I Make $150,000 — & I Work From Home

In our series My 6-Figure Paycheck, women making more than $100,000 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 senior partnership manager from Tinton Falls, NJ. Previously, we spoke to a development manager from Seattle, WA, a head of talent acquisition from San Francisco, CA, and a behavioral psychologist from Indianapolis, IN.
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Job: Senior Partnership Manager
Industry: Digital Publishing
Age: 31
Location: Tinton Falls, NJ
Degree: BFA, Photography, Minor in Strategic Advertising
First Salary: $30,000 in 2009
Current Salary: $150,000 + stock options
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"Growing up, I had a clear sense of what made me happy and would also fulfill society's expectations. I spent half of my childhood telling people that I wanted to be a 'Singing Doctor.' What is that you ask? It's when you love singing and wish to be famous, but choose medicine as your path, and so you sing songs to make your patients happy and comfortable. Spoiler alert: That's not what I grew up to be."
What did you study in college?
"I studied photography at a private art school in Philadelphia. I was passionate about photography since high school. Ultimately, I knew how hard it would be to 'make it' when I graduated, so I bought myself some insurance and minored in strategic advertising, too."
Did you have to take out student loans?
"I'm not sure if the laws have changed about disclosure of loans, but in my day, the school sent you a package of what they were picking up, what you got in scholarships and grants, what your parents owed, and the loan information for the remaining balance.
"I don't even remember signing anything beyond that FAFSA, but alas, I graduated with $40,000 in student loan debt. I had to pay them in 10 years flat, which was over $550 dollars a month.
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"I deferred for a couple of years as I couldn't afford the payments, which caused the interest I hadn't paid to bump up the principal of the loan. This still makes me shudder in angst.
"The more I made, though, the more I focused on paying them off. I put all of my bonuses towards them, paid them every two weeks to coincide with my paychecks (instead of just once a month). As cliché as it sounds, I made it my New Year's Resolution every year until they were gone.
"I paid them off in just under nine years — including the two I deferred. I'm student-loan free as of 2018 — after paying out almost $60,000 total, including interest. Good riddance."
Have you been working at this job since you graduated college?
"I've changed jobs a few times. Sometimes because I was too content, other times to chase a higher salary.
"I got the job that launched my career after an HR Director misinformed me of the role she was hiring me for, stating that it was for digital advertising. Thinking back to that hiring process, no one I talked to accurately explained that torturous role.
"When I wanted to make more money, I headed into the city to work for major news publishing companies, moving up the ladder, and eventually landing a leadership role."
How would you explain your day-to-day role at your job?
"I manage the day-to-day communication and execution of work as it relates to our partners in publishing, from on-boarding to maintenance. My role is both strategic and hands-on. Prior to that, I was in advertising product technology development and management, overseeing a team of integration specialists. "
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Did you negotiate your salary?
"Always negotiate — I learned that early on. The money you'll leave on the table for the duration of your career is worth more than the 10 uncomfortable minutes it takes to write a well-worded email back to the HR rep who made you the offer.
"Remember, it's company money. Although they are acting in the company's best interest, it's not coming directly out of the HR rep's pocket so it's not rude to ask for more (you deserve it!). Besides, they expect it.
"I always channel Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and 'think like a man.' The couple of times I second guessed myself, I sent a text to my friends who also reminded me to 'think like a man.'
"Also, don't forget to review and negotiate the entire package — time off, travel, 401(k) match, medical and dental all matter, too."
Is your current job your “passion”? If not, what is?
"My passion is not work. My passion is reserved for my twin toddlers, my husband, my happiness, health, and well-being. Work helps me pay for those things."
If you could, would you change anything in your career trajectory?
"I already have. When I had children and a personal health crisis, I realized that work was a major stressor for me and had prevented me from being present in my own life and caring for who and what mattered most to me.
"I was commuting two hours each way into New York City every day. My kids were only calling out for my husband — I was just someone who tucked them in at night. I was their appointment scheduler and the bill-payer.
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"I struggled dearly; my desire for wealth and reaching my career aspirations had come before myself and my family. I worked hard to find a remote-friendly culture so that I could pull back on the commuting time. I have since pivoted my career path to accommodate that flexibility.
"The job is in no way easier, but at least I have four more hours a day to get my kids ready in the morning and sit with them before we eat dinner together as a family."
What professional advice would you give your younger self?
"I'm still giving this advice to myself now: Try to figure out your perfect balance and, when you've found it, try to stay put for a bit to bask in that feeling.
"Of course there is variability and nuance in that statement, but what I mean is that I previously spent so much time focusing on what was next that I forgot to enjoy the present. Personally, that meant that after we bought our first home, I was back on Trulia trying to find the next bigger version of it. Three months after the twins were born, I was thinking about having our third child. After I paid off those student loans, I immediately turned to my car payment, and then mortgage.
"And when it comes to my career, sometimes just one month into a new job I'm trying to position myself for my next promotion or daydreaming about my next role. These things all sound good (hey, they are good), but they also don't let you celebrate your accomplishments, feel nourished and, well, happy. I wish I had taken just a moment to enjoy each of those successes for a few seconds longer before immediately starting to look for the next best thing. "
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Are you a woman under 35 with a six-figure salary ($100,000+) and want to tell your story? Submit it here.
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