Yes, its possible. If you go in as a tech (for example GS-05), however, you will be stuck there forever regardless of performance (consecutive exemplary ratings here), schooling (Bachelors 3.5 & Masters 3.9), a voluntary war zone deployment, or wherever. Go in as a internship with scheduled grade increases (for example GS07 to 09 to 11 to 12) increasing every year or so.
I was really surprised not to see unions mentioned at all in this article! You talk about steps and lanes a little but what raises the wage is the collective bargaining process which doesn’t means unions get everything they want but they have a lot more power and knowledge about the employer’s financial position than an at-will worker bargaining on their own.
My daughter is at a state university now finishing in 3 years (Chemistry) and we are currently “engineering” my son’s last year in high school so that he will finish college easily in 3 years or less (at a state school too!) I told him he couldn’t go to a school that wouldn’t accept his AP/Community College credits and when he saw that he would be starting as at least a second semester sophomore – he “got it”.
You found a topic that is of interest to a huge target audience (who doesn’t want to make 100k plus a year?) You spent some money so your website comes up while searching google (therefore generating more traffic to your page) and you’ve written this guide in a way that includes everyone (that way nobody feels like they aren’t able to achieve this same success) Throughout the article you’ve posted links to multiple products/companies which you earn revenue from each time someone clicks them. Along with that there are advertisements throughout that you’re gaining revenue on etc. So essentially, anyone reading this and clicking links is generating revenue for you. Touché
Second, I gave hired a lot of summer interns over the years as well as people just coming out of their bachelors. Degrees from top schools do matter. Sorry, but they do. Not necessarily Ivy league, but we all know the to- programs in our fields and the best internships go to people in those programs. A lot of internships are gained through connections and connections come from professors and people known in their field so where you are in school matters. That said, going your first couple years ar a community college is a great strategy to save money and figure out what degree you want to oursue. Transfering to a right program is easier and smarter than getting in as a freshman.

I could talk about unions forever, Alice! I didn’t in this post because I didn’t want to get too lost in the weeds for people who aren’t part of the profession. My parents are both retired union workers, and I will be part of a union for as long as I can be. Sadly, the right-to-work nonsense is rubbing off, and we just got a letter from our union saying that it is now optional to be part of a union. I have to be honest and say that teachers’ unions (at least in our area) aren’t what they used to be. But as long as I can, I will fight for mine. So glad you spoke up, Alice! Your building is lucky to have you!


I work the first month of school but then quit my job because the engineering was too intense to work and do the workload and expect to get stellar grades. I live in my parents studio apartment, have a full ride scholarship that pays 100% of everything + pays me extra money. I am now making money to attend school and have a new profit for my income/expenses for the school year. Then I get into another engineering internship for the summer. I believe I make around 8k for that. NW is 50-60k going into sophomore year. I get another internship for NASA this summer making 16.75 an hour * 16 weeks. I was a contractor so I have to pay the full SS amount. I probably clear around 7k there. Pushing my NW to 60-70k. Then the next year I start working a year round job junior year (rising senior). I am ahead on my credits again so I work 25-30 hours a week during senior year and full time during the school year. I pull down around 37k over that summer senior year. Pushing my NW to ~ 110k. I graduate around 110k NW, debt free with a job offering me a job package of ~110k a year at 22 and sending me to get my MSEE. I work that summer and save another 15k. I go into graduate school with ~120k or so in the bank. I move to another state for graduate school get a large fellowship + a portion of my salary to go to school. Finish the school year and work 1 more summer and here I am. 23 ~ NW about 140k going into my final semester of grad school.
As oil truly runs out, I believe economics will spur investment into alternative energy rather than politicians or environmentalists. As much as people may hate Big Oil, they are the ones best positioned to start the process. They will have the capital from record oil profits. They already have all the engineers and R&D on staff. Most of all, implementing gigantic capital projects has been their bread and butter. Sorry, this is probably more than you asked for.

There is a big difference between “information” and “instruction.” They did a good job providing information but terrible on instructions. Therefore it really isn’t for newbies as promoted. As a certified tutor I learned and practiced strategies like “peer to peer” mentoring, intellectual scaffolding and tackled the Zone of Proximal Development” for foreign or special needs students on a college level.
Look around the blogosphere; law school grads are taking perma-part time jobs, MBA’s are a dime a dozen, and on and on. As long as the population keeps climbing uncontrollably in the US, and as long as businesses can manipulate the government into helping them keep downward pressure on jobs through slimy programs like H1B’s, big salaries will be a thing of the past. It’s why you should think *really* hard about going to college. It’s not for everyone, and its no guarantee that you’ll do better than if you don’t. The old fable of going to college means you’ll make $1m more in your lifetime than if you don’t, has been disproved time and again.
Thanks for the thought provoking comment. It’s a question of idealism vs. practicality to me. I would absolutely support dictatorship or socialism if it meant responsible management of resources, equality and peace of life. But from history, we know leaders get corrupted or people take advantage of the system. Thus, we all play the game by ourselves to fight for our right to live the way we like…at least for those who are fortunate to be in a country that allows it.
The standard route is to work in public accounting and then branch out. So, I wouldn’t consider the public accounting route to be typical, but within ten years you can expect an income to be closer to 200k or as high as 350k if you make partner. Making partner also requires a lot of buy into the partnership shares, so you can think of that as taking on a mortgage. I could get into more detail, but I hope that answers your question!
5. I’ve seen people take really crumby stuff and make great money. It’s in approach and creativity. Are there a group of people UNASSOCIATED with the actual product who could benefit? Could be totally unrelated. In the case of internet marketing and creating an online income, who asks you about it? What types of people are they? Where do they hang out? Do they do tons of yard sales looking for extra cash, for example? There are groups all over the place on Facebook where you can introduce some ideas – not sell a product directly – and gain relationships and authority. GET CREATIVE with your potential audience.
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