Why We Need Money & Why I’m Done Apologising for It

We live in a world where mentioning money can take you out the running for a job. Fact. It’s happened to me. Mention the word ‘salary’ in a job interview and wait for the hissed intake of breath, the knowing glance at a colleague, and the vague non-answer. You can almost see them mentally scratch you off the list.

See, we’re not supposed to work for money but for passion and experience. Which is fabulous in theory but please can someone direct me to a landlord who accepts experience cheques? “Sorry, I don’t have your money this month, but I have a job I’m super passionate about,” isn’t going to wash in the Real World.

I’m not trying to be petulant or greedy here (although let’s address why wanting a fair salary is considered greedy some time). I know I’m not going to land a £30k job where I sit writing stories in a bouncy castle full of puppies. Instead, I’m trying to shed light on the people who are struggling just to buy food and pay rent. Those who can’t afford to take a job if they don’t know how much they’ll be earning—regardless of how much they want to. The sorts of people who end up excluded from so many of the world’s opportunities because other, richer people refuse to talk money.

Having grown up amongst recession, and now staring another in the face, millennials are dealing with low incomes, impossible property prices, and far higher student debt than any generation previously. A huge percentage of millennials (myself included) are living with their parents well into their twenties and mental illness is, unsurprisingly, on the rise.

Is it any wonder finance is at the forefront of our minds?

Trust me, I’d really rather not ask about salary in an interview, but money is something I and many others have to think about constantly. It’s the knot in my chest, the panic coursing through my veins, the puzzle jamming up my brain and dragging away sleep.

Will this job allow me to pay rent on a house-share, the deposit, electricity, travel, food, water, tax…

I don’t ask about salary because I want to.

I ask because I have to.

For months I didn’t post this as mentioning the word ‘salary’ on my blog felt like shooting myself in the foot. However, I’m getting pretty angry I’m even being made to feel like that. Like I’m a naughty school girl for daring to think about money at a time where Britain is the most unstable it’s been in decades. Everyone needs money to survive. We do what we can to be fulfilled and we all take jobs earning less to do what we enjoy (heck, I’m a writer, for goodness sake!), but without a pay cheque we’d be homeless and starving.

I’m not far from it.

One final thing: There is no ‘industry standard’ if no-one will set one and the phrase ‘competitive salary’ can get in the bin. What’s that in pounds and pence, please? And no, that’s not negotiable.

7 thoughts on “Why We Need Money & Why I’m Done Apologising for It

  1. Ramblings Of A Neurotic Writer says:

    THANK You. Someone finally said it. In a perfect world I’d be surrounded by cats and writing and chocolate, but we need money. I went for job interviews in London a few months ago and was told I would have to pay for my travel card for three months for probation. It costs me £30 a day to get to London. Its insane. I only live 30 minutes away from it!!
    Luckily I bagged myself a freelance job at home for now so I don’t have to travel into London. But I still want to get into publishing. The fact is, I can’t afford to get into publishing because we are saving for a mortgage. We wanted to rent but it’s a grand a month in Surrey so we decides to save for a year or so and see where we are at. Both living with my partners parents (mine kicked me out. TMI BTW.) what is this world coming to!?

    Liked by 1 person

    • losttwentysomething says:

      Thank YOU for reading! I am only applying for things I am passionate about because I don’t think you should have to sacrifice doing what you love but like you mentioned everyone is so cagey about salary now and we all need a certain amount of money to survive. I live with my parents too and it’s not the easiest thing in the world. Especially with all the stigma attached to that. We’ll get there eventually though I’m sure!!


    • Rachel Rowlands says:

      I got into freelancing in the publishing industry purely because I couldn’t afford to move to London. You can still work in the book industry as a freelancer, if you can’t afford the capital. Of course it isn’t easy, but it’s an option, especially if you have experience freelancing already. And I sympathise, as myself and my partner are living with family at the moment too and saving for a mortgage.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jasraj says:

    I once (briefly) considered working in publishing, before realising for various reasons that it wasn’t for me – salary included. I’m now a freelance content writer – much more for me!


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