59 People Who Make Over $100K A Year Shared What They Do For A Living, And You'll Want To Take Notes


Reddit user u/spicy_tuna_maki posed the question, “Those making $100,000+, what do you do?” Though we can all agree that $100k doesn’t go as far as it used to, it’s still very interesting to learn about different career paths and how they pay. The thread promptly filled with thousands of people sharing their various jobs, and in some cases, how they got there. Here’s what people revealed:

1.“Mineral exploration geologist making $125K. I’m away six or seven months of the year though, which is hard.”

—u/AngryStappler

2.“I am a doorman for a luxury residential building in NYC. I make $110K to $120K a year. It’s the easiest and best job I’ve ever had.”

—u/Brief-Ad2053

gloved hand on a door

Hiya Images / Getty Images

3.“I’m a safety coordinator for a mid-sized city. Basically, I’m in charge of making sure all the departments (public works, police, fire, etc.) are following OSHA and other safety laws and regulations. I coordinate their training needs and complete audits to provide to our board of trustees. I’m also in charge of the city’s insurance issues, meaning if one of our vehicles is in an accident, an employee gets hurt on the job, or a member of the community gets hurt on city property, I’m the one handling all the paperwork, filing the claims, and making sure people are being paid. It was a headache when I started, but once you fall into your groove, it’s not a bad gig. I also get a take-home car, as I have to respond to incidents from home, even on my off time.”

—u/TheConsoleGeek

4.“I am an office manager. I order supplies, pay bills, arrange security cards, put things away, make sure we have enough coffee, and keep track of all our vendors. I make $125K.”

—u/buddaslovehandles

people working in an office with no cubicles

Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

5.“I design, build, and own escape rooms.”

—u/HumbleRutabaga580

6.“Financial advisor. Once you’re established with a roster of clients, the job is relatively easy. I work three days a week, 15–20 hours, and make about $150K. It’s taken 10 years of grinding to get here though.”

—u/DGUsername

  Witthaya Prasongsin / Getty Images

Witthaya Prasongsin / Getty Images

7.“Astronomer making about $100K (three years post-PhD). I could probably make $50K more if I went to tech or something else, but man do I love astronomy.”

—u/meowcat93

8.“It’s taken nearly 10 years, but I’m a flight attendant for a major US carrier. Last year I was shy of $100K, but this year I should break it. The longer you stay, the more you make. It’s super seniority-driven, so the first few years are a rough start, but the longer you stay, the more you make and the easier it gets. At my particular airline, we aren’t limited to how many hours we work either. I average about 15 days off a month. If I worked more, I could have definitely broken $100K. But, it can be a taxing job dealing with so many personalities between passengers, crew, gate agents, pilots, etc., so I usually just keep my days off for my own sanity. It can also be a lonely job, but fortunately, I’m pretty solid being on my own in random cities.”

—u/messky87

flight attendant next to a plane

Hans Neleman / Getty Images

9.“I work in product operations in tech. Middle manager type. It’s a fine enough job, but I’m definitely overpaid. Got a degree in theater, then entered tech as a CS agent 10 years ago.”

—u/Snowden42

10.“I own a donut shop. I had a friend who had another friend who’s family was selling their donut shop. I had nothing to lose and gave it a try. I didn’t even know how to make donuts when I bought the shop, but luckily I was taught a little bit before they let me go on my own, plus the bakers that were with the shop stayed for a while. Now I’m pretty good at making them, but it took longer than I expected.”

—u/SDoNUT1715

  Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

11.“High up in the information security space, $200K+. It’s so much stress, I feel sick all the time.”

—u/Enxer

12.“I’m a professor at a junior college.”

—u/ReedBalzac

professor in front of students

Tashdique Mehtaj Ahmed / Getty Images

13.“Cancer scientist, $140K. My aunty passed away from a brain tumor when I was a child, and she was like a mom to me. Seeing this situation tear my family apart woke something in me. Now, I’m trying to be a part of the solution. To clarify about my career and how I (31M) got here: I went to a four-year university and got my degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology. I got my Master’s degree soon after, and started at the bottom at a biotech company. I started out making $12 an hour after college. I was definitely a little distraught at the time (about nine years ago), but I held in there and remembered why I was doing what I was doing.”

“I was actually able to climb the ladder by being a genuinely pleasant person to everyone I met, and by taking the work, studying, and projects very seriously. I asked a lot of questions and tried to be a positive influence on everyone. I have to say, being nice and respectful will get you farther than you think. Be the person that everyone smiles at when they see. I switched companies multiple times, taking huge pay increases each time, as my skills and knowledge increased. Then, I landed at my dream location. Sometimes it’s about putting your ego to the side and starting at the freaking bottom. You can do it.

Losing my aunty shattered my entire world. She was my everything at the time. I was only 6 years old. My family was super tight-knit and loved one another so much, so this had lasting effects on everyone. I developed a severe anxiety disorder, and sitting around and not doing anything about it just kind of ate away at me at a young age. That ‘positive’ anger has gotten me through college and beyond.

A bit of advice that I give to people now who go through trauma is to just let yourself get angry. I started getting mad, and I figured out how to channel that energy into something she’d be proud of. It’s why I wake up in the morning now. I implore everyone who has a passion and who has motivation to find some way to implement it into your lives. It doesn’t always have to be your career either. ALSO, don’t forget to have time for your hobbies and friends. I definitely have developed an obsession for video games because it helps me escape from reality. A fast paced life needs balance.”

—u/Westykins

14.“Paramedic. Just tipped over $100K this year, with next to no OT. I’m in Canada, mind you. I believe the pay is trash in America.”

—u/canucks84

“My husband is a paramedic here in the US. The pay absolutely sucks for the things they see and have to deal with. He works 60 hours a week just to keep food on the table.”

—u/PrettyFlyForAFungii

  Rawlstock / Getty Images

Rawlstock / Getty Images

15.“Supply chain director for a large food distributor. It’s hard work and stressful, but I think it’s stupid and pointless. My wife is a nurse, and she also makes over $100K. She actually saves lives, and I make more money than her. I think it’s wild.”

—u/Right-Ad8261

16.“Physical therapist, sports/orthopedics. About $120K nearly 10 years in.”

—u/chedt713

person exercising a person's foot

Aldomurillo / Getty Images

17.“I work in a union as a heavy equipment operator. There’s a lot of travel, but it’s fun and have a good balance. Currently working a computer science/cybersecurity Bachelor’s degree too.”

—u/Vegetable_Two_3904

18.“I own a travel agency. Best business ever. I get to travel the world and make decent money. Everybody who works for me travels for pleasure and business several months out of the year with their spouse. It is a dream.”

—u/UsernamesMeanNothing

person packing a suitcase

Kinga Krzeminska / Getty Images

19.“I am a civil engineer. I do land development design. I’ve been doing it for about nine years, and I make just under $130K. When a developer wants to build something, say an apartment complex, they will usually find themselves a piece of a land for their project, then hire an architect to design the buildings. Then, I get hired to figure out how those buildings fit on the property given the existing topography, along with the parking lots, drives, utilities, etc. We make construction plans that a contractor will use to build the project, and we submit the plans to any permit authorities who need to review things in order to approve the projects.”

—u/Lumber-Jacked

20.“Drone pilot for feature films/TV.”

—u/Dinosharktopus

person driving a drone over a field of flowers

Richard Newstead / Getty Images

21.“I own a tech company and a consulting company on the side. I also have an eBay store where I sell used electronics. All together, I pull $150K to $200K annually. No kids, not married, never went to college, dropped out of high school, former runaway/foster kid, former stripper.”

—u/blackwidowla

22.“Luxury wedding planner. My clients are mostly celebrities, politicians, and people in shipping and real estate. I earn stupid money, but I have to be ‘on’ pretty much 24/7 for three months of the year. But, I love the flexibility the rest of the time, and I get to go to some of the coolest places in the world and meet some really interesting people.”

—u/concretecannonball

wedding planner at a set table

Jetta Productions Inc / Getty Images

23.“I make $200K as an IT (cloud) architect. It’s taken many years of experience to get here, but it’s now my happy place.”

—u/ilovetpb

24.“Aircraft mechanic for a major US airline. I make about $65/hour equating to about $135K a year. But, with overtime, I cleared just over $200K last year. I did work quite a bit of OT, but didn’t overwork myself. Plus, OT is completely voluntary.”

—u/Drewbox

  Monty Rakusen / Getty Images

Monty Rakusen / Getty Images

25.“Factory process analyst. I got hired at $60K and just passed six figures almost six years later. I got hired pretty much based on having a degree and background in an analytical field (economics) and some decent Excel skills. Most of the day-to-day is spent trying to figure out how to recover from the mess that is our supply chain, and digging into where we have internal deficiencies.”

—u/ViolentBananas

26.“Litigation attorney. Honestly, it’s not for everyone, both in terms of the skills required and the fact that you have to deal with paid professionals hired to tell you that you’re not only wrong, but absurdly so. And, you have to have the confidence and skill to tell them they are full of it. My wife shudders at the thought of doing my job, and I’ve seen many an attorney burn out or avoid it all together.”

—u/TheNemesis089

  Boonchai Wedmakawand / Getty Images

Boonchai Wedmakawand / Getty Images

27.“Manager of technical support at a company that makes hardware and software for emergency functions at police stations. $125K a year, but $138K after a standard bonus. I have no college degree, but I have over a decade of experience being a senior field engineer who’s worked on the equipment, plus I have people skills, so they asked me to run the internal support staff. I like being in the field better, but 100% WFH fits my lifestyle a bit better.”

—u/xtravbx

28.“Digital media. Specifically, I run the social media ads for a bank. It’s a pain in the butt a lot of the time, but I work from home about 32 hours a week. My family of four is a single-income household, so I’m not really complaining, especially for someone who didn’t finish college.”

—u/Son_Of_Toucan_Sam

  10'000 Hours / Getty Images

10’000 Hours / Getty Images

29.“Plant controller. Essentially, I’m the lead accountant, financial analyst, and operations analyst for a manufacturing operation.”

—u/swiftie56

30.“Airline pilot in the US. It took a long time to make good money. My first year as an airline pilot flying regular airline passengers in America, I made $19K, and there was a pretty well-known airline name on the side of my plane at the time. It wasn’t a tiny charter company. I went from flight instructor to first officer on turboprops, to first officer on regional jets, to captain on regional jets, to first officer on the 737, to now captain of a 737. It took me about 15 years after I started flying to have my first year over $100K, and I got pretty lucky with timing. Not everyone is that lucky.”

—u/rckid13

pilot moving controls on a plane

Richard Sharrocks / Getty Images

31.“Heavy commercial diesel mechanic. I’m pulling about $105K base, but regularly do 60-hour weeks because the overtime is just too tempting while I’m still young. I just work on trucks five days a week and laugh my butt off all day with some good workmates. Get yourself a trade and a good crew, and work becomes a second home.”

—u/InsaneLogistics

32.“I install barcode scanners.”

—u/CrazyCranium

  Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

33.“Enlisted military (US), 10 years, $105K. Pay can fluctuate greatly based on location. If I transferred to somewhere in the US with a low cost of living, I could easily get knocked down to $75k or so. A bonus is that a lot of my pay is not taxed, and depending on your duty station, it could all be tax-free.”

—u/AllAboutYoButt

34.“Lead software engineer at a Fortune 50 company. Our team owns the more important services for the larger engineering organization. I worked my way up from call center contractor.”

—u/kezow

person coding at their computer

Emilija Manevska / Getty Images

35.“Motion picture and television mechanical special effects. $220K a year with an additional $140K a year from rental properties.”

—u/mojopyro

36.“Climber. Oh, for work? We shouldn’t let that define who we are. But, I’m a producer/camera operator for adventure reality TV shows. Turn on Discovery when you’re not doing anything and keep me employed! Watch all the Alaska shows. Pretty please?”

—u/TheGreatRandolph

  Laughingmango / Getty Images

Laughingmango / Getty Images

37.“Industrial maintenance technician for a popular vehicle manufacturer. Last year, I made $136K, and this year the goal is over $150K.”

—u/fielded_drag

38.“I’m a hospital pharmacist, and make close to $130K. I’ve come to appreciate that this is not a lot of money anymore for a single-person household, even living under modest means. I thought I was going to have to decide between a yacht and a private jet eventually, but here I am 20 years later with about $2,500 in my checking account and hoping that PERS will honor my retirement package. I make more than both of my parents put together ever did, but I feel like they were living better than I am.”

—u/coachrx

person in a lab

Shannon Fagan / Getty Images

39.“This is the first year I made over $100K. I’m a network engineer working on government contracts. It’s taken me 10+ years to move up from barely knowing anything and troubleshooting T1s to now monitoring important fiber networks.”

—u/Dessel90

40.“I am a bartender. I get asked what my real job is almost nightly.”

—u/DM_FarThor

bartender making a drink

David Fuentes Prieto / Getty Images

41.“Media sales at an AdTech company. I’ve been in sales about 18 months, but making $100K+ for maybe eight or nine years. I was in client services/ops for most of my career. Getting into sales skyrocketed my income. I love the industry. It has great money, great perks and benefits, and is extremely fulfilling and mostly fun.”

—u/KiddoTwo

42.“I drive a garbage truck.”

—u/Jaybeltran805

  Philippe Gerber / Getty Images

Philippe Gerber / Getty Images

43.“Electrical engineer. I work from home. My take-home is $185K (salary), but my other benefits (healthcare, stock, bonuses) roughly double my total compensation.”

—u/AbsentGlare

44.“Optometrist. For the most part, I have a great job at a private practice. I have about a five-minute commute to work. I can go home for lunch. My patients include friends and neighbors. I’m part of a community here. I help people see better and refer the ones I can’t.”

—u/SteveCress

  Sergey Mironov / Getty Images

Sergey Mironov / Getty Images

45.“I operate a commercial nuclear reactor.”

—u/Wartzba

46.“I nepotism’ed my way into owning a restaurant, and now expanded into four more locations.”

—u/dropdeaddaddy69

  Andresr / Getty Images

Andresr / Getty Images

47.“Lawyer (but it sucks, don’t do it).”

—u/Tracy_Turnblad

“I’m a happy lawyer, but I chose to work for myself and accept that the work-life balance I desire will mean making less than $250K a year, which I’m totally fine with. I see my kids a lot and spend a lot of time working on my house. I have unlimited unpaid vacations. I actually like what I do and getting the opportunity to help people, so it really isn’t bad.”

—u/isfrying

48.“High school teacher with a Master’s degree in the Yukon Territory, Canada. I have over seven years of experience and earn $105K/year. Salary grid here tops out after 10 years at $126K. It’s good money, but I definitely feel like I earn it. Summers off are in lieu of all the overtime. Lots of intrinsic rewards too, not unlike between a parent, but for other people’s kids.”

—u/borealis365

teacher at a students desk

Maskot / Getty Images/Maskot

49.“I’m an implementation specialist at a software company making $110K. It’s very low-stress, but requires an engineering degree and specializes in oil and gas operations (I have a petroleum engineering degree). I used to work in a much more intense environment for a lot more money, but I took a step back. Never been happier.”

—u/i_like_pumps

50.“Registered nurse. My base is $103K, but I make around $115K after differentials. Could be a lot more if I ever took OT.”

—u/No_Investment3205

  Maskot / Getty Images/Maskot

Maskot / Getty Images/Maskot

51.“IT. My title is system specialist II and I do various jobs from scripting and programming, to replacing a monitor, to teaching people how to use SharePoint. I cap out at $115,500, and I’m in California. Even with this wage though, it doesn’t feel like it’s a lot of money. I lose 6% to my pension, plus another 24% in taxes (lower because I’m married with kids) minus medical, which is like another 3%.”

–u/Kila4niuh

52.“Corrections officer, $120K. That’s not my salary, but they offer unlimited overtime potential, so you can basically write your own paycheck in my department. Some guys make over $200K. I’m on Long Island though, and it costs a lot to live here. Our base pay tops out at $128K.”

–u/Officer_Wedell

cop locking a gate

Halfdark / Getty Images/fStop

53.“I started as a CPA in 2012 for $50K, and I got over $100K around 2020, but I took a lateral move to business/data analyst in 2018. I’m at around $115K now, but I’ve kind of stagnated. I’ve got a couple technical levels that are higher, but they’re not very interesting to me, and moving into management seems like hell. Honestly, most of my job is automated now or low impact. If I wanted to make more, working a side job at the same time would be the quickest but least ethical way. I did do that for a few months. It wasn’t bad, but I had a death in the family that made me quit.”

—u/WATGU

54.“I photograph luxury homes, architecture, interiors, businesses, etc. I started teaching myself with YouTube and Google resources in 2016. I practiced around my house, then I started emailing agents and going to open houses. After over two years of hustling, I met some top agents in my area who liked me and my work. From there, it was mostly word-of-mouth. The hardest part is getting your foot in the door with top agents, builders, interior designers, etc. They already have people they know and like to work with. It’s not impossible, but networking is definitely king in this industry. Doesn’t matter how good you are if no one knows you exist.”

—u/boredaz

hand holding a high end camera

Jorge Mata / Getty Images/iStockphoto

55.“I’m a merchant marine as a third assistant engineer. I pretty much just work on a ship for half the year and make $140K to $170K depending on how much overtime I work and what specific company I work for. My first full year out of college, I made $202K, but that was because I worked a lot more of the year.”

—u/LiveLaughLove59009

56.“I’m a live entertainment video and LED technician and camera operator primarily for live music, but also occasionally sports and corporate trade shows when I’m not touring. It can range wildly though, depending on how active an artist is or how much you want to work. During touring season, I’m away from home anywhere from five days at a time, to usually not more than four weeks. I’m gone a lot during the spring and summer, but many artists don’t tour much in the winter, so you have to manage your money. For example, I worked pretty steady from February through October last year. Since then, I’ve mostly been home spending time with the family. If I tour 26 weeks, then I’ll clear about $75K, which I would consider my base salary or minimum annual goal. I usually have November and December off, and I’ll cherry-pick my gigs for the other four months of the year. It’s very important to have a work/home balance.”

—u/Videoroadie

  Sutiporn Somnam / Getty Images

Sutiporn Somnam / Getty Images

57.“Product manager at a niche software agency, $120K plus bonuses and equity. I advise clients on which technology/marketing decisions are worth investing in and then organize and instruct the software teams on what the project scope will be (and review their work before going live). It’s my perfect job in a lot of ways because I’m valued for strategy and soft skills by the tech colleagues, and valued for my technical understanding by the business stakeholders.”

—u/hopscotchmode

58.“I run and own an auto body shop. My main auto body techs and painter also make $100K per year.”

—u/TrentZoolander

mechanic looking under a car

Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

59.And: “I work for a general contractor. I started in the dirt, and now I build our 3D models, perform important construction layout, train field guys on how to do other grade checking and layout, manage a bunch of equipment, and check plans for issues before the crews are boots on the ground. I have a GED and make $120K a year, plus I’m about to get a raise. I work an average of 44 hours a week, except during the busy season, and then a few weeks of 50-65 hours. No seven-day work weeks, and I’m home every night. My current title is construction surveyor, but it’s about to become survey manager I think.”

“For anyone wondering, hard work for a purpose pays off. Find a company with an agenda for helping their employees grow. When you hit the wall, find another company like that. Help them, they help you, get good at your role, make them some money, and bounce when it makes sense. You can find a ‘forever’ company if that’s what you want. I think I have, unless it makes sense to go full-time independent 3D model builder and consultant. Also, you should enjoy what you do for a living more than 50% of the time.”

—u/HazardousBusiness

Do you make over $100K a year? What do you do? Tell us in the comments!

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.



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