Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

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MikeZ
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Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by MikeZ » Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:55 am

So long story short, I'm 31, married, no kids yet. I work in IT security making in the low-90's. I am currently saving 16% of my income into my 401(k), though some major expenses in the next couple of years (new car, hvac systems) may require I dial that back.

The problem I'm having is that any financial goal setting/planning I'm doing is running into the same problem, I am starting to hit the limits of HR mandated payband in my Megacorp profession. I can draw a line in terms of promotions over the next 5-10 years but it does not move the needle a lot, considering the benefit cuts my MegaCorp has had.

That that's problem I have. I have a good paying job with decent hours and I live in a relatively low COL area.

I have thought about going independent contractor/consultant route but that would likely require more travel than I want, its a lot of risk, and I don't see the exit strategy.

When I think of some of my goals (retire early, cabin in the mountains, learning to fly) and compare it to my compensation track I'm starting to see meeting those goals as either requiring more risk taking with my investments or a career change with a higher ceiling.

Just wondering if anyone has experienced the restlessness of when there is a delta between their goals and career track?

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by RadAudit » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:34 am

MikeZ wrote:st wondering if anyone has experienced the restlessness of when there is a delta between their goals and career track?
Yes. But, cheer up! It only lasts for another 30 or 40 years because there are only so many people who can dance at the top of the managerial pyramid at the same time. And, after a period of time of trying to climb to the top, they hand you a gold watch and kick you out the door regardless of where you are on the climb.

Somewhere along the line you are going to have to decide where you really want to go and how much you are willing to sacrifice to get there. Choose wisely. A number of people try to set goals they can reach with the hand they are dealt and what they are willing to do to improve their position.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The cavalry isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

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tyrion
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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by tyrion » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:44 am

You have goals that exceed your means.

You can alter your goals. Or increase your means. Or get rid of that 'retire early' goal and work longer.

Personally, I chose to reduce my goals. I thought it was more important to live a balanced life (time for kids, friends, and family) rather than climbing a rung or two higher on the corporate ladder. Others may make a different choice.

As far as your compensation goes, the standard advice is that you'll need to leave your company to get any sort of substantial pay raise.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by Mike Scott » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:49 am

My last "opportunity" to advance my career came with the conditions of more work and more stress for less pay. No thanks!

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by gunn_show » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:53 am

MikeZ wrote: Just wondering if anyone has experienced the restlessness of when there is a delta between their goals and career track?
Yes. And I have held jobs with 4 different companies (6 if you count some acquisition logo changes) in the last 5-7 years as a result - meaning I job hop to move up in the world. It's worked. I have doubled my comp plan in 5 years and have a nice position at a tech megacorp. Especially in a megacorp, if you don't see a clear path to promotion -and- pay growth, it may be time to job hunt. But, these questions are so very specific to so many things - your job field, your exact position, your true skills and work ethic, where you live - it is difficult to answer and for any of us to make recommendations. I imagine IT Security is a high demand position right now, especially with a few key certifications, so it's possible you could make a move and get what you need quite quickly. A lot of the answer depends on your expenses, costs, style of living, mortgage? - but to me, retiring early with a cabin in the woods (dream of mine as well..) will require either a lot of scrimp and saving at your salary, or really bumping up that pay significantly. (although you only stated your income, not your wife's / combined). One thing I am not afraid of is improving my career track, those with high skill levels and confidence can move up in their careers faster than most, you just have to put time and effort into it. Sometimes staying at company X a long time is the answer, sometimes shifting around every few years is the answer, or some combo of both. While I've done a lot of hopping in the last decade, I hope to stay with current tech firm for awhile...
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by slbnoob » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:03 pm

Excuse me for trying to hijack this thread.

I feel there should be almost a mentoring sub-group/forum here. Given the demographics of the people who contribute regularly to this forum (well experienced, retired/close to retired, some HCOs, "top of the management pyramid"), there is a lot of wisdom here that newbies like the OP, me, and many others like us could use. Of course I say that because I spend a lot of time here than any other career-focused forums (that I'm unaware of) and value the advice here.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by LiveSimple » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:08 pm

slbnoob wrote:Excuse me for trying to hijack this thread.

I feel there should be almost a mentoring sub-group/forum here. Given the demographics of the people who contribute regularly to this forum (well experienced, retired/close to retired, some HCOs, "top of the management pyramid"), there is a lot of wisdom here that newbies like the OP, me, and many others like us could use. Of course I say that because I spend a lot of time here than any other career-focused forums (that I'm unaware of) and value the advice here.
Agree :sharebeer

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by LiveSimple » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:17 pm

Mike, IT Security is a niche field. Hence the opportunities are limited as well, based on company \ location.

Make a career progress as IT Security Architect, if you have the desire !

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job ... _IT/Salary

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by KlangFool » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:20 pm

MikeZ wrote:So long story short, I'm 31, married, no kids yet. I work in IT security making in the low-90's. I am currently saving 16% of my income into my 401(k), though some major expenses in the next couple of years (new car, hvac systems) may require I dial that back.
MikeZ,

1) You are not likely to earn significantly more. 120K is probably the highest level that you can get.

2) Even if you earn a lot more, you may need to move to HCOL area. Hence, your net savings may not be increasing.

3) In summary, you have to save a lot more at your current income level. Especially, you do not have kid yet. You may save even less than your current level after you have kids.

Earn, Save, Invest.

4) You cannot earn more. Hence, you have to save and invest more in order to increase your income.

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MikeZ
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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by MikeZ » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:31 pm

KlangFool wrote:
1) You are not likely to earn significantly more. 120K is probably the highest level that you can get.
.....
4) You cannot earn more. Hence, you have to save and invest more in order to increase your income.

KlangFool

That is the psychology/goal setting problem: Saying that in the first 20% of my professional experience I've achieved 80% of my possible earning potential is not exactly a good reason to get out of bed everyday and work hard.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by uncertainty » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:45 pm

MikeZ wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
1) You are not likely to earn significantly more. 120K is probably the highest level that you can get.
.....
4) You cannot earn more. Hence, you have to save and invest more in order to increase your income.

KlangFool

That is the psychology/goal setting problem: Saying that in the first 20% of my professional experience I've achieved 80% of my possible earning potential is not exactly a good reason to get out of bed everyday and work hard.
Isn't it better to cap early in your career? There are many industries where people cap at a lower salary, far later in their careers. Which, obviously, will result in a huge difference in lifetime earning potential.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by gunn_show » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:46 pm

MikeZ wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
1) You are not likely to earn significantly more. 120K is probably the highest level that you can get.
.....
4) You cannot earn more. Hence, you have to save and invest more in order to increase your income.

KlangFool
That is the psychology/goal setting problem: Saying that in the first 20% of my professional experience I've achieved 80% of my possible earning potential is not exactly a good reason to get out of bed everyday and work hard.
This does not all add up to me. You're 31 dude, not 51. You're at a very nice salary level at a relatively young working age. Let's not discount that. Now, if you feel you are truly at 80% of career earning ceiling then you are either in the wrong company or the wrong field or both. Or, it is what it is and you need to make the most of it, or change fields. Frankly I have no idea if KlangFool knows your specific field and position accurately, to make his comments valid or not, but even if so - if you can get to $120k single income in a LCOL area, you're in a pretty damn good place. Again, you did not mention the wife's income - what's the story there? If she even makes 50k you're clocking good joint income for low expenses with no kids. That is equivalent to much more in somewhere like bay area or socal.

If I would have stopped trying at 31, thinking I hit a theoretical ceiling... I would have cost myself -a lot- of money...

And the comment about needing a good reason to get out of bed... makes me believe you are not in as great a spot at current gig as you may think you are... time to shop around
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by MikeZ » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:49 pm

I only meant my statement as a rejection of the "You cannot earn more" comment.

As far as the other posts, I am asking more of an open ended question--how do you need to change my thinking when I have already achieved most of your existing goals and see the current path I am on as slowing down compared to what it was in the past.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by Clearly_Irrational » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:59 pm

You basically have four options:

1) Become even better at what you do now and switch jobs once or twice to get pay raises. This can probably get you up into the low six figures before you cap out again, but after that you'll be pretty much stuck. Additionally due to ageism in IT you may have trouble finding employment as you get older.
2) Become a consultant so that you can bill at higher rates and have multiple clients, as you mentioned however this conflicts with some of your other goals.
3) Change careers to one with a higher cap, the traditional choice being a move to IT Management. There are pluses and minuses to this choice.
4) Lower your goals

Regardless of what you do, there is likely going to be a ceiling of some sort as long as you continue working for others. (though obviously the size of the cap will vary depending on your choices and potential)

For me, I decided to go the management route and that will likely double my end cap, which is enough for my goals.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by Texanbybirth » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:08 pm

Saving only 16% of your ~$90k income in a relatively low COL area doesn't seem to compute with the mindset that most "retire early" people have. I think they typically save a much higher percentage of their income, and/or expect quite a different retirement than what you're expecting - "cabin the mountains, learning to fly".

Have you considered the expense side of your personal equation? When you're saving a larger chunk of your hard-earned pay, it feels good no matter how burned out you might feel. I also think looking for other options is good for you. It sounds like you really enjoyed the rocket start to your earning career, but now you're not content with the leveling off that most people experience.
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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by ThankYouJack » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:17 pm

OP, it will be very tough to retire early plus increase your lifestyle during retirement if you're saving 16% or less.

Is there anyway you can cut back on some current expenses to save more?

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by MikeZ » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:21 pm

I can't speak too much on the spending side right now, as my wife's income has been all going to pay off student loans (achieved recently) so I've been paying all living expenses. I would say as a rule of thumb our spend is $4k/mo ($2k for household and utilities, $900 for food, rest for house maint, trips, etc). We do take a lot of trips (ER and travel are sort of balanced out long and short term goals).

I did purchase a large home, it was a foreclosure and was a great deal, but more than I need at the moment--I justify it as a home I can forsee living on for 40 years and figured the opportunity to own that kind of house was likely a once in a lifetime thing.
Last edited by MikeZ on Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by TNL » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:24 pm

I can only comment based on my own experience:

My spouse and I both earn high incomes. I am 41 and close to the top of my pay band for my line of work and geographic area. There are several factors that limit my ability/desire to attempt to continue climbing the ladder -- these include being adequately available for my two young children and also being available to support my spouse's work schedule for child care, etc.

For several years, my spouse and I were focused on working harder to climb the ladder to earn more and more money. We were both very focused on the bottom line (and the ego) of earning higher and higher incomes. However, neither of us paid much attention to the money going OUT the door. If you have read the Millionaire Next Door, I can describe myself as a recovering Underaccumulator of Wealth. After reading this forum for a few months, I realized that we were looking at the problem from an incorrect viewpoint. With our combined AGI of approximately $235K and steady W-2 incomes for the foreseeable future -- in the words of another poster -- my spouse and I have already won the income game, so to speak. When I realized that, I began to focus more and more on cutting expenses in ways that were relatively painless and did not cut into our working time and time spent working to earn money. For example, I recently purchased about $400 of sports equipment for one of my children for $125 by buying it second hand from a reputable website. Also, we are going on a cruise in May. Ordinarily, I would book a suite cabin, telling myself, we work hard, and we can afford it, so why not splurge? This time, I booked a standard balcony cabin. I doubt we will notice much of a difference. Total savings was about $600 over the suite.

Now I know what some of you may be thinking -- "TNL, that's a great story, but you're just not saving that much money. You would save more money just booking an inside cabin, or better yet, stay home and save all of the money." Individually, these savings might not seem like much but I think they will add up over time. Also, I have no desire to be the richest person in the cemetery. I plan to work full time in my field to about age 60. I will have children in college then and I enjoy what I do. Plus, we want to enjoy life and taking our one week vacations 2-3 times a year really gives us a recharge that is badly needed by that time. We also want to raise our children to see the world (or at least the country) and value experiences and experience life outside of our fairly insulated and homogeneous location (we live in the Intermountain West and there is not much diversity here).

So see if, rather than trying to earn more income, are there things that you can do to cut back your expenses here and there in a way that is noticeable, but not Draconian?

Just my two cents.

TNL
Last edited by TNL on Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by KlangFool » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:26 pm

Clearly_Irrational wrote:You basically have four options:

1) Become even better at what you do now and switch jobs once or twice to get pay raises. This can probably get you up into the low six figures before you cap out again, but after that you'll be pretty much stuck. Additionally due to ageism in IT you may have trouble finding employment as you get older.
2) Become a consultant so that you can bill at higher rates and have multiple clients, as you mentioned however this conflicts with some of your other goals.
3) Change careers to one with a higher cap, the traditional choice being a move to IT Management. There are pluses and minuses to this choice.
4) Lower your goals

Regardless of what you do, there is likely going to be a ceiling of some sort as long as you continue working for others. (though obviously the size of the cap will vary depending on your choices and potential)

For me, I decided to go the management route and that will likely double my end cap, which is enough for my goals.
Clearly_Irrational,

+1.

As compare to all other alternative, save more money and invest those savings wisely is an easier and safer approach. But, that is probably not the answer OP want to hear.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by KlangFool » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:37 pm

OP,

At your current income level, it is probably advantageous for you to put some money into Roth IRA if you have not done so,

KlangFool

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by saurabh » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:47 pm

If you want to make more in the corporate world, you will need to move to a higher responsibility managerial role. Is there a reason why you think you could never become a CIO for example? In technical roles I could see software developers making more than you do, but probably not a whole lot more. Also $150K in a major city like New York/San Francisco/Seattle is not the same as making it in an average or low cost of living location.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by MikeZ » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:50 pm

The short answer is that I think as far as frugality I do a decent job, I buy things a garage sales, drive a cheap car, mow my own lawn, etc. Saving money was my first step. There are some areas for improvement I know in can do better.

That's just not the subject I am focusing on right now. I am wanting a think and plan on both the income and experience sides. My post was limited to the first.

I will start a post on how to buy a new HVAC in the future....

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:01 pm

MikeZ wrote:So long story short, I'm 31, married, no kids yet. I work in IT security making in the low-90's. I am currently saving 16% of my income into my 401(k), though some major expenses in the next couple of years (new car, hvac systems) may require I dial that back.

The problem I'm having is that any financial goal setting/planning I'm doing is running into the same problem, I am starting to hit the limits of HR mandated payband in my Megacorp profession. I can draw a line in terms of promotions over the next 5-10 years but it does not move the needle a lot, considering the benefit cuts my MegaCorp has had.

That that's problem I have. I have a good paying job with decent hours and I live in a relatively low COL area.

I have thought about going independent contractor/consultant route but that would likely require more travel than I want, its a lot of risk, and I don't see the exit strategy.

When I think of some of my goals (retire early, cabin in the mountains, learning to fly) and compare it to my compensation track I'm starting to see meeting those goals as either requiring more risk taking with my investments or a career change with a higher ceiling.

Just wondering if anyone has experienced the restlessness of when there is a delta between their goals and career track?
Or another business on the side. The White Coat Investor has opened up all kinds of amazing financial opportunities for me outside of the plan I drew up a decade ago.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by Nick True » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:04 pm

Op,

So far I have yet to see anyone mention the idea of getting a side job, or as its called in the online entrepreneur space, a side-hustle. Edit: Emergdoc just beat me to it on mentioning a side income!

This does not necessarily mean picking up an extra job at the local starbucks on the weekend.

I happen to find myself in a similar situation (albeit I'm about 10 years younger). I am fresh out of college and in my first job as a Mechanical Engineer. I have started out about ~$6,000 higher than the average starting salary for my position in this area of the country. However, like you unless I move into a much higher management position, the majority of the senior level engineers in this area cap out at around $110k - $120k. It is very likely that when I am your age, I will find myself in a very similar position.

Long story short I have spent the past 8 months researching ways to make extra income on the side (while my wife does homework) because we also would like to retire early. I've recently started my own side-hustle about 2 months ago.

There are many innovative ways to make money on the side depending on your interests.

Have you ever heard of fulfillment by amazon, selling digital products and/or courses, affiliate marketing etc..?

I'm not saying its all super easy, but it has definitely given me a new-found motivation for the possibilities out there.
If you're hard working and find something compelling it can be a lot of fun.

If you've got hobbies or interests in a certain area, there could be a way for you to make some extra money on the side.

Since your in IT I'm sure you could figure out the online business realm. It also sounds like your dreams and aspirations may be just what you need to give you that motivation.

If this sounds interesting to you at all check at Pat Flynn at http://smartpassiveincome.com. This guy is incredible and in 8 years has created a business that generates over $100K per month in profit, and now often works less than 30 hours per week.

Of course, you could always get into real-estate and rental property. That can also be a lucritive way to create some passive income and help get you where you want.
Last edited by Nick True on Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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MikeZ
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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by MikeZ » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:06 pm

EmergDoc wrote:
When I think of some of my goals (retire early, cabin in the mountains, learning to fly) and compare it to my compensation track I'm starting to see meeting those go
Or another business on the side. The White Coat Investor has opened up all kinds of amazing financial opportunities for me outside of the plan I drew up a decade ago.
That has definitely been my primary avenue of though on this....my dream is to find a recluse billionaire who is obsessed with IT security......more realistically I've been playing around with real estate data analytics.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by sillysaver » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:24 pm

MikeZ wrote:
EmergDoc wrote:......more realistically I've been playing around with real estate data analytics.
Do tell. Playing around with real estate data analytics, to make money as a real estate investor?

I've capped out, too, as a software developer. I'm studying data science in my spare time, as i was thinking about moving into an analytics role. Not to make more money, but to find something more intellectually stimulating than my current line of work. I'm only a little older than you (38). Hopefully I have at least another 20 years to work and use my brain.

I've often wondered if data science and analytics would be useful in my own business. I thought about this very idea -- real estate analytics -- just the other day, as I'm looking into rental properties as a business.

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by MikeZ » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:29 pm

I've thought about real estate investing. We still rent out my Wife's old house. I still have not come to a conclusion on if it's a good idea. The main thing I have figured out is that just buying something through a real estate agent is likely to not be good investment---you need to find something off MLS to get a decent return.(Fees matter!)

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by slbnoob » Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:16 pm

sillysaver wrote:
I've capped out, too, as a software developer. I'm studying data science in my spare time, as i was thinking about moving into an analytics role. Not to make more money, but to find something more intellectually stimulating than my current line of work. I'm only a little older than you (38). Hopefully I have at least another 20 years to work and use my brain.

I've often wondered if data science and analytics would be useful in my own business. I thought about this very idea -- real estate analytics -- just the other day, as I'm looking into rental properties as a business.
Interesting as I myself have been looking at Data Science to diversify my skillset, in true Boglehead fashion :). I come from an engineering software background and want to get more hardcore into the 'emerging' technology game. Hence, looking at machine learning to enhance my skillset and if I get lucky, build something of my own on the side that I would truly enjoy doing!

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:51 pm

You guys need to be more careful with your quotes. I'm quoted in this thread as saying several things I didn't say.
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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by Shackleton » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:26 am

EmergDoc wrote:You guys need to be more careful with your quotes. I'm quoted in this thread as saying several things I didn't say.
The irony of a software developer messing up some simple HTML-ish code is not lost on me... :P
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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by dziuniek » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:39 am

This is a big IF, but IF you don't mind 80-100% travel, I would go work for BIG4 accounting firms.

Here is my friend's progression (he is 28?- I should rly know this):
(pay over years approximated, current pay is actual!)

Bachelor's in accounting.
Possesses CISA cert.

Previous:
1. IT Audit @ PWC - 2.5 years left at 64k.
2. IT {rojects Manager @ Willis - 2 years. Pay when leaving was 82k+bonus.

Current:
3. 3rd Year IT Consulting Senior Associate @ EY - 6months and cunting. Current Pay is $105k + bonus.

He does travel all the time, but with time, he says he should be able to do 1 week on, 1 week off (work remotely).

This is just an idea. BIG4 firms are huge on IT security right now.

Good Luck!

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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by prudent » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:53 am

When I was at that point, I evaluated if I was willing to do what was necessary in order to hold on to all my wants. Spent a couple months doing serious soul-searching.

To increase my income meant going after higher-level positions and that meant more office politics (which brings less job security), more travel, higher stress and less job satisfaction... along with higher income, more savings and being able to achieve more of my dream "wants".

To keep what I had meant almost no office politics, very high job security, no travel, manageable stress level, and high job satisfaction... but I was never going to have all my wants that equated to your example of mountain cabin, early retirement and learning to fly.

My conclusion was that I was not willing. For me it was a quality-of-life choice. I know many others who were not dismayed by the things I considered negatives if it got them to where they wanted to be - because they rated quality-of-life factors differently than I did. I think it's a very personal decision with no right or wrong.

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ElJay
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Re: Goal mindset when seeing ceiling in career

Post by ElJay » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:51 pm

I know there's something in the human condition that urges a need to always get something more, to always move the goal post forward. I'm about where the OP is, a few years older and a few more grand a year, but basically the same situation.

The fact is though, $100k/year where I live has moved me (my household of one) up out of the middle class. Most people work their entire lives and never get there. I hit it at age 33, only ten years into my career. And I do it sitting on my rear without breaking a sweat, working about 40 hours a week. I might be able to edge up another $15-20k over the next decade doing this. If I want to see $150k in 2016 dollars, I'll probably have to become a manager and deal with all of that garbage. Right now I'm very good at developing software, so I'm hopefully going do that until my brain or ageism makes it impossible.

I admit I have to constantly remind myself of what I am grateful for. I wrote things down in OneNote, and I can bring it up on my phone whenever I'm feeling dead-ended or envious of others. Turns out life is quite good for me despite how my brain thinks sometimes.

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