Christie Smith
Christie Smith
Home state: Idaho
Occupation: General Manager, Taco John's
Pay: nearly $100,000 per year

I relocated from Idaho Falls, Idaho, where we were suffering a recession and they were going to close my [Taco John's] restaurant down, so they shipped me here to Williston to help out because of the oil boom here.

We've held our own and we've done great, but employees are getting thinner and oil workers are getting thicker. I feel like we're fighting a war here. We're trying to hold the front line, keep the doors open, keep the employees in their stations, keep them happy and keep these oil people and locals fed.

My pay has gone up considerably. When I first got here it wasn't by very much, but at least it was a job. I'm a single mother -- I have three children and a grandbaby that I needed to help support so I made the move and very quickly was able to make some improvements and some adjustments [to the restaurant]. My owner appreciated it and saw the craziness of everything happening in town, and without even asking he came in and made a rather nice contribution to my salary.

With benefits, some perks and my salary increase, it does approach a six-figure income [compared to the minimum wage I was making in Idaho Falls].

And I think if anyone ever saw my paycheck, they would say I definitely deserve it for what I go through. I'm not the average run-of-the-mill manager.

I came to work at 8 a.m. yesterday and I didn't leave until midnight, and in early spring I would come in at 6 a.m., and I wouldn't leave until 4 in the morning. I definitely want to lead by example and keep them energized, so yeah I do work some crazy hours.


Last updated October 27 2011: 9:55 AM ET
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Double your salary in the middle of nowhere, North Dakota

Companies are hiring like crazy: you can make $15 an hour serving tacos, $25 an hour waiting tables and $80,000 a year driving trucks. In the middle of nowhere, North Dakota.

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