Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Working for the Weekend: The title of a cheesy pop song, yet deep and profound when applied to me.

Listening To: She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer

I love, love, love my job. However, it's the type of job that you do because of the knowledge that you're contributing to the greater good...not so much because you're contributing to the greater good of your bank account. Put simply, by income bracket standards, I'm poor.

'Tis frustrating. I don't really like to think about my paycheck because it makes me unhappy, and doing the comparison game makes me really unhappy...but since my wage is the only thing about my job that makes me unhappy, the term "put your money where your mouth is" will always be the term that I have to apply to this perspective. Throughout my life I've insisted upon the fact that I would prefer a job that I loved but made no money at over a job I didn't love but was paid handsomely for (and of course, I always maintained this position with a certain amount of noble, smug pride, because I was above all that money bullshit. I had ideals!). I know there are jobs out there that provide both...however, there are about as few of them in the social science field as there are sightings of Britney's undapants. I am unwilling to change my field for a larger paycheck because the increase in pay would most likely not balance out the loss of quality of life I would suffer. I have also worked really hard to score a M-F, 9-5 position in this particular field (an "adult" job, to quote my parents), and as of now, I am unwilling to take on a part-time job supplement my income. Again, it's about the gain vs. the sacrifice - I'm not willing to give up the free time that I could use to spend with friends or pursue other interests to score an extra forty dollars each week. If it comes to the point where there is no other option, then yes, I'll do whatever it is I need to do...but let's just say that the one of the reasons why I'm taking such drastic measures now is to ensure that I won't fall into that position.

Since I'm not yet willing to change my job to fit my lifestyle, I guess it's my lifestyle that'll have to change. As they say, it's not how much you make that matters, it's how you handle it. Being 28 years old and struggling to make your student loan payments isn't cute anymore (I don't know if it's ever really been cute, but I heard someone say that once and it seemed like a worthy nugget of cold, hard truth). It sucks that I didn't buck up earlier in my life so I wouldn't have to do this, but as they apparently said on the last season of American Idol (which I never watch but yet can never seem to avoid hearing about) This is My Now. Let's hope it sinks in so I'm not 35, still living in somebody's basement, and looking forward to spending my golden years as a bag lady.

Final Countdown for Day 2 of Livin' the Dream: - 1.09 + 10.00 = $8.91 (today's budget, less roll-over from yesterday). $8.91 - $7.50 (sushi w/ coworkers) = $1.41. $1.41 - $10.50 (beers during Trivia Tuesday) = - 9.09. Grand Total: - 9.09 in the hole = I'm Sucking At This Budget Thing.


$teve said...

Two lowdown G's goin' CRAZY!!! Keep it up. You'll get the hang of it. You're already doing a lot better than I ever could. I'm proud of you for sticking it out.

Jeff said...

I just spent the last two years doing what Amber is doing, tight budgeting to pay off student loans. Good luck! As of Janaury my student loans will be gone. Want my advice? Your microbudgeting will be hard to stick too, try setting up a budget with your checks, or monthly (but think annually, people seem to forget salaries are annual thing, not monthly - I call it the cable argument. Yeah, It's only about $60/month,, but thats $720/year.) Anyways, buy groceries, gas, pay you bills, and then take the rest out of the ATM and put it your purse/wallet. When that cash is gone, no more lattes until the next check.

Good luck, may the force be with you.


Amber said...

Thanks, $teve!

Jaaaarrrrdddtttaaarrrddd! I am excited to see you around these parts. We should catch up. Maybe even actually meet this time.

Anonymous said...

Here's the ultimate problem. You want the 9-5 job so you have a good balance between work & life; you can spend that time with friends and have time to yourself. But you don't have the money to be able to spend time going out with friends, so you cut down on that, which leaves you alone during that time you cherish to be able to spend with friends. The best thing would be to find a job that pays better, but only cuts into your free time a little bit more - say a 9-5:30 or 9-6. Then you'd have the money to spend in that free time with your friends and you'd be able to get by.