I definately had to add a few things to this thread.
Similarly to Rfung's other post, I too was fresh out of college (didn't finish however) and went directly into SEO in LA after four or five years of web design experience. I've been working now full-time for about a year now, 9-7 or 7:30 with a few saturdays too a month. Add LA's magnificent traffic and the day easily 14 becomes hours. I can't possibly understand how this can be what life is about. I dread the very real possibillity that I would have to do this for another year, and I can't even begin to imagine doing this until retirement age. i have recently jumped into the AM market and have so much enthusiam for the chance to do this fulltime. Although the possibility is very real to make alot money, personally, I feel my aggressive drive into this business is about personal and financial freedom. I will take the stress of search engine algorithm changes, merchant disputes, etc any day over the consistenly more volatile situation where I work presently. Furthermore, with adequate persistence and a pinch of lunck, I can gain this freedom to actually experience life each day and not live in that semi-conscious slog M-F ,along with doubling or tripling my income. Now is going to argue with that?