Within 3 tweets I’d already decided I had made a mistake following them and it was all about a guardian article that told the story of several different families and how they pay pocket-money. How much, how often, for any reason and whether the child in question has to use it to buy things like their own clothes etc.. The reason I got annoyed is because they expressed their disgust at the amount of money these children were getting. Annoyed that one couple were talking about the cost of their nanny. Angry that one 18-year-old had been upset that his mother had used his child allowance to help herself out of financial issues, despite giving him a generous pocket-money allowance.
Now, the tweeter in question was well within his rights to be pissed off. He is perfectly entitled to his own opinion. Unfortunately I am well within my rights to get annoyed about that opinion, because it happens to be an area that I get quite het up about.
Why does everyone get annoyed about people who just happen to be born into, work hard for or come into money? Does undermining people in privileged financial positions make those that don’t feel better about themselves? When I see it, I just feel bad for those doing the undermining. Why so bitter?
I get that a lot of people feel that they have had the rough end of the stick. Raised badly, poor education, mixed with the wrong crowd, have a lot of bad luck. There isn’t a lot you can do about the earlier issues, but I do think that the thinking that you are bad luck, and the negativity to others who seem to get good luck, is actually part of the problem. The difference is that those that appear to have good luck often just have a positive outlook and therefore recognise opportunities for the taking. They don’t sit about moaning about what they don’t have.
I have many people on Twitter I follow that have so little money, they really do wait for the next pay check, put things on eBay to get the money to pay for something else and generally scrimp and save and buy second-hand. They are happy with their lot, they wish they had more, but they accept that this is where they are right now and focus on what is important. I also follow people who have a lot more money. Doctors, Lawyers, wives and husbands who’s spouses earn a tonne. They also have their own spending issues. Different ones, granted, but they often live in bigger, more expensive houses, in more expensive areas and then insure everything up to the hilt because they do know they are lucky and one day, something may happen and that income will be gone. You can’t really compare them, however, each end of the spectrum have their own social circle, their own social expectations, their own moral compass, but they get on with it. Nobody begrudging anyone for their chances in life.
So I guess I get a little annoyed when people who don’t earn that much get annoyed at people who do. Like, given the chance, they wouldn’t do EXACTLY THE SAME. People moaning that doctors and bankers hire a yacht for a week in the south of France. “What a waste of money” “How dare they”. Geez. Give me their income and I’d do exactly the same. I’ll spend £5000 on a handbag if I earnt £250,000. Right now, though, more than £50 on a handbag would have to be carefully thought out.
However, I’ve never been dirt poor. I was never raised in a council house (although many of these high earners do start here – Caitlin Moran for one) but my parents were extremely careful with their one, modest income and hit a lot of lows in their financial situation. I even recall my mum saying she “lost” an engagement ring for 10 years in order to claim insurance to pay the mortgage. My dad had been in an industrial accident and couldn’t work and there was no worker’s compensation back then. My mum was never happy with her lot. She talked a lot about our families’ bad luck. If I thought about it too much, I’d agree. Until I met 1000 other people and discovered EVERYONE has shit happen to them. It’s just the way you view it.
When I came to the UK I lived in a bed sit. I paid £70 a week for 1 room. I worked as a data entry clerk whilst I tried my luck at acting. I earnt £600 a month. I worked bloody hard, I put in as many hours as I could, I worked Saturdays, I gave a good impression, I looked interested I was promoted. From that one lowly, badly paid job I gained the experience over 8 years to apply for my current position and ever since I have built on my learnings. I earn a decent salary now. My husband who earnt less than me as an actor for many years has managed to build up a corporate portfolio that has helped us out. It’s not always what he loves, but sometimes it’s not about that.
If the old “bed sit” me had seen the “18 years later” me, she’d probably be a bit dismayed that balance between incoming and outgoing hasn’t really changed. It’s on a higher scale, but it’s still there. I’m not struggling to pay my rent or eating beans 3 days in a row anymore, but I’m trying to do the right thing by me and my family. And bloody hell, I’ve worked darn hard to have the dilemma over whether I can afford to get a cleaner. Why the bleedin’ hell should I feel guilty for that.
In my group of friend’s we are the least well off and it’s taken me a while, but I’m cool with that. We are very very lucky and I’m going to endeavour to focus on what I have and not what I don’t have. I don’t need to put other people down to make myself feel better. Do you?