I cried on my drive to work today.
Now some of you readers, the few who have been with me for the past couple years, may think this is an every day occurrence because for some unknown reason I’ve chosen to be very honest on this blog.
I promise you, I do not cry every day. I’m not the most emotional person in the world. I don’t even cry during Hallmark commercials. OK, I cry the first time I see them but after that I am strong like a warrior.
Yesterday, I had to get some work done on my car. My 2009 car that when purchased had less than 10 miles on it and that now has almost 140,000 miles on it.
I cried today, and — since I’m being honest — yesterday, because when I got the bill for my car I realized I would soon be the poorest I’ve ever been in my history of comprehending my finances.
I’ve lived a relatively conservative life spending-wise. Yet, any hope of saving went out the window the second I said, “I think being a journalist is a good idea.”
The truth about this career is that most print journalists are struggling. I know I’ve discussed it ad nauseum here.
But this morning I started practicing my speech to my editor. “I know these are hard times and we’ve discussed my pay before, but I’m hoping you will reconsider and try to find it in the budget to just give me a slight raise …”
I was driving along in the dark at 5 a.m. practicing when the tears began streaming down my face.
No matter what I say, I’m not getting a raise. No matter what I do, how little I spend, I’ll still be on the edge of poverty.
I know there are people out there considering this job and I don’t want to crush dreams but the reality is that most of the time the good parts of this job are outweighed by the fact that I can barely afford groceries let alone the gas it takes just to get to the newspaper.
It’s moments like this that I tell myself to hang onto for the day I say goodbye to the business. I know that when that day comes I’ll have this voice in my head questioning the decision:
“Are you sure you want to do this? You won’t be able to tell people you have this super cool-sounding job anymore or see that by line on the front page. You won’t have this tiny bit of fame you’ve gotten used to. You won’t have adventures that make for excellent conversation later.”
I’m, unfortunately, sure. I can’t keep this up. It’s tearing me apart inside. I hate being the person constantly worrying about their finances, watching everyone have fun and live life while I’m counting pennies.
I don’t want to worry about paying for rent or groceries. I just want to have a little savings and be able to feel safe with my finances.
Is that asking too much?