Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Your love can't pay my bills.

I've been thinking a lot lately about getting paid what one is worth.  While it's hardly the best time to go around demanding a raise, I think that in general, we as ladies tend to err on the side of just being thankful to have a job. I know I, myself have consciously thought to myself, "Don't rock the boat," or "Don't ask for anything, it's tacky."

Trench:  thrifted.  Eyelet Dress:  Forever 21.  Leggings:  Old Navy.  Shoes:  JC Penney.  Necklace:  H&M.

For the past year -- a bit more -- since I graduated from college, I've stuck to my guns and worked my nose to the grindstone trying to land a great career in fashion.  I picked up a few odd jobs here and there to pay the bills in between, but nothing I wanted to be "stuck" in-- too grueling, too underpaid, run by demeaning psychos-- but I was willing to take it while I was there because I had my eye on the prize.  And while I still haven't found that perfect career, I have found something that-- when compared to the horrifying roster of positions out there in the world-- is pretty damn close.

 Here, I make good on my promise to wear more watches.  This one I consider to be more flattering to my short and wide arm proportions, because it's clear (I got it from Filene's in Union Square).  I have a beautifully long relationship with clear accessories (just not bags... I trash the inside of them to much for that!

I'm working for the government.  I have a regular schedule, I can walk to work if I want, I get an hour's lunch, nobody breathes down my neck, everybody likes my culinary contributions to the office potluck.  I get paid enough, I get Memorial Day off.  I get to wear cute shoes and I have my own desk with a key.  I don't lock it, but I keep some English muffins, peanut butter, hair stuff and packets of oatmeal in there.  People say hi to me.  I put on my crappy sneakers at lunch and go roaming to find a new Jamaican place.  I come back and Facebook a little before it's time to clock back in.  I leave at 5 and can meet any of my friends for dinner or drinks if I want, or go home and work out, or go home and watch TV with the cat.  It is, in the parlance of 2006, bossy. 

Today, I was offered a position doing something more in line with fashion, but for half of what I'm making now, and with a variable schedule.  And it pained me, but for the first time in my life, I told them that I had a salary requirement, and if it couldn't be met, I couldn't work there.  At a different time in my life, I would have said, "Screw it, I'm being more true to me by doing something for work that is more in line with my passion.  So, I'll suffer a little." 

And while working in the field you feel most passionate about is certainly the ideal, there's something to sticking with a job that is giving you what you need to carry out the rest of your life to plan-- enough money, enough time, enough respect.  To that end, and for whatever it's worth (eh... $20?  No, $50!) this post is dedicated to the women who are filing a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart for consistently paying women employees less than men.  I know I'm going to be paying strict attention to how this one turns out...




Sal said...

That must've hurt your heart. But you totally did the right thing, in my opinion.

Eli said...

stick to your guns! maybe you can work part time on your time off or weekends, and one day you might feel like taking the dive. Youll know when its right

Eyeliah said...

wow, let us know how it turns out, your current job is a lot like mine actually.

K.Line said...

You know, it sounds to me like you really enjoy your govt. job. No shame in that. Maybe you can change the parameters of your "dream career". Till then, enjoy the well-remunerated, work-life balance you've got going on.

Elissa said...

Sal-- you're right, but at the end of the day, not paying any of my bills hurt worse! Thanks you for your kind comment!

Eli-- Thank you, I will!

Eyeliah-- Definitely will. Sisters in 8-5!

K.Line-- Very well said! So far, so good.

Sofia Britts said...

Well, just endure your new job now, Elissa. I'm sure you'll survive there. I apply for Wisconsin payday loans whenever I can no longer pay my bills, especially since I just graduated from college. It's really tough out there. But it sounded like you enjoyed your previous job. Why not do some part time jobs to add up on your cash flow? I wish you all the luck!