What are the rungs on the career ladder?

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steadyeddy
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What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by steadyeddy » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:36 pm

Premise:
I'm consistently impressed by various backgrounds represented in this forum, so I'd like to hear about your experiences climbing the career ladder at Megacorp. I'm curious what the rungs are on the "typical" career ladder, how much each rung pays, and at what age the "average" person might get there. It would also be helpful to know at what stage people might typically "top out" in your industry, what stages people might typically go to a competitor to get ahead, or what rungs become more about politics than pure competence.

Ground rules:
Speak from your own context. We all work somewhere different with different career ladder rungs, I'm just asking for your personal experience and that of those around you. If you would like to name your industry, that would be great.
An "average" person might not become a VP, but I would still like to know when the average VP becomes a VP. This is what I mean by "average" or "typical" person.

Example:
At my Megacorp in the financial services industry the typical person comes in at $50k at age 22. They typically advance to a senior associate within three years and make right about $70k. Many stay at this level at top out just shy of six figures over time. If they desire, they can advance to a managerial position typically around age 35 and manage roughly six people for $120k. Most people never rise higher than this, but they might move around a bit at the same level and end up making around $150 with raises over time. If they are able to get to the director level, they typically do it around age 45, are over about 80 people and make something like $200-250k. This is a political move and most do this by leaving the company for a competitor. If they make it to the VP level, they typically do it around age 55, are over several hundred people and make roughly $500-700k largely through variable compensation and stock awards. A lot of people seem to reach the VP level by rejoining the company like an old friend after having left to take a director role at a competitor.

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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by livesoft » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:43 pm

Smaller corporations seem to have C-level folks with much lower pay. I know CEO's making between $100K and $250K.

One might characterize a company by number_of_employees or by gross_sales to get an idea its size.
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by chaz » Tue Sep 18, 2012 5:07 pm

The top rung is for retirement.
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Default User BR » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:35 pm

I've never made any effort to advance. I prefer trying to find interesting projects and work under my own terms as much as possible.


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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Atilla » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:11 pm

I left Megacorp in 1997 making about $24,000/year and went to Tinycorp for $35,000/year after lying that I was making $30,000/yr.

By early 2004 at Tinycorp I was all the way up to $52,000/year and ended the year above $80,000/yr. Woo hoo! 2006 brought a six-digit salary.

2007 - 2008 at Tinycorp were banner years when I topped out at $167,000/year.

Recession hit and at one point in early 2009 was down to $112,000/year.

2012 is looking good, might end the year at $161,000/year...maybe back up at $167,000.

Always the same title and position at both Corps, no advancement - "Sales Executive". Megacorp paid salary, Tinycorp pays commission. :sharebeer

I was asked at one point in 2003-2004 if I wanted to move "up" to sales management and I told the company president to pound sand. It's worked out well for both of us. Megacorp never would have been as good to me. I hate the very idea of Megacorp - the Evil Empire.
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by rustymutt » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:16 pm

When you're on the bottom rung of the ladder, there's only one way to go, up.
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backofbeyond
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by backofbeyond » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:22 pm

I've been in the Federal Government for over 20 years, have worked for 5 separate Agencies, mostly for those under the Dept of Defense. All of it in the Acquisition field. This is my general experience, which may or may not be the same as others. I'm considered a first line supervisor (GS-13). Realistically, there are 2 levels below me: workerbee and team lead. The workerbee, if they have a college degree can start around $27K (GS-5) to $34k (GS-7). If one is in an internship, they can quickly move up to $50K (GS-11) to $60K (GS-12), within in 3 years, give or take. These wages can slide up, if one is in a higher cost area, such as San Fran or DC. Also, once you are in a GS grade, you get incremental steps depending on time in grade. It's a bit complex, so I'll only list the first step to each grade in my analogy.

For the most part, the $60K (GS-12) is a journeyman level and one can then become a teamlead. A teamlead is not a supervisor, but does lead a group of specialists on the project and normally it is seen as a stepping stone to a supervisory position. If one stays on what I call the technical track, you possibly could move into a GS-13 slot (beginning around $72K) and not have to manage people, but it is rare. Most of the time, to be a GS-13 or higher, you have to take on supervisory positions. I made GS-13 after 10 years in the Government. I've seen others make it in as little as 6 years, but that was within the beltway (DC). The Government is excellent at providing one the opportunity to advance IF one is willing to learn AND is mobile. I for example received my Master's degree at little cost to myself, but I did have to work 8 hr days and take night school.

To go above first line supervisory, one must have both contacts and have more general experience than what you were brought up in. For example, I started out in contracting, but have moved on to program management and now quality assurance. But, I haven't moved up in the career ladder. Why? Because instead of moving up, I move around. I've lived now in 7 countries, currently living down under, and would much rather do this (travel the world) and to move into middle management. Regardless, middle management starts around $85K (GS-14) and upper management starts at $99K (GS-15). After that, one can move into SES slots, but I really don't know much about that level as I've never aspired to go that high. I've seen people make GS-14 again, in as little as 7-8 years, but that is rare, I'd say atleast 15, but again that is my experience, which may be warped. To move up to GS-15 and SES, I don't think I've seen anyone without atleast 20 years, but more like 25 years.

As has been mentioned several times on this form, one will never get rich by solely working for Uncle Sam, but I have found it to be an excellent and rewarding career. As far as moving up the ladder, the benefit with the Government is that your salary and fringe benefits move with you, so you don't have to start over. But again, in good economic times, many people in the Government jump ship for higher wages in the private sector.
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by livesoft » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:33 pm

From Philip Greenspun: http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science
The average trajectory for a successful scientist is the following:
age 18-22: paying high tuition fees at an undergraduate college
age 22-30: graduate school, possibly with a bit of work, living on a stipend of $1800 per month
age 30-35: working as a post-doc for $30,000 to $35,000 per year
age 36-43: professor at a good, but not great, university for $65,000 per year
age 44: with (if lucky) young children at home, fired by the university ("denied tenure" is the more polite term for the folks that universities discard), begins searching for a job in a market where employers primarily wish to hire folks in their early 30s
That's an average trajectory I suppose. Another trajectory is

age 30-35: Become full professor with tenure for $100,000+ a year.
age 35-40: Move to industry with higher salary
age 40-45: VP of Research
age 45- : Retire
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by iceman99 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:38 pm

Undergrad (4 years)- salary $0
Medical school (4 years)- salary $0
Residency (2-5 years) - $50-70K/yr (80h/week)
Fellowship (optional 1-2 yrs) - $60-70K/yr
Attending staff (private solo vs group vs employed vs academic) - $180k+++

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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by bigred77 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:28 am

In my industry it looks like this (For time periods I have assumed a very ambitious "fast track" employee):

Entry level "professional white collar" position - first 1 - 5 yrs spent hear. Salary progression from 60k - 90k base with substantial increases in equity compensation along the way. Different "levels" within this band. Commonly referred to as level I, II, and III

Senior "professional white collar" position - 6+ yrs experience. Base Salary from 95k - 140k. Good equity compensation but does not rise as dramatically as it does in the early years. levels referred to as Senior, Advisor, Staff, and Sr Advisor. Many, if not most people, top out here or spend a large portion of their careers in this band. Work/Life balance can be excellent and your total compensation can top 200k.

Manager (what I'd call middle management) - Usually need at least 8+ yrs experience. Base Salary from 125k -200k depending on experience. Very Nice equity compensation (annual bonus/equity compensation can come close to reaching 100% of base salary in the really good years). Advanced degree is strongly preffered. Graduate degree does not need to be from top Ivy school or anything but hard to break into this without one nowadays.

Director (what I'd call middle management) - 15+ yrs experience and 5+ management experience. Graduate degree required. 175k - 250k base salary with equity compensation similar too above. Most who make it here have to "wait their turn". Lots of politics at this level and you need "friends in high places".

VP - Sr management - 25+ yrs experience with fancy, name school, graduate degree. The top performers in their fields coming up through the pipeline. Total compensation can sometimes top 7 figures, especially in good years.

C- Suite - Masters of the Universe - See above but with the right connections and clout.

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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:05 am

Mega global financial institution, pay is contigent upon level of experience, geographic region, circle of friends. Generically speaking and viewing only from domestic location (here):

Many different occupations, many different levels of professionals, many, many rungs - over time the institution has grown and evolved. Those who have any career aspirations will strive to be employed in one of the more visible business units that has the eyes and ears of senior executives on it.

A basic entry level position, could pay as low as $25-35K, and it could go one of three ways - a)very slow advancement (nil raises, basic company benefits) you are generally thought of as a worker bee, b)moderate to good advancement (4-5% annual raises, given a mentor, sent to a management training course offered to a select crop) or c)marked for termination.

Assume the person is on track b - the next step is senior associate after 2-3 years, a bump in pay to $75-$90K, maybe a small bonus and more responsibility.

Then, comes promotion to VP, now making anywhere from $110 - $150, bonus potential rises to 20% of pay,maybe some equity options are thrown in. How do you get promoted? Well, either you work for 20 years in your senior associate role, a position opens up and you have the right friends so you can advance within 3-5 years or you are hired from outside the company (oh, yes, megacorp will bring in the talent if it finds its homegrown crop is lacking)

After VP, comes Managing Director - there your salary goes to as high as $250K with bonus potential of another $300K, plus equity options and more responsibility - usually managing a staff of at least 4 people. Having a friend will help immensely in getting this appointment, otherwise you'd better work miracles in your job function (rare! - mega corp believes everyone is average, except those who have senior managements eye and ears watching them, then you are fine!)

Executive Vice President - now you've hit the big time, could pull in a base of $1 million, plus another 50% in cash bonus, mega equity options, inducted into executive (read: "sweetened") retirement plan and a nice corner office complete with secretary and dining room privileges. Typically managing a staff in excess of 100 people. You need to have friends in very high places to get to this level, knowledge alone will not place you in this position, no matter how good you are.

Senior Executive Vice President - one step below CEO. You are pulling in millions in cash compensation, millions in restricted stock units, millions in options, are part of the senior retirement plan with an early exit window allowing full retirement benefits, ultra platinum healthcare, security, a full time car, use of company apartment and plane. Your boss is the CEO and you are managing thousands of people.
You have an employment contract, non-compete agreement, if you are terminated for cause or without you will be paid multiples of your base salary. Examples of this can be found in public proxy statements.
Those who rise to these positions are extremely rare - you need a "godfather" or multiple ones to even be considered for these slots - the board of directors must approve of your appointment.
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by livesoft » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:44 am

I wish to point that for those rising to the very senior ranks that a few posters missed out on a quality: The person has to desire to get there. All the godfathers and connections in the right places are not gonna get one there if they don't want to go there. :)

Many (Most!!) folks are content to stop climbing.
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:12 am

livesoft wrote:I wish to point that for those rising to the very senior ranks that a few posters missed out on a quality: The person has to desire to get there. All the godfathers and connections in the right places are not gonna get one there if they don't want to go there. :)

Many (Most!!) folks are content to stop climbing.
Don't forget - I am talking about New York City, specifically downtown financial district where ones ego is only surpassed by the next guy's. There is no shortage of folks who thirst for power and the money to go with it, down here or even in midtown/uptown. Even if there were a dearth in NYC, you can easily recruit replacements from places such as Chicago, Houston, Stamford, Greenwich, San Fran, D.C.
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Confused » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:37 am

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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by johnny72 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:37 am

herp derp
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by livesoft » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:41 am

johnny72 wrote:Nobody who makes $250k+ per year will post how they did it on a public forum.
Ha! Half the posters on this forum are physicians!
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Wagnerjb » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:14 am

bigred77 wrote:In my industry it looks like this (For time periods I have assumed a very ambitious "fast track" employee):

Entry level "professional white collar" position - first 1 - 5 yrs spent hear. Salary progression from 60k - 90k base with substantial increases in equity compensation along the way. Different "levels" within this band. Commonly referred to as level I, II, and III

Senior "professional white collar" position - 6+ yrs experience. Base Salary from 95k - 140k. Good equity compensation but does not rise as dramatically as it does in the early years. levels referred to as Senior, Advisor, Staff, and Sr Advisor. Many, if not most people, top out here or spend a large portion of their careers in this band. Work/Life balance can be excellent and your total compensation can top 200k.

Manager (what I'd call middle management) - Usually need at least 8+ yrs experience. Base Salary from 125k -200k depending on experience. Very Nice equity compensation (annual bonus/equity compensation can come close to reaching 100% of base salary in the really good years). Advanced degree is strongly preffered. Graduate degree does not need to be from top Ivy school or anything but hard to break into this without one nowadays.

Director (what I'd call middle management) - 15+ yrs experience and 5+ management experience. Graduate degree required. 175k - 250k base salary with equity compensation similar too above. Most who make it here have to "wait their turn". Lots of politics at this level and you need "friends in high places".

VP - Sr management - 25+ yrs experience with fancy, name school, graduate degree. The top performers in their fields coming up through the pipeline. Total compensation can sometimes top 7 figures, especially in good years.

C- Suite - Masters of the Universe - See above but with the right connections and clout.
I have 30 years of experience in Fortune 500 type energy firms (my company has been in the top 25 in size) and I work in Finance. I echo essentially everything that BigRed says. A few differences from his explanation:

a) You don't need an advanced degree to make it to the very top levels. It is all about performance. I have a far superior undergraduate education and an MBA from a top school, while my boss went to a very small school and has no MBA. But she earned her position through performance.
b) Those at the very top (Director and VP and up) virtually all have had geographic relocations. We are a global company, and the top levels have taken international assignments. They have also managed different parts of the organization, so they have more development than others who didn't achieve those levels.

Also, at my company the total compensation begins to escalate rapidly at what BigRed calls the Director level. The level below Director (Manager) may have a bonus target of 15-20% of pay, and they may not get any stock award (options or restricted shares). The Director level has a bonus target of 25-40%, and they all get stock awards. Their stock awards are probably another 40-60% of their base pay. You can think of making Director level as "making partner" at a law firm or a public accounting firm.

In my experience, people make Director in their early 40's. Some stay at the Director level the remainder of their career, while some continue on to higher levels.

Best wishes.
Andy

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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Wolkenspiel » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:54 pm

livesoft wrote:From Philip Greenspun: http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science
The average trajectory for a successful scientist is the following:
age 18-22: paying high tuition fees at an undergraduate college
age 22-30: graduate school, possibly with a bit of work, living on a stipend of $1800 per month
age 30-35: working as a post-doc for $30,000 to $35,000 per year
age 36-43: professor at a good, but not great, university for $65,000 per year
age 44: with (if lucky) young children at home, fired by the university ("denied tenure" is the more polite term for the folks that universities discard), begins searching for a job in a market where employers primarily wish to hire folks in their early 30s
That's an average trajectory I suppose. Another trajectory is

age 30-35: Become full professor with tenure for $100,000+ a year.
age 35-40: Move to industry with higher salary
age 40-45: VP of Research
age 45- : Retire
Whenever I see Greenspun's rubbish pop up, I wonder if he is really just uninformed or a liar. What is undeniable is that he has an agenda.

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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by epilnk » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:51 pm

Wolkenspiel wrote:
livesoft wrote:From Philip Greenspun: http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science
The average trajectory for a successful scientist is the following:
age 18-22: paying high tuition fees at an undergraduate college
age 22-30: graduate school, possibly with a bit of work, living on a stipend of $1800 per month
age 30-35: working as a post-doc for $30,000 to $35,000 per year
age 36-43: professor at a good, but not great, university for $65,000 per year
age 44: with (if lucky) young children at home, fired by the university ("denied tenure" is the more polite term for the folks that universities discard), begins searching for a job in a market where employers primarily wish to hire folks in their early 30s
Whenever I see Greenspun's rubbish pop up, I wonder if he is really just uninformed or a liar. What is undeniable is that he has an agenda.
He seems pretty well informed to me. Whether or not he has an agenda, the above is basically correct. Most of the successful scientists I know (mostly biologists) have followed precisely this track. (The less successful fell off the track earlier.)

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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Wolkenspiel » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:34 pm

epilnk wrote:
Wolkenspiel wrote:
livesoft wrote:From Philip Greenspun: http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science
The average trajectory for a successful scientist is the following:
age 18-22: paying high tuition fees at an undergraduate college
age 22-30: graduate school, possibly with a bit of work, living on a stipend of $1800 per month
age 30-35: working as a post-doc for $30,000 to $35,000 per year
age 36-43: professor at a good, but not great, university for $65,000 per year
age 44: with (if lucky) young children at home, fired by the university ("denied tenure" is the more polite term for the folks that universities discard), begins searching for a job in a market where employers primarily wish to hire folks in their early 30s
Whenever I see Greenspun's rubbish pop up, I wonder if he is really just uninformed or a liar. What is undeniable is that he has an agenda.
He seems pretty well informed to me. Whether or not he has an agenda, the above is basically correct. Most of the successful scientists I know (mostly biologists) have followed precisely this track. (The less successful fell off the track earlier.)
Out of my cohort of students and postdocs (in basic science), everyone who stayed in academia makes more than $65k. Most of those who left make more than those who staid. My postdocs and students are paid about 1.5 times what is claimed in the table above. To contrast the $65k as the best a "successful" researcher can hope for with a "top lawyer at age 44 is probably a $500,000 per year partner in a big firm" (quoted from Greenspun's web page) is a level of distortion that I would not expect from someone giving honest career advice to young students.

At "good, but not great" universities, a capable researcher and teacher in a current research area has a pretty good chance of getting tenured. At e.g. MIT that chance is much lower (30-50%), but one will also be making significantly more than $65k while the fun lasts, and nobody I have seen getting denied tenure actually had to start claiming unemployment.

Averaging over "successful" scientists I know (the good ones, not those of Nobel prize caliber), the "rungs of the career ladder" look more like this:
age 22-28: graduate school living on a stipend of $2.5k per month
age 28-34: working as post-doc/junior research scientist for $50k/$70k per year
age 34-40: assistant professor at a university or scientist at a major lab: $90k-$100k per year
age 40: tenure at university or lab: $100k-$150k
age 45: Full professor or senior research scientist: $120k-180k+

All while doing something you enjoy, meeting interesting people and seeing the world. What more could one want? And if at any time you get tired, you can go into finance or consulting and make real money (if you're any good).

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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Cipro » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:43 pm

In pharma drug development (w/PhD):

Year 1-3: 60-80K
Year 5-6 Manager Level: 100-150K
Year 7-10 Director Level: 180-240K (with bonus)
Year 11: Sr DirectorVice President: 250K - 450K

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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by livesoft » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:04 pm

Wolkenspiel wrote:Whenever I see Greenspun's rubbish pop up, I wonder if he is really just uninformed or a liar. What is undeniable is that he has an agenda.
No doubt.
Averaging over "successful" scientists I know (the good ones, not those of Nobel prize caliber), the "rungs of the career ladder" look more like this:
age 22-28: graduate school living on a stipend of $2.5k per month
age 28-34: working as post-doc/junior research scientist for $50k/$70k per year
age 34-40: assistant professor at a university or scientist at a major lab: $90k-$100k per year
age 40: tenure at university or lab: $100k-$150k
age 45: Full professor or senior research scientist: $120k-180k+

All while doing something you enjoy, meeting interesting people and seeing the world. What more could one want? And if at any time you get tired, you can go into finance or consulting and make real money (if you're any good).
Yes! Science is a great career!

Assistant professors in many geographic locations do not make $90K-$100K a year. Perhaps in the Cambridge/Boston/New York area they do. Some U of California assistant professors do make that much, but many do not: ( http://apo.ucsc.edu/academic_compensati ... s-crnt.pdf ). They may need to find 3 months of salary for the summer, too. Professors in Iowa: http://provost.uiowa.edu/docs/data/sala ... ry1011.pdf (See the prof with a $500K salary? They are probably an MD.) It depends a great deal on the grant money they bring in.
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by pincognito » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:14 pm

Wolkenspiel wrote: To contrast the $65k as the best a "successful" researcher can hope for with a "top lawyer at age 44 is probably a $500,000 per year partner in a big firm" (quoted from Greenspun's web page) is a level of distortion that I would not expect from someone giving honest career advice to young students.
I can't speak to what a researcher can make, but a top lawyer at age 44 could make $500,000 a year (or more) in a big firm. However, life in biglaw is but one of many career paths a top lawyer could take, many of which pay a whole lot less.
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by campy2010 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:53 pm

livesoft wrote:
Wolkenspiel wrote:Whenever I see Greenspun's rubbish pop up, I wonder if he is really just uninformed or a liar. What is undeniable is that he has an agenda.
No doubt.
Averaging over "successful" scientists I know (the good ones, not those of Nobel prize caliber), the "rungs of the career ladder" look more like this:
age 22-28: graduate school living on a stipend of $2.5k per month
age 28-34: working as post-doc/junior research scientist for $50k/$70k per year
age 34-40: assistant professor at a university or scientist at a major lab: $90k-$100k per year
age 40: tenure at university or lab: $100k-$150k
age 45: Full professor or senior research scientist: $120k-180k+

All while doing something you enjoy, meeting interesting people and seeing the world. What more could one want? And if at any time you get tired, you can go into finance or consulting and make real money (if you're any good).
Yes! Science is a great career!

Assistant professors in many geographic locations do not make $90K-$100K a year. Perhaps in the Cambridge/Boston/New York area they do. Some U of California assistant professors do make that much, but many do not: ( http://apo.ucsc.edu/academic_compensati ... s-crnt.pdf ). They may need to find 3 months of salary for the summer, too. Professors in Iowa: http://provost.uiowa.edu/docs/data/sala ... ry1011.pdf (See the prof with a $500K salary? They are probably an MD.) It depends a great deal on the grant money they bring in.
It's great if you're the 1 in 300 who can secure a job. If you're the other 299, then enjoy life as a permanent post-doc.

Wolkenspiel
Posts: 554
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Wolkenspiel » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:16 pm

pincognito wrote:
Wolkenspiel wrote: To contrast the $65k as the best a "successful" researcher can hope for with a "top lawyer at age 44 is probably a $500,000 per year partner in a big firm" (quoted from Greenspun's web page) is a level of distortion that I would not expect from someone giving honest career advice to young students.
I can't speak to what a researcher can make, but a top lawyer at age 44 could make $500,000 a year (or more) in a big firm. However, life in biglaw is but one of many career paths a top lawyer could take, many of which pay a whole lot less.
I think we agree - I didn't make my point very clearly (tough to teach and surf bogleheads.org at the same time): I don't doubt that there are lawyers making $500k and reasonably good scientists making $65k. But this is comparing the top range of one career with the bottom range of another career, and therefore (deliberately, in my judgement) misleading in an article providing "career" advice. The Greenspun article is just full of false claims and exaggerations. E.g. "A science researcher at Harvard now earns an annual salary that is only 1/50th the price of a family-sized house in Cambridge". There are $3M single family homes in Cambridge, but average sale price is $900k or so. A "science researcher at Harvard" makes $18k a year? I am genuinely worried that the talented young women the article claims to address might lose out on a potentially rewarding career by mistaking his polemic for facts.

29palms
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by 29palms » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:21 pm

I'm what you can call a blue collar employee making union wages. Our job as an aircraft technician starts in the neighborhood of 18p/h on up to roughly 80k. Top out wages, this is not including benefits, profit sharing or on time performance money or overtime. It's similarily structured like a government job you may say. You can climb up to lead, then supervisor. Lead job is a baby sitting job and supervisor moreso. I don't want either of those jobs. There is also planning jobs and technical writing jobs downtown, however, guess what happened. Downtown was forced to move to CHICAGO due to the merger and alot of those managers dummied back down to mechanic. I think I got a great gig. No stress, 4 days on, 3 off, topped out now, got 5 weeks of vacation, next year will get 6. So I'm a far cry from being a CEO or executive. I know I'm short like only 5 classes for a degree in Aviation Maintenance at a Bachelors level. Don't know if that would ever help me climb a ladder in this field. Not all great performers with education move up. I think its based on alot of who you know and years of experience or with the company. The pool gets small above the line supervisors. They are not union, deal with more office work. We all agree in order to move beyond a regular line middle management supv, you must have a degree at least a Bachelors. Better yet with a Masters.

pincognito
Posts: 22
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by pincognito » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:34 pm

Wolkenspiel wrote:
pincognito wrote:
Wolkenspiel wrote: To contrast the $65k as the best a "successful" researcher can hope for with a "top lawyer at age 44 is probably a $500,000 per year partner in a big firm" (quoted from Greenspun's web page) is a level of distortion that I would not expect from someone giving honest career advice to young students.
I can't speak to what a researcher can make, but a top lawyer at age 44 could make $500,000 a year (or more) in a big firm. However, life in biglaw is but one of many career paths a top lawyer could take, many of which pay a whole lot less.
I think we agree - I didn't make my point very clearly (tough to teach and surf bogleheads.org at the same time): I don't doubt that there are lawyers making $500k and reasonably good scientists making $65k. But this is comparing the top range of one career with the bottom range of another career, and therefore (deliberately, in my judgement) misleading in an article providing "career" advice. The Greenspun article is just full of false claims and exaggerations. E.g. "A science researcher at Harvard now earns an annual salary that is only 1/50th the price of a family-sized house in Cambridge". There are $3M single family homes in Cambridge, but average sale price is $900k or so. A "science researcher at Harvard" makes $18k a year? I am genuinely worried that the talented young women the article claims to address might lose out on a potentially rewarding career by mistaking his polemic for facts.
We do agree -- I was trying to amplify the point that, while $500k for an attorney is possible, there's no guarantee (these days, simply getting a job can be very difficult, even for graduates of good schools). And there are quite a few reasons why a top lawyer might not want to work at a big firm.
Service T. Deetle, at your service.

Wolkenspiel
Posts: 554
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Wolkenspiel » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:44 pm

campy2010 wrote: It's great if you're the 1 in 300 who can secure a job. If you're the other 299, then enjoy life as a permanent post-doc.
I'd be curious to hear where this number came from.

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dmcmahon
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by dmcmahon » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:14 pm

Years ago when I started in my industry (engineering) at a different megacorp, I drew a cartoon representation of the career ladder at megacorp. It looked a lot like Donkey Kong, a popular arcade game at the time. Now, years latter, I realize just how insightful I was! (Especially the missing rungs on the ladders and the big ape at the top rolling barrels down at you!) :wink:

natureexplorer
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by natureexplorer » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:05 pm

I once worked for a tinycorp and made more than the COO. I also made more than many colleagues, but my specialty was simply much higher paying. But people care more about what their neighbors make than how much they make in absolute terms.

So I switched to the other extreme, a smallcorp with managers and colleagues that get paid more than I. Nobody is jealous of me and it makes salary negotiation easier.

natureexplorer
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Location: Houston

Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by natureexplorer » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:08 pm

chaz wrote:The top rung is for retirement.
No, the top rung IS retirement.

tphp99
Posts: 332
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by tphp99 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:30 pm

livesoft wrote:
Many (Most!!) folks are content to stop climbing.
Climbing the ladder (as an engineering manager) got me so frustrated. I got to a level where my work did not factor into my potential for advancement (politics). I felt that had I been a better golfer, I might have made VP ($100K in 1990), and would still be in the corporate world. So instead of getting some sort of "president" title at the corporate office, I got stuck in manufacturing. I "threw away" that career and I went back to school to get a "doctor" title.
livesoft wrote:
johnny72 wrote:Nobody who makes $250k+ per year will post how they did it on a public forum.
Ha! Half the posters on this forum are physicians!
Ha! Ha! That's exactly how I did it.

happytrades
Posts: 93
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by happytrades » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:40 pm

I don't know but the way I look at it is this. You have to think about what segment you are aiming for. Also, you need to make an honest appraisal of how you compare to the other competitors "in the hunt." At the end of the day, one must ask oneself what is it that distinguishes oneself from the other competitors. I mean you really have to make a self inventory.

In short a reality check is in order.

You have to be lucky. Picking good parents is important. You have to be focused. You have to make trade offs.

In my field, I am now 60, I started off making $8000 per year, and when I quit I was in 7 figures annually. But there was no "career path" as such. I was an entrepreneur. I was lucky. I took risks, and I was not a good family man. In retrospect, I am not sure that I would say it was worth it, but that was my nature.

Ancient wisdom. Know thyself. Be true to thyself. Fulfill thyself.

If one does that, you are a real success.

Be careful what you ask for.

Oakwood42
Posts: 167
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Location: Philadelphia

Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by Oakwood42 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:05 pm

happytrades wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:40 pm
I don't know but the way I look at it is this. You have to think about what segment you are aiming for. Also, you need to make an honest appraisal of how you compare to the other competitors "in the hunt." At the end of the day, one must ask oneself what is it that distinguishes oneself from the other competitors. I mean you really have to make a self inventory.

In short a reality check is in order.

You have to be lucky. Picking good parents is important. You have to be focused. You have to make trade offs.

In my field, I am now 60, I started off making $8000 per year, and when I quit I was in 7 figures annually. But there was no "career path" as such. I was an entrepreneur. I was lucky. I took risks, and I was not a good family man. In retrospect, I am not sure that I would say it was worth it, but that was my nature.

Ancient wisdom. Know thyself. Be true to thyself. Fulfill thyself.

If one does that, you are a real success.

Be careful what you ask for.
Good advice - thx for sharing!


regularguy455
Posts: 102
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by regularguy455 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:51 pm

market timer wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:08 pm
Only three levels:

Image
https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/10/07/t ... he-office/
Haha I was waiting to see this. It’s very cynical but hilarious and insightful.

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FIREchief
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Re: What are the rungs on the career ladder?

Post by FIREchief » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:48 pm

rustymutt wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:16 pm
When you're on the bottom rung of the ladder, there's only one way to go, up.
Or out.... :twisted:
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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