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  • Writer's pictureBrian Burns

Mamas'​ Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Doctors or Lawyers - They are no longer the highest paid

Waylan Jennings' famous song that warned parents not to let their children grow up to be Cowboys needs to be updated because HE IS WRONG. Today I would like to expose a very well kept secret that few know, Doctors and Lawyers are NOT the highest paid professionals.

This morning I was reading a blog post from Glassdoor about the 25 Highest Paid Jobs, but I could not help but notice the list did not include what I have known to be the highest paid profession. They listed the #1 highest as you may have guessed Physician at $187,876 which is a good wage, you can not live on it, but it is a start. Of course, the #2 was Patent Attorney, and the list did include what we are socialized to believe are well-paying jobs that require years of higher education. There is no wonder that parents aspire to have their children go to the best schools they can afford. The micro management of each school day and test score seems to make perfect sense if you fall into this trap.

The profession that was missing from the list was Business-to-Business Sales People. The best-kept secret in career strategy is that Sales People are the highest paid people, yes even higher than CEOs. The reason Glassdoor did not include them is that they only consider the base salary and not the on target salary, which will include commissions. For most B2B Salespeople a base salary is well over $100k and an on-target income of over $200k with no limit. So a B-Player Sales person would make well over what a doctor would, and an A-Player would make more than a Heart or Brain Surgeon. One of my clients had a Sales Rep who W-2ed $2.4 Million in one year. Now that is a salary you can live on, what do you think? You maybe wonder what the $2.4 Million dollar sales person did to earn it, well he closed a $36m deal.

The natural reaction is to feel that salespeople are overpaid but that is a trap, sales people are underpaid. When I hear a CEO say that she does not want to pay commission, I ask why are you Not sharing the equity equally with all the employees? The answer comes quickly, "Because I am taking the risk, I am working 80 hours a week, and my heart and soul are invested in making this work". I smile and reply that is exactly why you should be paying commissions. No Margin, No Mission. You can make all the Kale Smoothies you want but without an intensely personal "Why?" all you get is mindless smiles and nods, i.e. Sheep.

So why are not more parents understand that education is just one factor in their child's development? Why are we socialized to believe that formal education is the be all and end all?

The other great news is the there is an endless demand for A-Player B2B Sales People. When speaking with Chief Revenue Officers near 100% of them would hire as many as possible, but of course, the A-Players are not unemployed and only look when their current company reworks their compensation plan or territory.

The best and most successful Sales People are fiercely independent and have developed their unique way of helping their clients and winning their business. Some of these salespeople have are characterized as Maverick or Cowboys, so Waylan Jennings was wrong maybe you do want your babies to grow up to be Cowboys.

Let me know what you think by commenting, sharing and liking. If you would like to learn more about how to become the highest paid profession, please check out my PodCast "The Brutal Truth about Sales & Selling."

Thanks for stopping by,


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