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.
Job: Marketing Director
First Salary: $38,000
Current Salary: $105,000
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"I wanted to be a CEO of a company. Incredibly vague, but I loved the thought of being a leader. Looking back, I had no idea the time and dedication that goes into holding that role."
What did you study in college?
"I have an undergraduate degree in hospitality administration. I started my MBA but didn't have a strong reason as to why I was pursuing it and withdrew from the program."
Did you have to take out student loans?
"Yes, I only had about $17K of loans, which took me about seven years to pay off. Joke was on me, though, because I was loan-free for only a few years before marrying my husband, who has a pile of medical-school loans!"
Have you been working at this company since you graduated from college?
"I started out in event planning but quickly realized that I wasn't challenged in the role, and much of it felt like manual labor. I then started taking evening MBA classes to make a pivot to marketing, but my salary wasn't enough to sustain classes, rent, and loan payments. I also didn't have much direction and reason as to why I was getting this degree. I cut my losses and moved back in with my parents, withdrew from my program, and got an entry-level job at an ad agency. Starting at an entry-level position at 24 was tough, but I worked extremely hard, got new jobs, moved to new cities, and made my way to a director role by the time I was 28."
How would you explain your day-to-day role at your job?
"I'm an acquisition marketer, which means I manage any and all channels that will bring new customers to our brand."
Did you negotiate your salary?
"I've negotiated every salary except my current. I moved from NYC to Boston, and it was very difficult to find opportunities that would pay my NY salary. I ended up taking a $15K pay cut for a good opportunity."
Is your current job your “passion”? If not, what is?
"It's hard to say, and I've been thinking about this quite a bit. There are moments where I feel extremely motivated by the work I'm doing, and other times where I feel stuck at a day job. I enjoy my job, but I think down the line I'd like to move toward a freelancing role to pursue different avenues."
If you could, would you change anything in your career trajectory?
"I knew junior year of college that I didn't want to pursue hospitality, but I felt that I just had to graduate. I wish I would have stayed another year and switched my major to business."
What professional advice would you give your younger self?
"Every job will have pros and cons. Don't expect any one job to be your 'dream job.' Instead, find a dream team and work with people that will inspire you daily."
Are you a woman under 35 with a six-figure salary ($100,000+) and want to tell your story? Submit it here.