Tell me this — is there even one negative aspect of your current job that could not be remedied by a big, fat boost in salary?
Unfortunately, those salary bumps are few and far between. And some never show up at all. That's why it's so important to choose a job that pays really well, right from the giddyup.
Agree? Then you're ready for Deanna deBara's recent post on The Muse, "25 of the Highest-Paying Jobs in America — and How to Get Them."
You may not be surprised to learn that physicians rank No. 1.
Of course, adding that magical, money-magnet "M.D." to your name does require years of medical school, which could be a challenge to someone who never completed their biochemistry merit badge in Cub Scouts. You will also have to conquer your tendency to faint when you see blood.
But don't panic. If you choose your specialty wisely, you can reduce the education factor and the ick factor, as well.
As a podiatrist you could earn an average salary of $151,110, which isn't bad, considering that all you have to study are two feet and 10 toes. If you know the words to "This Little Piggy," you've already covered most of the curriculum.
On the negative side, there isn't a lot of annual growth projected in the podiatry field, only 0.2%. So, if you want to opt for a relatively bloodless specialty for people who think the failure to eat roast beef in "This Little Piggy" suggests a serious eating disorder, choose psychiatry. With an average annual salary of $210,100, psychiatry has a projected growth rate of 11.9% — the highest of any medical specialty.
(If you wonder why that might be the case, take a look in the mirror, and consider — you're one of the normal ones.)
You may not be mean enough to be a dentist, No. 2 on the salary hit parade, but if you could up your aggro, you could come away with a salary well over $200,000. [British: deliberately aggressive, provoking or violent behavior.]
You also may find you are not comfortable with people cringing in terror when they hear your cheery "open wide." These bad feelings are why dentists give you cute little gift bags full of a teeny-tiny tubes of toothpaste and pony bottles of mouthwash. It's a good try, but very few people decide to love their dentist based on a free package of prune-flavored dental floss.
Sticking with the medical professions, high-paying job No. 4 is nurse anesthetist. Considering the way your co-worker's eyes gloss over when you start one of your stories of business successes, putting patients to sleep should not be a major problem.
Job No. 11, financial manager, generates an average salary of $151,510. To succeed at this job all you will need is a Swiss bank account, a packed suitcase and a list of countries that don't have extradition treaties with the U.S.
Lawyers rank No. 12 on the highest-paid list, with a $148,910 average salary and a 4% projected annual growth rate, which definitely sounds low, considering how many lawyers will be needed to defend the lawyers needed to defend the lawyers who need defending.
Human resources department managers are No. 18 on the income list, weighing in with an annual average salary of $134,580. This seems excessive, considering the personal satisfaction HR folks get from vexing innocent employees and executing random firings.
You may be surprised to learn that astronomers show up at No. 23 in the top 25. Astronomer positions are not easy to find, unless you're buddy-buddy with one of our space-mad billionaires. The job's $125,620 annual salary is low, though you could supplement your income by picking up the spare change that slips out of the spacesuits worn by Elon, Jeff and Richard as they exit their capsules and rush to pick up their junior astronaut pins.
The worst of the best-paid jobs is training as development manager. The purpose of this job is to make sure employees understand the company's goals. The average annual salary is $125,920, but I suspect you can make a whole lot more by keeping employees in the dark. (It works for mushrooms.)
No matter which high-paying career you choose, it will probably pay a lot better than the measly salary you make now. Besides, you already spend the day dealing with people who complain about their aching feet, who grind their crumbling teeth and who plan to file lawsuits against company policy as soon as someone tells them what company policy actually is.
You might as well get paid for it.
Humorist Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at