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tolamapS said:   
Education: BA in Math, PhD
Occupation: Finance, Trading
Current Job: Design / implement statistical models that trade securities
2012 Income: $460K

Is your PhD in math too?

Gender: Female

Age: 29

Location: SF Bay Area

Education: B.S. Electronics Engineering MBA from one of the Top 10 Business Schools

Occupation: Account Manager

2012 Salary: $125K + 20% bonus

Future Salary Projections: Joining a startup taking a 50% pay cut. Hopefully it will pay off

Benefits Full medical insurance, cell phone and internet bill reimbursements, company contributes 3K to HSA account.

What's the job like? I am responsible for overall revenue from the account and ensure that our products are meeting client expectations and timelines. There is an element of sales and designing solutions, which makes it exciting. It is a high pressure job wherein I have to baby sit a lot of people - clients, internal teams and senior management. I am the first to hear if the client is not happy. I also travel quite a bit (50%) to client locations.

Would you recommend the career to others? Yes, but that depends on the company. In some companies, account management is more of a sustaining relationship management function.

First time posting in FWF. I feel all tingly. lol

Gender: Male

Age: 34

Location: Chicago Suburbs

Education: High School

Occupation: Account Executive (Sales)

2012 Salary: $78.5K (100% Commission)

Future Salary Projections: So far, in the last three years I've been there, I've gone up nearly 25% a year. I'm hoping next year bodes the same. So ~ $100K

Benefits 3% 401K Match. Other than that, shitty health care. Limited vacation (10) & sick days (5). Mandatory 10 hour days in the office.

What's the job like? I sell people something they want/need. I do 0 cold calling. We're an internet based company so leads come in all day and night through phone calls and emails. We also retain our customers so the residual client base continues to be built.

Would you recommend the career to others? Absolutely. Though a BA or BS and design skills are required, I skirted those requirements with a solid resume and the tenacity to not take no for an answer.

itradesize said: Gender: Male

Age: 24

Location: Chicago

Occupation: Options Trader

Education: B.S. Engineering

2011 Compensation: $80k base + $150k bonus

Future Salary Projection: Salary will not materially increase, only bonus. Bonus can be many multiplies of salary, however, but depends highly on your ability to produce for the firm. Assuming I sustain my current growth rate, bonus next year could be $300k+.

Benefits: Full medical/dental/vision with no premiums or co-pays, free breakfast/lunch/snacks, 20 vacation days, game room to play in after work

What is the job like?

Depends on the market environment. When it's slow, it's hours of boredom punctuated by moments of frantic activity; when it's busy, you might not even have time to run to the bathroom until the market closes. Starting out, job security is almost 0; if you're not producing, you will be shown the door fairly quickly, and there are a hundred other people waiting to take your spot. On the floor, everyone looks out for themselves and rarely for anyone else, which creates a cutthroat and hostile atmosphere. Working in the trading pits is like working in Animal House: loud and vulgar, and one of the few places left where harassment is still tolerated.

Hours are nice compared to other areas of finance, however. Rarely in the office more than 45-50 hours a week (usually in by 7, out by 4), and never have to work weekends. Very little in the way of bureaucracy and office politics, as your performance is easily and objectively measured, and bosses are eager to help you improve since they get a cut of what you bring in.

Would you recommend the career to others?

It depends. Assuming you have the personality to match, absolutely. If you're loud, brash, smart and fearless, going to work every day can be a blast. No two days are ever the same, and increasing efficiency in the market means you're always learning and adapting. If you're good at what you do, comp can ramp up exponentially if you start trading for yourself or get an equity stake in a successful firm -- if you don't wash out right away, chances are you're be able to comfortably retire at 40.

If you're risk-averse, quiet, hesitant or sensitive, this is not the line of work for you.


Gender: Male

Age: 25

Location: Chicago

Occupation: Options Trader

Education: B.S. Engineering

2012 Compensation: $85k base + $150k bonus

Future Salary Projection: Tough to say. Was expecting a big bump this year, but volumes are down across the board, meaning less opportunity. A lot of smaller firms are throwing in the towel, so maybe the lack of competition will help.

Benefits: No change as of now... full medical/dental/vision with no premiums or co-pays (although most of us are expecting this to go away), free breakfast/lunch/snacks, 20 vacation days, game room to play in after work

What is the job like?

Not much has changed from last year. Very rare to be busy, so hours have gotten even better, if anything. Costs continue to rise, so some fringe benefits are being squeezed out.

Would you recommend the career to others?

At this point, probably not. Job openings are few and far between, and there are a lot of experienced guys out there waiting to fill them. There is always opportunity in the markets, but simply standing in the pit is no longer a viable business model for most. The move to electronic trading is tightening spreads and squeezing most humans out of the equation.

Gender: Male

Age: 32

Location: Boston

Occupation: Senior Linux Admin. (Contractor)

Education: AS (2) Mechanical Engineering , Computer Engineering

2012 Compensation: $120K

Future Salary Projection: Hoping to get into the big company where I am now with small bump in pay maybe +5K

Benefits: None contractor.

What is the job like? im basically a point man for a division of a very large Fortune 500, I Architect their division and rebuild as needed. Good gig , the only pain is the 1+ hour commute. 8 - 4 or 5 depending on the day. Great group of people to work with. I like the whole group so I keep turning down offers from other companies.

Would you recommend the career to others? Yes, and every trip back to Colombia I try and help some of the kids here learn unix and linux well worth my time and effort to help them out. This career can be a real good time if you can learn to let the stress go at the end of the day and if you enjoy the team you work with. Also when you get to my point in your career, people make offers to you just on word of mouth, you know you have thoroughly enjoyed the career. Also I'd olny recommend this to people who have a want to learn more every day.

Age: 29

Location: NYC

Occupation: Financial services focused in real estate

Education: BS Real Estate, MS Real Estate, CFA Level 3 Candidate

2012 Compensation: $118K salary + ~$50-70K bonus, communicated in Q1 2013

Future Salary Projection: Maybe increase compensation ~$25K? Find out in Q1 2013

Benefits: Solid. 3 weeks vacation + personal days. I have dental, vision, medical, donation match, 401K match, etc.

What's the job like?
Im now working in real estate portfolio management, specifically focused on strategy and business development. I solve problems and create unique solutions for customers that means every day has different challenges and every week is more interesting than the last. Im working about 60 hours a week.

Would you recommend the career to others?
Love it and recommend it to all. The tangibility of real estate is exciting I can look at skylines around the world and point out assets Ive worked on.

My fiance and I hate NYC, but my job prospects are not good outside of NYC, so to have a normal suburban life one day, Id have to change gears. Maybe Id become a professor Im considering teaching classes part-time starting in 2014 after work to get my feet wet.

Gender : Male
Age: 28
Location: Southwest USA.
Occupation: IT Systems Analyst at Local Government
Education: BS Elect&Computer Engr; MS Elect&Comp Engineering from State University+ few IT certs
2012 Compensation: $81,000
2013 Salary Projection: Not much, hoping to get a step increase of 5% and COLA of 2% offset by a 1% more contribution to State Retirement System! Local governments are not finding money only to pay deserving IT professionals! (Admin Asst with 15+yrs makes 90k here!!!! OMG!)
Benefits: Fully paid high deductible health plan. Employer pays into State Retirement system, but takes 5 yrs to get vested!
10 Days Paid Vacation+10 Days Paid Sick Leave.

What's the job like?
I have been in consulting industry before, this job is not as competitive as that and schedule is also relatively predictable with no travel. Fixed time and weekends are off! Relaxed and I kind of like this!
Not very much to earn and go up in the ladder.

Would you recommend the career to others?
if you want a stable, fixed life, yes.

But after reading other posts in this thread, I feel, I am under-employed and under-paid??
I took a pay cut to take this job when I switched, but the relaxed lifestyle and some benefits offsets that.

I am only 28, and want to get into top jobs in IT or IT Management, can anybody suggest a path that I can take?

Will an MBA from a decent school (Ranks 15-30) help me in getting into higher ranking positions and earn more?

2011

Gender: Male

Age: 30

Location: Major Metropolitan City (Think NYC/SF/LA)

Occupation: Sr. Auditor

Education: B.S., not a top tier college

2012 Compensation: $105k base; after bonus and stock options given current valuation, roughly $135k.

Future Salary Projection: No idea. Next promotion won't be for a long time (since it's to manager). Maybe 2-3 years from now, but it should be around $125k+ base.

Benefits: 20 days PTO, 4 floating holidays. Medical/Dental/Vision, 401k match/ESPP (10% discount).

What's the job like?

Everything from last year is basically the same, although I am looking for a new career path soon before I have kids.

Those of you listing CFA as part of your qualifications, have you ever found a potential employer to be interested in this?

motuwallet said:   Those of you listing CFA as part of your qualifications, have you ever found a potential employer to be interested in this?
Only at Chick-fil-a.

Gender: Male
Age: Mid 30s
Location: NYC
Occupation: Finance
Education: PhD, Comp Sc
2012 Comp: 375k
Future Salary Projection: Flat unless I work up the management ladder or join a hedge fund/prop trading firm.
Benefits: 20 days PTO, 3 floaters, Med/Dental/Vision, 401k match

What's the job like?
I work on creating hedges to get rid of market risks in stock and bond portfolios. Long work hours, can be intense at times. Expert level programming and math required, along with ability and willingness to apply them to finance.

Would you recommend the career to others?
Absolutely! Coming up with out of the box solutions for real world problems is a lot of fun. Everyone around you is super smart and super ambitious. Fresh out of school, the hours can be absolute hell (70-100 hr weeks; no time for vacation) depending on the group/manager, but ~5 years in, it gets much better. Compared to top tier Silicon Valley firms, it is about twice as much pay (and less geeky work) for the same hours.

motuwallet said:   Those of you listing CFA as part of your qualifications, have you ever found a potential employer to be interested in this?Having it is not much of an advantage, but if you want to be in asset management, not having a CFA is a disadvantage as every around you will have it.

Gender: Male
Age: 0
Location: Central Europe
Occupation: Biz Dev / Sales in Energy
Education: BSc, Physical Sciences
2012 Comp: 202k USD. (edit: when i lived in USA in the South equivalent position paid out 120-150k)
Future Salary Projection: ~190K: 115K base + commission + bonus + cash-comp benefits (e.g. housing allowance)
Benefits: 25 days personal; health/medical; housing as mentioned; pension contribution + profit matching + discount stocks (not counted towards cash comp);
What's the job like?the most accurate cross-industry title is sales engineer or tech sales. primarily meeting clients to do demos and technical demonstrations a few times a week (if that). dont deal with numbers or accounts or proposals, but will help out pure sales people with those tasks as needed. federally regulated to <40hr/week but i dictate where and when and for how long to "work"; i.e. highly independent w/ near-zero supervision. honestly 80% of the time im surfing the web
Would you recommend the career to others?quite. its a good mix of technical work, marketing (strategizing), and business (schmoozing), without the downsides of needing to be the de-facto expert, responsible for end-support, or having to chase down accounts receivables to close. not the most stimulating or challenging work in the world, but really depends on your product and your personal passion. the travel can be very fun

motuwallet said:   Those of you listing CFA as part of your qualifications, have you ever found a potential employer to be interested in this?As someone who actively recruits, it is always a plus but by no means a deal breaker if a candidate is not a Charter holder. That being said, the larger the firm, the more likely they would see it as desirable, especially in asset management divisions.

My job info is pretty much the same as last year, except that I make $2000-3000 more than last year, bear increased responsibility, and work more evenings. I still have essentially no control over my schedule and get called to come in to work at night. For example, I was supposed to be off the evening of 12/31/2012 and have 1/1/2013 off. But, I spent this NYE (12/31 evening until 1/1 morning) at work, delivering a baby. Real NYE dinner was a rushed half glass of milk and a couple crackers. I like what I do and it might sound callous, but it was frustrating because I had plans to go out and had bought my ticket to an event that ended up getting wasted. I don't get many chances to go out and this was my attempt to start having a life outside of work for once.

Gender: Male

Age: 20s

Location: Major Metropolitan City

Occupation: MD

Education: 8 years of post-secondary education (undergraduate degree + MD degree) and counting (I am in residency, where you work full time and study/learn additionally)

2012 Compensation: 1-year contracts. By nature, contracts start halfway through the year, so 2012-2013 year (pre-tax) salary is just above $50,000. Also get a parking pass and a meal card of $1500/year that can be used in the hospital cafeteria. The meal card money does not roll over at the end (middle) of the year and cannot be used to purchase multiples of the same item. There is also a limit on the amount of each purchase you make (somewhere between $12 and $15). Both the meal card money and parking pass and can be suspended without notice by administration.

Future Salary Projection: No guarantee of contract renewal each year. New requirements that significantly increase the burden for fulfillment for contract renewal are often added unilaterally by administration throughout the year; no recourse is allowed. Tentative raise each year of $1,000 (this past year, my salary actually increased by $2000-3000 for an unknown reason). No potential for additional raise or bonus.

Benefits: Free high-deductible health insurance (with copay) if you're single. No copay for preventative care within our hospital system (the downside to getting care within the system is that everyone you work with can access to your entire chart; also, you can't really get time off to see a doctor, so it's a moot point). No/minimal coverage for ED visits. No dental, no vision. No pension. 15 vacation days each contract period (year) have to be requested several months in advance - they may or may not be approved and notice of approval/declined may take months. Allowed to take a maximum of 1 week off in a month (can't save up and take half a month off for a trip abroad). We also get 5 sick days/year, but have to be at death's door to take them (and even if you are, everyone makes a fuss about it and you will still get paged throughout the day). If taking two or more sick days in a row, a doctor's note is mandatory (am I the only one that sees the irony in this?) or the days are removed from your vacation days. For all non-MD employees, sick days can be banked/rolled over or cashed out. If you're an MD, you use them or lose them.

What's the job like?
Service field, high-stress, dealing with wide spectrum of people all day, many poorly educated or from lower socioeconomic background with poor or no hygiene. Occasional need to make life and death decisions, frequent need to make decisions affecting quality of life and morbidity. You also have several different supervising staff to whom you report. The particular staff you report to will change throughout the day and each has their own unique "correct" way of managing everything.

Significant potential for personal threats (or attempts) of physical violence against you, significant threat for contracting serious infection (tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, etc.), very significant potential for being sued. 1/100 to 1/500 people will express mild appreciation for your effort/contribution to their health (excluding narcotics; about 1/10 to 1/25 will express appreciation for narcotics). Each day is something new and can be great. Or not. A large part (sometimes most) of the day is spent doing paperwork. Some days, you are required to spend a lot of time on the phone and dealing with social and transportation issues. You can also expect to run the risk of exposure to body fluids (often contaminated/infectious) on a daily basis. (Protip: wash your hands frequently).

Significant potential for dealing with people with one or more underlying mental disorders. Not allowed to speak freely or frankly and must remain calm and censor self at all times, even in the face of physical confrontation. Must remain objective at all times, not letting bias interfere with interactions or decisions (even when on the receiving end of threats of significant personal physical violence). Significant interaction with severely ill people. Caring for people when they are at their worst. Frequently the bearer of bad (and often life-changing) news, must have good communication skills and be empathetic. Minimal/no respect from significant portion of daily contacts.

Work 5-7 days/week (55 to 80+ hours/week) with (officially) at least 4 days off each month (this includes weekends; technically, a day off is supposed to be exactly 24 hours off). After working your regular full day, you may also be randomly scheduled to work additional evenings and nights with as little as a few hours' notice. Sometimes, you also work nights for a week at a stretch, while other times you will be working just one night. Working New Year's day, Independence day, Veterans day, Thanksgiving, Christmas (and any other stat holidays and weekend days) don't get you any bonus, perk, or priority for getting a specific day off; you just go in and work as you would any other regular day.

In addition to this, you are also supposed to learn/read on your own on a daily basis, teach colleagues, put together presentations, and maintain a life outside of work. This also does not include time for studying or sitting for mandatory licensing exams. To sweeten the pot, significant policy changes come down frequently from the powers that be over which you have no say; you are expected to "roll with it and adapt." Minimal to no potential for training with outside providers/facilities.

Would you recommend the career to others?
Yes, but only if it is something they would truly love doing.

maxandsam said:   sharky1985 said:    I pretty much have no life. Working dayshift is an option, but you get paid just your base rate to do A LOT more work. Looking to get out ASAP.

The answer is to marry a doctor


Or, even better, a dentist in Suburbia.

Gender: Male

Age: 30

Location: Chicago

Occupation: Tax Accountant (Corporate)

Education: BA in Accounting, Masters of Taxation

2012 Compensation: Approx. $95K (incl. bonus)

Future Salary Projection: 2-5% Annual Raises, 20% of Salary Annual Bonus Potential.

Benefits: Medical, Dental, Vision, 401K w/ 3% match, Pension (I'm vested), 23 PTO days, standard holidays, etc...

What's the job like?

50% of the time it's interesting, the other 50% its very mundane. I'm part of a large compliance function, managing several subsidiaries. Standard corporate tax and financial reporting deadlines lead to predictable hours. The tax planning function provides the more stimulating work.

Would you recommend the career to others?

Only to someone who's done public accounting 1st and wants to try the other side. Tax uncertainty in this country keeps things interesting but also can make it frustrating. Also, tax departments are typically viewed as a cost center so you'll want to focus on finding a company where the department focuses heavily on planning and tax saving strategizing.

...

ArthurDent said:   motuwallet said:   Those of you listing CFA as part of your qualifications, have you ever found a potential employer to be interested in this?Having it is not much of an advantage, but if you want to be in asset management, not having a CFA is a disadvantage as every around you will have it.

surely with a PhD you would not pursue it or advertise if you happened to have one though, right? seems it would be demeaning ...

motuwallet said:   ArthurDent said:   motuwallet said:   Those of you listing CFA as part of your qualifications, have you ever found a potential employer to be interested in this?Having it is not much of an advantage, but if you want to be in asset management, not having a CFA is a disadvantage as every around you will have it.surely with a PhD you would not pursue it or advertise if you happened to have one though, right? seems it would be demeaning ...You are right in terms of content, it is not strictly necessary, but based on what I hear from a few people in asset management, some clients are Keen that their adviser have a CFA.

Since I read these last few years and they actually motivated me to do more for myself, here we go:

Age: 32

Location: Los Angeles

Occupation: Income Tracking / Accounting / Finance - in music biz

Education: BA Finance from Big 10 State School

2012 Compensation: $70K + $3K Bonus

Future Salary Projection: TBD - raises and COLA incr. are deferred until July - at best would be 3% but I expect none. If I jumped to another co. maybe $90k+, but I also want to move back to the Midwest at some point and have started a business (with so far poor performance) so really who the hell knows.

Benefits: 401K match (don't participate), Health/Dental/Vision (about $120/mnth) for cheapest option, 10 days PTO, 1 floating day, 5 sick days, major national holidays off, and also industry breaks between xmas and new year (paid). And hopefully we will have half day Friday this summer again (goes memorial day through labor day) and is one of the best benefits I've ever had in my opinion.

What's the job like?
It is pretty chill. I basically make sure we get paid correctly and on time. It's 40 hrs a week with no overtime. This particular position is kind of unique in that you don't find it at many companies, and it is kind of a hybrid of accounting / legal / licensing / royalties. I actually enjoy finding money for the company most, but there is also more mundane things like data entry, ad hoc projects from Sr. Management, and dealing with people who have no desire to help you. Before this position I had a variety of very traditional accounting/finance jobs also in the music biz (Financial Controller, Sr. Accountant) which paid around 15-20K more but also came with higher stress and often longer hours. Even though I believe I could make more if I jump ship, the low stress of this position coupled with a company that seems to semi-care (extremely rare in music biz), keeps me here.

Would you recommend the career to others?

No, unless you love numbers and the rat race. This particular position isn't really a career, and I only have this job because of a vast amount of industry experience in the last decade. Would be a good starting point for a new grad so you could learn some good skills, but in general I tell people they should not work in the music biz. It's pretty thankless, will generally pay way less than other industries (and is usually in high COL areas), competitive but in a bad way (read: cut-throat), and can also limit your options to move to new areas in the future (seems like I am perpetually stuck getting offers from music companies despite my desire to leave the industry). Oh yeah and they lay people off all the time (although accountants have seemed mostly safe). If you want to go traditional accounting/finance route, get a CPA and start with one of the big firms, that will be way better in the long run. To quote Hunter S. Thompson: "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

maxandsam said:   Gender: Male

Age: 33

Location: suburbia

Occupation: dentist

Education: DDS

2012 Compensation: $460,000

Future Salary Projection: 460,000-500,000

Benefits: I get free cleanings.

What's the job like?

I am not the norm for a dentist. My AGI is ~460,000 this year, but my take home is prob as it was last year ~250k. I have been aggressively paying off a 700k note and finally did. This year and next, my take home should be the full amount unless I buy more equipment. Yes, it requires a ton of capital to have a dental office that offers the latest and greatest. It costs a ton to take CE all the time and learn everything. Most people choose not to do so. I can't sit back if I know there are things to be learned. I am very good at my job and take pride in the work I do and make sure my customers know that. I am not the cheapest and never strive to be -- I market to people that appreciate and respect time and attention provided to them.



Thanks for that line. I thought about it quite a bit while I was at work. Appreciate it. Hoping that we grow at least 50% this year.

First time caller, long time listener...

Age: 31

Location: Suburbs of a city in the Southeast US

Occupation: Chemical Engineer / R&D Scientist

Education: BS, PhD Chemical Engineering (PhD from top 10 school)

2012 Compensation: $89K + ~$8K Bonus (bonus was for prior year, pro-rated for partial year only).

Future Salary Projection: Probably a 3-5% raise for next year.

Benefits: 401K match of 9% (not yet fully vested), some small cash value pension contributed solely by company, full health for self and spouse, group dental/vision which I think I pay 100% on, some small disability/life insurance, 10 days vacation, 9 holidays, 3 floating holidays, ability to buy an additional week of vacation (which I do), $30/month gym reimbursement, target bonus is 10% of salary, was greater than 100% of target last year and historically in many prior years, and I believe this year will be at 100% of target or more, some flexibility with unofficial comp time based on late/weekend work and business travel.

What's the job like?
I manage the transition of new products from R&D to Manufacturing, additionally have some projects in R&D to assist with these types of transitions, projects in developing tools for this transition, and projects on developing technology/equipment for manufacturing in this particular process. I support Manufacturing in the US and abroad. Project timelines vary - from rushed projects that come up and need to be commercialized ASAP to meet customer needs to slower moving commercializations and the other projects that have their own timeline. I travel and spend a good bit of time in manufacturing, despite a role in R&D. And I have to work with a wide range of people in the organization - manufacturing, R&D, tech sales, business management, supply chain, etc.

Would you recommend the career to others?
I like it. Jobs as a chemical engineer with a PhD vary pretty widely. In general, I'd recommend not getting a PhD as a chemical engineer unless you want to be a professor, I don't think it was a particularly good use of my time as far as my career goes, despite having a job I like now. But if you can do it and like chemical engineering, you should absolutely pursue a career in it.

Gender: Male

Age: 28

Location: Los Angeles metro area

Occupation: Not sure what my title is. Some sort of engineer I guess- isn't everyone these days? I work for an ISP of around 450k customers and try to analyze the customers' experience and do things to improve it. I'm also an expert on how it works, so am essentially the escalation point of last resort when there is an outage.

Education: B.S Computer Engineering

2012 Compensation: $93,000 comprised of 82k base, 7k cash bonus, stock bonus worth about 4k. Base was same as last year due to some 'glitch' where they forgot to do my annual review. Hopefully my raise this year will make up for it.

Future Salary Projection: Probably need to move into management to get more than 4-8% per year increases.

Benefits: Company pays majority of health and dental insurance costs; $.50 on the dollar 401k match up to 10%; ESPP; gym membership; cell phone (not sure if that's a benefit or not).

What's the job like?
I have the freedom to pretty much do whatever I feel is important. I search the network for problems either on the physical layer, networking layer, or IT level and help drive the software roadmap. Also I point out inadequacies in the current set of software tools and provide recommendations for improvement. These are largely ignored so I end up writing a lot of my own tools.

Would you recommend the career to others?
I've been able to learn a bit about a broad range of subjects from how to configure a Cisco router or firewall to communications theory to web page design. I'm not sure yet if it's a good thing to know a little about a lot, or to specialize in one area. I feel that if I would be able to transition into a career like technical sales easily, but it would probably be hard to get a job as a networking engineer or a C++ developer now. I think that's probably beneficial to my long-term career prospects though, since the money seems to be in the former path. So time will tell, but I would expect that it's probably best to diversify your knowledge so you don't get pigeon-holed working on a job that may be obsoleted any time the 'next big thing' comes along.

Gender: Female
Age: 27
Location: Chico, CA

Occupation: Office slave? No, really. "Accounts payable clerk + special duties" is probably the most succinct title. This is at a car dealership. - duties haven't really changed from last year, except for increased emphasis on customer retention work.

Education: B.A. in English

2012 Compensation:
Roughly $46,000 before taxes. Got a nice bump when I was switched to salary. I receive quarterly bonuses based on service department customer retention and got a decent Christmas bonus, too.

Future Salary Projection:
Probably no real increase, though I didn't expect to get what I did this year.

Benefits:
Medical ($42/check), dental (~$10/month), vision (free), 401k (with some employer match), 10 paid vacation days a year, discounts on servicing my automobiles at the dealership. Got a good deal on the new Hyundai I purchased this year, too.

What's the job like?
Boring. I pay bills, which is on a cycle every month - so the first 10 days are busy, the rest is slower. I'm the closest thing we have to on-site tech support, so there's those stupid user questions, as well as website maintenance and updating user profiles for a few different software applications we use. I take and process all the photographs of cars for our websites. I am responsible for improving service department customer retention through database purification and targeted mailers, which is interesting if only because I get quarterly bonuses if we hit our targets. Mostly it's boring and repetitive and dead-end. - This is basically the same as last year. No additional duties; if anything, they took some work away, but are still paying me the same amount, so it's win-win I suppose on that front.

Would you recommend the career to others?
The field of "car dealership accounting" is pretty specialized - the software we use is auto industry-specific, and people who get into the work tend to stay in it for ages (I have one coworker who makes quite a bit less than I do I do and who has been working in the industry for 40+ years). You're much better off to sell cars if you want to work in this industry.

akiri423 said:   
Would you recommend the career to others?
The field of "car dealership accounting" is pretty specialized - the software we use is auto industry-specific, and people who get into the work tend to stay in it for ages (I have one coworker who makes quite a bit less than I do I do and who has been working in the industry for 40+ years). You're much better off to sell cars if you want to work in this industry.


If you want to work in that industry, I would suggest going into financing cars, that way you make great money a d get to pretend you're not screwing customers

2012 Cliff notes:
- Psychiatrist, sub-specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry.
- Salary up 10%, fewer hours worked per week, more time for personal life and moonlighting (part-time work) which brings in additional 1-2k/month.
- 1 year closer to independent practice.
- This year, I'm less tired, still just as jaded, but looking forward to numerous job options.
- Job options include: telemedicine (working from home, seeing patients through video conferencing), private practice, salaried job at university medical school.

2011



Gender: Male

Age: 30

Location: Texas

Occupation: Physician, training in general psychiatry and sub-specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Education: 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 5 years of specialty training (currently in year 3 of 5)

2011 Compensation: $55k.

Future Salary Projection: $63k next year for sub-specialty training, and ~$67k the year after (both years in California, which has a significantly higher cost of living than Texas). ~$200-250k after that if I take a salaried non-academic position, and ~$120-180k if I stay in an academic setting. Within academics, most directors and chairs of departments max out at about $200-240k.

Benefits: Right now in residency, pretty standard hospital employee coverage.

What's the job like?
Psychiatry is stressful in different ways compared to other medical specialties--you're hearing about people's innermost thoughts and desires, and try to help them better understand themselves and live a more fulfilling life. About 5-10% of psychiatrists treat patients with psychotherapy (talk therapy) only, and the rest use medications. Both have evidence that support their use. Currently as a 3rd year resident, I work 40-50 hours/week. During my first 2 years, I would work 65-80 hours/week. The reason being that the first 2 years are mostly hospital-based (including taking in-hospital call), and 3rd and 4th year being primarily outpatient-focused (and taking at-home call). Contrary to popular belief, I manage basic medical problems in the clinic in addition to psychiatric problems. There is a bigger focus on personal health in psychiatry training that I feel is missing in other specialties.

Would you recommend the career to others?
That's a tough one. No amount of volunteering in a hospital, drawing blood, shadowing a doctor will prepare you for medical school or post-graduate training. It's a long, long road. You will sacrifice your free time, relationships, optimism. You will put your patients' health before yours. You will see the ugliest side of human life: cancer, child abuse, depression, organ failure, physical and mental trauma, homelessness, death. That being said, you can sometimes make a difference in someone's life, and it can be fulfilling. In medicine, be prepared to significantly delay gratification. Most of my friends are married, have new cars/homes/kids, and are on the way to being financially stable. I'm looking forward to finishing training and hope I can find a niche that I can be happy with. Then, it would all be worth it.

For more info, see "Would you go to medical school if you had to choose again?":
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=55501


2012
Gender: Male

Age: 31

Location: California

Occupation: Psychiatrist, sub-specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Education: 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 5 years of specialty training (currently in year 4 of 5)

2012 Compensation: $62k + $15-20k (voluntary part-time moonlighting, paid per patient seen while on call)

Future Salary Projection: $66-68k base for next year +/- $15-20k, with MORE free time to moonlight/vacation/etc. ~$200-250k after that if I take a salaried non-academic position, and ~$120-180k if I stay in an academic setting.

This year, I started working for a telepsychiatry company that provides me with a laptop/2 LCDs/business cable connection in order to see psychiatric patients remotely while I'm at home. Though it's part time, it seems like a great option after I graduate--I could work anywhere in the world as long as I had my hardware and internet connection.

Private practice is still an option as is a salaried job as an academic. However, the flexibility is nowhere near that of telemedicine.

Benefits: Better than my previous position in Texas. 20 days of vacation, full benefits, etc.

What's the job like?
Addendum for 2012: I see primarily children and adolescents under the age of 18. I work with patients with a variety of psychiatric diagnoses, including ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, drug addiction, psychological trauma and abuse. I prescribe medications and conduct different types of therapy (play, cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic). I enjoy it a lot for the most part. All of my call this year is taken from home...the hospital will page me if needed, and I've only needed to go into the hospital 1 time in the past 6 months. See 2011 comments.

Would you recommend the career to others?
I'm a little less tired than last year, thus a little less pessimistic. Still, medicine is a field where you see people at their worst and that's a difficult thing on a daily basis. My comments from 2011 still stand, but if one can find a niche to enjoy, it can be fulfilling work. I think I'm on my way, but it's been a very long road. Some days, it's hard to believe that the previous decade of my life is gone.

Gender: Male

Age: 28

Location: Los Angeles City

Occupation: Database Professional

Education: M.S Computer Science

2012 Compensation: $105,000 (Changed job from 83K in the middle of the year)

Future Salary Projection: Not sure if they will provide any raise for at least a year

Benefits: Not great benefits in prev job, not even this job. around 400$ for medical insurance + vision+Dental. 2% match 401K, free phone, few more benefits

What's the job like? All database help needed for a successful project deployment and support once developed

Would you recommend the career to others? yes, absolutely.

Gender: Male
Age: 27
Location: Massachusetts
Occupation: Systems Engineer (Defense industry) ~5 years
Education: BS EE, M.Eng EE (Tier 2 tech schools)
2012 Compensation: $67,000, up from $61,500 earlier in the year.

Future Salary Projection:
If history is any indication, 2-3% annual raises excluding promotional bumps. Received one bump this year of approximately 10% but I don't expect another bump until later this year. Long-term, sequestration will really put a crimp on the defense industry and I expect salary growth to slow more and possibly never recover. The only saving grace would be the demand for employees to fill higher level positions as baby boomers retire (lots of 25+ year people in my current office). Otherwise, opportunities for advancement are slim and require aggressive pursuit for minimal return. Our standard pay bands top out around $105k for technical folks which is way below my 10-year goal. I also have not seen return on investment from my graduate degree in the form of salary increase, although the company did pay for the degree and I was obligated to stay for a year after graduation (2011).

Benefits:
Full medical, dental, shared legal services plan. Medical is now high-deductible with HSAs for everyone. 14 days PTO + 4 core holidays and 3 floating holidays. 4.5% match for 401k which is nice.

What's the job like?
For the first few years, I was in technical roles and responsible for solving problems and doing design work. My current role is a team lead where I'm responsible for execution and schedule/cost tracking on two different software projects. I feel like my level of responsibility has increased steadily over the past 5 years and my salary has not increased to match. Barring any unforeseen opportunities appearing in the next year, I'm planning to move on to another industry and get out of defense while I'm still in my 20s. The stability is nice for "company man" type individuals but that's just not me right now (single, no kids and prefer to rent). I also may have an opportunity to move in with my SO who is closer to larger metropolitan areas where there are lots of opportunities for someone with my resume.

Would you recommend the career to others?
I don't recommend that anyone get involved with defense unless you plan to stay 5+ years and/or settle down near your job. The personal satisfaction is also fairly low unless you're a right-winger who truly believes that the defense industry has a net positive benefit on society (I don't). There are interesting projects out there if you can find them, especially for individuals with unique skillsets.

krschee said:   
2011


No amount of volunteering in a hospital, drawing blood, shadowing a doctor will prepare you for medical school or post-graduate training. It's a long, long road. You will sacrifice your free time, relationships, optimism. You will put your patients' health before yours. You will see the ugliest side of human life: cancer, child abuse, depression, organ failure, physical and mental trauma, homelessness, death. That being said, you can sometimes make a difference in someone's life, and it can be fulfilling. In medicine, be prepared to significantly delay gratification. Most of my friends are married, have new cars/homes/kids, and are on the way to being financially stable.

I am bolding this part because it is SO true, but overlooked by most people.

Some of the data in this answer overlaps with my answer from last year but I've included some of it for clarity.

Gender: Male
Age: 31
Location: San Francisco
Occupation: CEO
Company: Internet startup with few million dollars of top-tier series-a venture capital backing.
Education: Tier 1 undergraduate engineering degrees
2012 Compensation: $7m USD
2013 Compensation: $100,000 + large stock package. I was offered up to a $150,000 salary by our board of directors which I declined.
Future compensation: Highly unknown and volatile. The company could go belly up if we don't hit revenue milestones or raise more money by 2015.
Benefits: Free food, transit benefits, free phone and computer

Back story: I joined a startup a couple years ago as a relatively early employee and and the company eventually went public. After I sold shares, I ended up netting around $7m pre-tax. I left that company and founded a startup with a few friends and then we raised a few million dollars of outside investment from a few of the top Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

What is the job like?: The job is really fun and interesting. I've learned more as the CEO of this company than I have in my entire career previously. I'm in charge of funding, HR, product management, accounting, recruiting, general strategy -- basically everything involved with the whole company. Most of my time has been spent recruiting people and we've been lucky enough to attract some world-class engineers from other top internet companies. Raising money was also a really challenging but great learning experience and our board of directors is very supportive and dynamic.

The technology that we're building is very novel and we've been featured in the silicon valley press a bunch. In 2012, a major internet company tried to buy us but we declined the offer. At the price that they offered, I would have been made a millionaire a couple times over (again).

I've never worked so hard in my life with so much riding on it which is fun, and scary, and hard, and emotionally difficult -- all at the same time. Sometimes I'm not sure if I can actually pull off what we are trying to do.

Some of the fun perks have been things like CEO dinners that our investors hold where I get to meet 30 other CEOs in one night. Also, our investors are able to get us introductions to basically any company in the world and help open a ton of doors. The validity and reputation that the VCs bring has been well worth it. My career has basically been accelerated by five years in the span of 12 months.

Would you recommend the career to others? Yes and no. I'm lucky enough to do something that I really love. I love technology and I love what we're working on and the problems that we're solving. On the flip side, having so much of my own ego on the line with this company is scary and daunting. Also, during our investment, I accepted some friends into the round who I would be uncomfortable letting down. If the company ever failed, I would probably pay them back out of my own pocket.

Making decisions for the longevity of the company would be difficult if I wasn't already independently wealthy. To that effect, I wouldn't recommend my own job to someone less experienced or someone that was motivated by money. I'm building the company because I think it is fun and interesting and something that I want to exist.

I've usually scorned this thread in the past but I have to kill 10 minutes right now.

Gender: Male

Age: 39

Location: Rainy Northwest

Occupation: Video Producer

Education: B.A. Film and Music

2012 Compensation: $60k

2013 Projection: 2013 is going to mark a shift for me from this 2012, which I barely worked and my total compensation was literally dozens of small jobs. I already have (and am working on) contracts totaling $113k for 2013 and contracts for 2014 and 2015 worth $61k each.

It's important to note on the compensation - I don't make a lot by many professional's standards, although this year will probably be very good, with more than a 100k booked and only 4 months of the year spoken for for that amount. I also rarely work more than half time, and usually more like 1/3 time. It's also worth something to not be required to be anyplace in particular at a certain time more than a few days a year, so I spend fully 50% of my day unless I'm on location shooting somewhere, with my child.

Benefits: Self-employed, so I set my own schedule. I also set my own budgets. There's a lot of downsides to self-employment in the arts, too. I can't tell you the number of nights I've woken up scared shitless about the future.

What's the job like? I produce videos for a variety of clients under a variety of conditions and deadlines. Sometimes I slam stuff out and sometimes I try to make it high art. My actual working hours are spent either on the phone, in front of a computer editing, or humping 50lbs of camera gear around. I seem to spend a lot of time surfing the web when I should be editing or planning.

Would you recommend the career to others? It's really only for a few people - a) it's a weird combination of skills that you need if you want to be profitable b)many people would not enjoy it, including me sometimes.

This thread is pretty awesome. I'm going to make my kid read it in its entirety when the 2028 version comes out and she is 16.

I can relate to Bluegreenturtle's 'scared shitless' comment about being self-employed as that was what prompted a career switch for me a few years ago. Might as well make my own submission then.

Gender: Male

Age: 27

Location: CA bay area

Occupation(s): Financial Analyst/ Accountant @ a Fortune 500 company 2/3 of year. Big 4 Auditor 1/3 of year

Education: BS-Economics, MA-Accounting

2012 Compensation: ~$85k in salary and bonus (annualized)

2013 Projection: ~$90k.

The larger $10k- $15k step-ups in pay occur when you get promoted at mega-corp. This occurs every 2-5 years for high performers.

Benefits: 50% 401k match up to 8% of your salary plus 3% free retirement fund contribution. Basically I put in 8% of my salary and the company then sticks in 7%. Moderately reduced price medical, vision, and dental. 15 vacation days a years. The biggest benefit is that we have flexible schedules and my department shuts down nearly every Friday since we've decided to work 10-12 hr days Mon-Thurs. Those extra off Fridays are gold to me.

What's the job like? I spend my days working with excel and our financial reporting apps to produce reports for presentations to senior management or in submitting data to various end users (tax dept., M&A group, FP&A group, cost affordability group, etc.). I spend a few hours every day training the more junior folks in our group, which I find highly rewarding since they have such awesome attitudes.

Would you recommend the career to others? Only become a financial analyst or accountant at a mega corp. if you enjoy business, working with numbers, developing forecasts, and being highly detailed oriented. Senior management quizzes me all the time on my submissions and I need to have an explanation for every little line item that goes into, say, a forecast for our ending cash balance.

I happen to love that stuff so I recommend it if you do too.

Other Comments/my cathartic rant: In 2011 I thought I would still be an auditor at one of the Big 4. Then my second auditor busy season (Dec- Apr period) hit in 2012 and we only got 2 days off of work in all of February, March, and the first half of April. I decided to quit Big 4 audit when I had to ask permission to take my girlfriend out to dinner on her bday April 1, which was a Sunday...and then they made me come back to work for another 5-6 hrs after dinner that day. I never hope to be asked again to work 18-20 hr days without break for such a long period of time. After 2-3 days of that (much less 2 months), you become pretty unproductive and it feels like there is a hole in your head. Pretty humbling experience.

It was sheer stupidity that our audit manager wanted us all there for that much time over a 2.5 month period. Some of the girls would start crying late at night sometimes. Two people got in car accidents during that time on their ways to/from work...probably due to exhaustion. A few days co-workers on other engagements would go home to sleep and then come back to work the next day...and folks on my engagement were all still working from the prior day. Eventually, in late March a few of us started going home at 1:30- 2:00 AM most nights just to protect our health but we all got adverse write-ups by the other seniors/managers for not being team players. Oh well, most of the U.S. citizens on that engagement ended up quitting in April-May. I felt bad for the poor sponsored non-U.S. co-workers since quitting meant having to find another job ASAP or else having to go back home to their country. I was lucky since I was almost a CPA at the time and it's easy to find another job for CPAs who are U.S. citizens in the bay area.

Gender: Male
Age: 50s
Location: northeast
Occupation: co-founder of consulting business
Education: ms in computer science

2012 Compensation: > than any posts to date

Future Salary Projection: current * 1.2

Benefits: shared healthcare, 0% match, 3 weeks vacation

What's the job like? my sole reason for posting is to urge people to find a way to work for themselves in a scalable business that can eventually be sold.
Find a time (or two) in your life to take an intelligent risk , if necessary find like-minded people to share the risk.

Would you recommend the career to others? Yes, it's been incredibly rewarding but not for the faint of heart and I've worked an incredible number of hours. But in the past, I was working those hours for the benefit of a public consulting company.

edit: I should add, part of the attraction of starting your own company is the ability to create a great company for your employees where they share in your success.

Gender: Male
Age: 29
Location: Denver, CO
Occupation: Software Engineer
Education: BS in computer science related major

2012 Compensation: ~115K

Future Salary Projection: I'm working at a startup, so it's kind of unknown. Assuming things go well, it should go up considerably since we're only about 6 months into things.

Benefits: unlimited vacation (within reason), work from home, paid health/dental/vision insurance and parking, pop/beer/snacks in the office

What's the job like? I'm lucky enough to work with really smart people solving hard problems.

Would you recommend the career to others? Yes, it's very rewarding. I put in a lot of hours, but enjoy doing what I do

user1337 said:   Gender: Male

Age: 29

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Occupation: VP of Finance at tech startup

Education: BA in Economics

2011 net pay: $175K salary, ~$200K-700K stock options (my estimate based on peer acquisition in 2011)

Future outlook: If the company gets acquired I get option windfall but probably will be out of a job shortly after merger depending on who buys us. If we IPO then probably will go to $200K. I am always being recruited by local tech companies and recruiters have told me VP/CFO with my background very difficult to find. As next gig I expect VP of Finance again. I'll need a couple more rounds of experience before being taken seriously for CFO.

Benefits: Standard socal tech co package.

What is job like: Outside of standard "easy" reporting, challenging ad hoc projects commissioned by CFO (very "intellectually" driven guy). When we decide to get acquired/IPO I expect to work late hours.
Update from last year

Gender: (Still) Male

Age: 30

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Occupation: VP of Finance at tech startup

Education: BA in Economics

2012 net pay: $185K salary, based on some term sheets we received from PE shops (which we didn't take) brings the value of my options to $900k.

Future outlook: we tested the market in 2012 to see if there was interest in someone acquiring us (got close but didn't receive term sheet - looks like the frontrunners want to see our 2013 performance), and also went for strategic and PE investments (which we got term sheets for but didn't bite based on valuation and our lack of need for the cash). Finalized our plan for 2013 - if we hit our very aggressive targets, option value may go to $2m, and we plan on filing IPO in 2013. My cash package is bumped to $225k for 2013.

Still getting recruited like crazy but with the relatively solidified valuation looks like I'll be in golden handcuffs for the next 3 years.

Benefits: Standard socal tech co package.

What is job like: spent endless hours on forecast models and investor decks, and pitched countless number of potential investors only to do no deal. It was a bit demoralizing but offset by knowing value of the company. I expect to spend same in 2013 due to IPO path. Our headcount is expected to grow by 33% this year; as a pre-IPO "startup" our finance team is relatively lean but we will be beefing up our staff so I expect to spend more time managing people and less time building models myself. Lastly, did an acquisition last year which we'll see if it pays off this year, and looking to do another in 2013.

Gender: Male
Age: 28
Location: Major southeast metro area
Occupation: Software consultant at a credit bureau
Education: BS Business, CS Minor, top 30 public university.

2012 Compensation: 75kish salary + 8kish bonus

Future Salary Projection: 3-5% raise.

Benefits: Good medical / dental / life but increasingly expensive. 401k 100% 4% match and 401k bonus around 1.5%. 17 days vacation and extremely flexible work from home policy for good performers. Occasional free lunches and happy hours.

What's the job like? I work purely B2B, participating in the full SDLC of creating unique software applications for businesses requiring real-time consumer decisions based upon internal and external data and their own risk policies. Around 90% of you have gone through one of my applications if you have applied for any banking product, telecommunication or utility service, or insurance. I work on projects spanning from the largest and smallest companies on a daily basis. Solving customer problems, and seeing your work enabling business everywhere is rewarding. Credit bureau's have huge barriers to entry and people in general feel secure. The most frustrating part is the amount of security, regulations, and restrictions to do anything quickly, but is necessary considering our data.

Would you recommend the career to others? It depends on the person. From a purely software perspective, start-ups are probably more rewarding as you don't have to deal with big corporation red tape and bureaucracy. For those interested in software as well as finance, with the ability to be cross-functional, want to quickly work with VIP customers who have huge amounts of money riding on you, and want the security of a large company, it is a good job.

sceptre850 said:   ... Around 90% of you have gone through one of my applications if you have applied for any banking product, telecommunication or utility service, or insurance ...
Must ask: soft or hard pull?

user1337 said:   Finalized our plan for 2013 - if we hit our very aggressive targets, option value may go to $2m, and we plan on filing IPO in 2013. My cash package is bumped to $225k for 2013.

Still getting recruited like crazy but with the relatively solidified valuation looks like I'll be in golden handcuffs for the next 3 years.

Benefits: Standard socal tech co package.

What is job like: spent endless hours on forecast models and investor decks, and pitched countless number of potential investors only to do no deal. It was a bit demoralizing but offset by knowing value of the company. I expect to spend same in 2013 due to IPO path. Our headcount is expected to grow by 33% this year; as a pre-IPO "startup" our finance team is relatively lean but we will be beefing up our staff so I expect to spend more time managing people and less time building models myself. Lastly, did an acquisition last year which we'll see if it pays off this year, and looking to do another in 2013.


Nicely done!

Question for you: do you think it is best to let the bulk of your options vest, and then jump ship for another opportunity, while keeping your vested options?

Or do you think that {company success + your position in the company} will earn you more options in already successful company compared to what you can get at another firm.

Comparison - Facebook COO is pretty much second most important person, and she owns about 1.5% of facebook. Not every startup goes public at $60B, but going public at $0.5-$3B is not unheard of. If your company reaches valuation in single billions, it seems like you should stay, no?

kriskos4 said:   Gender: Male

Age: 44

Location: Atlanta, GA

Occupation: Air Traffic Control Specialist

Education: High School GED

2012 Compensation: Base $147,000, $13,000 in holiday, night, and sunday differentials.

Future Salary Projection: No change for 2013 or a slight decrease. Will get a small raise which will be offset by new rules that we contribute more to our retirement.

Benefits: Full medical insurance and a pretty decent retirement. After 25 years we get 39% retirement, I plan to stay 34 years so I will get nearly 50% annually. FAA will match first 5% of what we contribute to a federal 401K. We don't get a full social security benefit, but the good thing is you start getting a reduced benefit when you retire (I could retire as early as 47 but can't afford to because of a recent divorce). I get almost 2 months a year in time off (annual and sick leave). I work 10 hour days, days off are friday, sat, sun.

What's the job like? I love my job and honestly would do it for half the money. Very good satisfaction knowing I help people get from here to there. I get paid so much for when the crap hits the fan, which thankfully is very seldom anymore. The down side is I work all kinds of different shift including overnights...can't handle the shift work at 44 as well as I did at 34. And we have to work holidays, weekends, it's a 24 hour business.

Would you recommend the career to others? I would absolutely recommend the career to others and my brother finally got in after 5 years of sitting on the fence. Any federal job won't make you rich but this particular job affords you the flexibility to run a business or become a realtor...I know guys that day trade while on break at work.



Any federal job wont make you rich? You make 5x the median income of other people with only high school degrees.



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