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Success Story: Nailing a new 6-figure job & leaving a toxic work environment

I have started doing features on Success Stories – you can read all of my other ones here.

I offer career & money coaching here. If I can’t help you, I will say so upfront especially if it is not in my area of expertise (e.g. real estate investments), I don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money.


She was working for about a decade for a company that pretty much had zero appreciation from her.

It was clear from her emails that they favoured the guys who were loud, bossy, flashy, and aggressive, and didn’t really see her contribution to the workplace and her technical knowledge or know-how.

We had been corresponding on and off since about mid 2016, and her first email to me was:

I listened to you on So Money Podcast and I really enjoyed your tips and outlook on how to approach business and asking for a raise.

I made a note about what you said regarding getting numbers for the salary in my industry, laying out my accomplishments, and hitting them with facts, but I’m a little stuck.

Basically what I researched is that I should be making less at my job (around $55-$65K) but I currently make more than that (lower $90K).

How do I ask for more, when my current salary exceeds the average salary for my current position?

My response back was:

I would advise you to list concrete facts of what you have done to save time and/or money with your skills. Let’s say you managed a project and you now can deliver in half the time as before, and/or your project came in on time and under or on budget. These are things to highlight.

Other than that, I am unsure how you will get more in your current role as you already make more than the average.

The only other option is to be promoted. What is the level above you? Aim for that and ask for at least a 10% raise if/when you get it.

Fast forward about a year later, and it finally came out that she worked in a pretty toxic, stressful environment.


She liked it in that she knew it, and it was comfortable (who wants to get out of their comfort zone and try anything new if they don’t know if it’ll be better or worse!?), and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to leave.

I didn’t push her, as usual, but I did hint that maybe it might help to start looking around if she was THAT frustrated with the company and her job (and her colleagues who keep doing jack squat but then get promoted on account of being very confident and braggy and make 50% more than her).

She took my advice and started shopping around just to see.

What was the harm? Just see what’s out there, compare it to what you have now, and then decide to go for it or not.


Then it happened.

They had let go a number of people (or they quit), and she was being saddled with MORE work, MORE responsibilities in a job she was increasingly starting to hate on the daily.

The tasks were menial, the work was boring, she wanted to do more and move to another area but she was so damn good at what she did that they didn’t want to “lose” her and have to train someone else on her job.

They would have rather kept her chained to her boring, nowhere job than to let her grow as an employee and to keep her as a hardworking, smart, capable, experienced, talented employee at the company even if it was in a completely new area.

Oh and did I mention that they were  SURPRISED that she even had the nerve to ask for more money for this “big promotion” and “big title change”?

They thought she would just be happy to have a title change and a big project to lead but.. as I always like to say:


We aren’t at our jobs just to fulfill ourselves. We don’t need more work, we need money FOR our work, and if someone delivers stellar results, that means the money has to be stellar as well.

Anyway, they didn’t even come back to her with any numbers (I mean we’re talking at least a month if not two months of stalling here), had nothing prepared, and it was just a complete #&$*@show

So you know what happened right?

They lost her at that point completely because smart women know that when you can’t get what you want (within reason), it’s time to start looking elsewhere.

This company was not going to change their toxic ways of handling employees and she was never going to get promoted, or get as much money as she was worth and she knew it.


She went back hard on those offers, and came out a winner:

  • $25,000 increase in her salary (she is now making over 6-figures)
  • New job title in the area she wants and plans on growing into, career-wise
  • 20 vacation days — that’s a MONTH y’all
  • 2 personal days
  • Unlimited sick days
  • FREE FOOD — breakfast AND lunch — this saves at least $30 a day or $600 a month
  • Health benefits from day one — a big deal in the U.S.
  • Bonuses based on performance
  • 6% 401K (retirement) plan match
  • Gym membership discount


I mean the free food is already $600 a month or $7200 a year, plus a month or 4 weeks of vacations, and an extra $25,000? Sign me up!

She’d be bringing home about an extra $500 a month, not to mention those benefits of free food (like $250 a month at least) to free up even more money in her pocket.

So $750 a month extra in her pocket (max out that 401K matching 6% contribution tho, girl)… and a new career to look forward to growing into.

Get inspired…


Read more posts on budgeting.

Salary Negotiations

Read more posts on Salary and Negotiations at Work and more specifically on Women who Work.


Loved this? You can read all of my other Success Stories here.

I offer career & money coaching here. If I can’t help you, I will say so upfront especially if it is not in my area of expertise (e.g. real estate investments), I don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money.


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