We take a closer look at what it feels like to be a woman making six-figures — when only 5% of American women make that much, according to the U.S. Census — with the hope it will give women insight into how to better navigate their own career and salary trajectories.
We talked with a marketing manager from Seattle, WA.
Job: Marketing Manager, Tech
Location: Seattle, WA
Degree: Bachelor's in Marketing
First Salary: $40,000
Current Salary: $150,000
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"It took me a long time to realize that I can succeed in both qualitative and quantitative fields. I used to really enjoying writing short stories when I was younger and thought that I might become a professional writer as an adult, but that interest dwindled after too many boring writing projects in college."
What did you study in college?
"I have a bachelor's degree in business with a focus on marketing."
Did you have to take out student loans?
"My mother put money away throughout my entire childhood to help fund my education because her parents had funded hers, so I only had to take out $3,000 worth of loans for my bachelor's degree. I also did many, many internships, some unpaid, and my mother helped pay for living expenses during those years."
Have you been working at this company since you graduated from college?
"I graduated college only a few years ago (I'm a late bloomer) and did five internships while in college because most of my degree was completed online. Since graduating, I've had four different jobs, so I haven't stayed anywhere for longer than a year. I think this has greatly contributed to my quick salary growth."
How would you explain your day-to-day role at your job?
"I usually check email first and respond to anything that I didn't feel comfortable knocking out on my phone. Next, I check business intelligence reports to review the status of our business from the last day or two. Every day is different, but at that point I might have a meeting or two, take lunch, and then start working down a list of projects. My job is incredibly chill, and I'm able to pace my day out however I want, and I can usually come in late and leave early. It's pretty great."
Did you negotiate your salary?
"I'm in a somewhat specialized area of marketing, so I tend to get offers towards the top of salary ranges. That said, I did attempt to negotiate my base salary at my current company. They gave me a very small bump, but ultimately I was more successful negotiating for stock and work-from-home benefits."
Is your current job your “passion”? If not, what is?
"Definitely not. I started out in fashion — an industry I really did love — right when I graduated college. But the pay was so much lower that I ultimately decided to prioritize salary and made the switch to where I am now. I sleep well at night knowing that I'm setting up a financially secure future for myself, but I wish I didn't have to sacrifice the best years of my life for a paycheck. I hope that I'll find an out one day."
If you could, would you change anything in your career trajectory?
"I wish that I could somehow gain the ability to see what life might have been like if I had pursued something more fun and 'me,' but I do think I've ended up in a really good place in the world. I have no idea how things might have gone with any trajectory shift, so I probably wouldn't choose to change anything from the past."
What professional advice would you give your younger self?
"Stop prioritizing shallow friendships over your career. Those people are bringing you down and distracting you from any kind of real growth. Don't be afraid to be alone and leave your comfort zone to find out what you're really capable of without the influence of others. Also, spend more time with coworkers. Network and build relationships, because work is going to be miserable without people to eat lunch with. Also, finding your next gig is going to be a lot more difficult without help."
Written, Compiled & Edited by
The Bergen Review Media Team