How rich can I get?

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Job seekers often ask me about money, salaries, and benefits. I tell them, like I’m saying now, to not assume. It’s amazing how much certain jobs, companies, and career fields pay—both ways. Currently (in Minnesota at least; I can’t promise the same everywhere), most construction and manual labor fields are paying way, way, way, lots of money. For instance, a bathroom remodeler recently gave me a $270/hour estimate. HVAC workers, plumbers, electricians, roofers, masons, landscapers, siders, drivers, delivery personnel, and general contractors are often getting paid high hourly wages. Some even make more than people in medical, dental, and IT fields (which are also generally well paying), and people who seem like they’re probably making a lot because they work in an office and wear nice clothes.

Don’t automatically dismiss a position because it doesn’t require a college degree, was once low paying, and the title seems like it would still be a barely-more than minimum wage. I often recommend getting experience in several areas when possible. So even if you have a degree in one area, feel comfortable to look at other areas.

I haven’t seen an open minimum wage position for several years. The unemployment rate is so low, and companies are desperate for workers. Even jobs in areas such as fast food and retail settings are paying several dollars an hour over minimum wage. If stores include commissions, employees can make quite a bit of money. For instance; one shoe store I know ends up paying most workers $50k-$70k plus per year. Most outsiders would guess the employees may make $12 an hour, because that’s what we normally know people in their positions normally make. Yet that’s far from the truth.

Look for what interests you, even if you are unsure of the salary, and know the position may need an official certification that doesn’t take years and years to get. Companies are often willing to train hard workers and often pay for official training and needed certifications. Our economy will most likely not always be as good as it is today. So getting training and experience in multiple areas may be a great option.

Good luck job hunting.

Beth Husom, GCDF

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