission into town, and describe cuttings. the faster the rig drills, the more cuttings I have to look at. I also have to prepare daily reports and logs for the client (oil company). generally, while drilling, I take at most two 5 minute bathroom breaks every day.

while we're not drilling, though, things are a lot simpler. there are a lot fewer sensors I have to pay attention to while running casing and pumping cement. and if something major breaks, I'll have maybe 30 minutes of work to do every day.

Would you recommend the career to others?

working offshore definitely isn't for everyone. you need to be able to handle being in the middle of nowhere for 2 weeks at a time without access to creature comforts. generally, if you can entertain yourself with the internet for 12+ hours a day, you should be ok. you also need to be able to pass random drug and alcohol tests, which are done at heliports. drug and alcohol tests are also mandatory if you're involved in an accident.

food is hit and miss. I've heard good things about the newer drillships (TOI Discoverer series) but every deepwater rig I've been on has had barely passable food.

my company provides us with company vehicles from the shop which have gas cards. we can drive them from the shop to the heliport and back, but that's it. my division does not pay mileage to the shop.

notacrackhead said:   you also need to be able to pass random drug and alcohol tests, which are done at heliports.
Guess it's a good thing you're not a crackhead!

Gender: Male

Age: 34

Location: Metro Detroit

Occupation: Mechanical Engineer (Automotive)

Education: MSME 2006, BSME 1999

2011 Compensation: $80K + $10K bonus (seems to be about market rate for this area)

Future Salary Projection: At best a 3% raise, bonus may not happen this year

Benefits: 4 weeks vacation, HSA, Dental, 401K, tons of company vacation days

Whats the job like?
Engineering is fun, however I also administer release responsibilities for individual parts and this is annoying as it requires a lot of meetings and paperwork. Workload can be sporadic, off week here and there but mostly at least 50 hrs a week plus you screw yourself if you are not taking care of stuff on weekends to stay ahead. Worked in an engineering lab for 11 years with fair amount of job satisfaction but less pay and visibility.

Would you recommend the career to others?
Yes but engineering tends to drive some otherwise smart people away, not sure why because I thought I was having more fun than my roommates who were accountants. I would recommend a EE degree or software engineering ahead of ME as I think the pay scale shifts upward with those. Getting stuck in the wrong industry seems problematic for engineering, automotive can stink sometimes. Work for a small company if you want job satisfaction IMO.

Gender: Male

Age: 23

Location: Southern California

Occupation: Accountant (Private Industry, non-CPA)

Education: BS-Economics (Top 25 Undergrad)

2011 Compensation: ~$50k in wages + bonus (hourly, non-exempt)

Future Salary Projection: Been at this company for about 6-7 months, so I'm not sure of how pay raises work here. I expect a COLA at the minimum on my anniversary date.

Benefits: Essentially "free" health insurance -- HMO/Dental/Vision for ~$3/week pre-tax, Life & AD&D paid for by the employer, 401k w/ 4% match - vested immediately (eligible after 6 months), 5 paid days off, 5 sick days, and discounted apparel - 50% off retail. Non-monetary perk would be casual dress everyday -- can't beat coming in with a T-Shirt and jeans everyday.

What's the job like?
I spend most of my time working with our international subsidiaries during the day and with our external accountants and audit their books and expense reimbursements. Even though I mostly deal with our international subsidiaries, I come in between 8-5 to communicate with our EMEA region before they end their day and stay late at times to communicate with our APAC region. Month-end closing is probably the busiest time to consolidate our financial statements and report to our management team -- I've worked 14 hour days to meet our quick closing deadline.

Would you recommend the career to others?
The career is a bit dry and dealing with Excel spreadsheets throughout the day. Overall, I think it is an interesting field to be in to make a good amount of money and have job security.

Age: 36

Location: southern Texas

Occupation: Hospital pharmacy manager in a small hospital.

Education: BS + 4 yr Pharm.D + 1 year residency. Education cost: BS ($0, full scholarships + internships), Pharmacy school ($90K, partial scholarship + internships).

2011 Compensation: $130,000/yr, just started the job 6 months ago. Was making $43k/yr as a resident from 07/2010-06/2011. Before pharmacy school was a BS chemist making $60K/yr doing drug research. So can't complain. My position is salaried, ~$60/hr for 8 hr/day. However I usually put in ~9-10 hr because I love working.

Future Salary Projection: Expect normal pay increase next year, a bit above inflation.

Benefits: Being a manager means more flexible hours. Good healthcare benefits obviously. 28 day a year of PTO, but that means no free sick days. Our hospital's 401K kinda suck compared to others. $5k/yr of tuition reimbursement if you want to get more letters after your name.

What's the job like?

My job is more gear towards the clinical and administration aspect of pharmacy. Clinically, I review the drug treatments, e.g antibiotics: are they dosed correctly, are the coverages too board/narrow, treatment duration too long/short, are there more cost-effective alternatives? For the administrative side, buy meds, handle drug shortages/recalls, legal requirements, make reports/policies, adverse drug reactions, narcotic discrepancies, medication errors.... Work load varies from day to day. Days with lots of new admissions and high census are busy, then there are days you are surfing the web because everything is caught up.

Would you recommend the career to others?

If you asked me 5 years ago, then yeah! Not so sure these days. (1) because the pharmacist shortage in 2000-2006, for profit pharmacy schools sprang out everywhere. When I started in 2006, there were 90 pharmacy schools, most been around for 50+ years. That number increased by 40% in the last 5 years. Mean while, the economy, pharmacists delaying their retirement, the reimbursement rate, all played a part to end that shortage in the last 2-3 years. The job market now is just as competitive as others. For new graduates, doing residency is now often a de-facto requirement to land a hospital position. But with all the new schools and plenty of students willing to pay, the job market will likely get even worse for the next few years.

My recommendation: if your are already in pharmacy school, go big time on internship and networking to line up a job ASAP. If you want to go clinical, a PGY-1 residency might be enough but consider a PGY-2 in oncology, psych as they still have shortages. If you are not yet in pharmacy school, I say there are alternative healthcare professions that are just as interesting and have lower risks and better return on investment.

Edit: added education cost. Note that it is still possible to complete in 6 years (2 yr undergrad + 4 yr Pharm.D) but 4+4 is becoming the norm.

Gender: Male

Age: 33

Location: Suburbia in Major metropolitan town

Occupation: dentist

Education: BA + DDS degree (4 yrs)

2011 Compensation: For 2010, my tax return said 225k. I have no idea what my tax return will be this year. I own my practice as an LLC and take distributions. I upped my loan repayments from minimum of 7k a month to 16k a month to pay off my 10 year loan in 5 years. even as such, i imagine my tax statement will be close to 200 or more even with additional loan payments. if you own a business, you have many tax advantages over a w2 employee. my salary doesn't really reflect the tax advantages; basically i make more than what the salary shows.


Future Salary Projection: it will likely stay the same this year b/c of increased loan repayments. maybe down a little -- i don't believe in just lying down and blaming everything on the "economy," but i noticed a drop this year vs 2009 for certain months. in 2 years or less, i will pay the loan off and make an extra 16k x 12.

Benefits: none. i get my teeth cleaned and x-rayed for "free." i buy high deductible health insurance, exercise and try to be preventive.


What's the job like?

awesome. the technical parts i can pretty much do with my eyes closed. i rarely have to think about my work anymore. i enjoy talking, chatting with patients the most. too much sometimes and have to be reminded of the time. if you do not like interaction or are anti-social/invert, you likely will not do well as a dentist. i like the challenge of discovering what is important to people so i can address their concerns in those respect. the biggest downside of the job is back/neck/shoulder pain. i see much less patients than many other docs b/c i choose to create such a practice over ones that are based on volume. i work 32-36 hours. no weekends ever.

Would you recommend the career to others?

as with any career, i believe the sky is the limit, but ifif you look at my salary etc, i am not the norm. many many many many dentists make waaaaaaaaaaay less. some make barely 70-80 and work their butts off seeing 10+ patients a day (doing work, not saying hello). the tuition for dental school is sky rocketing also. some private schools now have costs of 100k+ a year. so theoretically, you can be at 400k+ already. for all of you that think your dentist is expensive, consider the cost of buying or building a practice: to build a practice will cost you now easily 400-500k. you want to visit a practice with fancy machines that make your life easier? crown machines cost 150-200k. certain laser machines can cost up to 70k. remember, most dental conditions are due to lack of personal hygiene habits. anyhow, would i recommend? yes, b/c there are still reasonably priced public schools, but one day, the cost to become one, start a business and risk/hassle/etc associated with it will not be worth it. who wants 1 million in debt and have people complain all day and that they don't like you? (but i'm a ninja and just tell them that's b/c they haven't met me yet!)

Age: 21
Location: NY
Occupation: Actuarial Analyst
Education: BA

2011 Compensation: ~70k annualized (started mid-year). Unknown small (3k-4k) bonus, depending on company and personal performance.
2012 Compensation: 75k-80k without COLA. Unsure if we will be getting a COLA for 2012. Bonus should be 8-10%.

Future Salary Projection: 100k in 2 years, 150k in 5 years, 200k in 10 years. All of this depends on how quickly I pass the actuarial exams (there are 9).

Benefits: 9-5 hours, ability to work from home, 4 weeks vacation/sick/personal days, 8 company-paid vacations, medical/dental/vision (only medical is paid almost-fully by company), 401k (100% match until 6%), and pension (gradually rises from 2%-10%/year based on age and years of service).

What's the job like?
Low stress, and usually interesting. I spend my time analyzing data and recommending strategic decisions based on the analysis. Occasionally the work gets dull, but that is more the exception than the rule.

Would you recommend the career to others?
An actuarial career is rewarding and low-stress, but the rigorous testing requirements restricts the supply pool considerably. This career is not for everyone, but if you're willing to put in hundreds of study hours and can handle the <40% pass rates for each exam, the career can open many opportunities and can be rewarding.

Sorry but what is a "COLA"?

newbietx said:   Sorry but what is a "COLA"?

Cost of living adjustment

I'm a newbie here, but glad to give some info.

Gender: Male

Age: 27

Location: Atlanta

Occupation: Patent Attorney

Education: BS Mechanical Engineering, JD

2011 Compensation: Approximately $90k this year, but paid by billing hour, so it's highly variable

Future Salary Projection: $110k 2012 - planning on a small raise (~8%) and more hours in the new year.

Benefits: Generally poor. SEP IRA requires a set percentage of income paid to retirement plan. Employer doesn't match any. Health insurance is offered but not subsidized.

What's the job like?
Not too bad. Spend most of my time drafting documents to file a patent or to respond to a rejection from the patent office. It's just enough engineering that it's exciting but not boring, and it's just enough law that it's interesting but not overwhelming. I get to play with gadgets no one has ever seen before and find out what's out there years before other people see it. I'd have more mobility if I were EE, but I've landed in a good spot.

Would you recommend the career to others? Attorney? Unless you're single and have no plans on a relationship any time soon, I would say no. The firm I work for is very different from others. The variable comp means I'm not losing money if I'm not working, so the firm is quite amenable to varying schedules. Having a wife and two kids, I don't like to be at the office all hours of the night every night, so having some flexibility is good. However, my experience is VERY different from my friends in the field at other firms. Going a week or two without seeing the wife or kids is normal, even though they're not on business travel. Even my single friends find it overwhelming, for the most part. I'm lucky, I guess, and can be paid a little less than them for the benefit of having a life as well.

Age: 25
Location: SF Bay Area
Occupation: Software Engineer
Education: MS
2011 Compensation: $133,000 (base pay + bonus)
Future Salary: Probably similar
Benefits: medical/dental/vision
What's the job like? Mostly sit at my desk writing code, planning projects, setting up systems, and resolving problems. Also go to meetings.
Would you recommend the career to others? Yes, if you are interested in software/programming. The pay is good and jobs are plentiful, but it's hard to succeed unless you are fairly passionate about the area.

Age: 26
Location: Phoenix
Occupation: Law enforcement
Education: B.S.
2011 compensation: A bit over 70k
Future salary: Will get a raise to 88k in February 2012.
Benefits: Great benefits, 401k, health/dental/vision, tons of plans, lots of holidays/sick leave
What's the job like? If you don't mind pursuing armed and dangerous felons, it's great.
Would you recommend the career to others? See above.

patricck said:   61k/year with 2k/year raise and working from home 2 days/week seems pretty good to me.

It's not much, considering the responsibilities of the position and the cost of living in the area.

Gender: Male

Age: 35

Location: NYC Metro Area

Occupation: Consulting / Project Management

Education: BS + some grad work

2011 Compensation: ~$155k base, ~$205k incl. bonus

Future Salary Projection: Base increases of 2% - 5% year over year expected, bonus is highly variable

Benefits: Decent. 401(k) match at 6%, PPO medical, dental, ESPP.

What's the job like?: Because it's consulting, it changes every 6-12 months. Sometimes it's great, sometimes it sucks. Travel required approx. 50% - 75% of the time, and of course, long hours.

Would you recommend the career to others?: If it fits your personality profile, then yes -- it's great. You have to not mind the travel, and you can never really get "comfortable" with what you're doing. For me personally, I get restless if I do the same thing for too long so I enjoy it. Before I discovered consulting, I used to hop jobs every year or two, which has its downsides.

Gender: Male

Age: 27

Location: SF Bay Area

Occupation: Healthcare Operations Consultant, Internal

Education: Masters in Healthcare Administration

2011 Compensation: $96,000 + ~$5K bonus

Future Salary Projection: Base increases of 2% - 5% year over year expected

Benefits: Excellent. Top health/dental, 6+ weeks vacation, 7% 401K match, defined benefit pension (1.5% x years of service)

What's the job like?: Unpredictable though generally reasonable hours; Fairly high stress due to patient care obligations. Lots of meetings and emails. 1 day/week local travel. O

Would you recommend the career to others?: Yes. Like any corporate job, the politics can be a pain, and it's easy to take work home with you (physically, or mentally). But it's challenging, stable, offers the opportunity to do some societal good, which is better than I think you can say for most professions.

Gender: Male

Age: 27

Location: SF Bay Area

Occupation: Healthcare Operations Consultant, Internal

Education: Masters in Healthcare Administration

2011 Compensation: $96,000 + ~$5K bonus

Future Salary Projection: Base increases of 2% - 5% year over year expected

Benefits: Excellent. Top health/dental, 6+ weeks vacation, 7% 401K match, defined benefit pension (1.5% x years of service)

What's the job like?: Unpredictable though generally reasonable hours; Fairly high stress due to patient care obligations. Lots of meetings and emails. 1 day/week local travel. O

Would you recommend the career to others?: Yes. Like any corporate job, the politics can be a pain, and it's easy to take work home with you (physically, or mentally). But it's challenging, stable, offers the opportunity to do some societal good, which is better than I think you can say for most professions.

Gender: Male

Age: 27

Location: DC Metro

Occupation: Senior IT Consultant

Education: High School + 2 years college (MIS) then dropped out

2011 Compensation: $260K ($210K cash + $50K stock)

Future Salary Projection: Estimating $225K + $50K stock for 2012, but could vary by $10-15K in cash and $25K in stock depending on performance. Within the next 2-3 years I am planning to start an IT consulting firm and projecting $350-400K by 2015.

Benefits: 100% medical coverage for self, wife, and kids with no deductibles or co-pays, with decent dental and vision. 3 weeks vacation + 10 holidays. 50% 401k matching up to 6% of salary. Company-paid AD&D, life, LTD. Reimbursement for internet connection, cell phone, mileage, and other business expenses.

What's the job like? I've been using computers since I was a kid, so this job can be a lot of fun. It's great to get paid to engineer IT systems using the latest technologies, and the ability one has to solve real business challenges using technology can be extremely rewarding. That said, many of the challenges can be political in nature and it can be frustrating to see the amount of waste that is tolerated by those in charge. Also, as a consultant many times you are perceived as "the enemy" and it is a constant challenge to figure out the interpersonal and interdepartmental dynamics that motivate your customer. Also, you are always the scapegoat if something goes wrong. "Cover Your Ass" is the mantra of the IT consultant.

Would you recommend the career to others? Yes, as long as you have a logical mind and a passion for the technology. It changes too quickly from year to year to be able to keep up unless you really love it. Plus, you're always expected to know the answer to everything, and to be able to figure it out if you don't.

BayesFormula in 2010 Thread said: 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.


Gender: Male
Age: 27
Location: Pacific Northwest
Occupation: Actuarial Analyst
Education: B.A. in Mathematics
Length of time in this field: Three years.
2011 Compensation: 84k
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 ~100k in 2011. If I pass only one exam, ~95k, If I don't pass any, ~90k.
Benefits: Health, dental. 5% 401k match.
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. Also, if you are good with people, as you move further in your career you get to spend more time explaining the results to people rather than just crunching numbers. I've recently started to get more exposure to this side of the business and am enjoying it (though I still love me some good ol' data analysis.)
Would you recommend the career to others? See comments above from my 2010 posting.

Attached is a graph which shows the Fatwallet income distribution in this thread (up until this post) vs. the general U.S. population.

(U.S. data is from Wikipedia.)

BayesFormula said:   Attached is a graph which shows the Fatwallet income distribution in this thread (up until this post) vs. the general U.S. population.

(U.S. data is from Wikipedia.)


Looks like I am right above the Median! wooooo

Gender: Male
Age: 31
Location: New York Metro Area
Occupation: Physician
Education: B.A., MD
Length of time in this field: Three years.
2011 Compensation: 340k working 7-5 M-F
Future Salary Projection: Depends on Obama being re-elected or not.
Benefits: Health, dental. no match, but profit sharing from group.
What's the job like? Putting people to sleep for medical procedures, epidurals for pregnant future to be mommies. Few moments of sheer terror.
Would you recommend the career to others? Yes.



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