Trying to negotiate your salary, whether you’re a recent graduate or looking for a career change, is always tricky. It’s hard to put a value on yourself when you have nothing benchmark it against. Levo’s 2015 Entry-Level Salary Report asked friends of friends and members of professional groups such as Step Up (a mentorship nonprofit) how much they make so that others in the same situation can feel more confident about negotiating their own salaries. Here, the salary low-down from entry-level women in fields like publishing, banking, medicine, and more. Read on so when you need to #ask4more, you can do it with all the confidence in the world: 

$22,000 “Going into the fashion media industry, I knew it was going to be hard work, long hours and overall extremely competitive. Throughout this journey, my motto has always been ‘dream hard, work harder.’ I want to make my passion a reality and work in a career field that I truly love and want to work in for the rest of my life. I know with passion comes sacrifice, and I am willing to strive to achieve my dreams. I know the money will come later if the dedication, focus and hard work ethic come first.” —Julia, 23, fashion editorial contributor

$26,400 + commissions/bonuses “Obviously I’m not very pleased with the amount I am making, but it’s ultimately up to me if I’ll make more than my base. I came out of school wanting to get away from the sports world. I’ve been involved with it my entire life and wanted a break. I love the place I work and the people around me are awesome. Although I have only been in the sales world for a few weeks, I know this is not a lot to live on…and it definitely doesn’t support my shopping addiction.” —Nicole, 25, sales representative

[Related: When to Ask for a Salary Raise]

$28,700 + overtime “I started off making $28,000 plus overtime, which will add up to about $35,000 a year, but I started shortly before our yearly review and raise process. Obviously, I’d like to make more, but I love my job, and I honestly don’t have any problems paying my rent, my car payments, my student loan payments, phone bills and buying groceries/necessities. Plus, I still have some money left over for fun and entertainment. I really thought I wouldn’t be able to live in the city making that amount, but it’s easy if you’re smart with your money. People who make more probably look down on my salary, but I highly doubt their job is as awesome. I do think I’m worth a lot more, and that’s why I initially tried to negotiate a higher salary, but I couldn’t be as assertive as I wanted to because I wasn’t in the best position. I wanted to break into the industry, like thousands of other recent grads, and when they asked if I would turn down the job if they couldn’t give me the salary increase, I just didn’t feel comfortable saying yes. I said I’d still consider it, so of course they said they couldn’t do it. It was a good learning experience, and I think now that I’m in I’ll be much more willing to ask for more when I’m applying for other jobs in the future.” —Mary, 24, editorial assistant

$30,000 “For those who work in fashion, it’s never a surprise how much money we’re not making. My salary goes directly to bills, and I pay for my social life by babysitting. I still struggle over the fact that companies truly believe a young adult—saddled with astronomical rent, bills, and let’s not forget student loans—can afford to live in New York City on almost nothing. Still, we youngin’s find a way to do it. I like to think that’s the point rather than people being stingy: if you can make it on nothing in New York City, you can make anything work, at any time, in any place.” —Yvonne, 24, digital PR coordinator

$30,000 + overtime for special events “I am an on air personality on two radio stations and production director of the entire cluster. I do two 4-hour air shifts a day Monday-Friday while simultaneously writing, voicing, and producing all the commercials that are played on our five radio stations. I am essentially doing three full-time jobs for the price of one. I am the only person at my job of 50 employees that does this. The special events are usually on weekends so to make more than $30K a year, I have to sacrifice the majority of my weekends of rest and relaxation. I am also the youngest employee by 10+ years, all while going to school full time. It’s a lot of work for not a lot of money—at least not enough money to actually take my paid vacation and go somewhere other than my couch.” —Gisele, 24, radio host and production director

$33,000 “From what I can tell, my salary is generally pretty good for entry-level in the field of social work. I’m a case manager at a youth center, and I absolutely love my job. I wish there were more ways to make a better salary and still work in direct service, but it seems like all the higher paying jobs in social work are administrative or director positions. I want to work with the community directly, so it looks like I’ll have to be happy with a living wage.” —Sarah, 24, case manager

[Related: 4 Additional Perks To Negotiate]

$33,500 “The only reason I’m comfortable working in publishing right now is because I’m living at home. I really enjoy publishing, but I want to afford to live on my own while also having a bit of a personal life, so I’m open to going into other fields. It’s very frustrating that New York is the capital of arts and publishing, but those industries pay entry-level workers almost too little to actually live here.” —Julia, 23, publicity assistant at a publishing house

$35,000 “I always knew that when I graduated college I wanted to work for an organization that helped people. Now, I’m lucky to work for a non-profit that impacts the lives of teen girls and supports their education. Although I work as an executive assistant and don’t get paid much, I feel I make a difference in the work I do. That’s what keeps me going. Being an assistant in communications at a non-profit has given me an incredible learning experience and professional opportunities I would not have found elsewhere. The non-profit I work for also supports me as I finish my Master’s in communication at USC, which I am extremely grateful for. When the time is right, I feel prepared and ready to take the next step in my career.” —Amanda, 24, executive/PR assistant in nonprofit communications

$35,000 + overtime and bonus “All together I make over $40,000, which is pretty great for a first job with just a Bachelor’s in Chemistry. But I also have a Master’s degree, so it’s hard to find a job that doesn’t require three+ years of experience too. One big thing I had to accept was that I may not be getting paid as much as my education is worth right away. I really do enjoy my job and value the experience I’m gaining though, which is what matters to me at this point.” —Melinda, 24, chemist

$37,000 “Most of my friends work in finance or consulting and make more than double what I make. It’s frustrating to hear them complain about how much they work when I work just as much, and for a salary that sometimes averages out to be less than minimum wage when you take my hours into account. I definitely live paycheck to paycheck, but my salary is a standard for the industry, so I know I just have to power through and pay my dues until things get easier.” —Dana, 24, public relations assistant account executive

$37,440 + overtime and bonuses “I knew that starting out I would be at the bottom, but I see pros and cons to my position. I’m at a relatively small company, so I am gaining experience in a number of sales/marketing/production/customer care fields. I am also excited about the industry I work in and the opportunity I have to move up within the company I work for. I try not to compare my pay and lifestyle to friends, but I probably fall somewhere in the middle. Compared to people my age I feel like I got lucky, because I’m not a college graduate waiting tables. But I also have a lot of friends that are older with more work experience, and a lot of male friends who definitely make more money than I do.” —Ali, 22, customer care representative

$41,000 “I’m fine with my salary. I’d say if it were a scale of 1-10, I’m at a 7 of happiness. I wouldn’t mind if it were higher, but I understand with my industry that it’s tough to get a cushy salary. I ultimately want to be a film/television director, but my work is all right. I’m still learning still, so that makes it worth it.” —Catie, 24, assistant producer for an ad agency

$45,000 + bonus “I had always heard to expect not to earn much your first job out of college, but I wanted to challenge myself to find the right cultural fit with a compensation package that made me feel like the company valued my contributions. With base plus bonus, I brought in about $65,000 this past year and I am on pace to exceed that this upcoming year. I feel confident being in a work environment where my opinions matter, my hard work is recognized and my achievements are rewarded financially.” —Michelle, 22, finance recruiter

$48,000 “My salary may sound OK, but when you factor in what it costs to live, eat, and have a social life in the city, the budget can be tight! On the bright side, the salary does increase a small percentage each year, and getting your Master’s increases your salary as well. It’s a difficult job, and one that does not end when the bell rings, but it is extremely rewarding. Summers are pretty great, too!” —Caitlin, 26, 6th grade teacher

[Related: My Power Outfit with Math Teacher Kristen Silfies]

$48,000 “I think my salary is miserable and embarrassing because I’m doing the work of two people. My company laid off a lot of people in 4Q last year. They have now hired people in my department, but not on my team, so it’s really frustrating. I got laterally moved to this position in February and was told that I couldn’t ask for more money off the bat and instead had to wait at least a year because I had not proven myself. My boss is hoping that if they promote him, he will be able to justify getting me a promotion. I’m hoping if I’m loyal and stick it out, it’ll pay off. I wish I made more since I can’t afford to move out of my parents’ house because of what I make. It’s a huge sacrifice for me to save $500 a month, but I’m doing it.” —Ibis, 25, media planning specialist

$48,000 + time differentials and overtime “I’m a social worker in the Emergency Department at a children’s hospital. I knew I wanted to be in the medical field after my second-year placement in graduate school. I stayed in a newly-created position at the hospital I was already working at part-time as I started working at the children’s hospital, but they were able to eventually hire a full-time clinician for that role. I continue to have odd hours in my full-time role (mostly 2:00 p.m.-midnight shifts on a rotating schedule where I work every other weekend). I knew I would be giving up some of my social life by accepting a job at the children’s hospital, but the pay for an entry-level social work role is quite decent due to being in a medical setting. I’m hoping I can move into a more regular daytime schedule within the year.” —Cristina, 27, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) clinician

$50,000 “In comparison to my journalism friends in the city, I’m making great money. I’m at a very stable company with good benefits, but I don’t like my job. The work I do now doesn’t make me happy, and I have a terrible shift of working 2:00-10:00 p.m. No happy hours, no clubs, no classes. I know this is a stepping stone that I just have to go through, and things are changing. I’m going to stick it out because I feel like opportunities are coming.” —Maria, 24, video producer

$52,000 + overtime “Ever since I learned the art of networking at age 15, I’ve made incredible connections, gained tons of experience, and paved my own path to where I am now. I went to school for Arts Management and graduated in 2014 with my Bachelor’s Degree. I’m the first in my family to do so, and it definitely felt great. I knew that I wanted to do something in the entertainment industry. I loved action, behind-the-scenes and music, but I didn’t know exactly what field would have all of that. But of course, everything falls in place when it should, and so I got an email from who is now my boss. I’d introduced myself to her last year when she gave a speech at a fundraiser, and I always kept in touch. She was emailing because she’d recently started her new gig at Condé and needed people on her team, and thought of me since I never lost touch with her…even though she barely replied. Because of networking, I have a job that I love. I work with talent (I research and book celebrities, influencers, entrepreneurs, speakers, etc.) and I also work with Production. It is very fast-paced industry, but I love the adrenaline and challenges it gives me at the end of the day.” —Astrid, 22, talent and production coordinator

$54,065 “I’m really excited to finally have a salary after so many years of education, especially since it’s a job I’ve always dreamed of! I’m in a Family Medicine residency. I love Family Medicine since I get to treat everyone from babies to grandparents. I get to see my patients repeatedly and establish that special doctor/patient relationship of trust and being ‘their doctor.’ Student loans are rough but I’m still very happy with the amount I’ll be making.” —Victoria, 24, first-year resident physician

$55,000 “I work in the construction industry. As someone who just graduated with a masters degree in civil engineering, I have a lot of friends and family giving me shit about my salary, telling me that I make way less than I should and that I should definitely look for a new job that makes $70,000 at least. Personally, I feel very lucky to even have a job doing something that I actually enjoy doing and making a decent amount, especially since I just came out of school with virtually zero experience. I don’t plan on quitting. However, I do know that if I ever want to support some kids or the aging parents, I’ll need either a partner’s income or a higher one of my own. —Angela, 25, project manager

$21.50 an hour +overtime “I started at $21 an hour a year ago at my current position. I average about 50 hours a week, and take home about $15 an hour post-tax and 401K. I’m satisfied with my earnings, especially since there’s always work to do and if I need a few extra hours, I’m always allowed to work them. Living in New York City, if my hours got limited, I would have to start budgeting really strictly. It’s an expensive city and I feel like I’m just above the minimum of what you have to make here to not live paycheck to paycheck.” —Maxi, 25, camera technician

$58,000 “I just graduated from law school, so I’m starting out at entry level this fall! I’m in a semi-unique situation in that I’m starting out with a one-year federal clerkship. I feel thankful for that salary considering my boyfriend is going into a mid-size law firm and making $50K, but at the same time, it sucks because I have about $140K of student loans that need to be paid back. So I’m okay with the amount, but it sucks in the sense that I have so much debt for this degree. Plus, people tend to think that lawyers make bank, but most of us actually don’t start off that high.” —Ann, 27, federal law clerk

$58,250 “I’m a contractor, so that’s roughly what I make working 40 hours a week. If I work more hours than that, I make more money. Because of my student loans, I don’t have a lot of spending money after paying off that and other bills each month. I would want to make more, and have seen others in similar positions making a bit more, but getting that amount was incredible. I was pretty strapped financially when I first graduated, so the relief of making more felt really good.” —Joanna, 25, health policy contractor

$60,000 “I put 25 percent away before taxes, so I really see only half. It helps me manage better since I can’t keep up with putting money away after it’s in my account. Even with a significant chunk of savings, I have enough to cover bills each month and do something extra like going to a concert or buying a new outfit. The ‘fun money’ varies and sometimes is spent on less fun things such as car repairs. I also get to travel a lot for work, so I always feel like I’m doing something fun, even when the extra cash is spent on the ‘grown up’ stuff like insurance payments.” —Grace, 23, public policy manager for a private nonprofit organization

$66,000 for 193 duty days “I’m definitely happy with my salary at the start of my new career. It did take a lot of time and effort (three years of grad school after college) to get to the starting point, but it was worth it to me. It also helps to be doing what I love. In my profession, I get to work closely with lots of different people (kids, families, educators, administrators) on a daily basis, and my role varies each day (psychoeducational assessment, academic and behavioral consultation, counseling, etc.) so the job is never boring. Though we only have to work 193 days a year, the hours can be quite tedious and work frequently ends up getting done at home after dinner and occasionally on the weekends. When you divide up the salary by the number of hours worked, sometimes it seems as if I could be making the same at a lower-stress job. However, when you find something you’re passionate about, it becomes less about the dollars per hour and more about how you feel at the end of each day. I’m definitely looking forward to many years to come in this profession!” —Stephanie, 30, school psychologist 

$70,000 + $10,000 signing bonus “I interviewed for jobs in consulting at large global firms, at specialized boutique firms, and everything in between. I did not necessarily have any expectations of how much I could/would make coming out of college until the offers started coming. I was actually pretty surprised by the results given I studied the History of Science and didn’t necessarily have any practical business skills. When compared to my peers who are not all in consulting and i-banking, it’s clear that there’s a large disparity in incomes. Seeing as we all work similar hours, it’s pretty disheartening to see a good friend making half as much as me, but working just as much as I do.” —Alyssa, 24, general management consultant 

[Related: 12 Things You Can Negotiation for (in Addition to Your Salary]

$78,000 “I never went into psychology for the money. It was very clear from the start that you will never be paid what you’re worth. That being said, I am grateful to have the starting salary I have with less than five years experience, including my time as a postdoctoral fellow. I am newly licensed and working to obtain national board certification, which will likely add a monetary boost. I can absolutely say it’s worth the time and effort I have put in over the years—even with student loan debt equivalent to a 6 bedroom brand new fully upgraded house!” —Mykea, 34, clinical psychologist

$85,000 + $10,000 signing bonus + $35,000-55,000 year-end bonus “No one I know in investment banking is really happy. It’s something that smart but directionless kids looking for prestige or the stereotypical money-chasing kids do. You have no control over your life and are expected to respond to emails and phone calls at all hours (Saturday at 3:00 a.m. is not unheard of). You definitely aren’t struggling, but the perks aren’t great compared to more people-friendly industries like tech. This industry has a high turnover because people seek better hours or better pay. Most people don’t last beyond two years at the junior level. I’ll be leaving the industry in August to pursue a career in software engineering.” —Lynn, 22, investment banker

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