You've just earned your master's degree, which got you hired at the Midwestern museum where you completed your internship. You never thought you'd accept this pitiful salary, but you get to assemble some pretty cool exhibits and rack up some research hours.
Fast-forward five years, and after much blood, sweat, and tears, you've finally gotten your doctorate. Although the museum was fun, you want to get more involved in research work. You're now an assistant professor at a top-notch university with a generous research budget.
You've climbed to the top of the heap at your university. After the department's tenured professor retired, you took over the paleontology program, which means you've got grad assistants falling over each other to help you. You're lining yourself up for a nice year-long research gig.
You abandoned the academic world when you joined the Discovery Channel's exploration team. You get to work on some uber-cool fossil digs, and then tell viewers about the experience in words they can understand. Your shows have become wildly popular, which means you get to make more of them. Sweet.
As the Discovery Channel's scientific programming director, you literally do run the show. You get to pick and choose the paleontology projects, and arrange your schedule so you can roll up your sleeves and dig on most of them. You always wanted to get paid for playing in the dirt.