Current job title: Enterprise Software Implementation Manager
Current location: Washington DC
Years of Experience: 3
Total Comp: $130,000
- Base Salary: $100,000
- Bonus: 10% guaranteed- $10,000
- Equity: $20,000 in RSUs
- Perks: Fully remote, unlimited PTO, 1 time $1200 WFH stipend, all the usual techie perks.
Brief description of your current position: I flawlessly lead major corporations in the configuration, implementation and utilization of my employers software.
Do you feel adequately compensated?
In normal times I would say yes. In this economy? Absolutely not- I need 30 bands rn.
How I Got Here:
Degrees/certifications: I attended a private 4 Year University and currently only have two certifications: Certified Scrum Master and the Google Project Management Certification. They aren’t quite applicable to what I do now but they are in the same ballpark. It was always assumed I would go to college after highschool as both of my parents have advanced degrees. I literally never even considered not going. I think like a lot of people my age, the ASTRONOMICAL cost of college was a bit foreign so there was an expectation for me to go but funding it was a different story. I had a couple of full ride offers but to absolutely no one’s surprise, my expensive taste won (yet again) and I chose the most expensive school of them all. I ended up taking out a lot of loans in addition to receiving merit and need based scholarships from the university.
Expensive taste and spending other people’s money (when it comes to education!!) is a lifestyle, so when I decided I was ready to leave my previous employer, I made sure to max out the company’s Learning and Development budget to pay for the certifications that I felt would make me most marketable in my hunt for a new role.
Jobs leading up to your current position:
So this all started around 2018. I was working the front desk at a doctors office when we changed our patient management software. The implementation team from AthenaHealth came in to help us make the transition and I realized in that moment that not only would I be really good at this- I was positive I could do it WAY better (no shade, Athena!) I gave myself 5 years. I had no idea where to start but thanks to time, preparation, a bit of luck and an empty office, I was able to interview at a few startups in the area and began as a Customer Advocate at (what was at the time) a small SaaS company based in LA. I was paid around $19/hr to begin. We were traveling on site, but also Subject Matter Experts on quite literally the most dense software I’ve ever used. Being a CA was essentially Customer Support on drugs but rather than just customers depending on you, the company internally depends on you as well. It’s not uncommon for Support (especially in SaaS) to be more knowledgeable regarding the software than any other team at the company and thus answer any and everyone’s functionality questions from customers to sales to success.. The required product knowledge was insane and took a solid year to become fluent in.
After a year, I was able to work my way up from Customer Support Advocate to Software Implementation Coordinator. This wasn’t a natural progression- It took months of working with my manager and building my case before I pitched myself to our Director. From there, I was able to continue breaking down doors and it wasn’t easy. Thanks to many sleepless nights, poor work-life balance and the finesse only an Atlanta native could possess (not to mention the limited responsibilities of a young 20 something), I made my way to SMB Software Implementation (~$65k base), then Mid-Market (~$73k base) and finally made it to Enterprise Software Implementation this past year. I negotiated my salary for each role but most often it stayed within the predetermined band so nothing came of it (but you should always negotiate anyway!!!).
For those keeping track- that’s 5 promotions in 4 years (purrrr). For every single promotion, I was the catalyst and set the game plan months in advance. There was never once an achievement that was given that I hadn’t meticulously orchestrated in advance. I know, I know- It’s giving very much ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ but there’s a lot to be said about being crazy enough to try.
Overall reflections/thoughts to share/advice:
Honestly, a lot of my motivation to achieve was (and still is) rooted in fear. Fear of financial insecurity, fear of being financially dependent on another but also (as corny as it sounds) feeling like I needed to prove myself to everyone who doubted me or belittled me for the tumultuous journey that was college (including myself: my biggest fan and hater). *cue Dreams & Nightmares*
After everything I’ve experienced, I’m a firm believer that everything works out the way that it should. I can’t say definitively that I’d be as deliberate and motivated without quite a few failures under my belt and I often question if I’d have been able to achieve so much had my journey been linear (I fear not).
Sometimes you’ve gotta hit rock bottom to launch yourself into the next realm. Plus, whenever I get to mourning the trajectory I thought my life would take and it keeps me up late- I remember that I make more now than I would have had everything gone according to my 18 year old self’s plan. That right there puts me to sleep like a baby because at the end of the day- It’s about getting to the bag.