The year was 2005. While at college, I was working at an art gallery in San Fran part time for $14/hr. I busted my ass, installing shows, selling art, contacting other artists, and cleaning the office. When I graduated, the owner asked if I wanted to work full time for $28K/year, no benefits. This sounded like a lot of money to my 22-year-old brain; I accepted.
Flash forward to 2007. I was now earning $40K/year. Considering that I ate, slept, and breathed the gallery (literally – I slept there sometimes), the money I earned wasn’t enough for me to enjoy a nice meal once in awhile or take taxis. I resented the owner, my boss, horribly.
When I was offered another job at a similar space, they asked me my salary expectations, and I told them I made $40K at my current job and would be looking for at least the same. I was offered $40K.
Quickly the new situation became another source of resentment. I was still pulling 12-16 hour day, still struggling to make rent, utilities, and credit card payments.
Fast forward again, this time to 2010. I was working as a nanny for an extremely wealthy family. My hours were supposed to be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. but I often left much later. Every day, at 6:45 p.m., the kids seemed to have a major going-to-bed meltdown that often takes over an hour to resolve. I resented my boss — the wife — horribly. She had a net worth in the hundreds of millions, but often forgot to pay me.
Does this sound like anyone you know? Perpetually over-worked, under-paid, under-appreciated? Hating your boss, yourself, and your life? Jealous of everyone doing better than you? The good news is, it’s all changeable. The bad news is, only you can do it.
I can’t tell you how much money I spent on therapists and self-help books trying to learn how to love myself. They all told me to do it, they never could explain how, and I continued going through life feeling dominated by the elements. I hated the topic of self-love and self-respect, had no idea how to make progress in that area of my life, and didn’t really believe it would fix any of my real problems anyhow.
I want you to see how this aspect of your personality may and probably is affecting your finances and debt. Resentments can build and propel you to act out. Do you:
- Say nothing after getting a bad haircut
- Eat or drink mistaken food/beverage orders when you ordered something else (i.e. not send it back)
- Never ask for discounts or negotiates pricing
- Keep damaged merchandise,either ordered or noticed after buying at a store.
- Skip personal commitments when asked to work late for no extra payment
- Often find yourself giving people rides or lending money.
- Say nothing when suspecting someone is mad at or unhappy with your work or actions.
- Say nothing when overcharged for goods or services
- Feel used or taken advantage of at work
- Frequently work for less money than other people in the same role
If you found yourself nodding your head more than a few times, it might be time to examine the cumulative effect of your behavior.
What can you do to stop undermining yourself? Start by paying attention. It all begins with witnessing. Only in seeing what you’re actually doing can you even begin to take actions to change them.