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 customer success engineer from Cincinnati, OH. Previously, we spoke to a marriage and family therapist from the South Bay Area, CA, a creative director from New York City, NY., and a marketing manager from Seattle, WA.
Job: Associate Customer Success Engineer
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Degree: Bachelor's in Math
First Salary: $65,000
Current Salary: $100,000 + $10,000 bonus and stock
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"As I kid, I've never really had a 'dream job.' I always just kept a tally of things I liked to do and things I didn't like to do. My career path as of now is more of a process of elimination rather than a route to my 'dream job.' One of the biggest reasons I got an undergraduate degree in math was because I thought it offered me a lot of flexibility across several industries."
What did you study in college?
"I have a bachelor's degree in pure mathematics. I love my degree. At first, I thought it was crazy that I got a degree in math, because it offered me no practical skills — I wrote proofs for four years. However, the more I'm removed from school, the more I love what my degree taught me: problem solving, critical thinking, and quantitative approaches."
Did you have to take out student loans?
"I took out $10,000 in federal loans, but paid them all off in November (I graduated in May). I have always had savings, so I used a chunk of my savings to pay off all my loans at once."
Have you been working at this company since you graduated from college?
"Nope! I had two internships during college and one job that started right after I graduated. After about eight months at my first job out of college, the opportunity with my current company came up. I continued the interview process, not expecting anything to come of the opportunity, but I ended up getting the position."
How would you explain your day-to-day role at your job?
"I essentially manage customer accounts for their entire lifecycle using our software. So far it's been a great balance of tech skills and customer facing skills, which was one of the biggest pull factors when it came to switching jobs. It's incredibly cross functional as well, I get to work with engineers, product managers, account executives, business leaders, data engineers, and scientists."
Did you negotiate your salary?
"I did negotiate my salary for my current role. I left my first job out of college after about eight months, so I wanted to make sure that my move from one job to another (especially after such a short amount of time) was going to be fiscally worth it. I have some great mentors that helped me navigate the negotiation process. I also negotiated signing bonuses and living stipends in both of my internships in college."
Is your current job your “passion”? If not, what is?
"I don't know if I would say it's my passion, but I enjoy it! I have always had a hard time discerning what my 'passions' are, mostly because I really like a ton of different things. I get to enable others to better their business which has been really rewarding for me. The only thing that I truly know for certain when it comes to my future career path is that I want to be a mom."
If you could, would you change anything in your career trajectory?
"No, every job and internship I've had has taught me some really important lessons in what I like to do and what I don't like to do."
What professional advice would you give your younger self?
"Taking this question with a grain of salt because I'm still 22, but I think that finding great mentors is something that's crucial especially being a women in tech. I'm often times the only woman (and the youngest) in the room, which has led to some tricky situations. Having mentors to help navigate these situations is a priority."
Are you a woman under 35 with a six-figure salary ($100,000+) and want to tell your story? Submit it here.