Salary/Benefits: $50,000, 4% 401k match, dental/vision/healthcare (employer pays about half), 4 weeks of PTO annually
Employer Type: Startup
Employer Size: 200 employees
How Long in Current Position: 1.5 years
Highest Level of Education: Undergraduate degree
Path to This Job: I loved the idea of helping people, but didn’t want to go into the clinical side of healthcare. I studied healthcare administration and completed a marketing internship during undergrad. I applied to a startup and have worked there since graduating. I started out as an office manager/admin assistant, worked on the companies budget overhaul, some CMS specific programs, and then then moved to communications/marketing.
A typical day at work:
6:30am: I wake up at 6:30 for yoga or running.
7:30am: Start work. I work remotely. My office is based on the east coast so I keep east coast hours even though I work in central time. I usually go through my inbox, reach out to my boss and check anything on social media that’s come in overnight. I manage our monthly newsletter, social media accounts, and website. I often have video calls with my team or other teams. I spend a lot of my time writing and editing others’ writing. I do some design for things like one pagers and campaigns.
12:30pm: Break for lunch.
4:30-5:00pm: I finish my day around this time but when we are busier it can be later. I used to work in an office setting and asked to go remote. I love the flexibility it has brought me.
Salary/Benefits: $60,000 with options to purchase health/dental/vision insurance; retirement plan in state pension fund or 401k with 6.5% match.
Employer Type: Public university regional campus
Employer Size: 100 employees at our regional location
How Long in Current Position: 4 months
Highest Level of Education: Master of Library Science
Path to This Job: I’ve worked exclusively in libraries since college and went right to library school from undergrad. I worked in a public library for several years before switching to an academic. I love the process of providing information to people and helping them find what they need. Every day is a little different and you never know what you’re going to be asked.
A typical day at work:
7:30-8:45am: Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast. I’m fortunate to have a very short commute.
9:00am: Arrive at work. I usually spend the first hour catching up on emails and listservs, looking at automatic reports than ran overnight, and troubleshooting any problems there. Usually I can resolve these myself, but sometimes I need to ask the systems librarian for help. If he can’t fix it, we escalate it to support from our vendor.
10:00am: I work on any new books that have come in and need to be cataloged, or whatever long term project I’m working on.
11:00am: My department meets once a week in this time slot. If it’s not a meeting day, I keep working on my projects. They range from really mundane catalog cleanups to very complicated serials edition issues. Academic publishing is a whole different beast from what I encountered working in a public library, and I still have a lot to learn, so this can take a while.
12:00pm: Lunch. I always bring my lunch from home. I usually eat at my desk, and then go for a walk outside while listening to a podcast. If the weather is bad, I sometimes walk through the stacks, but there are almost always students working and I don’t like feeling like I’m distracting them. Sometimes I just read in my office instead.
1:00pm: I usually meet with one of the senior members of my department so we can work on particularly gnarly problems together. She has been working here longer than I’ve been alive, so she’s a bottomless source of knowledge and institutional memory. She’s been gradually turning more and more over to me in preparation for her retirement, so this time is super valuable for me to pick her brain while she’s still working here.
3:00pm: There is usually follow-up work I can do on my own after meeting with my senior colleague, or prep work to be done before our next department meeting. I also look over my schedule and to-do list for the rest of the week and make sure I’m ready for what’s coming up next.
Salary/Benefits: $85,000/year straight salary + 2 weeks vacation + 1 week sick time + $2500/year CE allowance + health insurance for $320/month + steep discounts on pet care
Employer Type: “Corporate light”- a large private company owns the veterinary clinic, but I work directly under a Chief of Staff and a practice manager. There are also 2 other associate veterinarians (the Chief of Staff is also a vet).
Employer Size: Many clinics. There are 4 doctors and 18 people at my clinic.
How Long in Current Position: 8 months- I am a “new grad” as this is my first job out of school and I’ve been there less than a year
Highest Level of Education: DVM, which is doctorate level
Path to This Job: I took AP classes in high school. This allowed me to graduate from undergraduate college in 3 years instead of 4. My last year of college, I applied to vet school in the fall, did interviews over the winter, then started vet school in August. Vet school was 4 years. I interviewed the winter/spring of my last year, graduated in May, then started work less than 2 weeks later at the start of June. I picked this field because I love medicine and animals, and wanted a job that wasn’t a desk job and where I wouldn’t get bored.
A typical day at work:
Each day the appointments vary greatly, and some days I have surgeries and dentistry. This day I was closing, so I worked until 7:30 instead of 5 or 6 PM. Also, this was a slow day- usually I see more appointments than this!
7:00am: Wake up, feed the cat. Shower and get ready for the day. Give my rats their morning meds, eat breakfast.
8:30am: Leave for work.
8:45-8:50am: Arrive at work. Greet my coworkers, check the day’s schedule. Go through my morning labs quickly- a stack of charts with bloodwork and other test results from the previous few days. I don’t have time to call each client, fill meds, etc. right now but this allows me to check early on anyone that is very sick I might need to make an appointment for this day, see any other urgent notes, and so on.
9:00am: My first appointment comes in. The receptionists put them in a room, where my technician goes in and get a history (why are they here today, any concerns, etc). The technician comes out to get me and gives me the story.
9:10am: Both of us or just me goes into the room to talk to the owner, examine the pet, decide on testing, etc. I will bring the pet with me if they need bloodwork, a quick ultrasound, x-rays, etc. Meds are filled in the pharmacy while the client goes to the waiting room, checks out, and schedules a next appointment if needed. My first appointment is a recheck ear infection. Ear swabs are taken, smeared on a microscope slide, stained, then examined under the microscope. We continue the current treatment for 2 more weeks as it is much improved but not completely resolved.
9:20am: My second appointment is here. It is a bird with an upper respiratory infection. The owner thinks something might be stuck in her nose. Some time is spent talking with the owner about husbandry, snuggling the bird, taking a few pictures, and then taking the bird out back for a sinus flush. Bird is returned looking better already. Antibiotics are filled and a recheck in 2 weeks is scheduled.
9:55am: In between appointments, a technician carries over a Great Dane puppy to say hello as he is here for a “technician appointment” to only receive a vaccine and not have a full visit. My colleague saw him a week ago when he was sick. Everyone is happy he is doing well and making a fuss over him.
10:00am: Third appointment, 3 hamsters owned by a pet store are dropped off. They have been getting in tons of sick hamsters lately. One is deceased on arrival, one in very rough shape, the last is still quite sick but better. Called the veterinary team for the pet store. Euthanize the sick one, care for the less sick one. The company does not authorize hospitalization, but I can hold onto him for the afternoon before an employee comes to pick him up later. Give him fluids and antibiotics, put him in a warm incubator. The bottle of sugar syrup I am using to make up liquid hamster medication from sprays everywhere. Sneak upstairs to change scrubs.
11:00am: Fourth appointment, a family with 2 dogs for their yearly exam. They are both doing well, but one tries to bite me when I go to touch her so I have my technician come in and give her a “hug”. Each dog gets bloodwork.
11:50am: Having finished my morning appointments, I go to check on the hamster. He is now just laying at the bottom of the incubator. I mentally prepare for him to not make it, but have already given him all of the medications and treatments I can.
12:00pm: Lunch time! I collect all of my labs and charts from this morning’s appointments, as I haven’t had time to write most of them up. Bring them up to my desk, where I make food, goof off on my phone for a few minutes, chat with my coworkers, write up my charts from the morning, and call a few owners with lab results or to ask how they’re doing. I don’t finish all this.
12:30pm: My technician comes upstairs to tell me she thinks the hamster’s passed away. I come down and confirm, then call the pet store to let them know. They ask to be faxed the bill, and will come by to pick up the now 3 deceased hamsters. I write up their charts, update charges in the computer, and give printouts to my technician to fax over.
12:50pm: Back at my desk, working. Also ask another doctor a question about some lab work, get a test result the lab put under the wrong patient, and discuss a medication refill request.
1:00pm: Next appointment is here! Will finish charts later!
1:05pm: A young dog with a red, uncomfortable eye with discharge. Find conjunctivitis. Use a special stain to check for corneal abrasions, lacerations, or ulcers. Get some eye ointment together, show the owner how to apply the medication, schedule a recheck in 1 week. Owner is super grateful to be fit in today and that her dog is ok.
1:40pm: A rabbit foster owner calls saying she found a bite wound on him from when another rabbit accidentally escaped and bit him 2 days ago. She thinks it will need stitches. I block off an hour of my schedule- thankfully I have time as today is a relatively slow day- in case the rabbit needs to be sedated.
1:45pm: Limping dog. He is tense and hard to examine so it’s difficult to nail down the problem. I think his knee is painful but cruciate ligament is not torn, so I send him home for 2 weeks of rest and anti-inflammatory pain medication. The owners do not want to do x-rays or tick-borne disease testing today (which can cause lameness).
2:20pm: Injured rabbit is here. He is a very sweet rabbit, one of my favorites. He has an inch-long open wound that is getting infected on one leg. I take him out back to numb, clip, flush out, and then coat with antibiotic cream. I send him home on oral antibiotics, pain medication, antibiotic cream, and a recheck later in the week. Thankfully it does not need to be sutured so he does not need to be sedated.
3:00pm: My colleague is running behind and I have some free time, so I see her limping puppy appointment. This is a healthy puppy limping for 3 months. We do x-rays which are unremarkable, pull blood for a tick-borne disease test, and send home anti-inflammatory pain medication to be used for 2 weeks while resting. I will call when the test results come in. The x-rays will also be reviewed by an expert to be sure, so I submit the online form for that and make sure the actual images upload properly in the computer.
4:00pm: Recheck eye appointment, recurrent conjunctivitis. The dog wasn’t much improved on just antibiotic so I switched to an antibiotic + steroid. Recheck in 1 week.
4:40pm: Done with this appointment, spend more time catching up on charts and labs.
5:00pm: Very old cat with suspect UTI. Find new heart murmur. Client can’t afford bloodwork (suspect kidney problems) or a heart test ($50 add-on) so will prioritize urinalysis. Check bladder with ultrasound to look for bladder stones or cancer. Attempt to get a urine sample with a needle using the ultrasound- bladder is too small. Send the client home with plastic litter to collect a sample at home.
6:00pm: Unfilled appointment! Finish calls, labs, charts, etc.
6:40pm: New puppy appointment, an adorable baby Frenchie. We go over everything (diet, behavior, flea/tick/heartworm preventatives, scan his microchip, discuss ear cleaning, nail trimming and tooth brushing, etc) and do a vaccine. They will return in 3-4 weeks for his next vaccines.
7:20pm: New puppy leaves. I write up his chart, send them a welcome-to-the-practice card as they are a new client, and finish up things for the evening.
7:35pm: Leave work. Since today was relatively slow, I’m leaving with my coworkers, instead of staying past 8 PM writing up the afternoon’s charts and finishing labs!
Salary/Benefits: $50,700/year plus mileage at $0.56/mile, on call at $2/hour and if I get called out to a visit on call, it is 1.25 pay.
Employer Type: Non-profit
Employer Size: Roughly 100 employees
How Long in Current Position: 1 year
Highest Level of Education: Master of Divinity
Path to This Job: I felt a connection with religious work at a very young age. I earned a B.A. in Theology and went on to a Master of Divinity in order to be a church pastor. During my second year internship, I found that my favorite part of the job was visiting our sick and dying members. After graduation, I applied to pastor positions, but it can be very difficult to find a congregation willing to hire a woman. I remembered how much I enjoyed visiting the sick and dying, so I decided to make a full-time career out of it.
A typical day at work:
6:00am: Wake up and play around until 7:30 am.
7:30am: Switch on my work phone. I am not expected to be in the office at 8 am when I technically begin work, but I am expected to be available if someone needs me right at 8. Therefore, the work phone must be on.
8:00am: Begin paperwork and planning my day. Eventually leave to visit my first patient.
9:00am: This is typically the very earliest I would see a patient. I see patients in their own homes or in a nursing facility, so they are very much on their own schedule. Most patients do not wake up until around 10 am. Between 9 am and 4 pm, I will be driving around our service area of 100 miles seeing patients. I typically drive around 50 miles a day. Every so often we will have a staff meeting in the office, but when there is no meeting, there is generally no reason to go to the office. I spend the entire day either in my car or with a patient. When I am with a patient or family member, I provide the typical religious services such as communion, anointing, and prayer. I also can provide grief counseling and coping strategies. A lesser known part of my job is connecting the patient with a clergy member of their own faith tradition. My least favorite part of my job is when my boss needs someone to help with a new patient signing the admission paperwork and I get voluntold.
5:00pm: Turn my work phone off. The only exception is if I am on call, which can be either Monday-Thursday, or Friday-Sunday, once a month. On call is 24-hour availability with the commitment to visit a patient or family member if the nurse in charge deems fit.
Salary/Benefits: £26,000 base salary + annual travel loan to pay for my oyster card (roughly £1,400). The free travel is in place of a London weighted salary, so lower than what it really should be, but, I love not having to pay for the tube.
Employer Type: Non-profit
Employer Size: Roughly 100 employees
How Long in Current Position: 1 year and 4 months.
Highest Level of Education: Bachelors degree
Path to This Job: I graduated from my degree in English Lit with no idea what I wanted to do, and started applying for random jobs under pressure from my parents. I knew marketing was probably an obvious fit for my skillset but was just so uninspired by the idea of selling products. I landed a three month unpaid internship with one of the biggest charities in the UK, decided to give it a go, and had a great time! From there, I moved into a fundraising assistant role for a few months and now my marketing executive job. There are elements that I like, and elements that I don’t. I love writing so push to do as much of that as possible (rather than outsourcing), and just put up with the data and budgets side as part of the job. I wish there was room to be a little more creative, as charities are very conservative on budget and risk-taking, but I can’t really complain as it’s a great place to work and I haven’t sold my soul. Yet!
A typical day at work:
I usually get up around 6:30am and get to work at around 20 past 8 – my commute is 50 minutes. The charity sector is quite hot on work-life balance, so the latest I’ll ever work is half 6 – Usually it’s 5pm. I’ve actually tried to stay later several times when I’ve been busy, but they literally lock the doors and make you go home. We have the odd evening event that runs late, but we get TOIL [Ed note: time off in lieu] to make that time up.
8:20am: I take the first half hour when I get in to eat breakfast at my desk, checking and replying to urgent/easy emails, and catching up with my manager on project updates. I always start the day by writing a to-do list in order of priority.
9:00am: I’m definitely more focused in the mornings, so spend the first couple of hours writing copy for an upcoming marketing appeal – reviewing the interviews I did with case studies previously and working them into an engaging story. This is my favorite part of my job, as I get to tell the stories of some really inspiring people.
11:00am: Sit down for a meeting with our digital specialist to go through the build of some Facebook ads and a landing page. I provide the copy, images, and explain how I want it to look. They build.
11:30am: Have an hour-long meeting with the senior staff: Our CEO and directors. They have to sign off every direct mail campaign we do before it can go out. We work through my copy and the design agencies mock up, and I track changes. It sometimes turns into a bit of an argument so I have to negotiate and explain certain decisions very diplomatically. Our CEO is a micro-manager, but also doesn’t know how to do marketing. It’s interesting.
1:30-2:30pm: Lunch. I always bring lunch from home and eat in the office kitchen whilst chatting to coworkers. Then, I try to get outside for a walk for the last half hour, as I find my eyes get a bit tired from looking at screens all day if I don’t. If the weather is truly too miserable, I leave my phone at my desk and read my book instead.
2:30pm: Call the design agency and feedback the changes from this morning’s meeting verbally, then mark them up on a pdf and send via email. Update the schedule to account for artwork time.
3:00pm: Fill out various briefs for the upcoming mailing: Fulfillment brief for ‘thanking and banking’, data brief for ‘who are we mailing’, laser brief for the printers to personalize certain parts of the copy. Each one takes between 30 – 60 minutes.
4:30pm: Spend the last hour, when my brain is essentially switched off, doing some admin. This includes invoices, scheduling meetings and building costs/income reports.
Salary/Benefits: $90,000 annually. Options to enroll in health, dental, vision, and life insurance as well as a 401(k) but no matching.
Employer Type: Corporate finance
Employer Size: 100,000+ employees
How Long in Current Position: 1 year. This is my 7th year in project management.
Highest Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree and 3 professional designations/certifications
Path to This Job: My first non-food service or retail job was as an administrative assistant at a corporation. After six years I got promoted into low-level project management, and have worked in corporations ever since.
A typical Tuesday at work:
7:00am: I’ve been starting my work days at 7 for at least 10 years. My first hour is spent pouring coffee from my thermos and sipping it while going through today’s diary and emails that have popped up while the UK has been online. I start with 105 unread messages, including notices of wiki edits, new Jira tickets [Ed. note: a project tracking software], and a number of questions and requests. I’m going to have a lot of meetings today, which is typical of a Tuesday.
8:00am: First meeting. I tear into my banana and dial in, and we run a little late as my New York team member is delayed getting in. Meantime London and I chitchat about the weather. “Is Chicago really windy?” (Yes, but that’s not the reason behind the nickname). When New York arrives, we start our stand-up meeting, a key practice in agile projects where we share successes, next day plans, and roadblocks. As the scrum master it’s my job to escalate the bad things, celebrate the good things, and keep the team on task. Fortunately, nothing bad today. I slash through half my email of old tickets and wiki notices.
8:30am: After the meeting I call New York about our specific role’s work today. I have meetings to schedule with program teams that won’t receive any funding next year and talk about how they’re going to wrap up their work. Then I get them scheduled.
9:00am: A bit of busywork, but greatly useful and welcome: I update a spreadsheet with all tollgate dates in the next six months. These are crunch times when documents, designs, test cases, sign-offs, etc. get reviewed by Quality Assurance and tell the team they are free to proceed. Getting these projects ready for tollgates is like 50% of what I’ve been spending my time on this quarter. I eat half my Clif bar.
11:00am: Before the queue for the microwave begins, I warm up my frozen pesto and pasta entree, fill my water bottle (and then empty it by half before refilling), and take my lunch to my desk while preparing for the afternoon of back-to-back meetings. After the pasta I finish off the second half of a large box of mango and a handful of cheese crackers as well as the other half of my Clif bar. That seems like a lot but I’m going to need it in a bit.
12:00pm: The last of my UK team checks in with me before signing off for the night. No roadblocks. I turn right around and dial into a meeting 3 minutes late to argue (albeit politely) with a project team that doesn’t see why they need to redo any paperwork now that they’ve been extended into 2019. My QA perspective says that something needs to document that their 2019 work will literally not break the bank, they push back. Time to escalate to my management.
12:30pm: Knock out replies to more emails before my next meeting. This one is about upcoming changes—big ones—to a bank-wide policy. I drink more water to stop from being snarky; this is the eighth meeting about this, we’re done, any more time in a meeting is a waste of our time. The call ends late, again, and I dash off to make a fast cup of coffee from the break room before I get into my next call.
1:00pm: This is an info session to a very large and impatient audience. I dial in, go on mute, and sit back with my notebook and pen, taking notes. I’ve sat through this presentation twice now and will sit in it again, because it will be my job to understand this new stuff thoroughly and be able to defend it. Blerg.
2:00pm: The Q&A makes the session run over. I leave that one early to make this one on time: a regular meeting with a smaller project team that needs extra hand-holding to get their work up to standard. Luckily my lead developer knows this well and runs the meeting. I’m mostly there to “keep him honest,” he says, and instill about 1% fear and incentivize the team to show up and respond. I add a thing or two to his findings that he overlooked, but we have a good relationship, he is not offended when I do this, and I’m careful to do so anyway.
2:30pm: Done with meetings, and I mean to sit down and get some work done. Fortunately, my other project team’s systems architect has new design diagrams for me to review before I hold a meeting with the project stakeholders for their sign-off. I have a few questions that I send to him in an email.
3:30pm: I’m just going to turn off my brain now. I tend to not schedule anything for the last half hour of the day, so I can set up my next day in terms of blocking off time to work and let people IM me at the “last minute” before I leave, and sure enough, someone does with a policy question. Fortunately, it’s an easy answer, and I log off of IM shortly after so I can scan my email one more time to see if there’s anything I missed. One or two things get sent to Hyderabad to research why a software is throwing an error. I lock up and write myself a note to bring my laptop charger for my second workstation into the office so I can get it updated.
Salary/Benefits: £8 / hr, 26 hrs per week flexible
Employer Type: Private company
Employer Size: 3 employees
How Long in Current Position: 7 years
Highest Level of Education: University Diploma
Path to This Job: Amateur Fanzine artwork and printing > University Diploma in Printing > Hot Metal Typesetting > Litho Printer > Typesetting on Mac > Graphic Design on Mac > Imagesetting Film Output > PrePress > Graphic Design.
I chose this field because I am fascinated by the processes of printing and design, by the combination of art and science.
A typical day at work:
7:00am: Get up.
9:00am: I have a leisurely breakfast and leave the house at 9am. I usually walk to work.
10:00am: I start work with a large mug of tea each morning. Lunch is taken while I work, at my desk. Every day is different, we are a small firm and we do a lot of small run jobs on digital presses.
I do a range of things from preparing supplied artwork to creating artwork from scratch. I sometimes have to explain to customers why their supplied artwork is not good enough. I often have to recreate existing logos or artwork because the originals are unavailable. We print a range of things from business cards to 72-page catalogs. We do a lot of NCR which is something of a niche for us.
I have enough time in between jobs to read / post on forums for prepress and designers most days. I get on very well with my boss and co-workers but we don’t socialize outside work.
Salary/Benefits: $33,600 / Net: $24,936 / Benefits: 11.9% taken out for ASRS Retirement, have a la carte healthcare where I take home an extra $20 per month, vacation and sick leave available as it accrues.
Employer Type: Government
Employer Size: Large; my school is part of 10 Community Colleges across the District
How Long in Current Position: 2 years in April
Highest Level of Education: Bachelors plus some grad school
Path to This Job:I come from a long, long retail history and sort of lucked out by getting in with the city government in my previous city. My now husband was moving to Phoenix so I applied to anything in Phoenix that would keep me in the Arizona State Retirement System and landed on this role.
A typical day at work:
4:30am: We wake up every day (except Sunday) at 4:20am since my husband starts at 5am and getting up with him that early makes it possible for me to hit the gym before I start work at 7:30am. After my husband is out the door I get my things together, feed the crying cats, clean the litter and head to the gym.
5:00am: I usually I get to the gym around 5am, work out for an hour, either running on the treadmill for upwards of five miles, or weight training. I get ready for work at the gym since my gym is conveniently located across the street from my job. I get out of the gym usually a little before 7:30am so I call my mom most mornings from the school parking lot to catch up on my way to the office.
8:00am: I drink a green spinach and banana smoothie every morning with hot tea at 8am like clockwork.
9:00am: When the weather is nice I take a break around 9am to go for a walk, the campus I work on is really nice for walks (when it’s not summer and 117 degrees).
12:00pm: I usually take lunch around 12pm but a lot of days I just eat fast at my desk and then go run whatever errands have accumulated.
My work flow ranges from crazy hectic busy, during the semester, to much more slow when the faculty and students are gone. Since I am an administrative specialist, technically a project assistant, my tasks range from outreach to budget reconciliation, report writing, data analysis and event planning and everything in between.