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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?

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.

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