I Make $145K & Wish I Was Brave Enough To Leave My Career

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 lifecycle marketing professional from San Francisco, CA. Previously, we spoke to a fashion marketing manager from San Francisco, CA, and a client success manager from Shawnee, KS.
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Job: Head of Lifecycle Marketing, Internet & Technology
Age: 33
Location: San Francisco, CA
Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Sociology & English
First Salary: $55,000
Current Salary: $145,000
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"I grew up riding horses and volunteering at a therapeutic riding program, and was certain that I would go into nonprofit work of some sort.
"I was one of those super-involved high school students who led lots of clubs and was determined to get a rather apathetic student body to care about their school and community (my successes were varied in this endeavor)."
What did you study in college?
"I have a B.A. in sociology with an emphasis in social services and a B.A. in English. I also started an MAED in higher education but left after a year to work at another startup."
Did you have to take out student loans?
"No, I was incredibly lucky that my family was able to pay for my undergraduate degree. My master's degree was paid for by the university."
Have you been working at this job since you graduated from college?
"I've been working in some form of lifecycle-retention-product marketing since graduation, aside from a one-year stint in graduate school, which I left to return to marketing work."
How would you explain your day-to-day role at your job?
"I manage all retention and re-engagement efforts of a user, from the point that we capture them to the point that they potentially churn. Most of this work is done through marketing communication channels like email, push notifications, in-app notifications, and SMS.
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"I work closely with our product team to determine how we can leverage new features in the user lifecycle, how we can predict user behavior, and what actions we need a user to take in order for them to become daily users of our product."
Did you negotiate your salary?
"Yes, always negotiate. It took me many years to be brave enough to ask for more money. In fact, most of my raises have come from switching jobs. However, it's important to know your worth and to really believe in that figure.
"I didn't understand that until I got my first big raise from switching jobs (from $110,00 to $130,000). I was initially shocked by the $130,000 offer, but it made me realize that my expertise is that valuable — and likely even more valuable!
"From that point on, I became much more aggressive about negotiating my salary. I've found that it's helpful to quantify your contribution to your company in order to ask for more money. In my line of work, I can directly tie increases in revenue to my campaigns, so I can make the case that I made the company $X and therefore deserve a Y% salary increase.
"I believe it's equally important to negotiate the work-life balance that suits you. As I've gained seniority and trust, I've been able to negotiate non-monetary wins like a flexible schedule to work from home one to two days a week, and being able to come into work later so I can ride my horse in the mornings. If you can't negotiate your salary, consider what else is on the table."
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Is your current job your “passion”? If not, what is?
"My job is just that: a job. It's not a career or a passion, but it pays the bills and I'm good at it. I definitely have 'golden handcuffs' that keep me in this work (I'm also the primary breadwinner in my house since my husband runs his own business).
"My real passions are my horse (I ride dressage) and helping others better themselves or move forward in their careers. I would love to eventually take on career coaching as a full-time job. Of course, if I could just ride my horse full-time, that would be great, too!"
If you could, would you change anything in your career trajectory?
"Absolutely. I wish that I was brave enough to leave my current career earlier — I'm actually working with a career coach right now who is helping me figure out what I want to do and how to get there.
"I've let myself get distracted with the status that comes with working at startups with explosive growth when I wasn't actually enjoying any of it. I wish I had been able to think more critically about how my work impacted the rest of my life."
What professional advice would you give your younger self?
"The 'cool' job or company isn't necessarily the right one. Think critically about what brings you joy and pursue it — even if it's on the side or part-time."
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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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