Tuesday, August 5, 2014

If I Had A Million Dollars

Skirt: J. Crew (on sale!); Top: c/o ModDeals (only $10!); Boots: c/o Aeropostale

I don't discuss my actual work here on the blog very often (usually keep work at work and use my blog as a vacation), but its been on my mind lately, so I thought I'd share a bit.

I work in the technical recruiting space here in Portland for a staffing agency that defies all expectations of staffing companies - we're a bunch of nice, non-sales-y people that love their jobs. That much can't be said for most staffing agencies around. It's a notoriously slime-y and competition-fueled industry. I don't talk to any actual candidates or clients, so I basically head-hunt without ever speaking to anyone. I mine websites and databases for people, their contact information, their resumes, and little details about their life. It's weird and creepy and I love it. I usually spend my entire day reading resumes and job descriptions and learning the ludicrous ins and outs of the software and tech space.

I am astounded on a daily basis at what tech professionals (software engineers and architects, mobile developers, programmers, etc.) can demand if they're qualified. It is a constant reminder that having a degree in a niche field (computer science), being excellent at what you do, and being comfortable demanding a salary and perks can get you far in life. The other day we stumbled across a Bay Area developer making $275,000 a year. Hello! I thought that those salaries were reserved for doctors, lawyers and people in finance. The other day a guy told us that he wanted to work from home because it meant he could wear PJs and not shower. The offices around town have to compete for talent so hard that they offer kegs in the office, whiskey Wednesdays, kombucha on tap, dogs in the office, remote work, elaborate themed parties... it goes on and on and on. The tech space is absolutely blowing up right now and it boggles my mind daily.

I think a lot about my own skills and how they aren't very niched (English degrees are a dime a dozen) and that even though I work (really) hard and am quick to learn things, I can be easily replaced by another recent college graduate with a few years of experience and a similar degree. I pretty frequently regret choosing such a non-niched degree and not paying attention to the market before moving into the working world. If I only knew then what I know now. But isn't that always the issue? I think that one of the keys to succeeding is having an eye for what you're a) good at and b) what the world needs. If you're a brainiac that is great at coding, this is a perfect world for you. Everybody needs a mobile app or a website re-haul or their systems re-architected for emerging technology.

I think that so much more of college should be focused on entrepreneurship, identifying real world skills and capabilities and helping people get out there in the world and make something of themselves. My English degree certainly improved my grammar, my critical thinking skills, and my appreciation for literature, but it didn't help me gain something no one else has (or something everyone else needs). And I don't really feel like anyone but my older family members warned me of that. College rah-rah-ed my choices and sent me out into the world full of debt and lacking important and marketable skills. That piece, that missing part of my college education, is now up to me to figure out over the course of my career. And what a daunting, but kind of exciting, prospect that is!

Where do you all work and where are you trying to head in your careers?


  1. Great post and thoughts! I love reading posts like these, they always get me inspired. Also, that top is super cute!


  2. I'm totally self employed, scary, but it works and I'm going with it. As for my future? Excited to keep growing as an entrepreneur. And wow, those are some kind of salaries + companies. Whisky Wednesday sounds good to me!! <3 And you look beautiful, totally digging these photos!! xoxo

  3. loving the detail on that top! gorgeous photos.


  4. your outfit is lovely and i totally like the atmosphere and the lighting in your photos.

  5. Ha ha I love how you admit that your stalking for your work is creepy but fun. That's what I think of my work too in which I have to do a lot of user experience design so I'm trying to get inside our customers' heads in order to make the UI match the way they want to use it. Some of my peers who work at other companies for them this includes visiting the customers in their "natural environment" at their home shopping for things on a website or watching them use mobile devices outside their home or how they interact with car controls as they drive their kids around!

  6. I agree, if only we knew back then what we know now haha it's always like that! I wish I got more practical real-world and business related classes, but a choice wasn't even an issue -- in Russia you study whatever is planned for you, you don't get to pick your classes. But the fact that we realize now that we can improve things is already positive!

  7. I wholeheartedly agree! Well said. If only the advice I received was this, and not, "it doesn't matter what you major in in college," I would be much better off!

  8. Preach! I'm an English degree holder myself, and I feel like in the current world, that doesn't mean anything at all.

  9. Yes, tech professionals are making serious bank right now because that's just what technology does to society. We're in constant demand for them. However, I must say, there's not a lot of literate people out there. My friend who was an English major is actually working in a very high education position right now. As long as you have a goal and you're determined, you'll be more successful than any of those guys. There's always a drastic difference in the way you write your blog versus other bloggers. Maybe that's your niche? Anyway, loved your outfit. You look stunning.


    Maggie S.


  10. You know, being someone who is in a tech field, it amazes me what a person with an English degree can do for a living. I mean that totally and entirely sincerely. Because how do you get a job like the one you're in? Sometimes I feel a bit limited by my field, even though there are so many different paths to take. I graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering and am working as an Environmental, Health, and Safety Engineer at the moment. My boyfriend was a Computer Science major who is working as a Software Developer. We both started as Chemical Engineering students, and he made the smart move to switch to something he liked better which was even more in demand. For both of us, our degrees were very much influenced by the demand and compensation of the field. While there is a demand for people with these jobs, it is really difficult finding them in the places you want and at the same time. We are living a two hour drive from each other right now because it's the closest we could get jobs to each other. We are just planning for the future, hoping the stars will align and we both find jobs somewhere other than the desert southwest (we are really interested in both Seattle and Portland), but in the mean time, we are here, doing our thing. Thanks for sharing what you do. I always am so interested in what bloggers do "in the real world" because there are so many jobs I really didn't even know existed.

  11. I was an English major and then chose to go into a more niche field of Journalism. Haha... when my first job out of college shut its doors like most other newspapers nowadays and I made more money as a bartender... boy, did I realize I made the WRONG decision. However, now I think maybe it wasn't so wrong. It gave me a ton of skills that I was able to tap into over the years and sort of grow my own expertise and area. Now I use all of those skills in my current job (that I wouldn't have even been able to imagine being a job 9 years ago when I stepped across the stage!) Thanks for the insight into the recruiting world. Such an interesting world!

  12. I loved reading about your job and your thoughts on education and experience. I have felt the same before. I'm an Event Manager, I have a Masters degree in Communication and I have struggled (still do a little) to get a salary that I think is fair for me in regards with my degree and experience. My husband is in the IT world and thought he doesn't make $275K, he makes good money. I had days like you when I wished I had chose my career path differently. But then I also remember how much I hated maths, physics and what not...
    In France (where I was born and raised), you are asked to choose what you want to study, hence, the field you'll end up working on later, at age 18. and boy have I changed since I was 18. I wished we'd had more exposure to real life jobs before having to make that choice, I might have chosen differently... or not, who knows?
    Having said that I do love my job today, enjoy almost every minute of it. Would I change? Yes, probably. For something that would give me more free time. I would love to be able to be freelance or something like that, working from all the over the world... Because I want to enjoy life before it's too late...
    We'll see if that dream ever come true :-)

  13. I feel your pain about the job. I'm a SAHM now, but my history degree didn't open that many doors for me and I ended up working in jobs that I found less than fulfilling. Sigh!


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