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I know some people who sell cars and don’t have a college degree but pull in close to six figures. They enjoy it but they also work for higher end dealerships and get to take fun cars (like a brand new WRX STI...) for a spin sometimes.

Cooking or baking is another option. Some great chefs out there never graduated from college or culinary school.

Running a business also doesn’t require a college degree. My wife owns a café and never graduated from college.




> Cooking or baking is another option.

Celebrity chefs can make a lot of money, but I’m pretty sure just about everyone else is just barely scraping by.


The question said interesting work and/or money. So I guess I went with the “or” rather than the “and”.


Just like lawyers.


Lawyers earn a median amount of $120,000 a year - https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm#tab-5

Chefs and head cooks earn a median amount of around $50,000 a year https://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/chefs-a...

So I'm not so sure about your point.


There are plenty of lawyers who are basically scraping by. Advocacy lawyers (e.g. someone working for the ACLU) generally don't make that much, as far as I'm aware. They take their pay in policy victories. (Or, I guess, in the satisfaction of struggling.)

But that's less than 50% of lawyers, and it's voluntary.


The point is that there is a pretty big disparity between the big paying law jobs and the normal jobs on a frequency basis, the median earning value doesn't demonstrate this reality.

I did the research on this when I thought I wanted to go into law myself.


Wait that’s why you use the median


Lawyer salaries follow a bimodal distribution[1], that's why the median isn't very helpful. Besides showing the distribution (what the article does) the more interesting figures would be the two modes.

What might be relevant for the discussion here is that lawyer salaries have been unimodal 25 years ago but have changed over the course of time. It has been argued here on HN [2][3] and elsewhere [4] that developer salaries are bound to suffer the same fate.

[1] https://www.biglawinvestor.com/bimodal-salary-distribution-c...

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16337434

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12588202

[4] https://danluu.com/bimodal-compensation/


Lawyers also rarely graduate with anything less than six figure debts and many are forced to live within the lifestyle/means of someone with half their salary for a decade plus because of it.


Any great chef though is either formally trained or has undergone an extensive apprenticeship under a formally trained chef. Time and again, you can tell the difference in execution between self-taught and formal training, and this goes beyond cooking. The importance of rigour is frequently underestimated.




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