As of 2016, Latinos make up 16.8 percent – 26.8 million – of the workforce in the United States. While there are plenty of statistics about the industries (tech, legal, STEM, and many more) where our communities are sorely underrepresented and how the wage gap disproportionately affects Latinas (and other women of color), we wanted to learn more about what it’s like to pursue your career goals as a Latino today.
That’s why we’re launching Latinx Career Diaries. A few times a month, we’ll offer you a peek into what it’s like to work a certain job as a Latino. The goal is to give you an idea of what people with your similar experiences earn, help you pick up some negotiation tactics, and provide guidance if you’re embarking on your career.
These responses have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
Preferred Pronoun: She
Job Title: Sales Manager in the publishing industry
Years at Current Job: 2 years and six months
Location: Fresno, California
Years of Experience: ~ 2 years
Salary: $30,000. At times I feel I’m paid my worth. Right now, we are short staffed and I am working overtime to cover two positions with not much of a boost in salary.
Negotiation Process: I didn’t negotiate my initial salary. I was worried that I would be passed up by someone with a college degree. The starting salary was already $4 more an hour than I was making previously, so I took it. I think I could have negotiated higher, and I regret not doing so.
Benefits: We have health insurance and 401k. We also have a profit sharing plan.
Cost of living in your city based on your salary: I can almost afford the cost of living in my city.
How I Broke In: I answered an online ad for a customer service representative. I was in that position for a year when I was given the opportunity to become the sales manager.
Why I’m here today: I honestly believe that I was given this job because of my work experience. I’ve worked my whole adult life more than full-time hours. I have a lot more work experience than someone my age. I think that was what initially got me in the door. From there, I was given my new position because I work really hard. I don’t have a higher education degree, and I often feel like I need to learn more and work harder to prove that I belong in my industry. It works, but it’s exhausting.
Responsibilities: I am responsible for managing our sales team, creating monthly specials, opening new accounts, traveling to ensure our sales reps are showing our books in their show rooms, attending industry conferences as the representative of our company.
What I like Most/Least: I love to travel and I love to sell. It’s a lot of fun and really fulfilling to make a sale. I hate working with certain reps. It’s not uncommon for a sales rep (always male) to CC my boss into an email because he doesn’t think I know what I’m talking about. It makes simple questions drag out longer than they should.
Diversity: In our office, there is a good amount of diversity. The Central Valley, in general, is full of Latinos, so it’s pretty brown in my office. However, publishing, in general, is very white. When I travel for work, it’s not uncommon to be the only brown person in the room. It’s a weird dynamic to deal with especially with the recent calls for more diverse publishing. It’s tough to hear a room full of white people talk about diversity. It’s cringey for sure.
Growth Potential: I think there’s room for growth. We are a startup company, and one of the fastest growing companies in the industry. Right now, I am planning to go back to college (online), so I can continue to work my way up in the industry.
What I wish I Knew Before: A lot. I came into this industry knowing that I loved to read, but knowing very little else. I had to learn a lot really quickly. After my first year I met a few people who became great mentors. I wish I would have known them sooner or reached out to try to find someone.
Final Thoughts: It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of stress and tons of work. Publishing is a non-stop push. I get emails at all hours of the day and night. There are authors who will go out of their way to find you and contact you. It’s not easy, but it’s really rewarding when something goes right. It’s also not an easy industry to learn, it takes a good year before you get the flow of the industry. I would love to see more young Latinx in publishing on both the author side and the product side.