I’m 33 and have earned £520,000 this year

Can you tell me a bit about you and your life?

I’m 33 and come from a single parent family as my dad died when I was young. My mum gave up work to raise us, so we didn’t have much - no holidays etc. (I didn’t go abroad until I was 18). I moved to London after uni while not knowing a single person and having about enough money to last two weeks. I ended up staying 10+ years there and meeting my husband. I had a solid career climbing the ranks in consulting until I got pregnant. I got promoted on the Friday, they found out on the Monday, and by the Wednesday my promotion had disappeared. I sued and won but it massively dented my confidence about getting another role after maternity leave. I shouldn’t have worried though - I got a better job which has led to my new salary - which I still can’t quite believe!

Can you tell me a bit about your work background and history?

I’ve done a bit of everything on my journey. I did a law degree (not at one of the ‘best’ uni’s by the way), then went into sales to generate cash quickly, then spent the majority of my career in management consulting. I’m now at the C-suite level in consulting - something I didn’t expect to get to so young, and still doesn’t feel real. I have massive imposter syndrome and think I’m about to get caught out… but then remember I hit +300% of my sales target last year, so I’m not actually an imposter!

What’s the story you’d like to share?

You don’t need to have gone to the best uni, come from a rich family or have connections. You just need to work hard, network hard, and always be looking for the next move. I’ve doubled my salary with some strategic moves and taken jobs that I’ve not been traditionally ‘qualified’ for, but said yes and then figured out how to actually do it afterwards. You also CAN have both a career and a family, but it’s tough - not impossible - but it has nearly broken me trying to patch over the logistics whilst both me and my husband travel with work frequently.

What has the impact of your new role been?

Earning at this level comes with expectations, and I feel like I’ve sold my soul to my company. I’m on call 24/7 and always have a suitcase packed to travel at short notice which is tricky having to arrange with a young child and husband who also has a great career. I have to work like my child doesn’t exist but also try to parent like work doesn’t exist. There is zero balance but I know it’s not forever and I’m fortunate to not have to worry about money as a result.

How do you feel about getting to this new level?

I'm scared to spend the money in case it all comes to an end. I started out on £18k after uni, so it still feels like it could all crash down around me, and I worry that the jobs at my level are few and far between! My life hasn’t changed since I’ve earnt at this level, e.g. my friends don’t know (they think I earn similarly to them), I still drive a modest car, live in a ‘normal’ house. I quite like the anonymity of living a quiet life where people have no clue, but knowing I could go into most shops and buy whatever I wanted!

What does the future hold, any plans, worries or hopes?

I aim to pay the mortgage off within the next 2 years, buy a property abroad and more heavily invest in property. Working at this level isn’t sustainable for the long term so I'm trying to bank as much money as possible and then get out.

Do you have any advice for those where you were?

Say yes to every opportunity along the way, and keep in touch with as many connections as possible - you never know how they can help you unless you make the effort.


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