I've Switched Jobs 4 Times — Each With A $20,000 Bump

Illustration by Vero Romero
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 head of talent acquisition from San Francisco, CA. Previously, we spoke to a behavioral psychologist in Indianapolis, a school psychologist in San Francisco, and an attorney in Charleston.
Job: Head of Talent Acquisition, Management Consulting
Age: 27
Location: San Francisco, CA
Degree: BA Political Science, MS Project Management
First Salary: $33,000
Current Salary: $117,000
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I knew they had job security and made a lot of money and helped people — all of which I knew were important.
"Once I realized I wasn't very good at math or science, I changed my tune and decided to go to law school and work in public policy. I thought that would be my trajectory, but joining Teach For America after graduation changed my career path for the better."
What did you study in college?
"I have two degrees: a bachelor's in political science from UC Berkeley, and a master's in project management from Northeastern.
"I had always been on the fence about law school, but ultimately decided against it because I weighed the pros and cons, the costs and benefits. It seemed like a lot of debt to take on for a lifestyle I wasn’t sure would make me happy.
"In hindsight I am so glad I decided to take a 'detour' and do Teach For America. It changed my career trajectory for the better, and I’m a very happy and fulfilled person now because of that decision."
Did you have to take out student loans?
"I only had to take out about $10,000 in loans for undergrad, but I did have to take student loans out for graduate school, which are sitting around $36,000 right now. I estimate it will take me about three to five more years to pay off."
Have you been working at this job since you graduated college?
"I have had multiple jobs since college. I was an eighth grade English teacher for two years after graduation, then I worked as a recruiter finding teachers for low-income communities for two years.
"After that, I worked as a career coach at a software engineering bootcamp, and I just joined my new team a month ago. My salary jumped up approximately $20,000 with each new job I took on."
How would you explain your day-to-day role at your job?
"I find people who are not currently consultants and convince them that they would like it! I spend most of my time seeking out and talking to candidates who are currently working in other jobs not in traditional consulting, and seeing if their background is a good fit for what we have.
"I then find out if they are interested in us and, if they are, I move them into the application process. I also go to events and represent our firm at hiring days and case-hacking events."
Did you negotiate your salary?
"I did. My previous role was coaching career changers on their job search — which included navigating negotiations.
"I had never negotiated a salary before my current role. I knew to ask for at least $5,000 more, because that is the average amount hiring managers leave out of their initial offer. I asked for $20,000 more, because the initial amount was already over $100,000. They gave me $15,000 more than the initial offer."
Is your current job your “passion”? If not, what is?
"It is a passion, but it's not my only passion. I think the pressure to be passionate about your work above all else is so draining — it should be fine if your job is good enough.
"I love connecting people with a job they love and the feeling that comes with helping someone change their life by changing their work.
"I get to meet such unique and interesting individuals every day, but it's not my one and only passion. I am passionate about way too much for my job to be my one passion. "
If you could, would you change anything in your career trajectory?
"I wouldn't change anything. Every job I've had so far has been incredible and life-changing for one reason or another. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I've had and the work I've had the privilege of doing."
What professional advice would you give your younger self?
"Enjoy each step of the journey and take risks! Don't be afraid of the unknown.
"I could never have planned anything in my career to end up the way it has so far, and that's what has made it so fun. I wish I had worried less about the future when I was in my early 20s, and just enjoyed what I was doing in the moment more."
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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