50 People Told Us What They Do For A Living And How Much It Pays, And LinkedIn Needs This Level Of Transparency

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what they do for a living and how much it pays. Their responses showed incredible range, and it was very eye-opening. Here’s what people shared:


“I’m a film and TV makeup artist, and our union scale rate is roughly $65/hour for the first eight hours. We get time and a half until 12 hours, then double time after 12 hours on higher budget productions. I work a lot of double-time hours. We have quarterly union dues and all of that, and have to work 400 hours every six months to qualify for our medical insurance. I’m in Los Angeles.”



“I was a mailman for 30 years. The last year of my job, I was making $55,000/year. I’ve been retired for 12 years and my yearly income is $23,000.”


delivery man handing mail


“I earned a B.A. and M.Ed. to become a teacher, but quit after eight years. I’ve now been a legal assistant for about three years, and I just completed an online paralegal certification and am job hunting. I currently make $60,000/year and will make more when I jump to a paralegal gig. I’m $50,000 in debt for degrees I earned to do something I loved, but left because I could barely keep my head above water. I knew it wouldn’t get better and it wasn’t worth the stress. I love being a legal assistant (and how much easier the money has made my life), but I miss my kids. And my degrees look nice on a resume and will probably help me land my next job, but only my B.A. (English) is really relevant. It’s sad that the job market makes it so clear how little teachers are valued.”



“I direct a team of programmers making video games. I write code about 25% of the time. I make $168,000/year plus bonuses, and benefits, and I get a fully paid annual three-week leadership trip to (usually) Europe for my spouse and myself.”


a hand on a computer mouse


“I’m a natural history museum education staff manager/animal registrar/educational event planner and coordinator. I’m master’s educated, and I’ve been at it for over eight years. I make about $34,000/year. I want to be paid more, but right now I am more concerned with getting the staff I supervise a higher pay rate.”



“I’m a photographer! I set my own prices, and last year I made $63,000.”


woman photographing


“I work in a nursing home and I make $16/hour. We’ve been so short-staffed for the last ten years that we’re now doing the job of three people each shift. Breaks don’t exist. We work anywhere from 8 to 12+ hours a day. No food breaks, no bathroom breaks, nothing. It’s impossible.”



“I’m a server at an independently owned fine dining restaurant in the midwest. I averaged $20,000/year pre-pandemic. I work most weekends and lots of holidays.”


hands grabbing two plates of food


“I am a social media content moderator. I get paid $16/hour, and I get 25 cents more on evenings, 50 cents more on overnights, and $1 more on weekends. I watch social media videos and flag them for inappropriate content, gore, and other things in that general area that need to be marked.”



“I’m an urban and community forester for the state making $42,000/year. I nearly cried from happiness when they raised it from $38,000. I have a master’s degree and am internationally certified.”


person looking up at a tree


“I’m a research associate scientist in Boston, and I do research within the biochemical sciences. I’ve worked in a cancer biology lab before, too. At the cancer biology lab, I made $12/hour. This job was about studying the human body to share with scientists around the world, also known as ‘Academic Lab.’ At the research associate scientist lab, which was focused mainly around getting drugs into the clinic and to patients as fast as possible for pharma to buy the drugs, I made $80,000/year plus a bonus, benefits, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This job is known as ‘Biotech Science.'”



“I’ve been an attorney for 15 years. I decided to move to a small town with very few attorneys and hang my own shingle. I have made more so far this year than working for a firm, even with overhead and assistants. At the firm, I was making $125,000/year. So far, profit this year is close to $200,000, and business is continuing to grow.”


the back of a lawyer as she addresses the jury


“I’m a senior administration assistant at a local architectural firm in the Dallas area making $56,000/year. It’s not a bad wage for someone with no college degree and no specialized skill set, but I’m constantly concerned that I’ve maxed out at 32 years old.”



“I’m a commercial construction estimator specializing in doors and door accessories. I make about $75,000/year in the Midwest working 45–50 hours a week with no degree. I started at $40,000/year at a different company about 15 years ago.”


hands pointing at buildng blueprints


“I’ve been a cataloger in a small community college for 18 years and make $34,000/year plus benefits. It’s barely enough to squeak by. I finally got my Master’s in Library Science and am looking for a librarian job. Most of the ones I’ve seen listed (regardless of location) start around $60,000 to $65,000. Unfortunately, I am also seeing a trend of libraries choosing to forego the librarian route and hiring people without the advanced degree. This results in fewer opportunities and lower pay for those positions.”



“I was a social worker in the US with a bachelor’s degree. I worked in Chicago and made $34,000/year, then moved up to $40,000 as a director of social services. This was eight to12 years ago. I’m now a social worker in London with a master’s, and I make the equivalent of about $50,400. I owe over $100,000 for student loans. I’m glad I have a degree because I wouldn’t have been able to move to London without being a social worker, but these discrepancies are unbelievable. I can’t believe that teachers and social workers with master’s degrees and tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt are making anything under $75,000/year.”


closeup of hands being held


“I’m a treatment plant supervisor in the Pacific Northwest and I make $116,000/year.”



“I started my own upholstery business a few years ago. I work from home (usually in my pajamas, lol) and I make my own schedule, and our business brings in about $50,000/year. My husband picked up a part-time job delivering pizzas recently because the extra money is just too good to pass up. At $13/hour plus tips and mileage, he brings in roughly $600 to $700/week working 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The money he earns actually covers the majority of our bills every month, so anything our business makes is just gravy. Plus, him having a job outside the home that pays into taxes helps offset some of the tax obligation from our business. We work in the shop from about 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, then he goes off to deliver pizzas and I cook, clean, take care of our animals, etc. Between the business and his pizza delivering, we bring in about $70,000 to $80,000/year.”


hands putting fabric over a wood


“I’m a location-independent scopist (I edit transcripts for court reporters). I average $40/hour, and last year I billed just over $80,000. I’m projecting the same or better for this year. I have amazing reliable clients, so my job is low stress, and I love being paid to find mistakes!”



“I’m a manager at an international high-tech company with a background in software and chip design. Depending on stock prices, my yearly total is about $450,000. This year should get to about $650,000. Education-wise, I have a bachelor’s in computer science and master’s in electrical engineering.”


gloved hand holding a computer chip


“I’m a full-time assistant professor at a small private school in the south. I make $48,000/year.”



“I make $105,000/year as a senior revenue manager in a large hospital system in Oregon. I work 40 hours a week, and can work from anywhere in the US. I went to college, but don’t have a degree. I spent 18 years working to get to this point and spent up to 70 hours a week working before I found this position.”


empty hospital hallway


“I am the store director for an Italian luxury retail store. I manage a 15-person team, work holidays and weekends, and am consistently client-facing. I love every part of what I do and the brand I work for. I earn $108,000/year base, $10,000/year clothing allowance, and $5,000 to 15,000/year in bonuses. I’m aiming for $130,000 in total compensation this year.”



“I work in administration at a dental office in Pennsylvania for $47,000/year, plus bonuses.”


dental assistant in a chair with a woman ready for be examined


“Fresh out of college with a bachelor’s degree, I made $63,000 in Dallas as a project engineer. I worked there for 2.5 years, then moved to the Bay Area as an assistant superintendent and now make $100,000/year (with a gas card). I am usually the only female on a job site and it can be long days with no OT, but I love the work!”



“I’m an analyst for the largest aerospace company in the world. I only have my associate’s degree (in healthcare administration of all things). I make $75,000/year, not including bonuses. My husband also works for the same company as a manager and makes $150,000/year before bonuses. We get excellent benefits, free college, and other perks. Well worth it. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”


close of of plane


“I’m a customer service supervisor for a major airline in a west coast tourist town. I work 50 to 60 hours a week at $29.80/hour. I’ve never made this much money in my life. Rent is super expensive here, but I can actually afford it. I’m almost 30 and finally feeling some stability in my life.”



“I’m a freelance writer/communications consultant, and if I continue the rest of 2022 at the pace I’ve been going at, I’ll end up making around $274,000 for the year. But, there are years when I make a fraction of that. The volatility is real, but I like the flexibility and variety, and I get to spend lots of time with my kids. Also, I had to supervise my kids’ distance learning during the pandemic, and OMG, teachers deserve a billion dollars per year.”


hands on a keyboard


“I’m an adjunct/project reviewer for one of the national universities you see on TV. I make $28,000/year, and I just started my eighth year at this university. I have an MFA. My department is the only one that hasn’t received raises. Meanwhile, lead reviewers, department heads, and administrators make $60,000 to $100,000/year. I’m currently trying to save money to go back to school to either become a dental hygienist or technician.”



“I’ve been a cosmetologist for 14 years. I’m paid $13.56/hour, plus commission and tips. I’m getting tired and want to change careers.”


woman giving another woman highlights in a salon


“I’m almost one year out of school for my bachelor’s degree, and I work as a graphic designer in Texas making $65,000/year. My previous job as a junior designer paid $46,000/year!”



“I work in a prison for the state I live in, and since I’m under the age of 26, I don’t have to pay into benefits yet. After over 3.5 years of working there, I make a little under $35,000/year before taxes.”


a barbed wire fence


“I’m a hospice registered nurse in California and I make $100,000/year before overtime. I work 40 hours a week, but I make my own schedule which is nice.”



“I’ve worked in Silicon Valley for 35 years doing software development and program management for internal corporate systems. My salary has ranged from $160,000/year (plus bonuses, stock, and excellent benefits) to about $190,000/year. This is at the low end for my age because I didn’t job hop during my climb and stayed with one company for 20 years, and another for 10 years. With a few exceptions, the norm is a much, much shorter stay. My peers’ salaries (most much younger) track much higher. My wife retired this year after 30 years of public school teaching, with a state pension that does not include health care, at a peak salary of $86,000/year. We started the same year in our respective careers, with the same degree from the same college at the same pay. She has, undoubtedly, worked much harder at her job than I at mine all that time.”


two hands on two different keyboards


“I used to work at a youth home for $42,000/year. I worked 12+ hours on rotating shifts. There were four riots while I worked there, and I did work I was NOT qualified for. I was basically the acting therapist and in charge of all of the therapeutic treatment, but had no degree. Within three months I was promoted to senior staff (which was just a name, no pay change), and within a year I was one of seven staff throughout the facility who’d been there a year or more. Direct service jobs are unreal.”



“I’m an assistant store manager at a specialty retail store in the mall for $17/hour. I do have a degree, but it’s in history. I know I could find a job that pays more elsewhere, but I have decent benefits, PTO, flexible hours, and an amazing manager and coworkers.”


people in a mall


“I’m a brokerage associate south of Tampa and north of Miami. I make $113,000/year base, plus quarterly bonuses averaging from $10,000 to $17,000. So, conservatively, I make $155,000/year. I help clients generate or maintain wealth by providing investment advice at a large international financial institution. I’ve been in the industry for less than one year after having earned several federal and state licensures.”



“I am a child nutrition manager for a middle school. I make $18,000/year before my taxes and insurance come out. I would never be able to survive without my husband’s income.”


close up of hands holding a school lunch tray


“I work in tech in a non-engineer role in California. With almost 20 years of experience, I’m making $250,000/year.”



“I work in home healthcare for senior adults. I do everything from caring for the client (assisting with meds, baths, changing, and dressing), to preparing meals, doing laundry, keeping the house clean, and taking the client on outings and to appointments. I generally make $14.50/hour. I got a small bonus with COVID.”


person helping an older person sit down


“I’m a business consultant in the Bay Area. I have about 10 years of experience and BS and MBA degrees (that I don’t really use). I’m pretty strict on my hours and believe in a work/life balance, so I rarely work more than 40–45 hours a week. I used to travel to clients, but mostly remote from home. My base salary is $160,000/year, plus a 10% annual bonus and full benefits. I should be making at least a $200,000 base. The Bay Area is expensive, but after traveling to what are considered the desirable cities and towns across the country, the Bay Area is definitely the best fit and well worth the cost.”



“I am a certified medical assistant in Washington state with 15 years of experience. I am a lead in my clinic and I make $30.73/hour.”


woman in scrubs making notes on a clipboard


“I’m a program lead for an electrical/lighting distributor. I do project management for one of our top clients and hit $50,000/year earlier this year. I’ve been with the company for just over 4.5 years.”



“I work for the largest US-based steel manufacturer. My position is considered entry-level, but I’ve been in the industry for 18 years. I average about $115,000/year. The most I’ve ever made was $127,000 after A LOT of OT. I work 12-hour shifts, four on and four off. I essentially work half the year in days, but you end up sacrificing a lot of nights, weekends, holidays, and family time. The benefits are great and the bonuses are pretty good too.”


person wearing a hard hat in a warehouse


“I’m a development director for a nonprofit that supports women and girls, which means I’m the top fundraiser in the organization. It’s my job to make sure we bring in about $800,000 each year. I make $82,500/year and work remotely with full healthcare coverage, but no dental and no retirement.”



“I’m a human resources manager in Great Falls, MT. I oversee all HR functions of a non-profit community healthcare facility. I conduct wage analyses for all positions, and I handle all government reporting and union negotiations. My annual salary is $62,000 and I have no college degree.”


a woman putting photos on a glass wall


“I am a claims specialist for a large insurance company. I deal in unclaimed funds where I research members, see if they are deceased, and then reach out to the next of kin to see if they want to claim. I make $47,500/year, which is just enough to pay all the bills and rent, but not enough to live on. Add in my student loans ($158,000), and I had to make a choice: pay the student loan and be homeless, or forbear the loan and barely pay rent/bills with no room to breathe. I took the latter, knowing that I’ll never be able to escape the struggle to survive.”



“I’ve worked in higher education for over a decade as an academic advisor and student success coach. With a master’s degree in education, I only make $53,000/year! My students will make more than me their first year in their jobs.”


woman leading a presentation


“I’m an entry-level tech recruiter in Florida with no prior recruiting experience. I make base $70,000/year with uncapped bonus potential, as well as four weeks of vacation. I also work from home. I went straight from making $15/hour a few months ago to this, so it doesn’t feel real.”



Finally: “I’m an account manager in sales for an oil company, and I make $90,000/year. To be honest, though, being the main breadwinner, still paying off student loans, and having two kids and a mortgage…it’s not as much as you’d think. Paying over $1,000/month really eats into most of our discretionary spending.”


What do you do for a living and what do you make? Tell us more about your career in the comments below!

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity. 

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