How meaningful do you think the average compensation of the lake is?jacob wrote: ↑Wed May 13, 2020 2:59 pmMethinks there's a bit of survivor bias in the "be the best person in your field" advice. IIRC, he used the example of bothering to read a difficult paper that most other computer scientists hadn't. One field's high achievements are another field's minimum requirements. It's therefore important to realize the size of the lake one is swimming in before attempting to become the biggest fish. Smaller but highly compensated lakes are found in intersections and virgin territory. This is unfortunately also where a lot of business failures are found, but sometimes one can luck into it. For example, people who had spent a few months dabbling with HTML twenty five years ago suddenly found themselves highly paid experts because they could hack up the "homepages" that every company suddenly figured they needed. Smaller lakes with lower compensation are found everywhere.
I think I'd make far more as a top plumber than I make as a very reasonable physicist. Most professions have a tiny tail of extremely highly paid people who are basically not part of the ordinary distribution. If you want to be part of this tail in sports, music or science you are probably going to fail regardless of how good you are, but if you are competitive in one of these things there are less competitive but related professions where expecting to be in the tail is reasonable.
One part of this is that all professions eventually become "business", the real money is always in having an equity stake, and "less competitive" professions often (but not always) offer equity stake for more people at a lower level with less skill. A lot more plumbers than web developers are millionaires and I bet a fair few of them never graduated high school. That aside from the fact that corporate employment is simply disagreeable to most creative people.
FIRE can be seen as corporate employees trying to make this leap to equity stake, not by starting their own firm because it's good as impossible, but by buying out 0.001% of their employer.