Increase: 90 percent
How she did it: Changed careers
Fresh out of college, Brittney Borowicz landed what she thought would be her dream job: news director at a television station in Rockford, Ill. The only problem? Her salary. She earned $10 an hour, or barely $21,000 a year, for a job on the 3-11 p.m. shift that also required she work weekends and holidays.
“In college I bartended and made a lot more than $10 an hour,” Brittney says. “So going into my first professional job and making less than what I made in college was very frustrating.”
More than 50 percent of Brittney’s take-home pay went toward paying her rent, leaving very little left for anything else. She ran up $12,000 in loans and credit card debt in less than a year. Knowing something had to change, Brittney talked to her boss about finding a different position that paid better. But salaries at small television stations are notoriously low across the board. Her boss, for example, earned only $4 more per hour than she did.
“I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, I might be here for 20 years and only be making $14 an hour. I can’t do that,’” Brittney says. And so when she heard through a colleague that a local credit union had an opening, and that the salary was nearly twice what she was making, she applied. Brittney made a complete career leap: She went from directing the news to recruiting new banking customers.
At first, moving from the profession she’d spent four years in college preparing for to a totally different industry left her feeling as if she’d wasted her time in college. But she soon realized that many of the skills she learned in school – public speaking and writing – were crucial to success at her new job. “Now I feel like my degree made me a more well-rounded person,” says Brittney.
Brittney has decided to shift her career focus towards marketing, and she has since moved on to a new job that pays a bit more and allows her to gain more experience. She’s also paying off her debts and was able to move to a nicer apartment in a better neighborhood. “I don’t have to use a whole paycheck plus some just to pay for a month of rent,” Brittney says. “I can go out and hang out with friends and not have to worry about it. I can even go on vacations now.”