For a while, I felt that I would one day find a job – namely a 9-5 – where I would make a magic sum of money and be able to 1.) save, and 2.) one day get a mortgage in my own name.
The reality is, like many people in the area I was working in (I worked first in admin, and later communications) even on the higher pay bands, where I was based, the mortgage company would not have given me a second look on that wage, unless I was buying with a partner and we could combine our salary (and even then, this would have been tricky).
This in itself, I would argue, needs to change.
What happened instead, was that every month, by a small but significant amount, I would go in my overdraft. I would end up covering the loss with savings that I had from while I was working on my gap year. I would lose money, without even thinking about it. I would spend money on trainers, because my old ones had holes in and water would pour through the soles, and I would consider this me ‘spending irrationally.’ I would spend money on food, or heating, or rent, and would feel ‘the squeeze’ even when occasionally I would move jobs and I would go up a ‘pay band’ (an extra £200 a month). It felt like, by the end, it was a very pointless exercise to show-up to work at all. Work would take all my energy, but I wouldn’t see any return – literally and metaphorically.
It’s difficult to challenge certain structures in certain institutions without worrying it will make you look ‘out of favour’ – like it would make you look like you were someone to ignore when applying for other jobs, or someone to ignore when asking for internal advice or someone to view with resentment and regret that they ever hired you in the first place, when you saw your boss in meetings. Questioning the status quo at the time, just seemed riddled with shame.
This feeling would often exacerbated when you were often on temporary contracts, because that was what was available. Even writing this now, I’m struggling to see why I ever signed up for these ‘jobs’ in adverted commas in the first place. By the end of it, before I became self-employed, working 9-5 felt like a favour I was doing the company, the amount I wasn’t able to earn by the time I’d worked a 35 hour week. All the while, turning up to work, putting on a professional face, and pretending that I was supported, and believed in the mission statement of my employer.
Little did anyone know, I was actually often spending most of my weekends sat at home, in a shared flat, with the central heating turned off, not eating much and not going on holiday. It was hard to see out of that situation, at the time, due to tiredness. In hindsight, it was an employer taking advantage of many people like myself’s good will. No-one was kicking off. Everyone was accepting that their job mattered to them, and they didn’t want to lose it by ‘stirring the pot’ with their feelings and worries about money. That would ‘look bad.’ Saying that they couldn’t live, let alone ever afford to buy a house with what they were earning, would ‘look bad.’
There are a lot of questions I have to both the landlords and the employers that I’ve had in the past.
‘What the hell are you doing?’
‘How can you be so f*cking stupid?’
Another further question:
‘Have you heard of the rental website ‘Spare Room’? Just google it, and do the maths. Your company’s wages you’re offering, minus the average rent in the area. You’ll see that you’re leaving your employees with sweet F.A. by the time they’ve been taxed, paid bills, bought clothes and food, and paid their phone bill. And gone on their annual holiday to their parents house.’
To my mind, this is not a financial structure, it’s a piss take.
And they rely on social conditioning of people being taught they’re not worthy of having more than others, that they’re not worthy of doing what they love, that they’re not worthy of having a life of fulfillment and joy and love in abundance. They rely on people being conditioned into thinking that in order to be accepted, they must live in a state of lack.
But… what if, that wasn’t the only way?
What if it’s possible to heal from this social conditioning? What if it’s possible to heal from ancestral trauma, from childhood experiences, to heal from what we’re shown in the media and popular culture, that suggests we don’t deserve to be here? What if it’s possible to realise that you can move forwards from all of that?
What if it was possible to live in abundance? An abundance of joy, love, peace and happiness? What then? Would they lose money by paying people a fair wage or setting a fair rental price? More to the point, will they be able to continue, if they don’t start doing this ASAP?!
I would argue that with the rate that rent is going up, and the way wages have been frozen for so long, this is doomed to fail. I genuinely worked in one office where there was a lady in her late 40s who said her wage hadn’t gone up since she was 21. She had a daughter, and lived with her ex-husband in the same house, as she couldn’t afford the rent to live alone.
These situations of people feeling stuck, due to their financial situation, are not uncommon. I worked with someone that had to move back in with her parents in her early 30s, even though she shared a rental property with her partner, and they were both working full time. She loved the city she was in, but financially, it just wasn’t working. This system puts people at risk, both socially and economically. It’s short-sited, and it’s ludicrous.
I believe it’s a tipping point, and people need to act now. It’s up to the individual how to respond to these things, such as low wages, high rent, etc, but I would argue, that even the most frugal person on what is considered in many industries as an ‘acceptable wage,’ will one day not be able to live, the debt will get too high, the food banks won’t be able to cope, the structures in place to help people in hard times won’t be able to withstand the influx of those in jobs previously considered ‘secure,’ now also struggling to make ends meet.
Your voice matters now more than ever.
Ask for that pay rise.
Question that rent increase.
Question that deposit amount.
Question that budget cut.
Question that pay gap.
Question that temporary contract.
Join a Union if you need to.
Invest in that therapy, and heal from any social conditioning that you may feel you were ever born to live in a state of lack.
Walk away from what no longer serves you.
Say how you feel.
In my opinion, that’s all it comes down to.
It’s ok to say how you feel.
I don’t think there’s any shame in stating the obvious that everyone deserves to be paid for what they do, and paid to be able to live while they’re doing it.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a career that you enjoy. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a career that you believe in. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a career where you earn enough, so that you can live well. I think everyone’s worthy of doing what they love, I think there’s enough for everyone, and I think everyone deserves to live in abundance.
This is just my opinion, I’m just sharing how I feel 😊