Filthy Lucre

I like money. No… I like having money. No… I like not having to think about money. Yes.

See, in my life I’ve never fantasized about sports cars, about yachts, about fabulously lavish homes, or anything of the sort.  I have no need for a majestic home theater setup, season tickets to a sporting organization, or anything of that sort. Nope. I just need enough money that when a bill comes in, I can pay it. When I want to go out with friends, I can pay my way, and when I actually overcome my deep self-analysis long enough to ask a woman out on a date, we can go somewhere fairly nice and order a bottle of wine (though BYOB is acceptable, right?).

To maintain my monkish existence I don’t need crazy amounts of money.  I know that if I suddenly was earning six figures, I would waste a lot of that money.  I would get rid of my ancient non-HD tubed TV for something bigger and flashier.  I would get a car that had a working air conditioner, keyless entry, and the self-parking features.  I’d redo my entire wardrobe with clothes purchased from other stores besides Target, Marshalls, and TJMaxx.  Hell, I might even get a wee bit crazy and actually take a vacation, make regular doctor visits, get an elective surgery done, and raise my NPR membership from $15/month to $1/day! Wild, crazy behavior!!

My relationship with money is problematic when it concerns a household budget and just downright embarrassing when it comes to work.  The essence of labor is a person does work that someone else wants done and then gets paid for that work in an amount the someone else valued the work at.  I do stuff on a computer that my employer values at a certain amount. But this isn’t true. Pay and work have a tenuous relation at best.  The employer wants to pay as little for the work as possible and the employee wants to be paid as much as possible.  The deciding factor tends to be how well the employee negotiates.  So two employees with equal experience doing the exact same job in the exact same way can be paid two different rates of pay because one negotiates better than the other.  To me this feels slightly insane.  It feels like going into a store and having the prices of all the goods based on how well the customer and store owner haggle.

I’m a bad negotiator with self-esteem problems.  I’m shocked I haven’t left offices of hiring managers owing them money.

Once the negotiation phase is done, I’m done thinking about money.  I’ll report my hours and expect money to magically appear in my bank account.  When I get a job that doesn’t have a clear cut system of doing this – I get flustered.  Asking people for money, even money that is rightly owed to me, isn’t my forte. Not in the least.  It feels dirty.  Why do nice working relationships have to get soiled with money?

Luckily I’ve never been in a position where someone owed me money that I needed to survive, where I had to make an effort to collect it while trying to maintain a working relationship. I have no idea how I would handle something like that. Wait, yes I do. Poorly.  I would handle it poorly.

Do you know how many dishonest people there are out there? More than you could ever imagine. Sadly, what keeps a lot of people from being dishonest are systems and regulations that make being dishonest just hard enough that average citizen won’t be.

Most of my anxiety in life relates to money.  I see myself suspended by a silver thread over the fiery pits of hell.  That thread is my financial well-being.  It keeps me aloft, but it isn’t strong.  Poor life decisions means I don’t have a financial cushion.  I have what I have.  One misstep… a car accident, a medical condition, a broken vase in a store or some other equally sit-com style antic cuts the thread and dooms me to a financial hell, a hell that took me fifteen years to climb out of.  Now I just have a massive student loan to pay off, but I’ll probably die before that happens.

I hate money.