Eleven years ago or so I began my career with my bachelor’s degree in hand. Once I stabilized a little, I had a job with one of the top organizations in the world. It was a non-profit organization, and despite its prestige, it was a non-profit organization with staffing nightmares and horrific cash flow.
My salary was less than the starting salaries listed in PayScale’s recent survey of the college degrees with the lowest starting salaries, though it would be somewhat more competitive when adjusted for inflation. On the other hand, I worked in one of the highest-earning locations in the country, so the average pay throughout the country for my type of job was most likely significantly lower.
Had I become a high school teacher, as I had at most times throughout my life intended, I would have been paid more and have had more comprehensive benefits. I had a change of heart, and it cost me at first.
Here is my approximate starting salary along with the survey’s lowest median starting salaries.
|3||Recreation and leisure||$33,300|
In these fields, not only is the starting pay a sacrifice, but salary growth as one progresses through their career is limited. I can think of a few ways to get around this problem and make these degrees and pursuits into a career that is more lucrative than salary surveys would indicate, but it’s not easy.
- Become a recognized expert in your field. The best of the best in any field can be rich.
- Write books on your topic. While even best sellers don’t make authors wealthy, it does provide an income above your work itself, and it can lead to other projects.
- Sell products and seminars teaching others how to succeed in your field. I am not a fan of this technique, but there are a few names that spring to mind.
- Create a television show. Some of the most popular series have increased the fame and fortune of industry stars. See what The Biggest Loser has done for Jillian Michaels or $40 a Day has done for Rachael Ray.
It’s not easy, but with a goal of being extraordinary at what you do, not adequate or mediocre, and with some ancillary skills like self-promotion and marketing, even a career traditionally considered low-paying can become a path towards wealth.
Source: College degrees that don’t pay, CNN Money, August 6, 2010
Published or updated August 9, 2010.