Sunday, 10 October 2010

What to do?

It always comes down to money. Always. Husband will work out what he has left for the rest of the month and then get all frustrated that it is never 'enough' - whatever 'enough' is... Then I feel all guilty that I've only got 2 more weeks work and then 6 weeks later another mouth to feed, body to clothe. Then - who knows what I will do, how I will do it. As the bastard Tory government penalise the middle classes for having children and take away our child benefit and cut back on the child care voucher system, once again it is only the uber rich that come away unscathed.

I feel so angry at my foolish 20 something self - imagining a lucrative career in tv. Then again, at that age I imagined I'd marry a rock star and never have to worry about the green stuff ever again. I look around and wonder how some folks do it - how one guy I know said he liked to have twenty grand in savings tucked away... Oh I know so many get help from their folks - 'gifted' money to buy their houses, pay their mortgages, etc. We don't get any financial help at all from our families. Not that we would expect it. In saying that my Dad helped me buy my first flat as my Grandfather left him a generous amount - but he lost a lot of that in a recent stock market crash. Does everyone worry about money? I guess they never talk about it.

Anyway - I'm angry at myself for being so fucking whimsical. Yes I have had some truly amazing experiences - I really loved being a kid's tv presenter, and doing my live debate show every Friday night in Ireland; I've had some brilliant moments as a reporter and I've made some great friends through all my jobs. But can I really keep going in an industry that sucks the blood from you and then pays poorly simply because it can - because if you don't want the job - then step aside (what was your name again?) as 300 others do - for half the price you were charging. People think TV is glamorous - ha! As Giles Coren the food critic said this weekend - every job becomes what it is - a job. No matter how exciting to begin with. Maybe I should have gone to work in a bank - been some fancy schmancy account manager by now, in my big 4 storey mansion complaining that my diamond shoes are too tight and my wallet is too small for my fifties...

But I went with my heart and always tried to work at something that made my heart sing. Made me inspired. Excited to go to work - and by and large all my jobs have done. A long stint at a quiz channel wasn't exactly the highlight of my presenting career - but it was well paid for a mere 3 hours work a day. And the crew made every shift a joy. Money has never motivated me before. I never wanted to be a slave to the pound - working away in a daily grind, in a sea of grey just to buy myself pretty things. I was watching Russell Brand (of all people) the other night - interviewed by Paxman - and he had a point - we live in such a consumerist society where status and money are the ultimate goal - and yet we are more unhappy and less satisfied than ever - perhaps because we have neglected the spiritual element in order to attain these material goals. The irony being that the more we get, the more we want. Great house? 'Yes, but it only has 3 bedrooms, and we'd love patio doors that fold back, and a better car.' Etc. Who isn't guilty of such talk?

It goes against the core of my being to simply be motivated by money. And yet... we need it. To send Sproglet to his Little Kickers football, to cook healthy meals, to pay for swimming lessons and movie visits and to clothe him. To pay our bills that keep a comin' - a mortgage, etc etc.

I feel so torn. On one hand I've always tried to be true to myself - but now with a family in tow, perhaps I can't continue like this. Maybe I need to do career change no 3 - and think about working in something that pays well even if it makes me want to open a vein. And what can a 37 year old mother of two ex-presenter, ex-script editor, ex-associate producer, actually do for a living? Did all this hopping around and varied experiences only serve to make me a jack of trades and master of none?

If I'd started in the public sector, or banking, where would I be now? Not living in fear about the fact that once again - I have no maternity pay bar statutory. That once again I will have a baby and have about 3 months in which to lose the weight, find childcare and get another job. Find a job. With two kids. Oh I know I could have chosen not to have them - but is it not the reason for being here? I feel punished for the choices I have made and annoyed that somehow here I am - an educated broadcaster/editor who spends more of her time looking for work than finding it.

Mad thoughts run through my brain - should I walk around with a sign on me until someone employs me (like one desperate graduate did in Oxford st last year) or pay for an advert to shove my CV in Broadcast magazine - post it online and see who responds, ditch Husband and marry a 92 year old billionaire with a heart condition in Texas because 'I love him' or sell a kidney? Could I come up with a fabulous new invention, (like a comfy bra in pregnancy) or set up a website for women like me (that does what? - who knows), should I even try to finish the book that my agent just pulverised - when ironically I have discovered that writing alone day in and day out made me miserable? Perhaps high class prostitution is an answer - maybe someone has a fetish for G cups, skin tags and 7 months pregnant women who haven't had a good waxing in months as after all - they can't see down there anyway?

I wish I had a mentor to turn to. Someone to say - ok, CM, lemme see your CV. Ok - this is what you should do... Blah Blah... Oh and this well paid job, it comes with childcare on site and part time flexible hours. Fabulous. Sometimes I swim in my head for hours, this stuff watered from a small acorn into becoming a fucking huge tree.

And then, at the end of it all I think of my dear best friend coming round here on Friday for dinner and telling me about her work friend who is 40, single and childless, who next week will have double mastectomy followed later by a hysterectomy, all in order to stop the inevitable cancer that killed her Mother and is ravaging her sister. Then I think to myself - shut the fuck up. It's only money and I remember what my Dad says - which is 'you are nothing without your health.'


aileen8aalien said...

We don't have kids, but money is a constant stressor. I have a PhD and a job, but I can't afford to pay student loans because my husband hasn't been able to find a full-time job in two years. We are healthy but live in fear of not being healthy because it might bankrupt us, even with insurance through my employer. And it sucks.

Amy said...

The problem is it always comes down to money full stop. Whether you have kids or a stable job or whatever, from what I can tell it doesn't make a jot of difference.

My husband works contracts and it kills me that he is so good at his job but so bad at networking. I was made redundant a couple of years ago and faced the choice of carrying on with my career and having to go freelance or going for a complete (and dull) career change but in a steady full time job.

I went for the dull and steady and most of the time I'm fine with that, but oh sometimes I wish I had still followed my career and it is hard not to resent husband for that.

Meanwhile we've bought a house - no way we would have got a mortgage if we were both freelance - and get by money wise. But that all depends on him getting the next contract of course.

So sometimes it makes me sick that I can't buy the material things my sisters do, or go on the holidays my friends have.

But like you say, you just HAVE to look through that, because you know my life isn't bad at all and maybe I just need to take some time to enjoy what I actually have.