Get me out of this job (and into $75k)
December 3, 2015 9:12 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to transition out of the logistics field. Can you suggest a new field/job/path so I can earn >$75k?

I'm a star at work, but the money just isn't enough. I also find logistics stressful and mundane, and I fear there won't be much of a future in it due to automation.

I'm paralyzed with indecision. I worked through a few books (The Pathfinder, What Color is Your Parachute, I Could Do Anything If I Just Knew What It Was), did some assessments, and met with a career counselor, but I haven't been able to decide on my next step. Now I'm just fishing for ideas to explore.

Me: early thirties, BA in a basically useless degree.
Personality: INFP / ENFJ depending on the day (I don't really think this matters).
Holland Interest codes: AEC / ASC depending on the test (capability > interest)
For many reasons, $75,000 is my target salary (in Chicago dollars).
I'd love to be able to transfer my meager skills into something better paying, but I'm definitely willing to learn some new hard skills or even pursue a master's degree (although I'd like to minimize debt, as I'm still paying off student loans).

Things I currently do: coordinate transportation orders, pull data and run reports, drive spreadsheets, train and support users on our software (SaaS), assist with client relations and account management.

Things I have done in the past: customer service, post production, teaching English in Japan, warehousing and inventory management, very basic business accounting, office administration.

Values aside, I'd just like some ideas on how to transition into earning $75k over the next few years. Any ideas?
posted by mannermode to Work & Money (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Is it not possible to transfer it some way into supply chain management or supply chain specialist? I'm in retail, and our retail logistics guys often go this route and can earn a very good living that way.
posted by frumiousb at 9:22 PM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]

Sales, maybe. There's high pay if you get really good and find a niche.
posted by sninctown at 9:56 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're thinking about graduate school, consider an MBA. There are at least two great programs in Chicago, Booth and Kellog (UChicago and Northwestern, respectively). Of course there are great business schools elsewhere, but I don't know if you are interested in moving.

I can't say how the debt would work out, but I think you should make sure not to be reflexively allergic to debt, if taking on some debt would substantially increase your salary. That's obviously a risk, but sometimes it is a smart risk.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:03 PM on December 3, 2015 says the average Chicago stockbroker makes $123k (even today, somehow); O*Net OnLine has the median US salary at $72k. (O*Net OnLine is a good site to poke around, if you don't know it.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:23 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

If your software isn't developed in-house, you might be able to transition into a training or project management role at the company that develops it. I work in software and have seen this happen in both directions (former end users joining the provider, and former developers joining a customer). Indeed shows an average of $74k for a software trainer and $108k for a project manager in Chicago.
posted by neushoorn at 12:12 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you know Excel, get really great at it. Another skill I recommend that you learn is I started out as an Administrator and now I'm a consultant. But if you're a

If you wanted to add onto it get your Project Management Professional certification.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:18 AM on December 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'd focus on supply chain management.
posted by slateyness at 5:32 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Definitely supply chain management, it's actually a fairly logical next step and you already have a lot of the skills if you've been coordinating transportation, running reports, providing software support and training and managing client relations - that translates directly to vendor management. Your warehousing and inventory management background is also a major plus. I think you'd be a pretty fantastic candidate for anything in supply chain management, and could easily make your target salary.

Source: I have been in supply chain management my entire career, and have done logistics, inventory management, inventory accounting, COGS reporting, vendor management, warehouse management, and purchasing/inventory management/logistics software training and support. I am also in my early thirties and graduated from college with a fairly useless degree. Basically, I'm you. Go for it.

Feel free to MeMail me if you have specific questions about how to go about this. There are classes and certifications you can pursue to make the transition super easy. I'm happy to help if I can.
posted by thereemix at 6:05 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maybe you just need a better job. Would you want your boss's job?

Just about any company with either a fleet of trucks or a chain of stores is a candidate employer for you.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:09 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you are using some commercial software package check the jobs at the software company. They typically love to hire trained users. New client training / project management for the SaaS shop should pay close to $75K, and could also come with a lot of travel, if that is of interest.
posted by COD at 6:20 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm an accounting software consultant and I've worked with a number of other consultants with logistics backgrounds, both in ERP consulting and more specific WMS/supply chain software (check with the vendor of the software you're already using/training on, but your experience is transferrable to other products).

75 to start wouldn't be absurd, assuming you've got 4-5 years' experience doing what you do now. Senior consultants in enterprise-scale software in Chicago are probably making $120K+.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:10 AM on December 4, 2015

Move to a company where logistics / supply chain managers are in both theory and practice promotable to executive roles.

This means a logistics outsourcing firm or a manufacturer or retailer with far-flung operations which has evolved mission critical just-in-time sourcing / delivery practices. In the latter case: the car makers, Wal-Mart or Target, Boeing or any of the other big aerospace or defense prime contractors.

If it suits the culture of the company, get a reputable night or weekend MBA while working there to enhance your case for such promotion.
posted by MattD at 10:00 AM on December 4, 2015

Loyola in Chicago has a Master of Science in Supply Chain Management degree, if you decide to go the supply chain route.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:48 PM on December 5, 2015

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