For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

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alfaspider
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by alfaspider » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:31 am

simplesimon wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 3:09 pm
GCD wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:59 pm
I see a lot of talk about top 14 law schools which I never really understood. Top 14? Pretty arbitrary. Why not top 10 or top 15?
I believe it's because the top 14 law schools have been the same schools for a very long time. Lawyers get a bit weird about rankings.

I know someone who went to a low ranked law school, networked her way into estate law (much lower hours than lit/M&A) at a regional firm and pulls in $300k as an associate.
It's not really about rankings per-se. There just happen to be 14 nationally recognized law schools that are the "go-to" recruiting schools for large national law firms. The U.S. News rankings could go out of publication tomorrow and the top schools wouldn't change.

Stories about graduates from low ranked law schools being successful are common, but if you look at the actual odds of a graduate finding highly remunerative employment, they are much better from one of the "T14" schools. At some fourth tier schools, around half of matriculating students never actually work as lawyers. Of course, there will be some highly successful exceptions just as there are folks who dropped out of high school and are successful. A good resource for comparing employment outcomes between law schools is here:

https://www.lawschooltransparency.com/

Regarding law and $500k outcomes: at a "biglaw" firm, it is not really possible to hit $500k as an associate. A senior associate tops out at $430k with bonus under the "NY Market" salary scale. There probably are a few outliers at uber elite firms like Watchtell or Sussman that sometimes give bonuses well above "market." However, many (if not most) Amlaw 100 partners will be around that level, and equity partners at top firms will be considerably more. Only a small fraction of grads who start at large firms (who are themselves a small fraction of law school graduates) will ever make partner.

Besides biglaw: in-house roles may get you $500k+ at the General Counsel level and perhaps a rung down from GC at bigger companies with good equity awards. Small firms comp is all over the map. There's everything from bottom-rung insurance defense that hire struggling fresh graduates for $20 an hour, to billionaire plaintiff's lawyers. Government will of course never get you there. Positions like Attorney General of the U.S. and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are barely north of $200k. However, a well-regarded former AG could easily land a $500k+ big firm partner gig after leaving government service. In a more realistic scenario, there are many "revolving door" Washington types who cash in on government service at places like the Treasury or U.S. Attorney's Office after a few years.

Setting all that aside, I think the most common way to make $500k+ is to start a successful business of some sort. You are an extreme outlier if you make that sort of money working for someone else as employee (most likely a medical doctor). Law firm partners are a bit of a hybrid given that they are technically part business owners even if they may operate more like employees in a very large firm.

Finally, I would leave with a quote form the Notorious BIG: "You either slangin crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot." Which is to say, making a lot of money probably means you are cheating (even if not necessarily illegal), or it means you have some very special skill.
Last edited by alfaspider on Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:35 am, edited 3 times in total.

visualguy
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by visualguy » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:33 am

SQRT wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:05 am
trustquestioner wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:46 pm


- Public company executives: you have to get lucky and more important be GREAT at office politics. No thanks.

This seems to be the “conventional view” especially around here. Agree about the “luck” but I think that’s true of most success situations. As far as “politics” go,I have a different perspective of what it takes to succeed in any large organization:

-ability to communicate effectively (clear, direct, non confrontational)
-ability to work in teams and give credit to fellow team members as appropriate
-keeping your ego in check
-adopting the management perspective(ie goal congruence)

Of course there are other characteristics such as hard work,intelligence, education,etc. I think we would all agree on those. Often (not always) people who aren’t strong in the “soft” skills chock this up to “office politics”.

There will, of course, be organizations that have cultures that are dysfunctional or even toxic. But surely they are rare. My experience was quite the opposite.
Your experience may be the rare one... Top executives tend to be ruthless, and pretty much the opposite of most of what you described. Big egos, good at claiming credit, good at managing up, good at undermining others to expand turf, etc. Not saying it's all politics and no other competence, but the nice guys aren't typically the ones who get there.

SQRT
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by SQRT » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:41 am

visualguy wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:33 am
SQRT wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:05 am
trustquestioner wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:46 pm


- Public company executives: you have to get lucky and more important be GREAT at office politics. No thanks.

This seems to be the “conventional view” especially around here. Agree about the “luck” but I think that’s true of most success situations. As far as “politics” go,I have a different perspective of what it takes to succeed in any large organization:

-ability to communicate effectively (clear, direct, non confrontational)
-ability to work in teams and give credit to fellow team members as appropriate
-keeping your ego in check
-adopting the management perspective(ie goal congruence)

Of course there are other characteristics such as hard work,intelligence, education,etc. I think we would all agree on those. Often (not always) people who aren’t strong in the “soft” skills chock this up to “office politics”.

There will, of course, be organizations that have cultures that are dysfunctional or even toxic. But surely they are rare. My experience was quite the opposite.
Your experience may be the rare one... Top executives tend to be ruthless, and pretty much the opposite of most of what you described. Big egos, good at claiming credit, good at managing up, good at undermining others to expand turf, etc. Not saying it's all politics and no other competence, but the nice guys aren't typically the ones who get there.
Again, my experience was quite the opposite. I guess I may have been “extra lucky”. I wonder if the high proportion of “tech” workers might skew the experience here?

MarkerFM
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by MarkerFM » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:59 am

Flashes1 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:44 pm
And what a lot of us "regular" Bogleheads don't understand or appreciate is the sense of power that these people get from running a company with +100,000 employees and be interviewed on CNBC and the WSJ. And if a politician from a certain party wants the money to run their Senate or Presidential campaign....guess who they come to on a semi-regular basis? That's real power that none of us have....some people thrive on that.
This is very true. When I lived in a town where many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies lived, I saw some of them often at social events. I found it very interesting how the former CEOs who for various reasons (usually performance) weren't working. There was always an air of desperation to be relevant and get back into the game.

For my answer to this thread, I did it by buying, turning around and selling a small company. For the last 25 years, my annual income has averaged $1.2 million. The last half of that period from investment income. I don't miss the work life one bit.

trustquestioner
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by trustquestioner » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:00 am

Every Megacorp I’ve been a part of has the same dynamic:

By far the #1 biggest predictor of success within the organization is kissing your boss and your boss’s boss’ asses. Be absolutely ruthless. Subtly degrade your coworkers, but not in an obvious way. Pin blame for negative outcomes on others, early and often. Be a shameless liar (this one is huge). Take credit for other people’s successes and ALWAYS manage up.

SQRT
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by SQRT » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:10 am

trustquestioner wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:00 am
Every Megacorp I’ve been a part of has the same dynamic:

By far the #1 biggest predictor of success within the organization is kissing your boss and your boss’s boss’ asses. Be absolutely ruthless. Subtly degrade your coworkers, but not in an obvious way. Pin blame for negative outcomes on others, early and often. Be a shameless liar (this one is huge). Take credit for other people’s successes and ALWAYS manage up.
I’m sorry your experience was so consistently poor. What sector or industry were you involved in? I wonder if things are better in Canada where I worked or perhaps the environment has deteriorated recently(I’ve been out of action for about 13 years). Again, I guess I was really lucky in many ways.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:11 am

SQRT wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:41 am
visualguy wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:33 am
Your experience may be the rare one... Top executives tend to be ruthless, and pretty much the opposite of most of what you described. Big egos, good at claiming credit, good at managing up, good at undermining others to expand turf, etc. Not saying it's all politics and no other competence, but the nice guys aren't typically the ones who get there.
Again, my experience was quite the opposite. I guess I may have been “extra lucky”. I wonder if the high proportion of “tech” workers might skew the experience here?
In our experience over the years, within finance tech, it has been a mixed bag. Of the probably hundred or so C-level executives we've been up close with, there have been people whose names you'd recognize if you read Bloomberg and a couple you'd recognize if your exposure to business news is just the regular newspaper.

Many have been remarkably mediocre in many ways, especially in terms of strategic thinking, courage, and character assessment; not horrible, but it makes you shake your head. I don't think too many have been ruthless; quite the opposite, a good number of them have been too loyal to their staff, nice guys even when they shouldn't have been. The egos have been big, but I'm not sure what's wrong with that.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

stoptothink
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:15 am

smitcat wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:28 am
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:22 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:04 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:46 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:50 pm


These are quota-carrying sales positions. Sales people don’t need to have subject matter expertise to be successful. How many pharma reps have pharmacy or even science degrees?

The fact that they were able to pass the resume screens and interviews clearly show that they have a knack for and interest in sales that they apparently weren’t able to satisfy on your team. Instead of dismissing their accomplishments I’d suggest you consider why these valued team members didn’t feel fulfilled where they were.
You are obviously taking it personally because you are in the industry. Hey dude, I'm the idiot who spent 11yrs studying, another several years publishing peer-reviewed research, and manage a team larger than some of these companies, only to make similar compensation to some just out of school (or with no university education whatsoever) with no specific education or experience. I'm not talking $500K, but you don't have to be a rock star to make solid money in tech right now. To crack 6-figures in my industry, you either have to be a rock star (with a PhD) or director level. Again, I'm the dumb one.

My wife is in data security, they literally have 1 person (out of ~30) in the entire sales department that has a CISSP. Yes it's sales, but how do you sell a product that you have very limited understanding of? I don't know about other places, but my wife doesn't have a quota, and her base salary is higher than a few PhD's on my staff. My company has sales too (our department is 50x+ the size of my wife's employer), but if my (now former) employees wanted to transition to sales here, they would start out making <1/2 of what they are getting from day 1 in tech. I have no idea how our sales department is retaining staff; actually, I don't know if they are. One of my best friends is a project manager for a local IT consulting company (with an English lit degree and no PMP), she makes more than twice what my lone project manager does and he has a PMP. It's difficult for me right now to get solid contributors with hard science education/experience, not because of direct industry competition, but because of Adobe, Ancestry, Grow, Weave, HireVue, Domo, Qualtrics, Lucid, BambooHR, Pluralsight, Podium, Entrata...My stepdad, my sister, and another uncle are in public education in this area, they are having the same problem getting good young teachers (probably worse).
It should be common knowledge that the sciences don't pay; also I'm guessing you didn't pursue a PhD for the money. So what are you complaining about?

If you do want the money now, you should probably ask for a referral from your former employee...
:oops: I'm not complaining. Maybe I am doing a bad job of communicating because your responses seem to be totally disconnected from what I am saying. Why would I ask for a referral from a former employee when I have no interest in leaving? I make "enough" in a super stable company, in a great environment, and my family could very easily subsist on my wife's income alone (which is less than mine, albeit she is an individual contributor and I direct a staff 1/4 the size of her entire company). But, my current biggest work stress is getting and maintaining talented staff - not just "scientists", but project managers, design, copywriters, technical writers, social media - because we can't pay like tech. FWIW, my company has 4,500+ employees, we have far more software engineers, network and database admins, app developers, and various IT staff than scientists; none of whom make remotely close to the type of numbers I see constantly on this board, even at senior director and up levels. We can't pay our staff in all departments like they do, and not all of these people are upper echelon performers. Our corporate recruiting staff has their work cut out for them.
This describes a company that could be ripe for a sale and/or offshoring.
You just never know what will happen but when you are the largest and the environment gets tight there are often changes that folks would not be aware of until fairly late in the process.
YMMV
Possibly, but with our growth, I doubt it. We aren't fighting anybody for talent within our own industry. Everybody's pay scales are fairly similar (a competitor did offer me 40% more, but it came with a lot of strings) and our two largest competitors are known for being toxic environments, while my employer has been on Forbes' top-10 mid-size companies to work for list 4yrs running. But when a 24yr old biology/chemistry grad gets an offer from a local tech company that is 50% higher than the company's actually within their field pay, regardless of the fact that it is completely out of the realm of their education and experience, it is hard to compete.

I don't think the "talent war" will last all that long, many of these tech companies simply won't be around. One of them just up the road (Canopy), who had poached some of our sales and HR employees, recently laid off 40% of their staff.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:25 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:15 am
We aren't fighting anybody for talent within our own industry. [snip ...]
I don't think the "talent war" will last all that long, many of these tech companies simply won't be around. One of them just up the road (Canopy), who had poached some of our sales and HR employees, recently laid off 40% of their staff.
I think the talent battle is similar for PhD programs. A redacted quote from one of son's professors when son decided to go into industry rather than pursue a PhD: "Great! Another promising CS/math student lost to [name of his employer]." As you say, it will probably end some day, but I'm not placing bets on when. As is often said in other contexts (originally by John Maynard Keynes),"the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

smitcat
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by smitcat » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:53 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:15 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:28 am
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:22 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:04 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:46 pm


You are obviously taking it personally because you are in the industry. Hey dude, I'm the idiot who spent 11yrs studying, another several years publishing peer-reviewed research, and manage a team larger than some of these companies, only to make similar compensation to some just out of school (or with no university education whatsoever) with no specific education or experience. I'm not talking $500K, but you don't have to be a rock star to make solid money in tech right now. To crack 6-figures in my industry, you either have to be a rock star (with a PhD) or director level. Again, I'm the dumb one.

My wife is in data security, they literally have 1 person (out of ~30) in the entire sales department that has a CISSP. Yes it's sales, but how do you sell a product that you have very limited understanding of? I don't know about other places, but my wife doesn't have a quota, and her base salary is higher than a few PhD's on my staff. My company has sales too (our department is 50x+ the size of my wife's employer), but if my (now former) employees wanted to transition to sales here, they would start out making <1/2 of what they are getting from day 1 in tech. I have no idea how our sales department is retaining staff; actually, I don't know if they are. One of my best friends is a project manager for a local IT consulting company (with an English lit degree and no PMP), she makes more than twice what my lone project manager does and he has a PMP. It's difficult for me right now to get solid contributors with hard science education/experience, not because of direct industry competition, but because of Adobe, Ancestry, Grow, Weave, HireVue, Domo, Qualtrics, Lucid, BambooHR, Pluralsight, Podium, Entrata...My stepdad, my sister, and another uncle are in public education in this area, they are having the same problem getting good young teachers (probably worse).
It should be common knowledge that the sciences don't pay; also I'm guessing you didn't pursue a PhD for the money. So what are you complaining about?

If you do want the money now, you should probably ask for a referral from your former employee...
:oops: I'm not complaining. Maybe I am doing a bad job of communicating because your responses seem to be totally disconnected from what I am saying. Why would I ask for a referral from a former employee when I have no interest in leaving? I make "enough" in a super stable company, in a great environment, and my family could very easily subsist on my wife's income alone (which is less than mine, albeit she is an individual contributor and I direct a staff 1/4 the size of her entire company). But, my current biggest work stress is getting and maintaining talented staff - not just "scientists", but project managers, design, copywriters, technical writers, social media - because we can't pay like tech. FWIW, my company has 4,500+ employees, we have far more software engineers, network and database admins, app developers, and various IT staff than scientists; none of whom make remotely close to the type of numbers I see constantly on this board, even at senior director and up levels. We can't pay our staff in all departments like they do, and not all of these people are upper echelon performers. Our corporate recruiting staff has their work cut out for them.
This describes a company that could be ripe for a sale and/or offshoring.
You just never know what will happen but when you are the largest and the environment gets tight there are often changes that folks would not be aware of until fairly late in the process.
YMMV
Possibly, but with our growth, I doubt it. We aren't fighting anybody for talent within our own industry. Everybody's pay scales are fairly similar (a competitor did offer me 40% more, but it came with a lot of strings) and our two largest competitors are known for being toxic environments, while my employer has been on Forbes' top-10 mid-size companies to work for list 4yrs running. But when a 24yr old biology/chemistry grad gets an offer from a local tech company that is 50% higher than the company's actually within their field pay, regardless of the fact that it is completely out of the realm of their education and experience, it is hard to compete.

I don't think the "talent war" will last all that long, many of these tech companies simply won't be around. One of them just up the road (Canopy), who had poached some of our sales and HR employees, recently laid off 40% of their staff.
My thoughts were not related to the talent pool as such - a larger company, older ownership, niche business , big player, 10+ year economic growth period , margin squeeze.
My view comes from being there twice and seeing what happens / can happen.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:55 am

smitcat wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:53 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:15 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:28 am
This describes a company that could be ripe for a sale and/or offshoring.
You just never know what will happen but when you are the largest and the environment gets tight there are often changes that folks would not be aware of until fairly late in the process.
YMMV
Possibly, but with our growth, I doubt it. We aren't fighting anybody for talent within our own industry. Everybody's pay scales are fairly similar (a competitor did offer me 40% more, but it came with a lot of strings) and our two largest competitors are known for being toxic environments, while my employer has been on Forbes' top-10 mid-size companies to work for list 4yrs running. But when a 24yr old biology/chemistry grad gets an offer from a local tech company that is 50% higher than the company's actually within their field pay, regardless of the fact that it is completely out of the realm of their education and experience, it is hard to compete.

I don't think the "talent war" will last all that long, many of these tech companies simply won't be around. One of them just up the road (Canopy), who had poached some of our sales and HR employees, recently laid off 40% of their staff.
My thoughts were not related to the talent pool as such - a larger company, older ownership, niche business , big player, 10+ year economic growth period , margin squeeze.
My view comes from being there twice and seeing what happens / can happen.
Sounds to me like a prime private equity target.

smitcat
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by smitcat » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:56 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:25 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:15 am
We aren't fighting anybody for talent within our own industry. [snip ...]
I don't think the "talent war" will last all that long, many of these tech companies simply won't be around. One of them just up the road (Canopy), who had poached some of our sales and HR employees, recently laid off 40% of their staff.
I think the talent battle is similar for PhD programs. A redacted quote from one of son's professors when son decided to go into industry rather than pursue a PhD: "Great! Another promising CS/math student lost to [name of his employer]." As you say, it will probably end some day, but I'm not placing bets on when. As is often said in other contexts (originally by John Maynard Keynes),"the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."
I believe you are absolutely correct - but when we discuss these topics with folks that have not seen a market and/or business decline and/or large dissolutions, mergers, sales etc we end up with a completely different viewpoint.

smitcat
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by smitcat » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:57 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:55 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:53 am
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:15 am
smitcat wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:28 am
This describes a company that could be ripe for a sale and/or offshoring.
You just never know what will happen but when you are the largest and the environment gets tight there are often changes that folks would not be aware of until fairly late in the process.
YMMV
Possibly, but with our growth, I doubt it. We aren't fighting anybody for talent within our own industry. Everybody's pay scales are fairly similar (a competitor did offer me 40% more, but it came with a lot of strings) and our two largest competitors are known for being toxic environments, while my employer has been on Forbes' top-10 mid-size companies to work for list 4yrs running. But when a 24yr old biology/chemistry grad gets an offer from a local tech company that is 50% higher than the company's actually within their field pay, regardless of the fact that it is completely out of the realm of their education and experience, it is hard to compete.

I don't think the "talent war" will last all that long, many of these tech companies simply won't be around. One of them just up the road (Canopy), who had poached some of our sales and HR employees, recently laid off 40% of their staff.
My thoughts were not related to the talent pool as such - a larger company, older ownership, niche business , big player, 10+ year economic growth period , margin squeeze.
My view comes from being there twice and seeing what happens / can happen.
Sounds to me like a prime private equity target.
Yeah - buy it and break it up. Been down that road twice now myself.

2tall4economy
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Location: Global

Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by 2tall4economy » Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:01 pm

I did it as a Fortune 500 executive. Title was director when I initially made it but title inflation means the just being called a director doesn’t break $500k (in 2 of my 3 Fortune 500 employments a director is a step (the important step) below executive).

You’ll know you’re an executive when your all-in bonuses equal or exceed your base pay vs being a fraction less than 100%.

Other than my route, I’ve seen:

Successful business owners who grow beyond a few stores or do digital and went viral (very rare - best of luck!)
Partners at top 150 law firms
The top half of partners (not just a regular partner) at PWC/EY/KPMG
Business or Medical Professors in top universities who do a lot of consulting on the side
Wall Street managing directors
Lucky entertainers
Investment advisers who network and score entertainers and trust fund kids
Bank Traders who get lucky
Surgeons, not just basic MDs, in the right specialty

That’s about all I can think of.
You can do anything you want in life. The rub is that there are consequences.

UnitaryExecutive
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by UnitaryExecutive » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:58 pm

As with most things, combination of luck, skill, and hustle. If you're making >500k working for someone else it's because there is a supply / demand imbalance or you have a unique set of talents. Hit it a few years ago Director level at a tech company.

Luck The lucky part is right place at the right time. I have always been interested in computers- started programming in 2nd grade and taught myself to write windows apps in middle school. When software started eating the world, demand for my skill-set skyrocketed while supply stayed relatively constant. There was no way to know this when I got my degree. I live in a country (US) that doesn't try to suppress both positive and negative extreme tail outcomes.

Skill I read 50 books a year and have for over 10 years since my early 20s. The accumulated and breadth of knowledge improves my judgement and helps me standout from groups of my peers. Reading a lot also helps put things in historical perspective and you start recognizing trends early. I saw mobile was going to be big and taught myself to write iOS and Android apps. I wasn't good at it by today's standards, but being early and being better than others who were doing it at the time was like riding a giant wave. In addition, I've made a big effort to surround myself with folks smarter than me, add value, and be in the inner circle.

Hustle I've been intentional about working with the best teams, choosing the most interesting and high-leverage projects, and picking winning horses at the executive level. I have buy-in up the chain to the C-level and only work for bosses who reward people disproportionately who execute for them, who have a halo effect around them, and re-negotiate when I take on high leverage projects. Because of my relationships and history w/ the executives and because they don't get push back, I'm constantly increasing RSUs and base by more than what is typically allocated for my level.

UnitaryExecutive
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by UnitaryExecutive » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:40 am

SQRT wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:05 am
trustquestioner wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:46 pm


- Public company executives: you have to get lucky and more important be GREAT at office politics. No thanks.

This seems to be the “conventional view” especially around here. Agree about the “luck” but I think that’s true of most success situations. As far as “politics” go,I have a different perspective of what it takes to succeed in any large organization:

-ability to communicate effectively (clear, direct, non confrontational)
-ability to work in teams and give credit to fellow team members as appropriate
-keeping your ego in check
-adopting the management perspective(ie goal congruence)

Of course there are other characteristics such as hard work,intelligence, education,etc. I think we would all agree on those. Often (not always) people who aren’t strong in the “soft” skills chock this up to “office politics”.

There will, of course, be organizations that have cultures that are dysfunctional or even toxic. But surely they are rare. My experience was quite the opposite.
At a sufficiently high level, everything is politics.

SQRT
Posts: 1088
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by SQRT » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:57 am

UnitaryExecutive wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:40 am
SQRT wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:05 am
trustquestioner wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:46 pm


- Public company executives: you have to get lucky and more important be GREAT at office politics. No thanks.

This seems to be the “conventional view” especially around here. Agree about the “luck” but I think that’s true of most success situations. As far as “politics” go,I have a different perspective of what it takes to succeed in any large organization:

-ability to communicate effectively (clear, direct, non confrontational)
-ability to work in teams and give credit to fellow team members as appropriate
-keeping your ego in check
-adopting the management perspective(ie goal congruence)

Of course there are other characteristics such as hard work,intelligence, education,etc. I think we would all agree on those. Often (not always) people who aren’t strong in the “soft” skills chock this up to “office politics”.

There will, of course, be organizations that have cultures that are dysfunctional or even toxic. But surely they are rare. My experience was quite the opposite.
At a sufficiently high level, everything is politics.
I guess it depends on your definition of “politics” but if you equate politics to such things as personal relationships, mentorship, quid pro quo actions, and goal achievement for sure. Of course there are also negative aspects that sometimes(often?) show up like passive aggression, dishonesty, back stabbing,egotism,etc. Politics doesn’t always have to have a negative connotation but I agree it is often thought of that way.

Edit to add. At a fundamental level both “politics” and “management” are processes to get other people to do what you want them to. Depending on how you succeed and what role you play, these processes can be perceived as positive or negative.

Xrayman69
Posts: 179
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Xrayman69 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:45 am

smitcat wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:28 am
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:22 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:04 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:46 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:50 pm


These are quota-carrying sales positions. Sales people don’t need to have subject matter expertise to be successful. How many pharma reps have pharmacy or even science degrees?

The fact that they were able to pass the resume screens and interviews clearly show that they have a knack for and interest in sales that they apparently weren’t able to satisfy on your team. Instead of dismissing their accomplishments I’d suggest you consider why these valued team members didn’t feel fulfilled where they were.
You are obviously taking it personally because you are in the industry. Hey dude, I'm the idiot who spent 11yrs studying, another several years publishing peer-reviewed research, and manage a team larger than some of these companies, only to make similar compensation to some just out of school (or with no university education whatsoever) with no specific education or experience. I'm not talking $500K, but you don't have to be a rock star to make solid money in tech right now. To crack 6-figures in my industry, you either have to be a rock star (with a PhD) or director level. Again, I'm the dumb one.

My wife is in data security, they literally have 1 person (out of ~30) in the entire sales department that has a CISSP. Yes it's sales, but how do you sell a product that you have very limited understanding of? I don't know about other places, but my wife doesn't have a quota, and her base salary is higher than a few PhD's on my staff. My company has sales too (our department is 50x+ the size of my wife's employer), but if my (now former) employees wanted to transition to sales here, they would start out making <1/2 of what they are getting from day 1 in tech. I have no idea how our sales department is retaining staff; actually, I don't know if they are. One of my best friends is a project manager for a local IT consulting company (with an English lit degree and no PMP), she makes more than twice what my lone project manager does and he has a PMP. It's difficult for me right now to get solid contributors with hard science education/experience, not because of direct industry competition, but because of Adobe, Ancestry, Grow, Weave, HireVue, Domo, Qualtrics, Lucid, BambooHR, Pluralsight, Podium, Entrata...My stepdad, my sister, and another uncle are in public education in this area, they are having the same problem getting good young teachers (probably worse).
It should be common knowledge that the sciences don't pay; also I'm guessing you didn't pursue a PhD for the money. So what are you complaining about?

If you do want the money now, you should probably ask for a referral from your former employee...
:oops: I'm not complaining. Maybe I am doing a bad job of communicating because your responses seem to be totally disconnected from what I am saying. Why would I ask for a referral from a former employee when I have no interest in leaving? I make "enough" in a super stable company, in a great environment, and my family could very easily subsist on my wife's income alone (which is less than mine, albeit she is an individual contributor and I direct a staff 1/4 the size of her entire company). But, my current biggest work stress is getting and maintaining talented staff - not just "scientists", but project managers, design, copywriters, technical writers, social media - because we can't pay like tech. FWIW, my company has 4,500+ employees, we have far more software engineers, network and database admins, app developers, and various IT staff than scientists; none of whom make remotely close to the type of numbers I see constantly on this board, even at senior director and up levels. We can't pay our staff in all departments like they do, and not all of these people are upper echelon performers. Our corporate recruiting staff has their work cut out for them.
This describes a company that could be ripe for a sale and/or offshoring.
You just never know what will happen but when you are the largest and the environment gets tight there are often changes that folks would not be aware of until fairly late in the process.
YMMV

This is an interesting chain.

Seems in tech a sense of “easy” to make big bucks due to shortage of talent. Thus this bidding up of salaries to “fill” the slot. I’ve been through several business and economic cycles (in which real-estate has always been late indicator only to present itself as the topic most easily understood by mass media and the general public). There is no such thing as a FREE LUNCH. If a “tech start up” doesn’t get value from its hires and burns money faster than it can develop its product eventually venture capital will dry up.

Feels a bit “toppish” to me. Currently VCs seem to be competing also with one another for places to invest. Not all these start ups are good ideas and I suspect eventually the cycle will tighten and there tends to be overreaction and overshoot on a correction.

I’m not sure about others but house flipping and real estate seems to be at high points again. Full disclosure I have no more knowledge than anyone else so have no edge other than what business I see and effects on business in my industry. I’m not a cautious person by nature and have typically been comfortable with risk and benefit for upside potential. I’ve been seeing new grads with what I traditionally felt as unrealistic expectations for compensation and benefits. I am not an old person screaming “get off my lawn” about millennials, but a decade plus out from the Great Recession and 2 decades removed from the “tech crash” seems to be part of the inevitable cycle of growth, retraction, cautiousness, slowly back to balanced then back to slowly but surely to hope and desire of greater growth (cycle respects).

These business cycles I feel are necessary to weed out the inefficient weak business’. I suspect that there is risk on the horizon regarding inefficiencies with salaries not matching productive value and contribution due to VC subsidization. Lyft and Uber stocks performance as new IPOs.

I consider compensation as an indicator of individuals contribution and value. To hear that individuals can receive big bucks in tech essentially as ancillary support staff with limited experience other than sales makes me scared. Warren buffet always says be scared when others are greedy and be greedy when others are scared.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:57 am

Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:45 am
I consider compensation as an indicator of individuals contribution and value. To hear that individuals can receive big bucks in tech essentially as ancillary support staff with limited experience other than sales makes me scared. Warren buffet always says be scared when others are greedy and be greedy when others are scared.
Facebook, Alphabet, Apple, et al. are all hugely profitable companies with relatively small numbers of employees. They set the bar for compensation and the smaller firms must compete. This was always the case in the Bay Area but more recently the competition has moved to cities and regions not accustomed to tight labor markets, hence the hand-wringing from the likes of stoptothink.

In his case, the colleagues who left for tech are taking sales roles that directly contribute to revenue. They are by no means “ancillary support staff”. Based on context I am guessing they moved from $60k/yr science jobs to $120k/yr tech sales jobs (assuming they meet quota). The question this raises in my mind is not why tech sales pays so much (this much should be obvious), but rather why science pays so little.

stoptothink
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:12 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:57 am
Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:45 am
I consider compensation as an indicator of individuals contribution and value. To hear that individuals can receive big bucks in tech essentially as ancillary support staff with limited experience other than sales makes me scared. Warren buffet always says be scared when others are greedy and be greedy when others are scared.
Facebook, Alphabet, Apple, et al. are all hugely profitable companies with relatively small numbers of employees. They set the bar for compensation and the smaller firms must compete. This was always the case in the Bay Area but more recently the competition has moved to cities and regions not accustomed to tight labor markets, hence the hand-wringing from the likes of stoptothink.

In his case, the colleagues who left for tech are taking sales roles that directly contribute to revenue. They are by no means “ancillary support staff”. Based on context I am guessing they moved from $60k/yr science jobs to $120k/yr tech sales jobs (assuming they meet quota). The question this raises in my mind is not why tech sales pays so much (this much should be obvious), but rather why science pays so little.
Your first statement is IMO right on the money. But, HR, PR, CR, accounting, executive assistants, entry-level marketing, technical writers, design specialists, project managers, middle (people) managers, even entry level customer service...That is the bulk of the people we are losing to tech companies. For the 3rd time, yes I'm a "scientist" and a senior director of a science-related department, but less than 1/3 of my staff (and 1/25th of the company) are in science positions. I just happened to find it especially interesting that two of my lab monkeys were recently offered sales positions in tech companies, when they have no education or experience in sales or tech. Not sure why you keep hanging onto that single anecdote from my first post.

Because we are in a smaller area with an exploding tech sector, it is not a battle between tech companies for tech workers, it is a compensation war over "ancillary support staff" between tech and everybody else. "Everybody else" is losing right now. The situation in DFW area may be different, but that is the cold hard reality here. I don't know about an industry-wide bubble, but tech here (in Utah County); yes, I don't see how it can continue.

stoptothink
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:12 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:57 am
Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:45 am
I consider compensation as an indicator of individuals contribution and value. To hear that individuals can receive big bucks in tech essentially as ancillary support staff with limited experience other than sales makes me scared. Warren buffet always says be scared when others are greedy and be greedy when others are scared.
Facebook, Alphabet, Apple, et al. are all hugely profitable companies with relatively small numbers of employees. They set the bar for compensation and the smaller firms must compete. This was always the case in the Bay Area but more recently the competition has moved to cities and regions not accustomed to tight labor markets, hence the hand-wringing from the likes of stoptothink.

In his case, the colleagues who left for tech are taking sales roles that directly contribute to revenue. They are by no means “ancillary support staff”. Based on context I am guessing they moved from $60k/yr science jobs to $120k/yr tech sales jobs (assuming they meet quota). The question this raises in my mind is not why tech sales pays so much (this much should be obvious), but rather why science pays so little.
Your first statement is IMO right on the money. But, HR, PR, CR, accounting, executive assistants, entry-level marketing, technical writers, design specialists, project managers, middle (people) managers, even entry level customer service...Yes, "ancillary support staff" is the bulk of the people we are losing to tech compensation. For the 3rd time, yes I'm a "scientist" and a senior director of a science-related department, but less than 1/3 of my staff (and 1/25th of the company) are in science positions. I just happened to find it especially interesting that two of my lab monkeys were recently offered sales positions in tech companies, when they have no education or experience in sales or tech. Not sure why you keep hanging onto that single anecdote from my first post.

The situation in DFW area may be different, but that is the cold hard reality here. I don't know about an industry-wide bubble, but tech here (in Utah County); yes, I don't see how it can continue.

ssquared87
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by ssquared87 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:51 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:57 am
Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:45 am
I consider compensation as an indicator of individuals contribution and value. To hear that individuals can receive big bucks in tech essentially as ancillary support staff with limited experience other than sales makes me scared. Warren buffet always says be scared when others are greedy and be greedy when others are scared.
Based on context I am guessing they moved from $60k/yr science jobs to $120k/yr tech sales jobs (assuming they meet quota). The question this raises in my mind is not why tech sales pays so much (this much should be obvious), but rather why science pays so little.
$120k/yr in tech sales is extremely low. That maybe the starting base for the big companies, but add in bonus and entry level tech sales guys who meet their targets are bringing in 180-200k min

ssquared87
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by ssquared87 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:54 am

stoptothink wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:12 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:57 am
Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:45 am
I consider compensation as an indicator of individuals contribution and value. To hear that individuals can receive big bucks in tech essentially as ancillary support staff with limited experience other than sales makes me scared. Warren buffet always says be scared when others are greedy and be greedy when others are scared.
Facebook, Alphabet, Apple, et al. are all hugely profitable companies with relatively small numbers of employees. They set the bar for compensation and the smaller firms must compete. This was always the case in the Bay Area but more recently the competition has moved to cities and regions not accustomed to tight labor markets, hence the hand-wringing from the likes of stoptothink.

In his case, the colleagues who left for tech are taking sales roles that directly contribute to revenue. They are by no means “ancillary support staff”. Based on context I am guessing they moved from $60k/yr science jobs to $120k/yr tech sales jobs (assuming they meet quota). The question this raises in my mind is not why tech sales pays so much (this much should be obvious), but rather why science pays so little.
Your first statement is IMO right on the money. But, HR, PR, CR, accounting, executive assistants, entry-level marketing, technical writers, design specialists, project managers, middle (people) managers, even entry level customer service...Yes, "ancillary support staff" is the bulk of the people we are losing to tech compensation. For the 3rd time, yes I'm a "scientist" and a senior director of a science-related department, but less than 1/3 of my staff (and 1/25th of the company) are in science positions. I just happened to find it especially interesting that two of my lab monkeys were recently offered sales positions in tech companies, when they have no education or experience in sales or tech.
FAANG companies look for cultural fit and potential to learn. They have boot camps for new employees to teach them coding or whatever skill set they need to succeed. Anyone can learn the tech/coding aspect, but you can’t really teach people skills.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:02 am

ssquared87 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:51 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:57 am
Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:45 am
I consider compensation as an indicator of individuals contribution and value. To hear that individuals can receive big bucks in tech essentially as ancillary support staff with limited experience other than sales makes me scared. Warren buffet always says be scared when others are greedy and be greedy when others are scared.
Based on context I am guessing they moved from $60k/yr science jobs to $120k/yr tech sales jobs (assuming they meet quota). The question this raises in my mind is not why tech sales pays so much (this much should be obvious), but rather why science pays so little.
$120k/yr in tech sales is extremely low. That maybe the starting base for the big companies, but add in bonus and entry level tech sales guys who meet their targets are bringing in 180-200k min
I was referring to Salt Lake City roles one tier below FANG.

bigcmagor
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by bigcmagor » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:07 am

For me, it was the old fashion way. Started in a family business as a summer job at $5/hr and was the best sweeper they ever saw. Became the best customer service person they had. Quit college to take a management position and bought in to the owners vision hook, line and sinker. Was good at getting others to buy in as well. Played a key role in growing the business from 20 employees to 340 over 37 years. Rose through VP position to President and CEO. Currently Chairman. Now spend seven months in Florida annually and oversee the company performance remotely. CEO is only direct report. Go into the office 10 hours per week when in town. Current comp $600k+ including K-1 (blush). Visionary owner's compensation is a multiple of mine and why I encourage competent and motivated individuals to start their own companies. I think there are fewer visionaries out there that are willing to share decision-making and the rewards to the extent I have enjoyed.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by prudent » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:45 am

I removed some off-topic posts. Comments on the fairness of compensation or healthcare system governance are off-topic.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by goos_news » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:34 pm

I'm a newbie, brought in by research on some of the other thread.... some fascinating reads and clearly some contentious debates.

Background: director level (sub-exec) in less than lucrative area of tech, BS, have been around 500K the 5+ years, have been near $1M the last two. Work roughly 45 to 50 per week, but much earlier worked quite a bit more. Spouse is a director in health care, 200K, 35 to 40 hours per week. Minimal travel. Can retire now but the siren's call of more money is hard to resist and new challenges always await.

I would say it's a combination of good fortune (health wise, company wise), high levels of competence/knowledge, plus the ability to communicate and express ideas verbally and in written form that have been differentiators. I likely should have jumped jobs more and or chosen a more lucrative field, in order to possibly to better. However, there are no guarantees.

I've been around enough to closely observe enough high level VC, C-suite executives and mangement consultant partners in action to realize that everything anyone has mentioned vis-a-vis criteria of successful people can be true in technology. There are brilliant technologists/marketeers/strategists, smooth networkers, great politicians, suberbly motivating leaders, totally ordinary/clueless people and some pretty nasty, ruthless people.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:39 pm

ssquared87 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:54 am
stoptothink wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:12 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:57 am
Xrayman69 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:45 am
I consider compensation as an indicator of individuals contribution and value. To hear that individuals can receive big bucks in tech essentially as ancillary support staff with limited experience other than sales makes me scared. Warren buffet always says be scared when others are greedy and be greedy when others are scared.
Facebook, Alphabet, Apple, et al. are all hugely profitable companies with relatively small numbers of employees. They set the bar for compensation and the smaller firms must compete. This was always the case in the Bay Area but more recently the competition has moved to cities and regions not accustomed to tight labor markets, hence the hand-wringing from the likes of stoptothink.

In his case, the colleagues who left for tech are taking sales roles that directly contribute to revenue. They are by no means “ancillary support staff”. Based on context I am guessing they moved from $60k/yr science jobs to $120k/yr tech sales jobs (assuming they meet quota). The question this raises in my mind is not why tech sales pays so much (this much should be obvious), but rather why science pays so little.
Your first statement is IMO right on the money. But, HR, PR, CR, accounting, executive assistants, entry-level marketing, technical writers, design specialists, project managers, middle (people) managers, even entry level customer service...Yes, "ancillary support staff" is the bulk of the people we are losing to tech compensation. For the 3rd time, yes I'm a "scientist" and a senior director of a science-related department, but less than 1/3 of my staff (and 1/25th of the company) are in science positions. I just happened to find it especially interesting that two of my lab monkeys were recently offered sales positions in tech companies, when they have no education or experience in sales or tech.
FAANG companies look for cultural fit and potential to learn. They have boot camps for new employees to teach them coding or whatever skill set they need to succeed. Anyone can learn the tech/coding aspect, but you can’t really teach people skills.
I've run some of these education programs for companies a tier below the FAANGs. We really really don't care if you lack the specific skillset we need. I've been on interview panels and we don't even ask about specific technologies, it's a waste of time. We can teach you that. My employer has a couple thousand software engineers on staff and a dedicated teaching group to bring them up to speed. We have other teaching groups for sales and customer-facing positions.

There's an important history to Silicon Valley compensation. Until several years ago, there was an infamous non-poaching agreement among many SV companies. Later on there was a big investigation and settlement by the state of California but what really broke it was Facebook. FB refused to join this non-poaching cartel and just started throwing money at people to grab them away from Amazon and Google and so on.

Between FB's deep pockets and the investigation by CA, the rest of SV found themselves competing against FB's ratcheted comp levels.

Once FB's peers started paying those comp levels, everyone in the tiers below—all the way down to fresh startups—had to catch up.

Add to this the economic dynamics of software businesses. Incredibly high profit margins. The marginal cost of an additional customer is roughly zero. I work for a department of one of the big tech companies. We sell stuff to other big enterprises. Because what we sell is essentially just software (plus some support and hand-holding, which does have a real cost), the additional cost of goods sold for a new customer is very low. It's all gravy. We have about a hundred people running a business making hundreds of millions of dollars. That makes for some juicy profit margins.

Google's profit margin is ~20%. Facebook is at 33%. Twitter is an eye-popping 42%. Sure, Twitter spends over $300 million a year in stock-based comp, but their top-line revenue is $3 billion.

I won't claim that tech will never burst, but I will submit that this isn't the same as 2000 when nobody was actually making money.

Another overlooked aspect of SV comp: in recent history, lucrative lines of business have popped up from unexpected locations. Gmail was the invention of a software engineer at Google. That invention was worth billions. If you can afford it, why not throw money at smart people in the hopes you eventually strike gold? In my experience that's a big part of why these companies pay so well. It's a very bottom-up industry where great ideas can come from anywhere and you better make sure the people coming up with those ideas are on your team.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:10 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:39 pm

I won't claim that tech will never burst, but I will submit that this isn't the same as 2000 when nobody was actually making money.

Another overlooked aspect of SV comp: in recent history, lucrative lines of business have popped up from unexpected locations. Gmail was the invention of a software engineer at Google. That invention was worth billions. If you can afford it, why not throw money at smart people in the hopes you eventually strike gold? In my experience that's a big part of why these companies pay so well. It's a very bottom-up industry where great ideas can come from anywhere and you better make sure the people coming up with those ideas are on your team.
+1 to HaweyePierce’s entire post.

And a comment on Sales in this context. When your product is 90% gross margin, you can afford to pay your salespeople handsomely. A typical SaaS deal for an enterprise customer could be $1M ARR. You can afford to pay your salesperson 5% commission on that deal, and that salesperson would only need to close 2-3 such deals per year to be making a very nice living (this is all on top of their six figure base salary).

And analogous to the “10x rockstar engineer” example above, who knows where the next rockstar salesperson could come from? Selling software is less about being a technical expert (that’s what sales engineers are for) and more about understanding the customer need. If someone with no tech or sales experience exhibits the raw qualities to connect with the customer in that way, why wouldn’t you take a chance on them? You will know soon enough whether they have what it takes, and again, with a 90% gross margin product, you have more financial room to take chances on people in hopes of finding that rockstar.

And if you have a rockstar recruiter who has a knack for finding those rockstar engineers and salespeople, why wouldn’t you pay that recruiter $200k+? And so forth and so on for all of the “ancillary support functions”.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by wije » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:06 pm

corn18 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:08 pm
We were debt ridden (like a LOT) always spending more than we made. Even when we were making $300k / year.

But I always imagine what today would be like had we just managed to save 10% of our income up to age 48 and stayed out of consumer debt. We could either retire way early or splurge on some stuff. As it is, we are spending $120k / year and saving $300k. It is what it is.
What do you spend that much money on?

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by wrespess » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:35 pm

.....
Last edited by wrespess on Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by AerialWombat » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:51 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:15 am
I don't think the "talent war" will last all that long, many of these tech companies simply won't be around. One of them just up the road (Canopy), who had poached some of our sales and HR employees, recently laid off 40% of their staff.
This is getting off topic probably, but I’ll just say that the Canopy layoffs were not indicative of the financial health of the company. They’re doing fine. The layoffs were a correction to earlier misguided hiring decisions. Also, note how quickly their people got snapped up elsewhere, mostly at Weave. I tried hiring a layed off sales guy but couldn’t offer what Weave could. Still very much a talent war, for certain types of talent.
“Life doesn’t come with a warranty.” -Michael LeBoeuf

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Patent Guru » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:54 pm

Patent attorney.

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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
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

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:13 am

White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
Something unique to physicians is the ability to scale up or down your work and comp according to your own desires. A friend of mine just finished her fellowship and negotiated a 3 day a week role at a private practice, making 3/5 of what she would otherwise make “full time”.

I can’t think of another highly paid job which can be scaled in this way...

triyoda
Posts: 22
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by triyoda » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:28 am

GuyFromGeorgia wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:30 pm
Colorado is a good place to be an engineer. I've seen steady increases in total comp and I'm in the same ballpark as HawkeyPierce (~bit over $300k). It is a good spot to be in.
Why would CO be such a good place to be an engineer? Over my career I've known a number of engineers who were CO natives and wanted to move back there and could not find a good job.

I'm also interested when engineers say they are making over say about $250K. How much of that is salary and how much of that is bonus or stock options (which can be highly variable)?

ssquared87
Posts: 944
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by ssquared87 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:00 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:13 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
Something unique to physicians is the ability to scale up or down your work and comp according to your own desires. A friend of mine just finished her fellowship and negotiated a 3 day a week role at a private practice, making 3/5 of what she would otherwise make “full time”.

I can’t think of another highly paid job which can be scaled in this way...
You can basically do that in consulting. More so in boutique firms but even the big ones will negotiate arrangements like this for people they don’t want to lose. It becomes easier the higher up you are.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:16 am

ssquared87 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:00 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:13 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
Something unique to physicians is the ability to scale up or down your work and comp according to your own desires. A friend of mine just finished her fellowship and negotiated a 3 day a week role at a private practice, making 3/5 of what she would otherwise make “full time”.

I can’t think of another highly paid job which can be scaled in this way...
You can basically do that in consulting. More so in boutique firms but even the big ones will negotiate arrangements like this for people they don’t want to lose. It becomes easier the higher up you are.
I’ve worked for two consulting firms, and have friends and family who work for MBB and Big 4, and I’ve never heard of any such arrangement. Client and project demands are what they are, and there is no leeway for you scale back. At the lower levels you are judged on “billability” and up-or-out. At the senior levels you have sales targets which you have to hit. The closest you get to flexibility in consulting is moving from a client-facing to an internal role, and even that comes with a pay cut and you’re still working 5 days a week.

Allan
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Allan » Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:33 am

Custom home builder.

HawkeyePierce
Posts: 234
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Location: Colorado

Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:56 am

triyoda wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:28 am
GuyFromGeorgia wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:30 pm
Colorado is a good place to be an engineer. I've seen steady increases in total comp and I'm in the same ballpark as HawkeyPierce (~bit over $300k). It is a good spot to be in.
Why would CO be such a good place to be an engineer? Over my career I've known a number of engineers who were CO natives and wanted to move back there and could not find a good job.

I'm also interested when engineers say they are making over say about $250K. How much of that is salary and how much of that is bonus or stock options (which can be highly variable)?
I think GuyFromGeorgia was referring specifically to software engineers, since he was quoting my post. Tech in the Front Range has exploded with Google, Uber, Oracle and others now along the 36 corridor from Denver to Boulder. Salesforce also has a large campus here.

IME more than half the compensation for software engineers in these pay ranges is variable.

HawkeyePierce
Posts: 234
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Location: Colorado

Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:57 am

edit: dupe

ssquared87
Posts: 944
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:54 am

Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by ssquared87 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:46 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:16 am
ssquared87 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:00 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:13 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
Something unique to physicians is the ability to scale up or down your work and comp according to your own desires. A friend of mine just finished her fellowship and negotiated a 3 day a week role at a private practice, making 3/5 of what she would otherwise make “full time”.

I can’t think of another highly paid job which can be scaled in this way...
You can basically do that in consulting. More so in boutique firms but even the big ones will negotiate arrangements like this for people they don’t want to lose. It becomes easier the higher up you are.
I’ve worked for two consulting firms, and have friends and family who work for MBB and Big 4, and I’ve never heard of any such arrangement. Client and project demands are what they are, and there is no leeway for you scale back. At the lower levels you are judged on “billability” and up-or-out. At the senior levels you have sales targets which you have to hit. The closest you get to flexibility in consulting is moving from a client-facing to an internal role, and even that comes with a pay cut and you’re still working 5 days a week.
The consulting firm I used to work for is not big 4 but it’s fairly large and well known and has a reputation for work life balance (at the expense of slightly lower comp).

I’ve had several colleagues take 3-6 month sabbaticals and other colleagues significantly reduce their hours and basically serve as part time relationship/engagement managers on smaller project where they would bill 4 hours a week per project and manage two projects at a time and spend the other 12-20 hours a week helping build out proposals and doing pre sales work.

Granted I haven’t worked at MBB, but I’m surprised that at the partner level they couldn’t take a hit on their commission/bonus in exchange for working less hours since they’re not directly managing engagements anyway

At my old company they’d also let lower level consultants work part time if they wanted and were only paid hourly vs full time consultants who are salaried. Obviously they wouldn’t get the same pay as someone who’s full time but the option is there if they wanted/needed to work less hours. We had plenty of projects where having someone part time was more than enough to take some of the strain off the core project team and worked quite well for us. But the type of work we do is mostly tech so it’s pretty easy to break development into chunks and divy it up amongst the team. There’s no need to be at client site 100% of the time, we’d usually be there 2-3 days a week and work home or our company’s office the rest of the time
Last edited by ssquared87 on Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

shaokim
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:15 am

Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by shaokim » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:53 am

White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
I would love to learn more of this, as a European physician. I don't have the eyes in-born to see what the opportunities are in my specific case. Any place I can get informed?
Subreddit dedicated to financial independence and early retirement in Belgium: | reddit.com/r/BEFire

ny_knicks
Posts: 206
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by ny_knicks » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:31 pm

MBA to Investment Banking will get you there...

My work life balance doesn’t exist. I work over 80 hours a week regularly. Pressure / stress is high. I need to be connected 24/7 to my phone.

As you move up the responsibilities shift and the hours get a bit better but the stress goes up as you better start bringing in revenue for the firm or you’re out.

I don’t look at my bank account but I check my phone every time in blinks and wake up on a Saturday morning and head straight to work.

Everything in life comes with trade offs.

rjbraun
Posts: 1379
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by rjbraun » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:03 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:13 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
Something unique to physicians is the ability to scale up or down your work and comp according to your own desires. A friend of mine just finished her fellowship and negotiated a 3 day a week role at a private practice, making 3/5 of what she would otherwise make “full time”.

I can’t think of another highly paid job which can be scaled in this way...
Are there drawbacks to physicians who opt to scale? If the physician does procedures, say, I would think that fewer procedures would mean less experience from a practical standpoint. Over time, that could have negative compensation implications.

As a patient, I would also be interested from a care standpoint (at the risk of getting Off Topic). I would think a patient would want a doctor to be as experienced and knowledgeable as possible (without burning out).

I know a doctor who only sees patients once a week. They are on the faculty of a large teaching hospital and do research so I'm assuming that's their main gig, but I have wondered more than once if I'm wrong. I could, of course, just ask but if I learned that they were really working part-time (as in, one to two days a week) I think I would give serious thought to finding another doctor.
Last edited by rjbraun on Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:09 pm

shaokim wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:53 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
I would love to learn more of this, as a European physician. I don't have the eyes in-born to see what the opportunities are in my specific case. Any place I can get informed?
Not that I'm allowed to link to on this forum.
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

TheNightsToCome
Posts: 396
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:19 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:03 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:13 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
Something unique to physicians is the ability to scale up or down your work and comp according to your own desires. A friend of mine just finished her fellowship and negotiated a 3 day a week role at a private practice, making 3/5 of what she would otherwise make “full time”.

I can’t think of another highly paid job which can be scaled in this way...
Are there non-financial drawbacks to physicians who opt to scale? If the physician does procedures, say, I would think that fewer procedures would mean less experience from a practical standpoint. Over time, that could have negative compensation implications.



As a patient, I would also be interested from a care standpoint (at the risk of getting Off Topic). I would think a patient would want a doctor to be as experienced and knowledgeable as possible (without burning out).

I know a doctor who only sees patients once a week. They are on the faculty of a large teaching hospital and do research so I'm assuming that's their main gig, but I have wondered more than once if I'm wrong. I could, of course, just ask but if I learned that they were really working part-time (as in, one to two days a week) I think I would give serious thought to finding another doctor.
Many physicians are not able to adjust their hours as they see fit. ER docs, intensivists, and hospitalists can usually do it. Many radiologists and anesthesiologists can do it.

Surgeons and internal medicine sub-specialists would have a much harder time finding such an arrangement. (Ask me how I know. :happy )

Older physicians with good reputations and many years of service can sometimes arrange part-time work near retirement, but at much lower compensation. The overhead, including malpractice and health insurance, doesn't shrink with hours. Also, it's call that most patient-facing physicians want relief from, and the colleagues who pick up the extra call will want a pretty penny from the slacker who wants to escape it.

Physicians who make their living doing procedures cannot afford to cut back much because competence depends on volume to a significant degree.

Regarding your concerns about competence, if we put procedural specialties aside, you'd be better served by a refreshed, engaged, well-rested part-time physician. He/she would have more time and energy to keep up with the literature, and more energy to devote to your care. That's especially true if the part-timer is 10 years or more into his/her career. Just my opinion.

TheNightsToCome
Posts: 396
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:20 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:09 pm
shaokim wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:53 am
White Coat Investor wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:53 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am
Physician is a known path... entrepreneurship is another path
Both worked well for me.

While I never actually made $500K+ as a doc, the pathway to get there from where I was to there was easy to see. A few more shifts, more night shifts, slightly higher patient per hour ratio or slightly better payer mix.

As an entrepreneur, there are no guarantees, but I'll tell you this--almost everyone underestimates their ability to increase their income by 10%, 50%, 100% etc. If this is important to you, really really important, you can do it. Not sure if it is easier on the lower end or the higher end of the income scale though. On the lower end, delivering pizzas or driving Uber a couple of nights a week can have a dramatic effect. On the upper end, where you often own a business, there are ways to leverage your resources and find new markets and efficiencies within the business. In the middle it can be trickier, but overtime, raises, and changing jobs is the usual pathway.
I would love to learn more of this, as a European physician. I don't have the eyes in-born to see what the opportunities are in my specific case. Any place I can get informed?
Not that I'm allowed to link to on this forum.
Not sure if I'm allowed, but here goes: https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/forums/

Stormbringer
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by Stormbringer » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:29 am

triyoda wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:28 am
I'm also interested when engineers say they are making over say about $250K. How much of that is salary and how much of that is bonus or stock options (which can be highly variable)?
I do contract software development. Some of it is hourly, but I do much better with fixed bid work.
"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." - Albert Einstein

international001
Posts: 852
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Re: For those who earn $500k+ per year. How'd you do that?

Post by international001 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:25 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:10 pm


And analogous to the “10x rockstar engineer” example above, who knows where the next rockstar salesperson could come from? Selling software is less about being a technical expert (that’s what sales engineers are for) and more about understanding the customer need. If someone with no tech or sales experience exhibits the raw qualities to connect with the customer in that way, why wouldn’t you take a chance on them? You will know soon enough whether they have what it takes, and again, with a 90% gross margin product, you have more financial room to take chances on people in hopes of finding that rockstar.
Unfortunately is true for the short/mid term.
In the long term, as software evolves it's often the case that quality goes down because there are no incentives sales incentives to maintain it properly. Going for 90% gross margin instead of 80% has consequences in the long run.

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