I Make $100,000 & I'm Planning To Switch Careers To Help Others

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 28-year old sales director in the medical device industry based in Los Vegas, NV. Previously, we spoke to a 26-year-old product manager from Austin, TX, a 28-year old senior social media associate in the aviation industry in Washington D.C., and a 30-year old associate director of social media marketing from New York, NY.
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Job: National Sales Director, Medical Device Industry
Age: 28
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Degree: Bachelor's, English with a minor in Victimology
First Salary: $23,946 + bonus/commissions equaling $25,000
Salary: $100,500 + bonuses
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"I wanted to be many things growing up, from a marine biologist around age 10, to the president as a teenager (and maybe still, if I'm honest). I always cycled back to a desire for defending people who couldn't defend themselves and a deep need for justice and equality.
"After graduating from high school I decided I either wanted to be a civil rights attorney for the ACLU or an author or journalist à la Anthony Bourdain. I suppose I've always been something of a romanticist."
What did you study in college?
"I have a BA in English with a Minor in Victimology. I am currently pursuing a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy."
Did you have to take out student loans?
"Luckily, I was awarded a couple of scholarships prior to starting my undergrad. One was for $10,000, and another for $1,500. I also chose to stay in state to keep my tuition affordable. My four years cost roughly $19,500 of which I was responsible for $8,000.
"I worked full-time throughout college at Starbucks and later as a concierge for a resort on the Las Vegas strip. With these combined incomes I was able to pay my $2,000 a year off by the end of my senior year."
Have you been working at this job since you graduated college?
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"I was hired with this company within a few months of graduating from college. Previous to that, I worked as a concierge at a resort on the Las Vegas Strip."
How would you explain your day-to-day role at your job?
"My job is to oversee the domestic sales for our medical device company. I lead a small department of four people and make sure that we hit our goals for fiscal growth as well as account acquisition.
"I maintain contact via email and phone with all of our professional accounts and attend medical conferences throughout the country. I propose sales promotions and new ideas for finding new accounts. I make sure my staff has direction and support to continue farming for these leads."
Did you negotiate your salary?
"Yes, I negotiated. I had been at this job for quite a while. When I was offered the promotion to National Sales Director from Territory Sales Manager, I negotiated from the offered $82,000 up to $90,000 and negotiated my commission structure from an offered 2% year over year to a 5% year over year plus quarterly bonuses for hitting targets.
"To figure out how much I should ask for, I ran some reports on what other sales directors were making and what our company sales have looked like over the past few years and then ran my personal reports for the territory I was previously responsible for. I used the improvements I had gained to leverage my worth; my goal was going to be $100,000 with salary, commissions and bonuses."
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Is your current job your “passion”? If not, what is?
"Absolutely not! I enjoy my salary, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't my main motivation for remaining here. My passion is and has always been to help people and I don't feel that this current job offers me that satisfaction."
If you could, would you change anything in your career trajectory?
"I am currently pursuing a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy and hope to help disenfranchised and under-served populations in the Las Vegas area receive mental health services.
"I have my eye on a Ph.D. eventually, but will start here. This career change is going to give me far more satisfaction and help me feel that my efforts are worthwhile. Plus, the opportunity for continued education and professional growth is exponential."
What professional advice would you give your younger self?
"My advice for my younger self would be two-fold. Firstly, don't jump right in to a career. You've worked since you were 16 without any break. Take the summer off, use your savings to travel — as you've always wanted to do. Find out who you are and what you want from life. Let yourself be moved by the people and places you find.
"Secondly, when you do settle down at this job or another, do not be afraid to explore other options. Don't be afraid to reach for a higher ledge, or switch to an entirely different mountain to climb. Perhaps it's not as high or as impressive to those on the ground, but the view may be exactly what you've been searching for once you reach the top."
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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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