100k in the Bay area is like 50k in most of the country adjusted for cost of living. I really wish we used adjusted salary more frequently in the US – including welfare, taxes etc. So many T10, T20 B schools are graded based off average nominal salary, which drastically overstates NE and California B-Schools in terms of their value due to their typical placement location.
It’s a good excuse you make not being smart enough (getting into great schools isn’t just academics), however I just listed 24 companies above you can apply to which will make you six figures, and 15 business schools to apply to as well. And if you can’t get into any of them, there are hundreds of other companies in those fields which pay just as well. And if you can’t get into any of those hundreds of companies, check out this whole section for you:

Thanks John and Sam – I’ll shoot this one over to my 22 yr old daughter who is about to graduate with an applied math degree. She plans to work for technology companies, probably starting with data analysis and visualization, which will pay over $100k within a few yrs depending on how much she wants to work. There isn’t any reason she can’t earn over $100k by 25, esp with me to help her get in (I’m in the biz…for maybe a few more years). I’m quite curious to see what kind of lifestyle she chooses. She’s smart and a good communicator, but she definitely isn’t the one yelling, “how high?” when some life-hating micromanager screams “JUMP!” :-)
I also worked my ass off during high school, went to a public university with enough AP credit to graduate in three years with an English degree (gasp!) then received a Master’s in journalism (double gasp!) that costed next to nothing, because I moved back home with my parents and didn’t have to divulge their income on the FAFSA for a graduate degree. I went into tech marketing and was making six figures by the time I was 25.

I will say the workload for a petroleum engineer can vary depending on the company and role. If your Chem E friends went into planning or management, they could be working more than the 40 hour standard. Also, smaller aggressive companies typically like to work their employees harder with perhaps a bigger equity reward down the road. That being said, I’ve worked in a 50 person company and most employees there maintained normal hours.
Re: Booz Allen – the nature of Federal consulting is shifting away from true strategy management consulting and more operational consulting and IT consulting. So to categorize Booz Allen in your Strategy list isn’t accurate, not when you have better Strategy firms to include, see above list, also consider Accenture Strategy (the strategy shop of Accenture, similar to Deloitte S&O).
THANKS so so much. I was seriously discussing this and the 2K odd $ is massive in my current situation. When I started asking basic questions about structure n content n timing, such as how long do we get mentored or why is it different especially for mature, skilled people. I received similar to above, some people think too deep, ask too much n arent who we want to help make Leaders. I shared some things, but not enough. ….

I make six figures and have for a long time. It is nice but in retrospect not as important as I once thought. It is simply a number. I admire you for following your passion. Unfortunately income and passion often intersect and you need to choose one or the other. I think we all try to straddle that path for a while but eventually it seems that we often have to choose.


If you are a teacher and salary is your number one priority you better make sure your bargaining team knows, or better yet get involved in bargaining yourself, because the people with other priorities like pensions, healthcare, and paid leave certainly speak up in my local! Though thanks to the incredible work in states like WV, OK, and AZ I think teacher pay is finally being addressed.
Nothing is untrue about this post, I just have a different take perhaps because I am 55 and I have also raised 7 children of diverse interests into adulthood. First – i am a board certified Veterinary Pathologist and work for the pharmaceutical industry. A niche career, not well known by peiple outside of the field but i have loved it and it has been great to me and it pays AMAZINGLY. I didn’t even know the option existed when I was in high school, college or even until well through veterinary school. I followed my passion and talant. Remeber what you decide to do you get up and do everyday – so if being a petrolium engineer and living in TX giges you the heeby-jeebies well, don’t follow this guy’s advice. You have to have a reason to get up everyday and it may not be to earn as much money as you can in 5 years and retire – maybe it is, but then you still have to do something with your time.
It’d be hard for Google to argue with this content not adding value. After all, some of the guides have received close to 10,000 shares and have been used by the brands themselves to educate their own customers. Generally speaking, each guide takes about 40-50 hours to produce, and is benchmarked to beat the best existing piece of content on the topic in virtually every aspect (from design and share-ability, to page speed and on-page SEO).
If you’re wondering why we care about ranking for seemingly random phrases like “gifts for writers,” it’s because those random phrases, also known as long-tail keywords, all add up. While we want to rank for more obvious keywords like “freelance writing,” those are super competitive, so it’s best to aim to rank for a combination of keywords, including longer phrases that are less popular but still have a search presence.
The principle job of a reservoir engineer is to predict how much oil is in the ground and how quickly these volumes can be recovered. This involves working with geologists and other engineers to build computer models to forecast production. The unique thing about this industry is the uncertainty of it all. I’ve been on a team where all the engineers, assurers, managers propose a project…get the company to spend a billion dollars…and end in complete disaster. So a considerable amount of hand-waving is involved.
Personally, I don’t hate the job at the giant tech company, but it’s also something I don’t want to be doing for very long. Along with my wife, we’re taking the approach of living simply and saving ~70% of our income so we can walk away from it all financially independent in 5-10 years if we choose. If any of my side projects take off, we might be able to move onto a more digital-nomad type of location independent life even sooner than that.
My 7 kids? 1 got a full ride to an Ivy League and is a venture capital banker, 1 U of Chicago and a Masters at Carnegi Mellon, another an Early Childhood Ed degree (and reconsidering the economics of that decision, but it was hers and she is owning it), another did community college until she decided on Physical Therapy and is ready to transfer – she is passionate and it is right for her, one tried college and said – nope not for me, is a minamalist, did some community college works part of the year in sustainable landscaping and the rest of the year is a nomad exploring. My baby is going to do community college and occupational therapy. All found there way.

Perhaps my dry humor blurs my message, but I don’t consider myself to be burned out. I think that would be an insult to everyone working more hours than me with perhaps less pay. Not to mention those in actual physically demanding jobs. I have extra energy to burn and am making moves to explore working in the banking side of things. Acquisition and merger activity is expected to pick up with smaller oil companies struggling.
This is totally true as many people are non traditional learners and the academic system is just not appealing to them and learn faster by doing. I come from an entire family of folks like this..barely scratching through state college but always excelled in paying our way through them by opening small businesses and earning lots of money over the summer. Net is, I make more than the average Harvard grad with a state college degree. Look at big corps that offer leadership development programs, work hard, be willing to relocate ad take risks, have a great attitude even when you get a hellish assignment as it’s an opportunity to learn – always treat people well and if you don’t, learn from it and get better. All in all you’ll keep rising or decide you want to do something else and will have learned a ton along the way.
Capitalist class (1%) Top-level executives, high-rung politicians, heirs. Ivy League education common. Upper class (1%) Top-level executives, celebrities, heirs; income of $500,000+ common. Ivy league education common. The super-rich (0.9%) Multi-millionaires whose incomes commonly exceed $350,000; includes celebrities and powerful executives/politicians. Ivy League education common.

If I were hiring a college graduate, I’d pay more attention to field of study than GPA. Given the choice between someone who got a 4.0 in English or a 3.0 in mathematics, I’d be far more inclined to hire the latter. Even for a job irrelevant to both disciplines. The math student had a tougher workload and almost certainly knows how to attack a problem better.

As you can see from my abbreviated history above, I hustled. I’m in my 40’s now and glad I did and haven’t let up. Didn’t have the best SAT scores, not the best grades. Read business books voraciously including The Millionaire Next Door and realized my grades ages 14-22 didn’t define me unless I let them. Everyone else was drinking and parting, and I was busting my butt in my 20’s. Glad I did.
You didn’t mention engineering as a industry. Engineers have some of the best starting salaries out of college and many of my business partners have MBAs. I graduated with a masters in structural engineering and then 6 years later got qualified as a diver with an ADCI commercial dive card. Then I was making 100,000+ annually. I now have my own firm and make 200,000+ at 32 years old.
Several years ago when I started out try to make money online I chose a weight-loss product, built a pretty crappy site with WordPress, fashioned a ‘giveaway’ and an email series and linked it up to Aweber. I wrote several articles and submitted them to various directories then one day I was signing in to my AOL account when I saw an article on the Huffington Post about dieting. I wrote a comment along with a link to my website and pretty much forgot about it. The following day I was absolutely astounded to see that I had got 300 people signing up on my list. Over the week about 15% unsubscribed-probably as my email series was bobbins but by the last email contained a link to the product of which 17 people bought. As the commission was £42 (about $63 in those days) I made £714/$1071 with a crappy site, a crappy email series and a crappy comment. I (stupidly) have never done anything with it since-can you believe that? Anyway that site is still there and continues to make the occasional sale.
Pradeep, in IT, there’s no getting around not taking tests towards certifications. Certifications is what gets you PAID in IT. Trust me. I career-changed into IT in my mid-twenties. I took a Cisco boot camp, got 3 CCNA certifications (Routing & Switching, Security, Wireless) and finally got a job as a wireless network engineer starting out at 50k/yr. It was shit and I had to travel 100% installing and configuring WiFi in Hilton hotels for an AT&T project BUT I had to get more experience to land a 9-5 with a regular company…and I did.
This is an insightful post. For 95% plus of readers, their job is the most important asset they have. So it is all about the sector, employer (go as elite as possible), and skills you target. Choose correctly, and you can get rich. Simple as that. The trick is believing you can actual get a job with an elite employer. That is more a mindset issue than anything else. Cheers!
You could certainly write a totally different take on this post as an adjunct professor! You’re right that teaching is typically poorly paid, and I think it is just appalling what we do in higher education, especially given its costs. I am certain that your students were better for having you, but I am certain that that role came with its own frustrations.
LOTS of people feel the way you described in terms of being trapped and not being able to move up. I’d argue through, that in a lot of the cases engineers are kind of awkward, while also being kind of arrogant and entitled. I’ve experienced person after person express dislike for their job or inability to get promoted, but they don’t get company paid for masters degrees, they don’t get PMP certifications, they don’t even do the work of applying for other jobs, they just whine about it…

I think it can be hard, although not as hard as it’s sometimes made out to be. If you do well in school, go into a field where you can earn six figures shortly after graduating, do well in said field, there’s few reasons why someone who’s smart, hard-working, interested in working in a high income field, and determined to make a six figure salary can’t do so. That said, how many people do you know who meet all of those traits?


Personally, I don’t hate the job at the giant tech company, but it’s also something I don’t want to be doing for very long. Along with my wife, we’re taking the approach of living simply and saving ~70% of our income so we can walk away from it all financially independent in 5-10 years if we choose. If any of my side projects take off, we might be able to move onto a more digital-nomad type of location independent life even sooner than that.
Determination and a positive attitude can bring so many rewards. A lot of people don’t need 100k to live comfortably or to be happy, especially if they don’t live in a big city, but I think it’s a great career goal for city dwellers. Getting good grades and going to a strong school are definitely a leg up to a big salary. If I’m interviewing someone and they didn’t write their GPA down on their resume I always ask what it was – if they had bad grades in school from goofing off and partying why should I believe they would be any different in the work place? I want to hire people that are responsible, driven, efficient, and performed well in college.
The GI Bill works exactly as it is intended. I’ve used both the Montgomery and the Post 9/11 as I served during the transition and participated in both. There is always a 4-6 month delay to get started. It’s because the VA is very slow to get things moving. You can apply as soon as you get accepted in most cases which for me was several months before I got out of the service. The program is not a fraud because of the red tape. Could it be better? Of course! But it’s not a fraud because it doesn’t pay you right away.
I was researching affiliate programs because I own a small business and we are getting ready to do an event I wanted a few blogger to blog about and I came across this article. It was not quite what I needed but I was intrigued enough to read to the end. I do want to say the best part I found about this article is that you took the time to respond to everyone that left a comment, even for this article that was done over a year ago. I just want to say great job and I wish you the most continued success.
Now – no beating down on the FI topic, definitely strive to achieve it! Start early, decent career, good salary, great savings (do 401K max-out!!), additional specialization, either publish papers, patents, or present at conferences — which grows your respect and network (future job prospects). Do buy a home in “good” location/school-district, raise great kids/family, while increasing your equity in the house. Do have limited exposure to bad-habbits (but “controlled” ones, might I add), do cater to that inner-self/devil a bit.
After reading your comment I feel I could gain some very valuable advice from you. I am a recent college graduate and began my first “career” job about 6 months ago in accounting. It is a small company with little room to promote so I am interested in learning more about how to get into a major company like the one you work for. Your advice sounds much more realistic, and I am more than willing to do what it takes to get there. I would greatly appreciate a response.

Michael Cheney claims he makes an almost effortless $39,041.46 every month. It’s interesting to note how he makes that figure with its fractions consistently. How’s that possible? Amazing! He further claims that his Commission Black Ops includes the best sales tactics known to the human race that even stark newbies can use to amass a fortune for themselves.
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