In one week, I'll be 30 years old. By 30 many of us hope that we have our lives sorted out somewhat but in Silicon Valley that can seem impossible in face of the brutal competitive job frontier that formed over the last 20 years.
I even did it “right.” I attended a 4 year university straight out of high school and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree. Most of the good paying jobs out there require this as a minimum aside from their laundry list of high tech skills and pound on the years of impossible experience they require and, well, you feel like an utter failure by 30.
In Silicon Valley, if you haven’t had your own start-up, if you don’t sit on a Board of Directors, and if you don’t have multiple degrees (preferably a B.S. degree, no pun intended) then you pretty much have nothing…or do you?
Let me start by saying: I am a normal girl. I wasn’t born into a wealthy family and like many alumni out there, I struggle to pay off the load of debt I owe for the higher education I was required to get to even consider having a nice salary. I grew up in East Side San Jose and my parents were hard workers who earned every cent they received. They grew up in an era when purchasing a home in Silicon Valley was common and achievable. I am not special. I don’t have a startup company in my name and I do not have an engineering degree. So how did I figure out a way to move up in my career and increase my salary? I promise you it is possible and it isn’t magic. You are never stuck in a career situation. It takes hard work, patience, failures, and diligence but it can happen.
In April 2016 I was teaching at a private school. It is no secret that teaching is one of the most underpaid professions out there although it’s the most necessary profession next to doctors and nurses. Once my daughter was born it was impossible for me to survive off a teaching salary. Unfortunately there was no way to move up quickly in that environment and raises were a joke. So I found a new job.
When you find a new job there should always be a salary increase. If there isn’t then you should keep looking. My salary went up a modest amount. This new job was a temporary position so there was no commitment needed on either side. I worked there and began looking for a permanent position when the contract was approaching its end.
In August 2016 I started a permanent position and my salary went up again. Are you noticing a pattern? Now, sure this can be risky and plenty of people stay at a job for 10 years and wait patiently for their pay raise but that is not the way to quickly increase your salary. My aunt has always told me: “You never owe an employer anything. They are not committed to you and you never have to be committed to them.”
Shortly after landing this full-time permanent role, someone reached out to me about a new position that I considered my ultimate “dream job.” I took it and guess what…my salary went up again. Needless to say the dream job didn’t work out because it was an environment immersed with manipulation and bullying. I was the victim of bullying and had to quit on the spot to ensure my mental health was safe. A link to the full story on my bullying experience is at the end of this post.
Fortunately with all my work experience and skills I landed a new job right away. Throughout this experience my salary went up 35K in just 9 months. The simple answer: switch jobs frequently but just know that employers will ask you why you had short time periods at each job so be prepared to give them legitimate reasons.
I did and it worked!
Read about my bullying experience at the YMCA:
Written by Sterp