Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, recently made the controversial decision to transition all employees to $70k minimum annual salaries. The boost came after he read a study reflecting a significant increase in emotional well-being at $75k/year.
My opinion? I like the idea if done right. Not all employees' performance or skills warrant a $70k minimum wage, however, companies can and should provide achievable paths that get them there.
In fact, you don't even need an employer to map this out for you. You can construct your own plan.
$70k+ salaries require an in-demand expertise and a degree. Yes, I'm saying don't give up on getting a Bachelor's degree. Generalized knowledge is as important as specialized. Degrees are essential to long-term, sustainable income growth.
Let's discuss the process of pursuing jobs that hold the promise of higher earnings.
Problem #1: No degree. The US Bureau of Labor statistics clearly reflects that the more education you have, the more likely you'll be employed and with a higher wage.
- Meet Julie* (age 27). Single mom. No degree. Working full time but barely covering living expenses. She takes 2 or 3 college classes per semester at night. She's a responsible young woman that's worked hard to overcome a difficult childhood, which included a drug-addicted mother that died from an overdose. It will take Julie 4 years just to complete her Associate's degree.
- Meet Vince (age 26). Struggled in school even with outside help. Above average IQ but experienced failure for 13 straight school years. At age 18 he tried again and attended community college. Not surprisingly, he had the same experience as high school and dropped out giving up on the education system altogether. Eight years later Vince has no degree, no intellectual confidence and no idea of what path will get him the career he desires.
- Meet John* (age 25). Graduated with a Bachelor's in International Business yet couldn't find a road into a career for 3 years. He worked hard at various positions including busboy. That's right. A busboy with a bachelor's degree and over $40k in student loans. Why wasn't John's degree getting him the career he worked so hard for?
Enter ... Engineer Evolution Project (EEP). EEP is an educational aggregator with the mission of eliminating boundaries. EEP does four main things: 1) Designs customized online learning paths; 2) Helps you pay for it; 3) Provides in-person learning resources and support; and 4) Assists you in obtaining employment.
I'm writing about EEP because the people mentioned above are family and friends. Vince is my son. It breaks my heart to see so many smart, capable individuals that are underestimated and underpaid, so I launched EEP with some cool women that are passionate about creating opportunity through education and technology.
EEP provides mentors for guidance and motivation to increase students' probability of success. This is where career hacking villages come into play. EEP directs in-person learning cohorts to keep students engaged, leverage the energy of a group and ensure timely progression.
Engineer Evolution is about engineering your life. It's about making you money, not taking your money.
EEP provides students' education at little to no cost by leveraging various online learning institutions. For example, a partnership with College for America at Southern New Hampshire University educates students through an online, accredited degree program. The degree consists of self-paced, competency-based courses and is affordable at $2.5k per year. The tuition is important to note due to well-known student loan problems.
To supplement the degree students have the opportunity to explore various technology-centered areas and obtain technical skills to land them that $70k+ career. The programs are focused on building in-demand technology job skills that can lead to careers such as Software Developer, UX Designer, Product Manager and others.
Remember Vince and Julie? They've both joined EEP and are currently focused on mastering a specific technical skill. Julie is starting with a Front-End Web Developer curriculum. Vince is mastering a UX Designer series. After the intensive technical courses both students plan to finish their degree programs.
Remember John? He was recently hired and threw in the towel (literally) at his bus boy gig. He too has joined EEP to learn technical skills, like prototyping, to ensure his marketability.
You can hack your way to a career with better pay whether it's through EEP, other organizations or your own devised plan. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. It doesn't have to take forever. You can still work full-time while doing it. What's stopping you?