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The six figure salary is the crown jewel of professional aspirations.


That seductive, round-numbered, annual cash flow would provide a life of security for so many of us. Of course, getting to a job with that salary is easier said than done.

But plenty of people out here do have that salary.

They probably don't appear super rich when we see them walk around. They wear typical clothes and do typical things for fun. And yet they walk around on just a little bit more cushion.

A recent inspiring thread on Reddit showed that the $150K annual salary is absolutely possible.

Plaidshirt17 asked, "Redditors who make over $150K/year, what do you do for a living and how did you get to that position?"

It wasn't surprising to see that plenty of people in the $150k echelon were involved in the tech sector in some way. Let's face it, that's where the money is.

Getting In Early

"I joined Apple in '02 as an engineer."

"My stock options were generous at the time, and even though I was more optimistic than most, Apple's financial performance surprised even me."

-- ReasonReader

Going Through the Motions

"I attend meetings that could've been emails and I pretend to code between said meetings. I solved brainteasers to get the position." -- eloel-

"I too am a Software Engineer." -- kingfrito_5005

Compensated Psychics

"I code, but that's the easy part of the job. The actual job is dealing with extremely eccentric personalities and being a mind-reader." -- Independent_Dog5167

"Right?! I'm still working on breaking 100k but already I've had to develop my mind-reading skills and hand hold and cater to the most obnoxious types of people." -- Knuckles316

Tough, But Worth It?

"Move to SF Bay Area where if you work your butt off and don't stop building skills in the tech field, a 150k job will fall into your lap."

"Took me 3 years to go from 0 to 150, but that was a 3 years I'll never want to do again."

-- SS324

Other people who make that much are specialists. They put in the time and work to amass a unique set of skills that made them indispensable--and financially valuable.

A LOT of Earth Knowledge

"Geologist / Geophysicist. I started as a physicist then decided I wanted to go camping more." -- thealbinorthino504

"This seems to be the way to go. I started as a geologist and went into geophysics, most of the class was physics students and our lecturer was a physics prof. He worked to his students and one by one the geology students failed." -- Zpaset

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Life In School

"Doctor. Took 12 years of training after high school:"

  • "4 years of undergrad
  • 4 years of medical school
  • 3 years of residency
  • 1 year of fellowship"

"Average hours of work per week during residency was around 70. Busiest weeks involved working over 110 hours in 7 days."

-- drdiddlegg

One Step Backward, Two Steps Forward

"Went back to college for accounting at 27. Took a full time class load while working full time. The first public accounting job out of school (graduated at 33) was a $20k pay cut for me and required working at least 70 hours a week for a good part of the year."

"After two years, I got my CPA license and one of my previous professors called me up and hired me as the International Accounting Manager for a software company but I had to relocate, which I did. I worked there for two years and took the Controller position at an Aerospace Manufacturer. I now am right at $150k and hit that mark five and a half years out of school."

"Basically, worked my a** off, was willing to relocate, but also entered my current industry with ten years of management experience in the construction industry, which really helped to move quickly."

-- OneChillinVillain

Indispensible

"CFO of a medium sized multinational company."

Worked a ton. Emphasized making everyone else's job easier. First one to volunteer to eat 'the black jelly beans.' "

"Always willing to relocate."

-- SpotCon

A Rare Setup

"Attorney. I went to law school, and then cultivated a practice in a lucrative regulatory area."

"I provide advice regarding an area where large companies touch the SEC directly, so they are willing to pay a great deal to ensure that it is done right."

"The thing about this income bracket is that the only way you'll get a salary up that high is by having a great deal of leverage. Either you have an extremely rare skill, or are a trusted professional who handles a job where there is no tolerance for failure (which is rare in and of itself)."

-- The_Law_of_Pizza

One Step Ahead

"Business consultancy."

"Required skills: knowing one more thing than anyone else in the room, or being able to bluff that you know one more thing than anyone else in the room."

-- TheWrongFuseBox

Popularity Helps

"My husband makes $280k/year as a VP of Design for an apparel company and I make $130k/year as a marketing director for an e-comm business."

"Husband dropped out of trade school to start his own clothing brand, hustled, built a reputation as being loyal and kind to work with/for and from there, job offers started coming in."

"I took the more traditional route: got my MBA and worked my way up to where I am now."

"Moral of the story: it helps when people really like to work for you and with you."

-- AKinKC

And some people managed to make $150k doing something they fell into. Often blue collar jobs, these positions also require a very unique set of skills that make a practitioner very valuable.

A Small Investment With a Big Return

"Heavy equipment mechanic."

"Took an 8 month course for 5k and bought some tools. Had no interest in it before but it turned out to have a great community and challenging, interesting work with a TON of variety."

-- mydogisamy

Catching a Break

"I manage large industrial accounts and negotiate contracts for a commodities company. College dropout. I had just gotten fired from a retail job for messing around, and had been out of work for a couple months. Sent out 127 resumes. No callbacks."

"Watching a TV show and the character names a company hes working for, and I think to myself... theres one of those in Nashville...so i sent a resume. Only place that called me back for an interview. Started in entry level position, and did well. moved and promoted multiple times."

-- derek_g_S

Dedication Pays

"I make 120k/year where im at but if i moved to a more busy station i could break 150. Railroad Conductor. Requires a GED, and you to be able to show up on time, sober, and ready to work whenever they call you."

-- damndingashrubbery

Fake It Til You Make It

"I'm a field engineer for live TV shows. I take care of the technical requirements to go live from anywhere in the world- anywhere from a city street to a remote national park to underwater."

"I started at an entry level manual labor job on a TV show through a family connection- as is very common in this industry. I did occasional freelance work for about 5 years before I got offered a full time engineering position."

"My advice for anyone coming into film/TV is pretty standard- learn everything you can even if it's not your job, say yes first then figure it out later, and always have a positive, can-do attitude. It's also not for everyone- long hours, frequently outside rain or shine, terrible work-life balance."

-- mpegfour

All About the Overtime

"High Voltage Lineman."

"Made over 300k in 2020. LOTS of overtime. Base pay is 105k. Even with that I turned down 1 in 6 OT opportunities and took my vacation and sick time."

"It can be dangerous, you work rotating shifts, you're out in bitter cold, wet or hot weather. You work at extreme heights and underground enclosures."

"It's very satisfying though."

"Call your local electrical union hall and or electric utility."

-- Qordz


So yes, those jobs are out there. They will not be given to you, and, as we know, there are so many unjust, institutional barriers that keep these positions at bay for countless people.

But with some luck and the right credentials, there are opportunities out there.

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