At this point, anyone who has been reading along knows a lot about my finances, but not much about me. On the personal side, I’m pretty average. I have a younger brother and a younger sister, and my parents are divorced. Both have remarried in the past couple of years. I live with my grandfather, because my mother and I have a MUCH better relationship when I don’t live with her. I rarely have spare time, but when I do I read, exercise (not as much as I should), play around with Excel, and hang out with friends. Up until a couple of months ago I went out to clubs and bars a lot, but I don’t have time for it anymore (not to mention I can’t afford it). I’ve been with my boyfriend Jay for 10 months on and off. In April we’ll be celebrating a year together.
WORK AND COLLEGE
I haven’t exactly been secretive about what I make every month (some quick math should give you an idea), and many people I know ask me why I don’t make more, since the industry average for my job is approximately $34,000. My salary doesn’t even reach the bottom of the industry pay scale.
There are two very good reasons for this.
- My company is pretty small.
Okay, so why don’t I leave and try my luck elsewhere?
Well, I can’t. Not just because it’s my family’s company, but because of my second reason for not being paid what I should be.
2. I’m not technically qualified to do what I’m doing.
When I left high school, I wanted to be a history teacher. I went to WLU for an Honours History program. For a number of reasons (the school was overcrowded, the classes were not what I expected, I became extremely depressed, and I preferred taking shots over doing my assignments), I left after the first year and moved home to live with my dad. I spent the next month trying to find a job but wasn’t hired anywhere, no matter what I tried. Eventually, my mom called me and offered me a job. I began working in the warehouse for minimum wage. A few months later, I was trained to work in finance for a few weeks, because our A/R person had a family emergency to attend to. That employee never ended up coming back, so the job was mine.
I was only trained for A/R for a week. Literally. After that, I was on my own. My supervisor helped a lot at first, but I needed to adapt very quickly to succeed. I knew that if I didn’t do my job properly I’d be exiled back to the warehouse and they’d hire someone new. So I worked my ass off to prove myself, and I still do. A couple months into the promotion, I got bumped to salary with a small raise. A year later, I have had the highest raise percentage for two years running. I also started classes for an Accounting diploma. As of April, I’ll have 10 of the 35 credits I need to complete. After I finish, I’ll hopefully be able to bridge into the third year of a Bachelor of Commerce university degree, which I need to be admitted into the CGA program. My hope is that after I’m completely finished my education (with a conservative end date of 8 years from now), I’ll be able to become a controller and rake in some serious cash. It’ll be a long hard road, but I’m totally willing to do it if it means I’m secure in my future.
For now I’m okay with my salary, considering my company pays for my schooling. However, it’s not enough for me to live independently at this point- rent in my town is insanely expensive compared to the next city east. Maybe once my debt is gone and I feel comfortable with my savings, I can find a friend who isn’t crazy and/or broke to move out with and start up on my own. As it is, I have consistently gotten raises as I become more skilled and am able to take on more responsibility, so I really hope that continues- at least until I finish my diploma and can negotiate a little more.
Has anyone else gotten an education while working full-time? How long did it take?