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To ask how people get these jobs.

(333 Posts)
Ecriture Mon 04-Mar-19 19:53:11

I'm over 30, I come from a working class background.

I grew up with a mum on benefits single parent, 3 kids.

I tried though.

I went to iffy poly uni and got a crap degree (2:2) because I worked three jobs just to stay on the course.

It's not been easy but I've been willing to work as hard as it takes to make a life for myself unlike my childhood.

However, in the past 7 years I'm working I've barely scratched the surface and I am only on 25 grand and still at the bottom of the pile.

Today I had to attend a meeting where 60% of people present were some type of chief officer, cfo or head of major departments.

They all seem to have very distinguished careers and have attractive salaries way beyond my own.

My question is this how did they get there?

A lot of women on this site also seem to be high earners with lots of responsibility.

Does one have to be born into a wealthy family, know the right people or go to the best university. I have none of this.

Can hard work actually get you anywhere in life?

Am I destined to spend the rest of my life doing a low paid work despite my ambitions?

Am I being unreasonable do you think that someone from my background could ever rise higher?

Can anyone give me any advice about what I can do or how they progress in the phone their own career?

Ecriture Mon 04-Mar-19 19:54:58

*how they progressed in their own career.

Wow this is going well! blush

ideasofmarch Mon 04-Mar-19 19:54:59

Watching with interest, as I feel similarly left out.

Sleepyquest Mon 04-Mar-19 19:56:49

No, I'm a CFO in a small business and I got a 2:2 and although my parents weren't poor, they weren't rich either!

I just push myself all the time, and will continue to! Have worked my butt off though.

You can do anything you want to, but I feel you have to be prepared to work super hard and constantly be gaining new skills and qualifications.

Lwmommy Mon 04-Mar-19 19:58:52

I stared work in a call centre at 17 part time after school.
Went to uni but had to drop out at end of 2nd year due to a sudden bereavement
Went full time in the call centre minimum wage
Became a team leader
Then took a quality manager role
Then a call centre manager role
Now head of uk customer service for a global organisation

Not on mega CEO money but steadily progressing and hoping to be on near £100,000 in the next 5 years by the time I'm 40.

Warminstermum Mon 04-Mar-19 20:00:18

I’m from a similar background to you. Not got a great first degree but do have a professional post grad qualification and always had to work hard to pay my way.
I’m middle management now, got my job through being confident, planning the early career moves well and being willing to apply for promotion opportunities as they come up. In my field to be promoted though you do need a professional qualification which means going back to uni.

PinkOboe Mon 04-Mar-19 20:00:45

In think often it’s having been exposed to the types of jobs and roles that exist.

I left uni totally unaware of usual, everyday job titles.

I think if your relatives / family friends had been accountants or project managers or civil engineers you’d have a wide general understanding of what you could do, what it would involve, how you’d get there

I knew about vets dentists and nurses but had no idea of the corporate world and I think that harmed my achievement

Ffsnosexallowed Mon 04-Mar-19 20:01:10

In my organisation the folk who do "well" are very career minded and very politically aware. ("short hand for would sell their grandmother's for a promotion ")

JonSlow Mon 04-Mar-19 20:01:19

I’m mid 30’s. Head of department, and have a comfortable salary.

The secret? Moving jobs. I stay for a couple of years, and then look to move on up.

If you are on £25k, look externally for the next level up. Apply for it. You might not get it, but you’ll certainly gain an understanding of what you need to improve on to go up a rung.

So many people have misplaced loyalty to a company. It’s a lot easier to gain pay increases an an external candidate.

LittleBearPad Mon 04-Mar-19 20:02:12

What jobs have you applied for?

Have you waited for your hard work to be recognised (this is quite typical for women). This rarely happens - you have to push yourself forward / ask for what you want.

If there aren’t opportunities at your current job - look elsewhere. Don’t assume you can’t get a new job is you don’t meet all the requirements. Apply anyway.

Confidence is key - as is fake it til you make it.

PooleySpooley Mon 04-Mar-19 20:04:42

I am in a post which requires a degree but I don’t have a degree.

I have managed to make sure I always do a good job, network really well and make sure I maintain a good professional reputation.

Also I always apply for jobs I am not qualified for.

BoomTish Mon 04-Mar-19 20:06:29

I’m senior. I was lucky to get involved with a start-up very, very early on so my role/responsibilities/salary grew with them. I’m a grafter and that has paid off. I was in work this morning for 7am, and I’m just leaving the office now. That’s not every day, but I do what I need to do each day to get things done. Sometimes that means leaving at 4 because the thing that needs to be done is my nails grin

My friend is the child of a single, teenage mother who worked as a cleaner. Friend is a Head of Tax for a global company. Again, she puts the hours in.

Ivegotthree Mon 04-Mar-19 20:13:56

Move jobs every two years or so. Be charming and helpful and lovely to everyone.

Do not take sick days. Turn up on time.

I'm amazed how some young people doss around, are unhelpful etc and thus do themselves out of promotions etc.

If you're good and nice and fun to have around and work hard, it makes all the difference.

Arnoldthecat Mon 04-Mar-19 20:16:10

Get a degree, kiss ass...

CherryPavlova Mon 04-Mar-19 20:16:57

Very poor upbringing. Now executive level in a very large organisation. Was SAHM/part time whilst the children were young. I was a very high earner before stepping down to raise children.

Willingness to move around. Willingness to apply when it wasn’t a perfect match and able to demonstrate transferable skills.
Ongoing commitment to learning and development. Well qualified professionally.
Hard working, built good reputation, built networks.
Adapted and changed as job changed, learning new skills and understanding what organisation was wanting at any given time.

I now recruit to posts up to about 65k. I expect candidates to show the following
- no excuses about being poor or a rubbish university.
- evidence of ongoing learning in a relevant field - and a passion for lifelong learning. A masters, a management qualification, a specialist professional qualification etc plus an ability to learn through reflection and give examples of how they’ve changed in response to feedback or reflection. None of the I’ve got a 2:1 and so I’m educated. It has to be understanding your shortcomings and addressing these.
- Total and demonstrable buy in to our values. Any spin on a cv sees it go into the bin as a lack of integrity whereas a shortfall honestly explained gets a thumbs up.
- An understanding of the organisation, the business plan and strategy, knowledge about the role including what the challenges might be and how you’d address them.
- an understanding of appropriate dress for the role.
- good timekeeping
- a warmth and ability to command a room.

startingtolooklikemother Mon 04-Mar-19 20:17:28

I left school with no qualifications at all, started doing lots waitressing, bar work etc
Then started to do some of the admin for the manager around this (rotas) training new starters. Then with this experience registered with a local temp agency and told them I would do anything (was sick of working nights and weekends) started doing really crap admin jobs but always did the best possible job I could. Got offered a perm job in a recruitment agency, was very diligent, hard working but most importantly started doing additional tasks that I identified as value adding to the business. I've used this tactic in every role I've done.
My advice is to upsell yourself to your organisation, identify something i.e process that could be more efficient. Flag it to your manager and tell them how you are going to solve it, then solve it. You cannot stop doing your day job whilst you are doing it though. Use this experience and pro active approach to get promoted or find new roles where you can demonstrate what you have done and how.
Most people do a job and say things like "they should do something about that" be that person who does
I've had a bit of luck but also some very tough times to get where I am, sometimes if you need to carve it out yourself. It won't happen overnight but employers like people who can demonstrate solving problems as well as doing their job
Good luck 😉

OnlyFoolsnMothers Mon 04-Mar-19 20:18:08

What do you do OP?

Inliverpool1 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:20:29

I know some shockingly incompetent people who’ve blagged their way up the ladder by basically licking the right arses. It’s not always about talent

Flowerplower Mon 04-Mar-19 20:20:51

I'm from a similar background as you - left home aged 17, worked 3 jobs (7 days a week) to put myself through uni. Started working, saved up enough to do a science conversion course and then a masters degree. Started a new career as a scientific advisor on £20k. Then kept going after promotions. It took me 8 years post-masters but now I'm on £85k. The secret for me was finding something that interests me (otherwise it's just not worth it) and then persisting.

Sportycustard Mon 04-Mar-19 20:22:14

I grew up on a rough council estate. Went to university as a mature student. I'm now at board level.

A bit was down to luck but some things that I think helped are:

Moving jobs every 2-3 years - as someone else said it's easier to negotiate pay if you're external.

Applying for jobs where I meet 60% of their requirements. Women tend to wait until they meet them all. Don't do this. Not all requirements are necessary for the job.

Losing my regional accent

Changing my first name to something not perceived as "common"

Building internal and external networks - ask questions and show interest in other departments, you never know where opportunities might come from

RainbowMum11 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:23:28

I was brought up by my single Mum, she always worked (was a teacher so did supply when we were younger before getting a perm job).
I didn't go to uni, worked all through school, from age 13, had 3 part time jobs when I was doing my a-levels, decided I'd rather get experience & earn £ than go to Uni - got an entry level job in a small family run Co. That saw my potential, put me through college & Uni, qualified in a prof qual & have been in a v good position since.
I could earn more, but I have weighed up the commute & flexibility so am ok where I am.

Merryoldgoat Mon 04-Mar-19 20:23:44

What do you do OP?

I think drive is the biggest factor. I could easily be earning at least twice my current salary if I had pushed myself hard over the last 5-7 years but I wanted a good work-life balance.

RainbowMum11 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:26:16

I have seriously put the hours in though, not just focusing learning on the area of my qualifications an£ so have a very wide sphere of experience and knowledge.
I grabbed every single learning opportunity that was there, asked lots of questions, listened and always tried to work out ways to resolve questions.

lljkk Mon 04-Mar-19 20:27:01

I feel a bit funny about what OP wrote.

I went to a Uni that no one on MN ever heard of. I worked 15-35 hrs/week 5/6 of my university years (took that long to get BA). I moved continents & had to start from scratch so no networking to get me ahead in life.

Wealthy family? No. Or maybe wealthy doesn't mean what I think it does. Both my parents grew up poor. My own earnings funded 80% of my university tuition & concurrent living costs.

My current salary is just above OP's... true, b/c I just jumped industry. There is a 20% payband hike in 4 weeks thank goodness. I reckon mental health issues held me back or I'd be on £70k+ at this point in life, but that's ok. I made peace with it. I find other challenges & satisfaction in what work I do.

If you were my friend to talk frankly to, OP, I would say just go for every opportunity you can to extend yourself & upskill & keep work interesting. You sound pretty young still and there's decades ahead to develop in.

LibbyLily Mon 04-Mar-19 20:27:52

My brother is extremely clever but was bone-idle at school - he failed half his O-levels and all 3 of his A-levels.

In his mid-twenties he realised his friends who had gone to uni were earning far more than him so he went to uni in the evenings - he did a part time accountancy degree.

Now, twenty years later, he’s very high up in a global accountancy firm and earning a load of money.

His story makes me think that talent does count for a lot, but sadly I think luck probably played a large part too - he was extremely fortunate to get the breaks he did.

LibbyLily Mon 04-Mar-19 20:28:28

(We didn’t come from a wealthy family & had no family connections in important places, btw)

LipstickHandbagCoffee Mon 04-Mar-19 20:28:48

Council house upbringing,1st in family to go to uni,worked way through uni
Professional qualifications in an in-demand area,established career progression in role
I’m v ambitious,I’ve moved locations for job,I returned FT after 6mth mat leave
I do feel other at times but I don’t dwell on it
My background has allowed me to speak to most people,understand adversity and be empathic
Refreshingly I’m not obsessed by schools/house prices/conspicuous consumption

Oct18mummy Mon 04-Mar-19 20:29:32

I did professional exams in my field, moved jobs every 2/3 years, go externally if no move to grow internally, work really hard, ask for more tasks/responsibilities, ask to manage someone, get involved with projects and make sure people around you know you want to grow.

Gamechanger12e3 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:29:54

Hmm I'm similar age and on a pretty good salary and in management plus own my own home.

Do you want my honest opinion?

I personally think it depends what degree you do in terms of quick progression. I've noticed the people who did my degree or similar vocations (nursing, doctors, dentists, physios etc), were able to enter the workforce at a deccent salary of 22k-27k at the age of 21 no matter whether they got a first or a third. Then of course you go in for promotions within your sector and the only way is up from a decent starting salary. At the age of 21 i was qualified and immediately on 24k then had to do further training whilst in practice. Then once that was completed i jumped up to 28k by 24. Then i went in for a promotion and jumped to 33k which is the bottom of that payscale. Then goes up every year. Next promotion starts at 37.5k then 41k etc.
Considering im only mid twenties if i keep going for promotions then I should be on 41k+ by 30.

I think if you go into an profession then your chances of progression is much quicker.

My friends that did history and georgraphy and other similar degrees have struggled much more because they didn't have a specialised profession as such. Many are working in jobs completely unrelated and none are on as much money as us that chose professions. Not saying they wont ever earn as much or out earn us in the future, but i think having a profession has definitely given me a head start.

EnjoyItAll Mon 04-Mar-19 20:30:28

Take opportunities that come your way. Volunteer to take on tasks that give you additional responsibilities and use those responsibilities to demonstrate your skills. Look round for promotions or temporary promotions. Job shadow if possible and speak to your line manager about your career ambitions if you want it within that organisation. It’s not all about qualification it’s about experience and demonstrating your abilities and then applying for the opportunities that come up

PolPotNoodle Mon 04-Mar-19 20:31:04

I'm from a working class background too, mum never worked, 3 kids by 3 dads etc. Had no parental contact from my mid-teens onwards. Also got a 2:2 (decent uni though, not that it matters) due to MH issues that I struggled to get support for and the need to work.

After graduating I got a low level job in the civil service, worked my way up relatively quickly (good at my job, always put myself forward for internal temp promotions etc) and was eventually offered an external job which without being outing is the direct opposite of what my CS job was but in the same work sphere, so I benefit from the networking I did there. This was following me evidencing my ability to the point where my skillset was strongly desired. I'm senior now (28 years old) and earn about £55k and have a higher earning capacity if I put the effort in.

I say this kindly but I think you're laying back on your underprivileged upbringing as a reason for your lack of progression, when you should be pushing yourself harder in spite of it. Good luck!

RussellSprout Mon 04-Mar-19 20:31:49

Personally I've found it's all about how well you brown nose.

I'm crap at brown nosing. I simply cannot bring myself to fawn all over some of the fuckwits I've worked for, really terrible people who treat others like shit and get paid loads to do very little, massing their egos and making them feel like I think they are great. And they can sense it. They sense I don't really respect them, or that I don't even pretend to.

As a result I've never really got a promotion and my career has stalled, but I don't really mind anymore as I've accepted the level I'm at.

LannieDuck Mon 04-Mar-19 20:31:56

I agree with a lot of the advice upthread. I stood still in my career as I waited to be recognised for my hard work. It never happened.

Eventually, I got more self-motivated, started applying for jobs outside my organisation, looking specifically at which roles paid well. I've moved twice in two years, and doubled my salary.

I find it very hard to leave a company. For some reason I like I'm doing something wrong in leaving. But it's definitely the way to progress.

IncrediblySadToo Mon 04-Mar-19 20:32:10

Given your user name...I think not.

MyNameIsArthur Mon 04-Mar-19 20:34:05

Following as want to comment but not got time at moment!

PostmanPatIsIncompetent Mon 04-Mar-19 20:34:44

Loads of good advice above. I would just add "get a mentor / coach". Someone more senior, more experienced in your industry (or the industry/sector you want to go into) able to talk and be a sounding board and point you in the right direction. I wouldn't be in the senior management position I am now without having had people coaching and advising me along the way. Most decent-sized companies have an internal mentoring scheme, if yours doesn't though many people don't mind being asked, especially if they can see why you've approached them (e.g. I'm mentoring two people at the moment, one who asked her manager if he knew anyone who would be a good mentor for her - he's an old colleague and friend of mine so asked me as he thought we'd be a good match - and one who emailed me out of the blue and asked if she could meet me to learn about my particular area of expertise. Flattery worked grin)

badlydrawnperson Mon 04-Mar-19 20:35:33

I will just tell you the truth about me - BUT - it’s not an indication I have any secrets or useful knowledge. I was born into a comfortable family by the standards of the time, but not a wealthy of well-connected one. I fucked up university by not doing any work. I am terminally lazy. I expect to earn 100k this year in a niche self-employed job with almost no responsibilities. I got fired from my 100k job 2 years ago for being wank at it (in my new boss’s view) it hasn’t damaged my career. The only consistent thing I have done is try new things and be willing to give things a go. I may be on the dole next year, who knows?

SherlockSays Mon 04-Mar-19 20:35:58

I work in the public sector on just short of 40k, I come from an extremely working class family and I don't have a degree at all (although I'm currently studying for one part time, paid for by my employer).

I'm 30 and in all honesty, I just worked at it and as jobs came up that I was interested in I applied for them until I found my 'niche' and used the experience I'd gained along the way. I'm a user researcher so it's not a particularly well known job to the outside world but huge in the digital sector and there's loads of jobs for it in the government and it's well paid.

Hassled Mon 04-Mar-19 20:36:53

I think it's down to a combination of confidence, luck and being good at self-promotion. And yes I know it's a sweeping generalisation and we're all different etc but men are often much better at the self-promotion bit.

I got the reasonably good job I have now largely through luck, but also because with age I found the confidence to go for a job that was (on paper) well out of my comfort zone - I knew I could do it, and I can do it, but me in my 20s/30s I probably wouldn't have bothered applying.

PolPotNoodle Mon 04-Mar-19 20:37:00

Should also say I didn't need to brown nose at all - to the contrary I had a bit of a reputation for speaking out against out-dated operating practices. I did mitigate this by putting together proposals to improve working methods (all of which were used).

ThunderStorms Mon 04-Mar-19 20:37:06

I just push myself all the time, and will continue to! Have worked my butt off though.

I wonder what this means, though, in reality. There’s the implication that if you haven’t done well, you can't have worked hard enough. That’s just not true (I’m sure the person I quoted wasn’t implying this, though].

PrismGuile Mon 04-Mar-19 20:37:26

I do think you could but, maybe not when you had to work three jobs. My friend came from a single mum benefits household but got into a very good uni, did very well as her maintenance loan was high so she only worked summers. She's 1 year out of uni and on £30k.

The problem isn't your background, it's the inequity of your opportunity when you went to uni as a good degree from a good uni would most likely have helped you do better.

Or, have you coasted? Do you throw yourself at new things with new ideas? Do you make it clear you are there and your achievements? Sometimes the quiet, diligent people are overlooked and sometimes people don't work as hard as they think they do.

user1457017537 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:37:38

Consider working for yourself.

GrandTheftWalrus Mon 04-Mar-19 20:37:49

This makes me sad that I didnt try harder at school. I then failed 1st year at uni again by not trying hard enough.

So I'm now 34 years old on a minimum wage zero hours job with a 2 year old.

I'll never achieve more than that so I hope my daughter will.

SurgeHopper Mon 04-Mar-19 20:37:59

Do you have a working class accent?

DearDiary1 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:38:03

Confidence and brown nosing the right people

LipstickHandbagCoffee Mon 04-Mar-19 20:39:00

Qualifications: two undergrad degree, one postgrad,and professional training
Regular mandatory and CPD training

blueyellowgreen Mon 04-Mar-19 20:39:06

It's certainly possible without a great university degree and 'rich' / middle class background.

Some tips:
-As stated above move frequently to gain new experience and increase salary more quickly
- apply for jobs where you meet 50% of what they are asking (attitude, common sense and personality also go a long way)
- always think bigger than your own job. Ask yourself what your line manager is struggling with and try to help take the pressure off them. That way you'll be seen as a super star and somebody they want to keep around and develop (assuming they are a good manager!)
- work smart not hard. Sometimes this is being political sometimes this is just being able to see what's important and most impactful.
- treat the business you work for as though it was your own. Really seek to deliver results for the business.
- surround yourself with smart people, ask questions and absorb as much info as possible.
- be willing to move to somewhere like london where there are a lot of opportunities (depending on your field).
- be positive and energising (without being annoying....) to inspire those around you.

LipstickHandbagCoffee Mon 04-Mar-19 20:39:49

Do you have a working class accent? I do.yes

Guineapiglet345 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:40:26

I think a lot of it is luck, you have to be in the right place at the right time when jobs come up, the right people have to like you for you to get the promotion etc. I don’t think saying work hard is very helpful because there’s a lot more to it than that.

dementedma Mon 04-Mar-19 20:41:10

I have a 2:1 degree. Just been promoted and at the ripe old age of 55 will still be earning under 40K. sometimes things just don't work out the way you want them to.

TripTrapTripTrapOverTheBridge Mon 04-Mar-19 20:42:16

Try thinking differentlt OP. You came from a disadvantaged background and after you studies and then working for 7 years you are earning 25k - that's double what a huge amount of people on minimum wage earn and many will only earn half of that every year for the rest of their working life. Great, you've got a good start, an advantage in life already so you can do things, right? You can climb. Excellent.

Now tell yourself that you can keep doing that...

What is it that you want to do? Why do you want to do it? What will it give you (other than just pounds in the bank!)? Can you take/do you need more qualifications? Can you pad out your CV with additional experience and qualifications? Are you limiting yourself by selling yourself short? Can you change career paths? Etc etc

TedAndLola Mon 04-Mar-19 20:42:56

I'm from a very similar background. I'm 30, grew up on the breadline, single mum with two children. I was the first in my extended family to go to university, got a first but in a stupid subject I never should have taken (had nobody to guide me and didn't know what I wanted to do anyway).

I'm now a high earner because I fell into a niche career that few people are good at but which every company in certain industries needs. A big part of it is writing, which I've always had a talent for.

I don't know what to tell you. Part of it is natural aptitude, part of it is luck, part of it is being brazen and pushing yourself forward for development and promotion. At work I often ask myself, "What would a man do it in this situation?" Sadly, you can get away with being mediocre at a job if you're a white man with a face that fits. As women we have to be extraordinary to make any headway.

I suppose my advice would be to examine where your talents are and look for a mentor who can help you pursue the right career path.

Tattybear16 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:43:36

Poor working class background, got a job straight after leaving school, paid my own way through night school. Company I worked for saw potential and put me through further college and university. I constantly do training and courses to learn and better myself. I’m 50 now and I’m still learning.

Hard work and determination, lots of crap job roles. Always put myself forward to assist and help out, kept my nose clean, don’t gossip, treat everyone the same regardless of their level in the Company. I’m a well respected engineer, frequently asked to work on high profile projects. Love my career.

hiphopapotamuses Mon 04-Mar-19 20:43:42

I've a similar background to you but I didn't bother with uni. Kind of fell into my job and have worked my way up to a semi senior but well paid role. I earn more than my partner who has a masters from a Russell group uni.
Echo the pp - moving jobs every couple of years. Lost my regional accent.
Also have confidence in your ability to do the job you're going for. That goes a long way. Remember nobody really knows what they're doing and as soon as you know everything it's time to look for progression. I aim to be slightly out of my comfort zone.

Mrsmadevans Mon 04-Mar-19 20:44:28

'A lot of women on this site also seem to be high earners with lots of responsibility'
OP you don't actually believe them do you ?
I think there's a lot of Stealth boasting and telling porkies on here re careers, housing, education, jobs, money, weight, looks etc etc not to mention the sheer unlikelihood of the great careers these women have, when in the Real World it is well documented that things are not like this.

ReanimatedSGB Mon 04-Mar-19 20:45:22

Luck and contacts. Plenty of people work hard, obey the written and unwritten rules, even spend silly amounts of money on ridiculous self-help books, and still get nowhere. Those with wealthy, well-connected parents have a substantial advantage (though it doesn't always work) in that their parents often have friends who can put in a word for them, or know before it goes public that a lucrative job is about to become available.

Snuffalo Mon 04-Mar-19 20:46:28

I was in and out of care growing up, never finished uni, and fucked around for most of my 20s flirting with drug addiction and working as a bartender and briefly as a stripper. Got a temp office admin job at 28 and now at 40 am a programme manager managing a team of 20-odd project managers and make 100k+.

It’s 50% being clever and, at least at the start, 20% dressing up my CV to make my job history look more impressive than it was and 30% applying for things I didn’t quite qualify for and being bolshy enough in the covering letter and interview to convince them to give me the job. Now it’s 50% clever and 50% proven experience. Took a while to get there though.

Gentlemanwiththistledownhair Mon 04-Mar-19 20:47:37

If I were you, I'd do the following:

1)Decide what type of job you actually want to do, rather than just to progress. Ie people management? Process management? etc.
2)Ask the person currently in that role about their job / career path
3) is there anyone in a more senior position that you'd feel comfortable asking to be a bit of a mentor for you? Ie just meeting semi-regularly and discussing progression opportunities etc?

Banterlope Mon 04-Mar-19 20:47:50

Don't let opportunities pass you by out of a sense of loyalty to your current employers. They will fuck you over at the drop of a hat if it makes sense for them economically. Apply, apply, apply for anything that catches your eyes and looks possible based on your experience rather than wait/hope/dream of promotion. That might happen, but you need to have your best interests at heart so keep a close eye on all possibilities and tweak your CV accordingly. Sooner or later you will hopefully progress. Good luck.

yolofish Mon 04-Mar-19 20:47:58

Re the working class accent comments: one of the most able reporters around, I think, is Beth Rigby, the political editor on Sky News. She most definitely does not speak RP, but she's a bloody good journo. It's not how you sound, it's what you can do. OP, you've already done really well, so just keep on keeping on, and I 100% agree with those saying to apply for jobs outside your comfort zone.

LipstickHandbagCoffee Mon 04-Mar-19 20:48:48

Agree,on mn I think there’s a lot of hyperbole about finances,family,lifestyle
On mn most dh/dp are described as high flyers,big earners,top of their game
All mn kids are horsey,sporty,eat vegetables,and are studious and get great grades
And finally the mn chicken feeds 8 for 4 days, makes risotto,soup,sandwiches

THEsonofaBITCH Mon 04-Mar-19 20:49:34

Work in USA. I hired several engineers who were "maximum salary" in UK at £35,000. Same role in US was paying $85,000 and now on $150,000. US respects hard work and not "proper" school ties.
I know UK employees who make a great deal, £85,000 but know nothing but have "proper" school ties and so in management. Those who know and do the work for £25,000 with no hope for salary advancement.

Dorsetdays Mon 04-Mar-19 20:50:48

I would say that one of the key things is to believe in yourself, as ‘meh’ as that sounds it really does make a difference to the way you come across in the workplace.

It means that you will have the confidence in your abilities to go for promotions, to stretch yourself and to speak up and be noticed.

Take every development opportunity offered to you and don’t be afraid to ask questions so that you’re always learning and improving.

Oh and never say “that’s not my job”! You’d be amazed how many times I hear that 🙄

funnelfanjo Mon 04-Mar-19 20:51:14

Depends on your industry. I was the first in my family to go to uni, working class, got a third. Earn a comfortable salary now, 20+ years later.

Good advice in here - basically don’t think you went to a crap poly so this is as good as it gets. Number one rule - ask lots of questions, always show an interest, always speak up. Be the person that fills the printer with paper when it’s empty rather than legging it before anyone’s noticed. Even better, fix the system that lead to it being out of paper. But don’t volunteer for anything and everything and get snowed under, it’s more important to make sure you have a reputation for delivering on time. And great quality work, not just “good enough”. And make sure the people that matter know you do great work and deliver on time. And if in self-doubt, fake it till you make it. Many of the people you work with will be shite at their job but good at blagging it. Be better than them and you’re laughing.

Babygrey7 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:51:21

I only ever managed to move up/earn more by finding a new job

I grew up with teacher parents,who viewed anyone in corporate jobs with no legs up for me, no contacts, and am foreign

Stop worrying about class, really, it does not define you. Write a cracking cv listing everything you have done and can do, and aim high.

But you'll need to look for a new job to negotiate from your now experienced position

Justanotherlurker Mon 04-Mar-19 20:51:51

I'm from a working class single parent household who grew up in the arse end of lincolnshire and if I was to apply the IDPOL oppression stack am a significant minority, I'm in my 40's and my white mum worked in the local corner shop and then upgraded to woolworths.

I fucked about in my youth, dropped out of college as I was a deep house rave DJ and then got into IT, I am now a senior dev in a household name that 99% of the country use and have a team of in the hundreds mostly male underneath me.

For me and some like me it was taking the jump into personal responsibility and moving outside the comfort zone, I started out earning £70 a week.

Whilst there is a definite, obvious drag on being a women in the workplace, I have faced the same hardships, and if you squint could be seen to be advantaged wrt positive discrimination because of my gender, but at the end of the day I have had to produce just as much as any male I have worked with.

The situation is personal drive, life is shit and you have to make your own agenda, we could get into a sexism/patriarchy pseudo intellectual route discussion but it will ultimately reduce to personal responsibility v government intervention.

In short, you are in globalised world, you are competing with not just UK citisens for jobs, it's you that has to step up not the system to bend to you.

Oblomov19 Mon 04-Mar-19 20:52:57

I find this thread fascinating. I wish I'd have done all these things, moving jobs every 2-3 years!

Arowana Mon 04-Mar-19 20:53:29

A good friend of mine is a CFO (of a small company) with a high salary. He comes from a lower middle class background I'd say. Both his parents were teachers. Went to state school. He got a 2:1 from a good uni, then got a graduate finance job and worked his way up from there.

LipstickHandbagCoffee Mon 04-Mar-19 20:53:39

I always had a plan,wanted to go to uni.growing up poor sharpens your thoughts
At school I was quiet,geeky.wanted to leave where I was from,had a plan
Didn’t want to settle down (hate that phrase makes we wince)
Didn’t want to get married.

Mrscog Mon 04-Mar-19 20:54:42

Well what is the next step? How do you get there? Do you take things on at work without moaning 'it's beyond your pay grade'?

The people who get on and get up are those who know what the next step is (sometimes it's a sideways move), and who take everything as an opportunity - even if it's a bit more responsibility without the initial pay award. I always take extra stuff on as even if they don't pay me for it I can use it as evidence when applying for my next post.

LipstickHandbagCoffee Mon 04-Mar-19 20:55:12

Yes to changing jobs when yiu need to get promoted or diff experience
In a settled job you can unwittingly get overlooked or not want to initiate change

Snuffalo Mon 04-Mar-19 20:58:15

Moving jobs every two years with a pay rise each time is the only way to climb the ladder, at least in tech and probably in most other industries. Staying put is a sure-fire way to find yourself with 50k worth of responsibility and a 25k salary. Loyalty to a company is idiotic- the moment it makes sense to the bottom line for you to be gone, you’ll be gone. You should show the same loyalty in return.

Justaboy Mon 04-Mar-19 20:58:21

WellI think we can conclude that if you want to get on then you will, its as simple as that:-)

maddiemookins16mum Mon 04-Mar-19 21:00:32

The simple answer could be that there aren’t enough of ‘those jobs’ around for every single person who deserves/wants/needs/works hard for (insert your own wording) etc etc.

PS: I’ve never earned over 25K and I’m 54 (slightly misses point of thread).

user1471426142 Mon 04-Mar-19 21:00:50

Getting onto a grad scheme helps a lot as you have accelerated progression and are earmarked for promotion and good opportunities. My salary nearly doubled between starting a grad scheme and finishing. Throw in an extra promotion after that and you can see how some people have a relatively easy path to middle-lower senior management and good salaries. After that I think it’s harder to get to very senior levels (particularly for women) and you have to be really committed, be good and have some luck.

Snuffalo Mon 04-Mar-19 21:02:52

The people who get on and get up are those who know what the next step is (sometimes it's a sideways move), and who take everything as an opportunity - even if it's a bit more responsibility without the initial pay award.

Counterpoint: taking on extra responsibility without commensurate pay makes you look like a pushover and a fool and you won’t be taken seriously at that company again.

Ask for a fair salary. If the company you’re at are willing to give you the work but not the pay, find a company who will give you both and leave.

FaceLikeAPairOfTits Mon 04-Mar-19 21:03:14

Surely your earning potential is governed in part by the industry you work in? In the arts it’s rare to earn over 40k, for example.

Mrscog Mon 04-Mar-19 21:04:05

Depends where you work Snuffalo - in private firms yes, but in heavily banded public sector work it's better to get the experience for the next band so you can walk into the next band IYSWIM.

LipstickHandbagCoffee Mon 04-Mar-19 21:04:47

I’d say as a woman don’t get stereotypically drawn into doing all the mum tasks
Don’t sideline your career for the kids,accept you will not always be at school gate,and that doesn’t you bad
Don’t get suckered into all the precious moments pressure were you give things up

Snuffalo Mon 04-Mar-19 21:04:59

@Mrscog - fair enough, never worked public sector and imagine it’s quite different.

Guineapiglet345 Mon 04-Mar-19 21:06:25

I’d agree on the regional accent thing, I’ve got a regional accent but live somewhere else, my accent is often mocked in the media, and people generally associate certain traits with it that they then expect me have and I don’t. I definitely know it has held me back in the past.

Noloudnoises Mon 04-Mar-19 21:06:59

I think a lot of it is moving roles a lot and therefore job titles. You never get a pay rise increase in the same job which is as much as a job move/salary bump.

AmIRightOrAMeringue Mon 04-Mar-19 21:07:36

The people that have done great at my company do generally seem to have come from quite wealthy backgrounds. But it's not automatic that they have done well just because of this, it's more just given them a step in the door. After they're in they still need to prove themselves. The people I know that have done the best are people that are generally -
- extroverts but also give the appearanceof listening to people
- confident
- Ability to see the bigger picture and not get bogged down in detail, for example the type of people who will keep a meeting going by summarising and moving on or asking someone to meet separately to discuss a different issue if they've been sidetracked
- worked hard both in terms of hours and taking responsibility for things
- volunteering for things that raise their profile
- been willing to move around for the job
- Been willing to do sideways moves in areas they are weaker in to gain extra experience

Alsohuman Mon 04-Mar-19 21:10:32

My best advice is do something you love and are good at. Find a mentor in that field and change jobs every 2/3 years. Treat everyone you work with the same, ie the way you want to be treated. You don’t need to work silly hours - I never did - but be incredibly effective in the hours you do work. And, trivial as this sounds, dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

My days of working for money have gone but my final salary was just shy of six figures.

BlueSkiesLies Mon 04-Mar-19 21:11:02

Multitude of factors.

Luck. Although most people will tell you it’s jot luck but hard work.

Having good guidance early on in carer choice.

Taking advantage of every opportunity. Making opportunities. Shouting about how great you are because no one else will do it for you.


Made sacrifices in terms of time and life for work.

Good health.

Friendship group with driven women with high aspirations to help support and model good work habits.

Being confident or at least looking like you do.

Playing the game astutely.

2018SoFarSoGreat Mon 04-Mar-19 21:11:14

I did well at school until about aged 14, then skived more than I went, and did not even consider going to University. After a couple of years of mucking about I was forced to do a TOPS course - 20 weeks full time, typing, shorthand, 'business administration' - , which I found I really enjoyed and became very competitive to be top of the class. Did well on all except the typing (but that takes so much practice and had never been exposed to it at my very academic school.

Led to basic admin jobs (typed when everyone was at lunch so couldn't hear me plonking slowly) then got a lucky break into a law firm. Admin, but tons of training and I sucked it all in. Stayed 5 years, learned all they could teach me and moved on. Continued to do that, was hungry for knowledge and not afraid to ask for more. Worked lots of overtime, pushed systems to do lots more than advertised (most people only use the very basics) and was noticed. First big promotion was to be the boss of my boss. Have been C-suite now for quite a few years, and I doubt anyone would even suspect I have no degree. I have never lied about it, but for the jobs I have sought or been approached about, it is most likely assumed.

Work hard, work smart, keep learning. You'll be noticed for that alone - and paid accordingly.

BlueJava Mon 04-Mar-19 21:11:33

My parents were pretty poor, my mum left for a while and my dad brought us up. I was the first one from my family to go to Uni. I had nothing when young and that has absolutely driven me to do the best I can and be completely independent. I left school at 16 with hardly any O Levels and worked in a meat packing factory, following by being a multi drop driver.

At 26 I decided I had to do more and worked towards going to Uni. I did night school for 2 years to get a place, then joined a foundation year at uni in electronic engineering. I passed the foundation course (although it was really hard!!) and I then did a BSc Hons in Computer Science. I wanted a first class which I got, but also worked through my degree apart from the finals. I then became an engineer at British Aerospace and have worked my way up in IT and software engineering at several companies.

I strategically change jobs, I market myself and foster a big network. Since graduating I have done an MBA (distinction) with the Open University and also done an MSc. I am well paid (6 figs) but I have to work very hard to stay at the top of my game - new tech is always coming emerging. I regular do study by myself (coursera and the like), I put in lots of hours and I'm pretty much always available.

BlueSkiesLies Mon 04-Mar-19 21:11:55

Also yeah +1 for grad schemes with defined training and career progression.

LipstickHandbagCoffee Mon 04-Mar-19 21:12:08

Really interesting thread,lots of sage advice

Lantern92 Mon 04-Mar-19 21:12:34

I'm 26 and on 48k. I have worked for same company for 7 years starting salary 18k in 2012. I have GCSEs and then did an apprenticeship relative to my field. Took a call centre type roll then worked my way up was a manager within 1 year and have been promoted 3 times since. I now run my own branch. I worked hard, was willing to move around and do extra things I wasn't technically paid to do. I also asked for the opportunities whenever they came up and generally proved myself to be trustworthy and reliable. 1 sick day in 7 years. I have no degree. Council house upbringing never asked my parents for a penny. There have been times I have felt undervalued and unappreciated but I have always gone the extra mile and done whatever was needed to get the job done even if it was above my pay grade and it has always always paid off.

NorthernBullet Mon 04-Mar-19 21:13:43

I'm working class, no degree. I earn £50k now in a fairly senior position. When I was 17, I got offered a £40/week apprenticeship. I worked my arse off for pittance for 3 years, taking every opportunity to prove I was a grafter. I eventually worked my way up to the decent-ish position I'm now in. Some of it was luck admittedly, and alot of it was grafting my arse off. I also served with the TA for 5 years so I had courses paid by the Army and Army training/experience has went down well in my interviews. I'll be ready for a good rest when I retire mind 😂

NotTerfNorCis Mon 04-Mar-19 21:14:00

Confidence is part of it. You have to play the game. Sometimes people who're very good at a job just stay stuck there, while people who promote themselves reap the benefits, even if they're not so good.

Luna9 Mon 04-Mar-19 21:14:49

Not sure what your field is but I would say moving jobs, look for something better each time and better paid; increase your experience and work hard. If you are not growing/learning anything in a Company move on.

JustDanceAddict Mon 04-Mar-19 21:16:20

I got a 2.2 too! From a decent ‘old poly’, but it’s more life happening rather than upbringing and the like. I had two DCs so lost 6 years of work and then effectively changed career path, then got made redundant and now I work in a typically lower-paid industry. My pay is terrible but I have quite a responsibile job which will hopefully lead to the next one being much better paid.

2018SoFarSoGreat Mon 04-Mar-19 21:16:33

Forgot to add - I have always been available for work (to the detriment of family and home life!) and always respond to emails fast. That gets noticed.

Gravitas. That word is used about me often. I don't know how I got it but I believed in me. So they do.

user1471426142 Mon 04-Mar-19 21:16:40

Also don’t be too swayed by the posts saying some of the people with great jobs are lying. I had no idea my role existed when I was younger and I think that can be half the battle with widening participation and having a more diverse workforce in certain industries. That and shite careers advice from schools. I’ve been involved in a mentoring programme for year 12s and could weep at some of the bollocks they have been told by their teachers that will make their lives harder later on.

BMW6 Mon 04-Mar-19 21:20:32

Surely it rather depends on what your degree is on and what type of work you do?

BirdieInTheHand Mon 04-Mar-19 21:21:11

Exec level in large MNC. Not CEO level but my total package is just shy of seven figures.

I had an unhappy upbringing and was money motivated - I wanted to escape and knew it could only be done if I earned well. I've worked my arse off but the number one piece of advice is:

Make actual decisions.

If you're asked for your opinion, be unequivocal in your advice. You're being asked because someone thinks you can add value to the discussion. Flip flopping and hedging doesn't help.

Everyone can express pros and cons but if I'm asking for an opinion it's because I want you to take a view.

sighrollseyes Mon 04-Mar-19 21:22:32

Top tips would be confidence, knowing how to play the game in your company, applying for external posts on a higher grade is easier than getting internal promotion, networking at every opportunity, take any opportunity/experience that's offered to you.

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