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Welcome To The Bitchery

Let's talk about salaries and careers!

I am calm’s excellent AMA brought up the importance of talking about salaries openly. I have no information - much less expertise - to contribute, but I’m curious about your salaries and also shamelessly beggaring for advice. So please, share your salaries, salary-related questions, and sage advice!

I’m about my finish my PhD and am feeling kind of bummed out about my financial future. My PhD is in a field that doesn’t translate to industry careers (like, at all) but I’m also set on leaving academia. Made my bed, who told you to get a degree in something useless, yadda yadda. Anyways, I’ve been looking into things I could do. I already do academic editing which requires not only editing skills but knowledge of multiple disciplines, fluency in their jargon, etc. I get paid, on a good day, about $20/hour. Considering it’s not something you can do 40 hours/week it’s...not great. A friend posted about a junior editor position for a major academic press in NYC. Salary: $30-35,000/year, positions typically filled by MAs or PhDs with previous editing experience, specialist knowledge in the field, communications/marketing skills, etc. Another position I looked into involves university curriculum development and coordination, requires an MA/PhD and specialized pedagogical and communications training, and pays $40-45,000/year. I wasn’t all that upset about all this until I looked up average salaries and saw PhDs on average rake in $81,000 and MAs $51,000.


I’ve lived below the poverty line for my entire adult life so it’s not like I’m used to a lavish lifestyle or even really crave one. But I am thinking hard about what kinds of decisions I should make re: career fulfillment, financial security, job security, opportunities for advancement, etc. I’m naturally drawn to the non-profit sector, but at the same time the idea of making $30,000/year with a PhD and doing a job requiring an MA/PhD and specialized skills is really frustrating.

Anyways, this long ramble is to say: if you have any tips on careers to pursue or want to share your own experiences, please do! I have (non-industry, non-salaried but still substantive) experience of project management, team-leading, communications, and research. I know several languages (although not particularly useful ones), learn new skills and software at the drop of a hat, and problem-solve like a mofo. How do I monetize ($$$) that?

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