What jobs pay at least 50k?
July 2, 2010 4:24 PM   Subscribe

I know that times are tough and young grads everywhere are struggling, but let's assume, merely hypothetically, that I wanted to find a job that pays $50,000 USD a year. Where/in what industry would I look?

I currently live in the US, but I would be willing to move anywhere and do, for the sake of argument, just about anything.

My only physical handicap is that I wear glasses, but otherwise I'm in top shape. My degree is for Management and Information Science from a respectable school in the US. I can program, but don't really enjoy it. I speak English, Spanish, and Catalan fluently. I can also speak French and (Brazilian) Portuguese but less fluently, for the moment. I truly enjoy studying languages.

Just looking to brainstorm some ideas.
posted by Theloupgarou to Work & Money (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
50k isn't that much, really. My company would hire you for a business analyst/project management position for 50k. (At least, I'd imagine, judging from what I know of people's salaries here. But it sounds like you're really into languages, and I can't tell if you really want to go into IS.
posted by punchtothehead at 4:30 PM on July 2, 2010

I think a business analyst position would fit you well....plus you dont need to program...you can also work with databases (excel, access, etc) and there would be no need for programing either.....
posted by The1andonly at 4:36 PM on July 2, 2010

In NYC, experienced legal secretaries make $50K and more. You need to type at least 60 wpm, have good grammar and spelling, know the advanced functions in Word and at least the basics in Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint and have experience in offices. You'll start in the high 30s or low 40s, but after maybe 3 years, you'll be at 50. Although most legal secretaries are women, I've made it as a man.

Your Spanish will give you a distinct advantage, but go for the better firms, where the lawyers are smarter and less inclined to get things done by lying and bullying.
posted by KRS at 4:38 PM on July 2, 2010

Unfortunately, my experience has been that doing exciting things at an entry level and earning a lot of money are often mutually contradictory. Are you interested in the "anything", or in the money? You could relatively easily drop into a $45-50K/year IT project management / business analyst role, especially if you can use your language skills to get you a position managing nearshoring projects, but it's not what I'd call exciting or adventurous or physically demanding. I have yet to need to escape on foot from an all-day analysis session, though I've been frequently tempted to gnaw a leg off to escape. You might get some travel in a BA/PM job or you might not - travel is expensive, and one of the first places the budget cuts hit.
posted by hackwolf at 4:53 PM on July 2, 2010

$50K as starting pay, or $50K eventually? Because the former is really hard to get, and the latter is easy.

Basically, the few jobs that have starting pay of $50K are management consulting, finance and certain programming jobs.
posted by moiraine at 5:04 PM on July 2, 2010

You should not have a tough time getting a job as an entry-level analyst at most large consulting or software firms (Accenture, Deloitte, etc.) Starting salary for that kind of role is in the $50k range. Language skills are a huge plus at places like that.
posted by charlesv at 5:18 PM on July 2, 2010

Look in the Washington DC area (including northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs). We're really living in a bubble here -- jobs are MUCH easier to find. If you've got a Master's degree, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a job in DC that pays MORE that $50,000 a year. It'll be a bit trickier if you've only got a BS, but -- yes -- your language skills will help you significantly.
posted by rhartong at 5:22 PM on July 2, 2010

Translation and/or interpretation. It takes a little white to get oriented to how the business of translation or interpretation works (from a business angle and a technical angle), but a hardworking, hustling freelancer with a good subject matter expertise to capitalize on should be able to hit $50,000 or so within a year or two, and enjoy steady increases in rates and productivity for several years after that. For the most part, the freelance translation industry cares more about how well you do what you do, and how professionally you handle yourself, than it does about what your degree is in, whether you are certified, or how many years you have been at it.

There are a lot of different directions you can go in once you get your foot in the door--your educational background would be a natural fit for translation agency project manager, for example--and you have flexibility about where you want to live, to boot.

There are a wealth of articles and helpful forums at www.proz.com if you want to learn more.
posted by drlith at 5:37 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

This broad goal of $50k per year is misleading, especially looking beyond the US. I've been working for three years, mor or less right out of college, and I make a bit more than that. The problem? My wife and I can't afford a house around here. If we move out of California, or into less desirable CA cities, we could afford a house, but chances are that we'd be taking some pay cuts.

In short: annual salary is meaningless without knowing the cost of living, and that changes a lot, depending on location.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:44 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

I, too, was going to suggest a DC-area government job. The Library of Congress is hiring.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:40 PM on July 2, 2010

Seconding what rhartong said about DC. The cost of living is high, but not like LA or NYC. There more jobs here that deal with languages than in most places in the US, as well. Both government and private sector. Some other thoughts on languages:

The State Dept's Foreign Service. The starting salary is good, and that's not including housing allowances, etc. when you're overseas. You'll have to pass the Foreign Service Exam first. You will get to do a lot of language study, though. The various intelligence agencies are a possibility, too.

Various contractors working on federal contracts would be able to use you, I'm sure, with your academic background. $50K is possible depending on your experience.

Finally, there is always the military. Go become an officer if you can. Salary is not going to be $50K early on, but your allowances will more than make up for it. The intel and crypto communities always need languages. Example.
posted by pandanom at 6:55 PM on July 2, 2010

Some kind of technical sales rep. Maybe at an international company, where you can use your language skills.
posted by yarly at 7:21 PM on July 2, 2010

My starting pay was well over $50K as a software engineer, and this was 3 years ago.
posted by little light-giver at 9:27 PM on July 2, 2010

Pharmacology. Not state-sanctioned.
posted by ovvl at 10:31 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Starting salary for an inexperienced software engineer at my first job was ~55k in a small town in coastal Florida, where the cost of living was well below national average. The only odd wrinkle is that they are a defense contractor, so you'll need to be eligible for a clearance.
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 5:50 AM on July 3, 2010

One strategy would be to just do something you're really into for 2 or 3 years, work on some cool projects, and learn how to market your experience and accomplishments. After that, a $50,000 job is no problem.

This is really common for people who take a couple of years off to do something like Teach For America. They earn a teacher's salary (which can be $50k where cost of living is uber-high, but is usually closer to $35k), then are able to market their experiences. Obviously they don't do it for the later salary, but they know it won't hurt them.

Is there a cause you're interested in? a politician or campaign, a business you might start? Tim Ferriss might suggest traveling and having interesting experiences.

In sum, don't be idle and learn how to market what you do. Setting your sights on $50k straight out is feasible, setting them on $50k in 3 years after you've done some really interesting work might be selling yourself short.
posted by jander03 at 10:17 AM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great ideas! I've really got some interesting stuff to think about now.
posted by Theloupgarou at 3:57 PM on July 3, 2010

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