An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
Scott 2
Posts: 1555
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

I'd want to be very confident the specific master's degree is a valuable credential. In the cursory discussion, it doesn't pass my smell tests. $20k sounds too inexpensive for marketable graduate education. Online seems iffy. Shouldn't a program for therapists have a heavy in person component? What does the intersection of people who need behavioral therapy and people who can afford to pay for it look like? What's the competition for the spots that pay?

My wife did her BA in psych, from a high quality private university. She graduated with honors, had minors, activities, etc. Nobody was buying. She ended up doing IT project management anyways, but at a lower rate, because she was a liberal arts person.

Her sister did a masters in speech therapy. She graduated with well over $100k in debt, from one of the best graduate schools in the field. Turns out the people who need her skills are largely poor. The work is hard to come by. Her exceptional degree means she gets a job, but it's often temporary positions. The pay isn't close to equitable for the time and money she invested.


I've never had a boss tell me to get another offer. That seems weird. There must be something he's hoping you learn from it.

Demand for cyber security is only increasing. You could do a lot worse in terms of experience, provided you enjoy the work.

Viktor K
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

I'm not 100% sure the requirements/potential for her career after the master's, it's more something for her to work towards, not something that I really consider too much. She's her person. I think though that the certification requires in-person hours, which she is already employed and accumulating with her current employer.

As for the fielding an offer recommendation, I think the idea is that he will use my offer to leverage a new salary, since it's not up to him. I mean he has to agree that a raise is warranted (which isn't an issue), but after that it is up to him to convince the founders. Which is the same thing that happened for my raise, but my ask of 5% was pretty modest and he was confident they wouldn't say no.

He also briefly mentioned about me going through our training and getting on the production side of the business. Cyber security is a great field, but pentesting is not an interesting career path to me. If you've heard of worker types, it is much more on the producer type of work, and I would quickly tire of it. So no on the enjoy the work. I have that option, I can get trained for free and transition into that with this company or another, but I'd rather be a dev for 4-5 years. I like the nature of my work now.

Developing for a cyber security company is nice, though, because I get my work pen-tested, and storing the vulnerabilities of fortune 500 companies means my work has to be secure. So I'm learning in that way...

Best case scenario for me, though, is increasing salary from 66k -> 130k over the next 4-5 years, then maybe contract work off and on, or downsizing and doing stuff abroad again, or some part-time work, or keep working, who knows. Too far in the future. For my financial goals right now, the need is $80k by 2021.

Scott 2
Posts: 1555
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

I spent a few years doing the vuln. scans and responding to client security audits at my firm. I can 100% understand why you wouldn't be interested in pen. testing as a career. I got out of the security work first chance I had.


Your boss knows his relationship with the founders. For what it's worth, a target of $80k by year end seems reasonable. Depending how quickly you grow, and if you are willing to move to a tier 1 city, low even.


I think it is more typical for a company to have an overall compensation strategy, than to ask employees to seek competing offers. Especially once the employer is big enough to consider discrimination in their employee pay. Many employers now even refuse to ask candidates their current compensation.

I've observed salary targets set from survey data like Robert Half (https://www.roberthalf.com/salary-guide), as well as candidate expectations communicated during the interview process. I think the bigger players are using Radford data, but I never found a good way to access it:

https://radford.aon.com/surveys

If this wired article can be believed, VC firms are using a database called Option Impact for startup salaries:

https://www.wired.com/story/silicon-val ... -database/
https://www.advanced-hr.com/

It's supposed to get at the issue of trailing data under-estimating comp., when looking at anecdotal numbers, like on Glassdoor.


I've found the Gitlab salary calculator an interesting reference point as well:

https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/peopl ... alculator/


It's hard to judge "fair" comp. Whatever someone will pay is the ultimate answer, I suppose.

Viktor K
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

I think it is more typical for a company to have an overall compensation strategy, than to ask employees to seek competing offers.
I agree, I thought it was little strange but I didn't press much. Of course, I don't hold my tongue (I'm not a jerk, I just express myself freely. Not in the offensive, annoying way, but lighthearted and honest) and I told him that I thought getting a job offer and using it was "scummy" lol. In good humor though.

Seems like you're right, though. From those websites, $80k is reasonable. Again the only hard part is that at this company, I'm on the expense side of the equation. He already confessed his own salary of $115k, and he's C-suite. There's another developer who told me he is a senior, but in the org chart, we have the same title now.

Funny tidbit from China: people ask you what you do, and immediately after, "How much do you make?" No cultural aversion to that sort of thing at all. But in the U.S., I think it is more taboo to talk about salaries. I want to ask the other dev his pay so badly :lol:. He's from Vietnam, maybe he's open with it as well, but I've never been to Vietnam so I don't know.

I got lucky starting with this company, though. Even in our interview, my boss asked me the usual, where do you see yourself a few years from now (outside of the getting to know you, the rest of the interview was very left-field as far as the interview questions). Me, candid as always, obviously expressed, as anyone would I think, unless working for their dream company, that a few years from now, who knows if it's this company or another. But, he beat me to the punch. "Of course, I don't expect you to say that you want to work for this company for the rest of your life."

So he is equally candid, and employee focused. Really great company...good perks and environment. For example, each person in our C-suite has been away for 2 weeks abroad, 1 week at a time, in the last 6 months. My boss took a 1 month vacation the year before I started. He also expressed how after a few years, that sort of thing is an option, even if the high, engineer salary might not be. Just want more pay! Lol. But the perks are huge, and they have to have some value as well.

But $80k or above through 2021 will work fine for me. So I'm hoping that's an option here.

Scott 2
Posts: 1555
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

He already confessed his own salary of $115k, and he's C-suite.
That number makes me wonder if there's more to his comp - equity, options, profit sharing, annual bonus, commission, etc. Chicago being a Tier 2 city, at his described level, I'd expect a total package of $200k plus.

I've never broached the salary conversation with my peers, especially at the same company. I can't see a path where it ends well. It's not like I'm going to say to my boss "since Sally gets X, I should too!" I'd be very concerned about hard feelings if there's a gap.

I have only observed one woman (already tactless and disliked) disclose. It made her even less popular.

Scott 2
Posts: 1555
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

This is another source I've looked at to gain perspective:

https://www.reddit.com/r/cscareerquesti ... =new&t=all

There are salary sharing threads most months. It looks like in Chicago, trading is the place to go, to get paid.

Viktor K
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

It will be interesting to see. She's enjoying JavaScript this week, prepping for an entrance test tonight.

Whenever I look at salary threads, I always conclude that I should learn some computer science, switch tech stacks, practice interviews, and apply for some FANG-level companies.

User avatar
Stahlmann
Posts: 873
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Stahlmann »

what r probabilities to get hired as English tutor in SEA while not being native (English) speaker?
have u found any blogs on this?
I would also be interested in teaching older audience.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12694
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by jacob »

@Stahlmann - My sister did something like this in China. I don't know what the probabilities are for non-natives, but at least they're higher than 0%. This was part of a volunteer stay at an international school. Free room and board + tiny allowance, but no pay. She has a BA in English and is a 3+ on the ILR scale. It kinda depends on what the students are interested in. Native speakers are useful to correct pronunciation and cultural(*) references. Non-natives tend to have a more formal background which can be helpful in teaching grammar. Since they've gone through the learning process themselves, they would also be more aware of the pedagogical sticking points.

(*) For example, one of the more amusing differences between British-English and American-English is demonstrated when natives try to guess the meaning of their respective colloquialisms, such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alIHLt7tJA0 This includes even simpler issues: I specifically recall an incident with my (old and old-fashioned) English teacher in the 7th grade in which I used the word "gasoline" (which I probably learned from watching TV) and she absolutely had no idea what I meant. The correct word was "petrol". Having lived and traveled wide and far, I have adopted a mish-mash of pronunciations, so people can't really tell where I come from. For example, "finance" is pronounced differently on the US east and west coasts. (I say it in the west coast way.) There's also this: https://www.businessinsider.com/soda-po ... ap-2018-10 and many others.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2546
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am

Re: An American Millennial

Post by C40 »

People who are not native english speakers do teach english in Vietnam - including people who are definitely not fluent. Though - if you're asking relating to yourself (Stahlman), you'd need to improve your english quite a lot first. Native english teachers are preferred. But... anyone can do it. Being white is basically an important part of being considered an expert. I met a woman from Lithuana who teaches in Vietnam. She said the going pay rate is 400,000 Vietnamese Dong per hour.

Most of the teaching is for school children, often really young ones. There are also classes for older folks, mostly people learning for work.

Viktor K
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Stahlmann wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 12:12 pm
what r probabilities to get hired as English tutor in SEA while not being native (English) speaker?
have u found any blogs on this?
I would also be interested in teaching older audience.
I'm not sure anymore, but the demand is there. I knew plenty of non-native English speakers who were teaching on tourist or business visas while I was in China. However, that's illegal.

The issue with China specifically is that the govt./powers that be want English teaching jobs to go to the (most times more qualified) local teachers, but all the 阿姨's want a white face. So you end up with a big under the table market and lots of overt racism in the hiring process.

That was before COVID-19, I haven't been keeping updated on the job market but there's an active thread discussing this elsewhere on the forum.

Q1 2020
It's been awhile since I've asked this forum for advice, but where do I go from here?

It's not exactly too early asking this question, but it is early to ask it for sure. I've been a web developer (professionally) just shy of 9 months now.

This is very new territory for me, where I feel like I have a lot of options.

Personal
Personal life a bit rough right now. COVID-19 world sucks, obviously. My girlfriend is struggling more than I am.

We are both very active people, and we like the outdoors.

And my girlfriend has a lot going on right now as well. She's like that person you know that seems to sweet to be true, and yet the bad shit just keeps happening to them.

Financial
Financially pretty solid. Here's a graph:

Image

Working from home, girlfriend quite her job just before things locked up and enrolled in the bootcamp. She is working through that.

So we are burning down our savings (her account) and the difference staying in mine for the short-term. Still have about $600 surplus each month, excluding any potential food stamps or unemployment insurance from my girlfriend.

For the most part, the change means my student loans (interest and req. payments temp. frozen by govt.) can't get paid down as fast until she gets a job.

Professional
Just had my first quarter review last week, which was all positive again. Still learning and growing my skill set.

I'm happy at my company (very), but the salary isn't enough for my financial goals.

So the next 3 months is when I will be polishing my resume and job search bot to look for a competitive offer.

slowtraveler
Posts: 880
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by slowtraveler »

Good to hear from your Viktor!

Looks like you made an extremely wise decision to transition towards web development and move back to the States.

Are you asking what to do for you or her?

You're still saving on just 1 salary. That's something significant. There's government help programs like you mentioned and the stimulus payment to help some. Definitely keep expenses tight for the time. The travel piece sucks now, I can't even go swim at the beach 10 minutes from here.

At the time, there is work in deliveries and healthcare but they come with their own risks as well. It seems your girlfriend is genuine about learning programming, her efforts persisted for months now. You're a much better gauge than anyone of when she'll be ready for work. How long are you projecting until she can develop software as part of a team?

For you, it seems you already know what to do. In the software industry, it is the norm to frequently apply for other jobs and change companies. This also gives you leverage that once you get another few offers at a higher pay, you can talk with your employer about switching vs getting more responsibility and pay. One thing is that you seem genuinely happy where you are. This tends to be rare. While your salary isn't enough for a quick wealth growth, if your girlfriend had any income, her whole salary could be saved.

What's your long term goal now?

Let's do some FI math:

How much wealth do you need and how long do you want to work? This determines how much after tax net income you need as a couple.
Let X = Annual Expenses, Let Y= Years, I = Desired Net Income
I = (30X+debt) /Y
So if expenses are 25k and you want to work for 10 years:
(30*25+10)/10
76k/yr of net income assuming investments simply maintain purchasing power after taxes.
At 20k expenses for you as a couple it becomes:
61k/yr of net income required.

I also notice you work remotely most of the time, I predict remote work will become more common as this passes. Perhaps your girlfriend and you could work abroad for American companies in the future to lower your taxes to just FICA taxes. 6 months in Mexico, 6 months in Colombia or Peru so you're still close to home and within a few timezones but you're also adventuring, have great weather, and are around nature.

Some food for thought. I trust your judgement to make the most out of life. You've shown that you take responsibility for your destiny.

Scott 2
Posts: 1555
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

On the hiring side, we're finding a lot of employers have furloughed workers. It's not clear yet what that means for the market. I'd guess a flood of average competition, with stand out employees still hard to find. It could negatively impact a near term job search.

Viktor K
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

slowtraveler wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:19 am
Perhaps your girlfriend and you could work abroad for American companies in the future to lower your taxes to just FICA taxes. 6 months in Mexico, 6 months in Colombia or Peru so you're still close to home and within a few timezones but you're also adventuring, have great weather, and are around nature.
I've had this same sort of vision for the future for some time now. Just hope the world traveler archetype isn't figment of a bygone era.

@Scott 2 I thought this may be an issue looking for a job now. I still see a lot of postings, but could be more competitive than before.

I'm really just looking for higher salary at my current job, we'll see how it goes.

I had a meeting with the advisor that took over my perm. life insurance 5 years ago. Last time we talked was right before I went to China. He's a good guy, very knowledgeable.

Out of that meeting, his advice:
  • We should take some of our $30,000 emergency fund and put it somewhere else liquid where it has potential for growth. He suggested I could even lower our emergency fund (savings account) to 2-3 months expenses instead of the current 12 months (for two of us). I.E. start dollar-cost-averaging some of this into a brokerage account @ Vanguard.
  • With historically low taxes, I should increase my tax diversification i.e. open a Roth and start putting some of the monthly surplus in there.
  • Current work benefits for long-term disability are good enough that getting supplemental disability is personal decision that I probably don't need to make. Work offers something like 80%+ pre-tax for disability until 65.
  • Instead of my current strategy of throwing all surplus at my loans, split it up more into other buckets e.g. brokerage and post-tax Roth.
  • I just finished reading Be Your Own Banker (one of the primary reasons for scheduling the call) so we talked about it a bit. Should have some models of what my current PLI could look like, as well as a new LI policy better built for cash value. Depending on how I like the look of those, this could be another bucket to spend on whatever I'm saving on student loan payments.

Viktor K
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

I'm saving at a higher rate because we split rent to come from two accounts.

Living expenses are about $1350 each, and $300 each discretionary.

Have about $800 surplus each month right now as a couple, 1-2k surplus in my personal accounts.

We also got ~$2k back amending tax returns for our no income tax but you taxed us anyway situation while living abroad.

And we got the stimulus payments both.

Short term financial goal is to reduce living expenses and/or increase income when GF finds dev job.

We are sort of in a holding pattern until then, since we don't know what location her company will be in / if it will be remote.

Image

Image

User avatar
Stahlmann
Posts: 873
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Stahlmann »

after some considerations - impressive progress.
congrats on being able to choose a goal and staying on path.

as this topic gathered attention of many fellow programmers.

if 1000h in new field gives you free intership...
how about finding a way of earning even 5$ per medium task after 100h?
so called gamifying of life.

do fiverr, upwork or any kind of service "offer" something like that?

yea, looking for such "gigs", over/underestimation, quarelling with client are overall pain of freelancing.

on n-th hand level, I've just saw bid of 10$/h somebody with 5 yrs experience in java script.
very efficient market, indeed :O. thousands of hungry and motivated people in this world.

anywa, keep rocking.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K6V0-Wt0Ks

Viktor K
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Turned down 30% increase in salary over last 6 months for 20% increase over last 6 months from current company

Viktor K
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

Work for day on a “is this enough for today/5 days according to legit boss” done between 9a-12p basis. Varies on when I get out of bed. Some days have more to deal with personally. Girlfriend mental health becoming troubling

Viktor K
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

@stahlmann freelance is not the best place to look. long term maybe ok. Short term, 3-5 years, my job is easy, study and make projects, join US company as developer

amandastone
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:10 am

Re: An American Millennial

Post by amandastone »

Scott 2 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:43 pm
wow, didn't know they arrange such things in my hometown

Post Reply