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Misconception: College Graduates Make 6 Figures

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Upon entering college, I was promised fame and fortune after graduation.

Okay, maybe not fame.

But I truly believed I would make a fortune.  I knew that my Business degree wasn’t enough to get me to that 6-figure salary we all dream about, which is why I was dedicated to getting my Masters before even completing my Freshman year as an undergraduate.

I remember my step-dad telling me:

“You have to get your Masters.  When you get your Masters, you’ll be making 6-figures right out of school.”

HECK YES!  6-figures for having no experience and for just attending school?  Easiest money I’d ever make.

I QUICKLY realized this is far from reality.  Not only is landing a 6-figure gig post-college unrealistic, but during this economic downturn landing ANY gig after college can be difficult.

Another thing I learned:  You want to start at the bottom.  I think by beginning at the bottom, I learned so much about what kind of employee and co-worker I am.  I have learned that becoming a leader will be much more rewarding after I have put in my time and effort.  When I become a leader, I will be able to relate to my staff – I will have been in their shoes.  I will be proud of climbing the ladder and earning my position based on my qualifications, not what a piece of paper dictates.

A 6-figure salary does not come from your degree, but rather the effort you apply after you’ve received your degree.

The end.

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10 responses »

  1. So true Ashley! Great post.

  2. 6 figures after law school? *hopeful smile*

  3. I had the same misinformation and decided to do 3 years of law school. The only six figures involved, unfortunately was the price tag for my degree. I enjoy what I do (mostly), but they should warn you at orientation that salaries may appear larger than actual size!

    • I wish I could re-title this blog post – I’d name it “Salaries may appear larger than actual size!” Haha very clever – I like it. As long as you’re happy (mostly) with what you do – I think that’s ultimately the goal.

      Thank you for the comment!

  4. Haha, excellent post. I feel the same way although I’m pretty sure I was promised fortune AND fame starting off in my undergrad. The more time that passes since our undergrad years the more I appreciate your statement that being happy and satisfied at work is the ultimate goal. 🙂

  5. Ashley

    I fell for the same promise you did! I remember back during my sophomore year of college, after changing my major twice, I read an article that said graduates from the Supply Chain Management program made an average of $100,000/year right out of college. I said, “Sign me up!” I ended up getting that degree in SCM (and I’m so happy I did) and worked very closely with the director of the SCM program to get a great job in the workforce. I was his so-called “first choice” when it came to recommendations, and while I do have an amazing job thanks to him, I’m not making anywhere close to $100,000/year. The potential is there, but I just don’t have the experience yet.

    I also agree that starting at the bottom is the best thing for your career. In order to effectively lead departments and people, you have to understand the “knitty-gritty” of the work.

    Great post Ashley!


    • Eric, I’m glad you can relate. I always wonder who on earth is writing these articles with outrageous statistics of what we should be making right out of college?!?! Good thing you got your SCM degree when you did! It really is a valuable degree.
      Thanks for the comment, Eric!


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