In a recent link to a PowerPoint by the Birmingham Business Journal, I found a list of the highest paying jobs in the Birmingham market. The list includes an interesting category from mining and geological engineering coming in at 25 in rank at an income of $92,670 to your general Internist being the number one paying job in the Birmingham market coming in at $246,460.
The specifics of the survey pull from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The rank order for Birmingham is as follows:
25 Mining and Geological Engineers $92,670
24 Purchasing Managers $94,600
23 Medical and Health Services Managers $95, 580
22 Marketing Managers $102,910
21 Advertising and Promotions Managers $103,950
20 Education Administrators, Post Secondary $103,970
19 Sales Managers, $104,900
18 Human Resource Managers $106.090
17 Computer and Information Resource Managers $108,060
16 Architectural and Engineering Managers $111, 010
15 General and Operations Managers $111,530
14 Pharmacists $111,720
13 Aerospace Engineers $112,090
12 Financial Managers $117,770
11 Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators and Hearing Officers
10 Lawyers $138,130
9 General Pediatricians $138,670
8 Family and General Medicine $142,490
7 Biological Teachers (postsecondary) $150,260
6 Anesthesiologists $155, 150
5 Psychiatrist $158,900
4 General Dentists $179,770
3 Chief Executives $198,220
2 Physicians and Surgeons $210,700
1 General Internists $246,460
As you read through the list you may be struck by the dollar figures, but I challenge you to think a bit deeper. The devil is in the details as they say, and not factored into these numbers are a few key questions that are not discussed in the absolute number. Take a minute to think about two key business concepts. The first is Opportunity Cost and the second is the Time Value of Money.
For the most part, every job title on this list requires some level of graduate work with rare exception. This means seeing your time through high school, college, and then graduate school before really getting down to the business of work that pays a higher income. To accomplish this, there is a high level of focus, sacrifice and at least some delayed gratification.
A simple example is the opportunity cost of blowing off studying for the long weekend to head to the beach vs. the payoff of taking your books, relaxing, but remaining focused on the work that waits for you when you return. The idea is simple. What costs more in the long run?
The idea of the time value of money means that for every minute or dollar that you invest today, you will see dividends in the future that will be missed if you choose to not invest your time or money. This too is a no-brainer, but it is the rare person indeed who is willing to forgo what they “want or deserve” today for some future reward like interest on money, or the fruits of some hard work toward an education for a better job.
As you review the above list of top Birmingham earners, think not on their income, but the sacrifice that was made to achieve this type of opportunity. In addition, think about the work that starts at 630 or 700AM and is never really over, but the person tries to end it around 12 or 13 hours later. These jobs require not just dedication but patience. It may take years for many of these jobs to create enough revenue to pay off the academic debt incurred on the road to the role. Also, don’t overlook the value of all of the additional jobs that these earners create or support.
In business, in school and at home, begin today to value education and expect hard work. This is how true change begins.