I Make $135,000 & Love My Job, But Wish I'd Taken A Break To Travel

In our series My 6-Figure Paycheck, women making more than $100,000 USD open up about how they got there and what exactly they do. We take a closer look at what it feels like to be a woman making six-figures — when only 5% of American women make that much, according to the U.S. Census with the hope it will give women insight into how to better navigate their own career and salary trajectories.
Today, we chat with a 29-year old video editor from Los Angeles, CA. Previously, we spoke to a 35-year old attorney from Birmingham, AL and a 31-year old Design Strategist in Denver, CO.
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“How did you land that job?” “What was your major in college?” “What has your career trajectory been like?” These are just some of the questions that pop up regularly in the Money Diaries comment sections — especially diaries from women with six-figure salaries. Given the level of curiosity, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the professional lives of women making over $100,000 a year in America. In speaking with them, we hope to shed some more light on their dreams and goals, educational backgrounds, and salary trajectories. After all, though career success should not be determined only by salary, the story of how others have managed to make six figures — and how they feel now that they do — is something most of us want to hear. Plus, it's a way to empower other women in their own journeys.
Job: Video Editor
Age: 29
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Degree: Film Production with an emphasis in Editing, minor in Advertising
Salary: $135,000 USD
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At one point, I really wanted to be an architect because I loved building things. Once I realized how much math was involved, I changed my mind very quickly. I always loved photography and I realized I wanted to work in film between junior high and high school.
What did you study in school?
My high school didn't have much of an arts program, so I took film and photography classes at an arts college during the summers while I was in high school. In college, I majored in Film Production with an emphasis in Editing and minored in Advertising.
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Did you have to take out student loans?
I'm grateful that my parents paid for school. I ended up finishing a year early which helped save them money as well, and got my career started early. I took out a student loan for $3,500 to build credit, and paid it off maybe two years after school. During college, I worked two jobs — as a waitress and at my school's admissions office — to pay for rent and other living expenses.
Have you been at this job since you graduated college?
During college I interned (unpaid) at a film studio. Through that connection, I then got another internship at a post-production house (paid this time! $9 an hour) and they hired me full-time after my internship was over. I worked my way up at that company to lead assistant editor, and then left and moved to company I'm currently at as an editor.
How much did you get paid at your first job?
I went through a few different positions at my first job, so the pay varied. I started as an intern for $9 an hour, then was a production assistant for $11 an hour, then an assistant editor for $15 an hour, and lead assistant editor for $25 an hour. The pay for this industry starts so low as you're moving up, even though being an assistant editor is a very skilled and technical job.
Is your current job your “passion?” If not, what is?
Cue Emily Blunt's "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job"— Devil Wears Prada anyone? But really, yes, I do love my job and what I do. I'm definitely passionate about other things as well, mostly being outdoors, but it's not something I think I'd want to pursue as a career instead. The job can be very difficult and stressful at times (last week I worked a 70 hour week, with two 60 hour weeks before it) so I'm happy being passionate about my job and my hobbies and having those things be separate.
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If you could, would you change anything in your career trajectory?
I'm really happy with my career trajectory. I wish I had taken some time off after school to travel, but getting my career started right away while I was already in the position to be hired made more sense at the time, and has contributed to me moving up to this position at what is a relatively young age for this industry.
What professional advice would you give your younger self?
Learn how to meditate and cope with stress. I'm still figuring those out.
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Are you a woman under 35 with a six-figure salary and want to tell your story? Email us here.
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