Employment and HR | From the Readers

Not Having One Of The Best Paying Jobs Is Embarrassing

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best paying jobs Canada


We all have dreams of graduating school and finding one of the best paying jobs around so we can get a kick-start on life because money is important just to survive.

Even the best paid jobs in the world have taken more than just a foot in the door to advance employees throughout their career.

Last week we talked about a CBB fan whose financial success turned her friends towards jealousy and it happens because people give up on themselves and focus on what they wish they could have.

My wife told me after she graduated the first time it was hard for her to find one of the best paying jobs in her field unless she moved into the heart of Toronto.

Most often finding the rewarding careers which includes careers that pay well means you literally have to seek them out.

Not everyone is in a position to move to secure their passions but for those that move to the big cities to live out their dreams many of them end up going back home.

Some people move to different countries after graduating just to gain valuable work experience then either stay, move on or move back to their hometown.

Passion in life means doing what you love in hopes that one day you look back and are happy you took the path you wanted to.

The important part here is to be open to travelling if you can because once you graduate if your focus area is your hometown you might sadly not find the best paying jobs surrounding you unless you graduated in a field that is high in demand.

Best paying jobs

What are the best paying jobs in Canada?

According to a Workopolis study there are only certain careers that will land you in top paying jobs.

The study, which analyzed more than seven million resumes on the job search website, found that 97 per cent of those who studied nursing, whether it was at the bachelor, masters or PhD level, are working in jobs related to their education.

Some of the other best paying jobs that made the list was working in Human Resources, Pharmacy, Engineering and Computer Science.

Reality is that not everyone finds a job after they graduate. Some people we know are still either jobless or feel the same way our CBB reader feels who wrote me looking for some motivation for her career and finances.

Really Good Paying Jobs Don’t Come Easy For Everyone

Dear Mr.CBB

I’ve always been considered someone who has excelled at her studies and going to University has gotten me nowhere.

I studied for many years and have the OSAP loan to prove it but have no job like many graduates who struggle to find work. Sometimes while I’m working at a local big box store where I often see people who I went to high school and University with and I just want to hide.

I had dreams of making a decent wage, working in a career that I love but that slowly slipped away. I’m not sure if I can handle going back to school again.

I wanted to know how I can budget my money working in a low-income job while trying to pay back OSAP and how you managed to get over the career hump when you moved to Canada.

Thanks for your support as this has taken a toll on me wanting to get married, buy a home and starting a family. I feel like I might not ever have my dreams come true and have no one to talk to about it.

Sabrina L.

Some of the best paying jobs start at the bottom of the ladder

Hi Sabrina,

Thanks for sending me your email question and I hope this post brings you some inspiration.

I can certainly shed some light on my personal experiences from struggling with a low-paying job, working two jobs and moving to Canada and starting my career journey from scratch for you.

Understanding Money and Budgeting

If there is one thing I wish I did when I was in University it would be missing out on the opportunities of using a budget.

Sure, I was a frugal guy who loved to save money and earn money to pay off any debts I owed but a budget would have been even better.

Many of us think we can mathematically calculate our finances in our heads or by looking at our bank account but we can do better than that.

I’ve blogged here and using the budget spreadsheet we designed for a few years now and I can tell you that even when my income was low and it was pretty low after I graduated, the budget helped us out tremendously.

Budgeting was more of a way to make sure we were attaining the goals we wanted to without going overboard.

A budget is like that little voice whispering in your ear,”Do you really need to buy that?”

Many times people need the budget push because they are too busy making excuses as to why they need to spend money rather than excuses as to why they need to earn more money.

It’s amazing how much energy we put into feel good spending than feel good earning ventures.

The realization is that when we focus on balancing the two life is better. We can earn, spend and invest while paying down debt as long as we have a plan and the income coming in to support that plan.

If we don’t have the cash, we need to find a way to earn more or spend less.

The other option is to go back to school like I had to do and you might choose to as well.

Sabrina, you may be earning minimum wage at your current job and you might want to hide because you are embarrassed but you are not a failure.

Failing is when you give up on yourself and anyone who sees you at work doesn’t know how much effort you are putting into that job and what you do outside of that job. Only you know so don’t beat yourself up about it.

Life is not meant to be easy but money and the debt-free life certainly won’t fall on our laps.

If you need a budget, download the CBB budget for free and give it a try for a few months to see how it works for you.

You might even surprise yourself how much money you thought you were earning, spending and saving.

Falling Into A Career Slump

What are some well-paid jobs?

That’s an important question that anyone who decides to head off to College or University should research before applying for school.

No one says you have to study a certain field just for the money but knowing that there are a higher percentage of available jobs may be beneficial.

When I decided to go back to school I chose a field that I always wanted to do but missed the opportunity back in the UK. 

At the time I was too busy wanting to be a computer engineer because I thought I would find a high-paying job and I’d be financially set for life.

What a joke that was.

Get that notion out of your head if you don’t like what you do and focus on what career will make you happy.

I wasn’t a big fan of computers and only studied it because of the money and that’s the WRONG thing to do.

If you don’t like what you are doing you are apt to be less motivated to pursue it.

You may give up early searching for a career or your passion just won’t shine through and those that interview you will see this.

I graduated yes but my degree at the time got me nowhere because everyone was studying computer engineering and trying to find a job where there were more people than jobs available in the UK.

New Country New Career Opportunities

When I moved to Canada I found that the opportunities were more realistic for me in terms of what I wanted to study and potential for landing a career I loved.

I was right and I love what I do. I don’t say what I do for a living other than I help keep people safe and alive. (I know it’s vague but I’m sure some people can figure it out)

Sure, I didn’t want to go back to school a second time but it was either I take a job I’d be miserable in or take the opportunity to study again.

I also had to consider that I needed to work at the same time while I was getting a new education so it was very tough.

Knowing that I was almost 30 and already spent years in University and worked to pay for my studies so I had no debt really turned me off.

I had no choice though because with my qualifications in Canada I was only able to land jobs that would pay me minimum wage and I wouldn’t settle for it.

I knew I had much more to offer and if I wanted to reach for my dreams I had to go out and grab them.

No one is going to push you but yourself. Sure, we had to put everything on hold when we both went back to school for a second time.

We didn’t have a house nor did we have baby-making on the brain which made things easier from that perspective.

On the flip-side plenty of people go back to school who own a house, have kids and are working full-time.

I actually have a few friends in this position right now but they balance the best they can to reach their goals.

Understanding your Priorities

Our careers and paying down debt was our priority which is why our focus on relationship and money was important and still is.

We weren’t out blowing money partying on the weekends or jetting away on vacations we couldn’t afford.

I have worked in my field now for a few years and I may not be making that six-figure income yet but I know I will be at some point

Optimistic, you bet and because I know the career I’ve chosen will easily get me there. It may not be millions but it’s more important to love what I do.

This leads me to my next tip for you… motivation.

Personal Motivation To Find Rewarding Careers

If you want to work in the medical field, engineering, trades job, public sector job or any job that pushes you to be the best you can be requires a certain desire to succeed.

The hard part about motivation is sometimes we are left to motivate ourselves which is why finding your happiness is key.

This can be challenging especially if you have already started the next phases of your life.

Not everyone follows the traditional go to school, get a career, married, house and kids role but for those that do they may find it a bit easier if they wait until they are in the career they love before moving forward.

I know this because having to go back to school meant I didn’t follow any sort of tradition and had to deal with renting a room which was horrible most times and having to put off having kids until we knew we were somewhat financially stable.

Not everyone agrees with the path we took but we don’t care what other people think because they don’t have to live our life. Remember it’s your life.

You will always have people who share their opinion about what you need to do but it’s you who needs to figure that out.

There is no rush to get married, buy the house etc. those can wait. Sure it was helpful financially for me to buy my houses from a young age as that gave me the kick-start I needed but it was only because I thought I had it all figured out.

I thought I was going to be working in one of the best paying jobs and life would be peaches n cream…wrong.

Investing Has More Than One Meaning

I’ve grown up quite a bit since then and although I’ve made some smart moves financially I might have done things differently.

After graduating University I didn’t work in low-paying jobs rather jobs that I just didn’t like.

I was paid decent money with an excellent pension plan (thank goodness) but you certainly worked hard for that money, physically.

Investing when I was younger would have been something I wish I did more of but we can’t have it all.

If you can then that’s great but remember investing doesn’t just have to be in the stock market.

Investing in yourself is what I’m talking about.

I flat-out didn’t like my job but like you Sabrina I didn’t know whether to go back to school only to flop again or to just stick with the job.

You almost feel like your brain is filled with all the knowledge of the education you just paid for and you are letting it go to waste. Sadly, we are not the only one’s it happens to.

I didn’t like to tell people where I worked either but you know what? I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t find those high paying jobs we thought we would get.

There are many people even in Canada that are struggling especially if they studied in University for something where openings in the job market are slim.

Motivation is key as is a solid plan to get where you want to go.

Don’t give up on yourself because many people high-tail it back to school when they don’t want to.

The problem is too many people think it will take too long to achieve their goals because they are thinking so far ahead of themselves.

This type of thinking almost always lands people into a front row “I give-up seat” in life.

Don’t be that person. It may take you a few more years and more money but if it’s a career with a solid employment path and you know you can do it, why wait?

I know my story is my own and circumstances are different for everyone Sabrina but ultimately what you do with your LIFE is up to you.

I don’t know how old you are or how much debt you have but don’t let that stop you from achieving your goals.

Budgeting your money if you aren’t already is important whether you are in school, working or debt free.

Sabrina, take that bag off your head and be proud of what you have accomplished and remember you have your whole life ahead of you.

Discussion: Are you ashamed of where you work after graduating school?

Leave your comments below as I enjoy reading your  feedback and tips.

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  1. Great conversation. This is a challenge for everyone. I think we all go in to college and life with big wide open eyes and so much optimism and then get shut down many times by reality, work life, red tape and challenges. I got the job I wanted out of college. I knew the pay was low to start but could work my way up. Well I could see that the journalism business was radically changing and started trying to target great companies to work for. I felt if I could get on to a great company I could work my way up. Instead of salary I started looking at great benefits and high employee satisfaction. I applied and eventually got on. My salary was okay, but not great. Then after a few years my boss left and all of a sudden I got a huge promotion I wasn’t expecting but was in the right place at the right time and life is amazing, but it took 14 years to get to that point and now I’ve been at my current job for 8 and we are set financially and I have the schedule flexibility I want. It took a long time, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Now I work in an industry I never imagined I would be in, but that is life. Just keep pushing you deserve it and you never know when the right opportunity will pop up, but you have to be looking to strike at the right time.

    1. What a great story Lance, thanks for sharing and for the motivation for the readers. It’s not easy but in order to get where we want to get sometimes it’s not just about the money. Do you see yourself staying with this organization for the long haul?

  2. Great question and great answer. I can relate. It’s pretty frustrating to do well in school and to work hard and pay a lot of money only to be left without in the end. Like you said motivation is key.

  3. A super article Mr CBB!!!
    My daughter went to college to get her Early Childhood Educator papers. She worked retail while there. She worked her tail off before, during and after college and has finally paid off the student line of credit. Because she worked so hard in college to make things better for the kids in her field placements she was offered a job right out of college. The sad part is how little ECE’s are paid. She still works her tail off for ‘her’ kids but the pay scale doesn’t reflect the work she does for the kids. Currently she works as assistant to the director at her center,is running the summer school age program and is very well respected at her place of work.
    She is also raising our grandson by herself and it isn’t easy.

  4. I didn’t go to university, or even finish hight school. I worked for 20 years in a factory,and was paid slightly more than minimum wage. So did my spouse. What was different with us, compare to our friends , at that time? We worked all year round, and took advantage of overtime, when it was offered.
    We had a budget, that we stuck to. We bought a cheap older 2 bedroom trailer, and paid it off in 2 years. During this time we bought a piece of land, and paid it off. We sold the trailer, and this paid for the foundation for our house. My brother and spouse built the house, when my spouse wasn’t sleeping or working. I worked all the overtime I could. We paid for the materials as we went along. We did end up taking a bank loan so we could finish the interior of the house.It was paid for in 4 years.
    We scrimped and saved, and lived very frugally….then we started out family.
    So sometimes, it really isn’t about how much money you make, it’s what you do with it.
    Our house was furnished with yard sales for the first few years, and family cast offs.

  5. A lot of it is timing as well. I graduated before the recession when the market was at its peak. Now students who are graduating are finding it hard to get a job in their field, let alone a high paying one because the demand isn’t there, and the demand that IS there, is for experienced folk.. which is a whole chicken and egg problem because you can’t get experience without a job.

  6. I think many post-college students do not anticipate the difficulty in finding something in their field. I know I sure didn’t. Plus, They haven’t been properly educated on what it takes to land a job (people skills, connections, hustle, etc.). So they get discouraged and settle for something out of their niche or just choose to go on for further education (thus kicking the can down the road).

    1. The problem is when they settle they give up. Then what happens is life takes over and before you know it they have taken on other priorities in their life and it’s hard to quit the job, take on another job or go back to school again. Tough call.

  7. A lot of people are living the frustrating experience that Sabrina is going through right now and I can tell you that I did the very same. I excelled in my studies, was valedictorian of my high school, and at the top of my university Computer Science program with a 4.1 GPA. I was also in one of the best fields you listed, Computer Science, and I actually wanted to be there. I swear at least 80-90% of the people I started with in first year had dropped out by the 4th year (most after the first year).

    However, when graduation time came in 2003, it was just after the dot com bubble burst and nobody was hiring tech workers. I had to start doing customer support for several years at a few companies. I got my toe in the door by doing support at one software development shop and was able to move into a programming position after a little while doing that.

    It’s a tough world out there and it’s only getting tougher from a job market perspective. However, if you are persistent and willing to work hard AFTER school is done, it will usually get noticed and pay off. Make sure you get into networking with others in your desired field as much as you can. Knowing the right person will land a job MUCH faster than taking the shotgun approach with your resume online. This is especially true if you want to work in a specific city/town that might be on the smaller side.

    1. Very good points Stephen. I don’t think many realize how competitive of a job market the world has for them. Networking is so important as is getting that foot in the door. That’s what I had to do and even though the money wasn’t great it was the experience that I needed.

  8. Hi Sabrina, Mr. CBB answered your question very well but I will put in my 2 cents. I do have a good paying managerial job where I run 4 businesses, I did not go to University for my field, just self taught. I am one who believes University degrees are over rated in most cases. For you, I would possibly suggest starting up a home based business, something you can do part time and work around your other job. It would help you to pay off debt and who knows, it could become very successful for you. It sounds like you have a lot of drive and determination, you just need a WHY. Focus on exactly what you want in a month, 6 months, a year, etc. and write it down. Then go to work to make it happen. I started a home business because I want more out of life and don’t want to be stuck at a job making someone else rich. I want more and dropped off for a while because of personal issues, but am getting back into it with more determination and drive than ever before. I re did my dream board, re thought my why and that is what you need to do. Be happy that you have a job, today that is a huge feat in itself. If you want more, focus on it and take one step at a time! 🙂 If you want to talk more about what I do I would love to share more with you! Good luck and be happy 🙂 If you want to succeed, you will!

  9. I think you gave Sabrina some excellent advise. I have nieces and nephews in their 20s and it appears that there is a lot of pressure to live a certain lifestyle. Even one of my nieces mentioned recently that she thinks she needs to earn $100k/year to survive. I was saddened to hear that comment. I think the lifestyle pressures are just crazy and it’s part of the problem. I would advise not to fall into the pressures of others.

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