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What's your career success story (or story in the making)?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 20th, 2017 8:38 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 30, 2016
45 posts
4 upvotes

What's your career success story (or story in the making)?

Hey guys,

Too much negativity on here, let's speak positive vibes.

What is your career success story, or what success or major achievements have you accomplished so far, here's mine.

Started @ $12/hr with my company, three years later​ I'm almost at $50K/yr with the same company. Worked my behind off for those years and was promoted twice. Survived a mass layoff. Was told I was kept on due to my versatility and value-add. I'm a visible minority.

So, what success have you had?
15 replies
Jr. Member
Apr 14, 2017
187 posts
60 upvotes
DT Calgary
Graduated university in 2016. Worked for 2 publicly traded companies since then. Making roughly 100k as a civil engineer.
Member
Dec 7, 2006
418 posts
68 upvotes
Toronto
First job was $6.40 an hour in fast food. Summer job after first year university was $7.50 an hour in a factory assembling water filtration systems. Worked throughout university for $12.00 an hour soliciting alumni donations. First job out of university was $40,000 as a "management trainee", where I stayed for 2 years. Then my career started to take off once I joined the tech sales world. First year in tech sales was $75K and my final year at that company was ~$140K (was promoted 3 times in my 5 years at that company). After that, I switched to the company I'm at now and in the 3 years here, I've been promoted once, cleared $250K my 2nd year and low $300s this past year. Turned 34 this year and very fortunate to have been given these opportunities. Had some luck along the way, great mentors, and worked hard at developing new skills in a job that I never thought I would be doing while growing up (sales). For those who say there are not enough opportunities out there - don't believe it.
Last edited by PC_YYZ on May 12th, 2017 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 27, 2009
3159 posts
1156 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
PC_YYZ wrote:
May 12th, 2017 11:34 am
First job was $6.40 an hour in fast food. Summer job after first year university was $7.50 an hour. Worked throughout university for $12.00 an hour. First job out of university was $40,000 as a "management trainee", where I stayed for 2 years. Then my career started to take off once I joined the tech sales world. First year in tech sales was $75K and my final year at that company was ~$140K (was promoted 3 times in my 5 years at that company). After that, I switched to the company I'm at now and in the 3 years here, I've been promoted once, cleared $250K my 2nd year and low $300s this past year. Turned 34 this year and very fortunate to have been given these opportunities. Had some luck along the way, great mentors, and worked hard at developing new skills in a job that I never thought I would be doing while growing up (sales). For those who say there are not enough opportunities out there - don't believe it.
Why don't you believe it? If everyone were capable of earning $300K we'd all be doing it. It is rare.
Member
Dec 7, 2006
418 posts
68 upvotes
Toronto
Chickinvic wrote:
May 12th, 2017 12:24 pm
Why don't you believe it? If everyone were capable of earning $300K we'd all be doing it. It is rare.
Because I generally like to believe that there is opportunity out there (especially in this country) if one works hard. I'm not saying there are $300K opportunities readily available as like I said above, I've been fortunate and a lot of "stars aligned". However, I do read a lot of negative threads that there are no jobs, it's a bad market, etc. and it shouldn't be the reason that anyone loses hope. Trying to add to the "positive vibes" goal that OP had when starting this thread.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Aug 6, 2001
11618 posts
848 upvotes
Good corporate sales gig (and ability to sell and keep the momentum going even during the downfalls) is much more profitable than a high exec position.

A good friend of mine in Oracle (as sales rep) clears $400-500K easy but he's one of the best at sales that I've met in my life.
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2008
703 posts
97 upvotes
Markham
PC_YYZ wrote:
May 12th, 2017 12:45 pm
Because I generally like to believe that there is opportunity out there (especially in this country) if one works hard. I'm not saying there are $300K opportunities readily available as like I said above, I've been fortunate and a lot of "stars aligned". However, I do read a lot of negative threads that there are no jobs, it's a bad market, etc. and it shouldn't be the reason that anyone loses hope. Trying to add to the "positive vibes" goal that OP had when starting this thread.
Tech sales can indeed be very lucrative, but not everyone is cut out for it - personality, skills, and ambition aside. For every 'sales blackbelt' that clears 300k, there are 50 developers that are barely making 60k. In fact, the guys making 60k are probably being told they're star performers making a pittance of an increase at 5% a year, so they keep grinding at it thinking it's the way to go. It's not exactly an easy transition out into the field either.

You mentioned it yourself that you feel that you are very fortunate to have these opportunities. Key word - fortune. I think about the people I meet at conferences and networking events, and just how much talent there is out there that are capable of doing my job, but are, for some reason, in much less lucrative roles.

I really think it boils down to ambition - whether you want MORE, and luck - being at the right place at the right time.

As for myself, I've found my career to ebb and flow at times. I think everyone does have a limit and say 'this is enough', and it's usually triggered by some sort of life event such as getting married, kids, retirement, wanting more hobby time, or just flat out being lazy. I have friends that say they would be happy if they hit the 60k mark, and other friends who are trying to hit 500k/year. I use to be a proponent of work-life-balance, but am now finding myself to be more ambitious than ever. I somehow got bored of most of my hobbies, and what engages me nowadays is building my empire. Or take the typical Cinderella story of the banker/lawyer turned baker etc.

What I'm trying to say is that it's difficult to set a static goal, achieve it, and declare success from it, because these goals always evolve and are redefined over time. Now, if you change the word 'success' to 'contentment', that would be an easier question to answer.
Member
Dec 7, 2006
418 posts
68 upvotes
Toronto
unowned wrote:
May 12th, 2017 1:22 pm
Tech sales can indeed be very lucrative, but not everyone is cut out for it - personality, skills, and ambition aside. For every 'sales blackbelt' that clears 300k, there are 50 developers that are barely making 60k. In fact, the guys making 60k are probably being told they're star performers making a pittance of an increase at 5% a year, so they keep grinding at it thinking it's the way to go. It's not exactly an easy transition out into the field either.

You mentioned it yourself that you feel that you are very fortunate to have these opportunities. Key word - fortune. I think about the people I meet at conferences and networking events, and just how much talent there is out there that are capable of doing my job, but are, for some reason, in much less lucrative roles.

I really think it boils down to ambition - whether you want MORE, and luck - being at the right place at the right time.

As for myself, I've found my career to ebb and flow at times. I think everyone does have a limit and say 'this is enough', and it's usually triggered by some sort of life event such as getting married, kids, retirement, wanting more hobby time, or just flat out being lazy. I have friends that say they would be happy if they hit the 60k mark, and other friends who are trying to hit 500k/year. I use to be a proponent of work-life-balance, but am now finding myself to be more ambitious than ever. I somehow got bored of most of my hobbies, and what engages me nowadays is building my empire.

What I'm trying to say is that it's difficult to set a static goal, achieve it, and declare success from it, because these goals always evolve and are redefined over time. Now, if you change the word 'success', to 'contentment', that would be easier to answer.
I appreciate your comment but I do not consider myself a 'black belt'. There are many people much more successful than I am in tech sales. By no means am I declaring myself a major success, although I am proud of what I've achieved, especially for someone who wasn't born in Canada (and my dad worked in a factory, my mom worked at T&T at the store level, so I didn't have corporate "connections"). I also don't consider anyone making 60K unsuccessful, as success has many definitions. I try to share what I've learned with some that are aiming to get into the field now. One of them is that although timing is important, hardly anything ever gets done without hard work. Prior to my tech sales gig, I spent about a year knocking on 80+ doors a week in my Scarborough sales territory selling mats and washroom supplies to small businesses. That was the best learning experience that I've had to date.

Sorry OP, didn't mean to derail the original intent of this thread!
Last edited by PC_YYZ on May 12th, 2017 1:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Member
Mar 4, 2010
364 posts
66 upvotes
Toronto
2004 :started my working life off in retail and restaurants making minimum wage. at that point never finished college/university. Making $10-$12 an hour.
2010: got my first real accounting job in accounts payable making 35k a year, after finishing up an accounting diploma from college, quickly moved into general accounting. Showcased my skills and abilities and CFO of decent sized organization (2,000+ person firm) took me under his wing.
2015: company was bought out, restructured out at mid 40k. Spent a few months finishing up a management degree in business. Hired to a smaller firm (300+) in an assistant controller role at low 70k.
2017: moved into a more senior management accounting role at low 90k working very close with C-suites being groomed for exec role in 5+ years.
Deal Addict
Mar 24, 2005
1351 posts
106 upvotes
Went to University for 2 years, dropped out due to personal life problems, depression, etc. I was in a co-op program doing desktop support and asked for a full-time position at one of the largest insurance companies in Canada. It was there i got myself involved on IT projects and being very good at doing root cause analysis, problem solving, requirements analysis, etc... I realized then that there was a niche for someone with a skill set that could understand both business and IT - this was before Business Analysts was even considered a mainstream role. So I consider myself to be one of the early pioneers of business analysis. Well, continuing on the timeline, I got laid off after 4 years with the insurance company as a result of an acquisition. Moved over to the banking sector and built out my career as a business analyst, formalizing my skill sets, taking training and learning a lot about wealth management. I left after 3 years as a disgruntled employee because banks at the time would not allow a young person to be a manager - and I was just trying to just get a supervisor position which I was best candidate for but due to a team merger, my manager left and that position was given to someone else who was that manager's favorite. So I left and then moved to another bank and took on a full time consultant position. Worked on many high profile programs involving regulatory and compliance initiatives. After 2.5 years I left and moved into formal consulting with a leading consulting firm. After a year, I was on the radar by all the top consulting firms and had my choice of 3 offers on the table. Took a senior management position with one of those consulting firms. 4 years later I left due to another acquisition and joined another global consulting firm as a Managing Director heading up one of their lines of business where I've been with since. Making in the top 2% of income in Canada... all without a university degree and did it in I think 12 years.... it's been many years since that... I actually might be in the 1% range now but it would be just the border, I have to check :P
Newbie
Nov 22, 2015
14 posts
4 upvotes
Toronto, ON
At 18, got kicked out of family, no prospect of schooling, shitty time in life, luckily I had friends that were supportive and even welcomed me into their home as I was effectivly homeless.

Decided it was best to just start working. No education no experience? Retail jobs for me. Did a few of those gigs for a few years till I managed to land a nice sale role in a financial company.

Within the company, I've gone leaps and bounds.

My sales role and good math background gave me creative ideas which helped my managers reporting duties and they saw potential in me. When I applied for a business analyst Role, it was very important to know the sales side hence why I was given a chance to prove myself. I was Only offered temp positions for this which turned to perm within the first year.

Worked as a BA for over 5yrs but in that time I developed my business software and business culture and competencies. Strong in data analysis (excel) presentations( oral and PowerPoint) and improved my command of the business language.

My next promotion was another temp offer for product management as they required data analysis skillset in the team and when I joined i realized they were right. The whole team was better at communication style and language but they sucked at math and excel.
I Improved their tedious processes and reports and instead of being offer a perm, I got promoted over the full timers into a senior role. I was in products for about 3 years and now got promoted (this time offered full right away) into a senior consulting role that works on enterprise wide initiative. Salary is expected to touch about 100k at this year end with salary increase and bonus.


I've done well for myself despite no education, I don't think it's easy to do what I've done. Lots of hard work, survival mindset, creative and a bit of luck go a long way.

Cheers everyone on their own path.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 24, 2005
872 posts
111 upvotes
I sleep on a pile of money with many beautiful ladies
2006 - Pepsi/Frito Lay Win Every Hour Contest - 1279 Entries - Loser!
Jr. Member
Mar 8, 2015
187 posts
53 upvotes
Analystician wrote:
May 19th, 2017 1:45 pm
At 18, got kicked out of family, no prospect of schooling, shitty time in life, luckily I had friends that were supportive and even welcomed me into their home as I was effectivly homeless.

Decided it was best to just start working. No education no experience? Retail jobs for me. Did a few of those gigs for a few years till I managed to land a nice sale role in a financial company.

Within the company, I've gone leaps and bounds.

My sales role and good math background gave me creative ideas which helped my managers reporting duties and they saw potential in me. When I applied for a business analyst Role, it was very important to know the sales side hence why I was given a chance to prove myself. I was Only offered temp positions for this which turned to perm within the first year.

Worked as a BA for over 5yrs but in that time I developed my business software and business culture and competencies. Strong in data analysis (excel) presentations( oral and PowerPoint) and improved my command of the business language.

My next promotion was another temp offer for product management as they required data analysis skillset in the team and when I joined i realized they were right. The whole team was better at communication style and language but they sucked at math and excel.
I Improved their tedious processes and reports and instead of being offer a perm, I got promoted over the full timers into a senior role. I was in products for about 3 years and now got promoted (this time offered full right away) into a senior consulting role that works on enterprise wide initiative. Salary is expected to touch about 100k at this year end with salary increase and bonus.


I've done well for myself despite no education, I don't think it's easy to do what I've done. Lots of hard work, survival mindset, creative and a bit of luck go a long way.

Cheers everyone on their own path.
Always good to see someone fight through adversity and find success instead of making excuses or complaining why they "couldn't" make it. Congrats and here's to going much further!
Deal Addict
Jun 21, 2016
1407 posts
474 upvotes
sold stuff in high school, wanted to become a car mechanic, parents made me go to university for computers, dropped out after first year, started bodybuilding, became a personal trainer in person and online.

about 50 clients online, $2000 a year each, 20 in person clients at a time, $50-$100 each hour (depends on location) we meet 2-3 times a week, depends on your preference, and 16 weeks are paid in advanced. Most of it's cash, about 50% is taxes from in person clients, online is all cash.

never knew you could make so much with no experience. Hoping to get more online clients in the future. If I can get well known on the internet I may try to create a larger business. Also have been getting inquiries of other people wanting to be trainers and train under me. I'd teach them my methods, science, etc. and they would train clients that I refer them to. I'd get a cut of the money too.
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2013
4474 posts
740 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
(1) Worked on a Math and Economics degree (Computer Science Minor) until April 2013, in GVA. 3/4 Years completed at Age 19.

(2) First job was landscaping in Alberta as a means of getting more money for school.

(3) Moved into oilsands labour in August 2013- learned there was no money in oilsands unless you held a skilled trade. But discovered there was money in Power Engineering and other trades- much better opportunities than what my university background would had led to- switched plan to go that route. Relatively speaking, financially it was too risky to continue university studies.

(4) Started working on Service Rigs ("oil rigs") in Winter 2013. Money was good but too unstable to be a reliable means to raise funds for school, and the work and environment terrible.

(5) Decided to acquire trucking license (Class 1) to be more employable and increase earning power to fund school and start building an investment portfolio. School is to eventually increase earning power once income in trucking was stagnated. Acquired Trucking License (Class 1 or Class AZ) through Trucking School by August 2014; Age 21.

(6) Started trucking in road construction and oilfield in August 2014. Also found electrician apprenticeship and was indentured as apprentice as of November 2014. Offered multiple jobs upon a week of graduation Trucking School. Though inexperience resulted in work inconsistency as more experienced personnel were favoured. Income in 2014 was around $65,000.

(7) Price of oil collapsed in January 2015, resulting in a 6 week layoff. Electrician apprentice work opportunities grinded to a halt and most occupations across the province either reduced positions available and/or wages. Spent remainder of 2015 working at subpar wages as trucker in road construction and oilfield. Income was around $76,000 (71,000 on paper).

(8) Found oilsands operator job in late 2015 as I worked on electrician 1st year school part-time. $91,822 salary factoring in EI (the plant only allowed us to work half of each month for safety reasons). Tried to look for extra work on days off, but no one wanted to employ someone for half a month at a time- especially with a questionable, desperate labour market.

(9) April 2016: Bought first home at Age of 22 with no cosigner or any family financial assistance (2013 814 sq ft. condo near university and downtown) for $328,000 (a lowball). Same unit cost original owner $343,000 in 2013. Completed 1st year Electrician School, but still no work for apprenticeship.

(10) Found renter for 1/2 of the condo same evening it was posted in Kijiji for $750/month (below market).

(11) Job loss in August 2016 because of (A) jealousy towards young guy buying a home among financially starved oilfield workers, (B) dislike for the lack of desperate "grateful just to have a job" dog attitude, and (C) finding manager's nephew willing to do my job for $22/hr for half of each month.

(12) Returned to previous road construction employer in September 2016. Had 11 job offers 3 weeks after job loss.

(13) Completed 2nd year Electrician School by December 2016. Had several job offers within this month, though none in electrical trade. Electrical apprenticeship work prospects seemed doomed. Began trucking for pipeline and oilfield rig/drilling work for new employer. Income on average for this employer was approx. $8500/month during the busy season, but had to be on call for 30 days/month in order to "catch" all the available work, and work all over the province. Did not enjoy my time there at all, but had to bide time.

(14) 2016 income was $85,000 ($102,350 equivalency factoring in tax writeoffs).

(15) Started own trucking contracting business in April 2017 upon leaving that employer at spring seasonal slowdown. Rationale for this move were (A) hitting income ceiling for trucking, which is around $100,000/year working year round in today's economy, (B) tax writeoff implications and tax deferral ability, (C) flexibility, (D) reduced trucking wages in a employer's market, and (E) in realization that I'd never make money working as an employee, regardless of it were trucking, electrician, power engineering, analyst, accountant, lawyer, etc. General consensus is that if you're good at what you do, you tend to make $100-150K in Alberta as an employee- but to exceed that requires decades of experience in a senior role, self-employment, and/or investment income. Business started producing positive earnings 3 days later upon calling client who originally offered me a job in Winter 2016. This one originally offered two raises within the interview to convince me to say yes.

(16) April 2017: Purchased second property 3 minutes away from university- pre construction unit for $296,000- a 1 br 650 sq ft. top floor condo. Age 23. Pre-construction discount and lowball resulted in about 10% below market value acquisition. Expected completion is Summer 2018. Market rental value of current property determined to be $2500/month furnished, $1850/month unfurnished.

(17) May 2017: Stopped performing work for contracting business and returned to road construction trucking/operating work. Latter average income is around $9,000/month, but only employed for 5-6 months/year. Client was much more pleasant to work for compared to all previous jobs. Average income was around $7000/month, but only 45-50 hours/week of work required. Enough to live on after taxes with some savings to grow, but progression very slow. However, it is a means to be happier and complete a considerable amount of education in the spare time, or look for other business opportunities.

Current objective is a combination of the following:

(A) Stay in trucking, with the road construction employer as a base of stable income from May - October, then work on business as contractor for remainder of the year.

(B) Use savings gained from trucking and contracting business to invest as aggressively as possible with a long-term (5+ year) horizon- specifically targeting undervalued real estate and stocks (value investing approach). The high income (especially that of the recognized road construction employer) is a formality enabling high leverage with real estate to amplify returns in the Alberta buyer's market. In the beginning there will be a heavy reliance on real estate due to limited capital, and diversification to stocks in multiple sectors will be gradual. The goal is to acquire one additional piece of real estate every year. Between appreciation (in Edmonton, we are happy to see around 4% YoY, but high rents make cash flow positive or neutral situations common) and principal contributions, each property around the $300,000 range is expected to make $25,000/year- in today's dollars. Upon expiration of 5-year mortgage terms (or two 2-year mortgage terms), each will be liquidated to cash out on appreciation and principal contributions- then cash re-balanced.

(C) Keep going to school every year part-time, completing one year of the electrician apprenticeship academic portion for now until the economy improves. Considering Power Engineering as well during the Winter of 2017 - 2018, but the upfront investment is many times larger ($15,000+ after considering tuition, books, and lost income). School is a path to increasing earning power, and increases in earning power are to fund more investments.

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