This year marks our 5th year post college. Can’t believe I have been an adult for 5 years. ER uncle did a quick estimate on our net worth and for the first time we crossed the 1 Million mark. Yay, 7 figures! This totally deserves a shot out and I need to urge UR uncle to write a post. This is after all, his blog.
Last night I was bragging to my dad that even though I did not follow the path he had planned for me, I still have a pretty good career path. My biggest achievement is not that my salary grow to 2.5X where I started. I am particularly proud of the fact that I did it in a way that’s quite effortless. It’s just like I am living my life as usual–and boom!–I get paid a lot more. My life philosophy has always been maximizing return on effort. I did it through finding a path that works for me.
A few of my traits:
- I am not entrepreneurial and don’t want to think about work the moment I step about of the office building. This eliminates any opportunity to build my own business which I believe is the quickest way to get rich 🙂 I know that the first 2 years of startup can be rough, you are pulling in a ton of effort with very little return to set the business ready for the boom. Being a business owner would give me too much anxiety.
- I am very stereotypical Asian (good with numbers) and learns very fast. This drives my decision to go to MBA full time while working full time.
- I am pretty down to earth and reliable at my work. I admire the people who can speak 150% for the 100% work they do. Those people automatically get more credit and advance in their careers faster. I am unfortunately not one of them. I tried my best to represent the most I can but it does not come natural to me.
My 5 year career journey:
I interned in a great company and loved the culture (read more about my college jobs here). I received a pretty good offer at the end of my internship. A year later, I finished college and started my first job with $65K annual salary.
For the first almost 4 years, I stayed in this great company. I enjoyed the people I worked with and really appreciate the growth opportunity the company provided.
I was part of a leadership development program where we rotate 3 different roles in 2 years. The program provided a ton of support and picked great people managers for us. I was promoted at the end of the rotation and landed my “permanent role”.
I always know MBA is the next step for my career as my BS is in Engineering and I don’t want to wait. I love the company so much, so there is no way I would leave then. Why not do both? Work and study. I got my MBA and an MS degree while working full-time from 2013-2015. The cost was $62K (maybe slightly lower considering the tax deductions).
I really wanted to get promoted again before start looking for a new company. By the time I graduated with my MBA, I have been working for 3 years and didn’t want to move to a new company and still be in entry level positions. I know the best chance is to be promoted as I am staying in the team that people know my work. I stayed 18 month in the permanent role and got promoted within the role.
By this time, I was able to move to a different company with 79% salary increase and landed in a position with bigger scope and more senior title. 2017 is the first year I become a people manager. I so appreciate the switch as this new company opens a new horizon and now I am aware of so much potential I wasn’t aware before.
Something maybe helpful for you:
- Most good college job hires are done together with the end of junior year internship. Securing a good junior intern and perform well is crucial. In order to do that, you need to have a pretty good sophomore intern/research experience. College is like a marathon, so if you spread out your effort and start planning from Freshman, you will land a pretty good job.
- Get into a well structured company with good culture. Learn and grow in the first years. I did not think that much about my pay at the time. It is more of a time of experience accumulation and knowing the payback will come later.
- Working full-time and going to school full-time may sound daunting. It is really not. Totally doable and I won’t even describe it as hard if you don’t have kids. Start it today and worse case is you cut back on hours and do it slower.
- Listen to you lecture at 2X speed
- Always use your work project for school project (change out the details so you are not in trouble).
- Even though switching jobs gave very quick bump in salary, I do believe that some timing is better than others. Sometimes jumping very often can result in several lateral moves and delay the actual advancement.
- Switching companies is good. The decision to do it and make the change is unsettling when you are in a very comfortable position, but the pay bump makes it worth it. Most importantly the new perspective it provides makes it worth it even more.