Underearning and Making a Run for It

by Bill on January 20, 2014

Run Away from Under EarningI wrote a post prior to this about having a B-rated life. With the analogy of how B-rated movies and their lower values and expectations could relate to your life. Today you get tips on how you can “make a run for it” to a better life if you think you are an underearner.

Survival Wages are Not Required to Live

This is one thing common with under earning. You continuously settle for jobs that pay less than you actually need to support your lifestyle. The goal here isn’t to cut back using Draconian budgets and money-saving techniques like eating Ramen noodles or boxes of 2/$1 macaroni and cheese for weeks. That’s why I hate eating both anymore. I went the wrong way.

The goal is to find income that matches, or exceeds, your needs. No, don’t go out and find two or three part time jobs; I knew a lady who did that to support her children and her kids hardly saw her most days. Self-sabotage is what that is. There’s an article in USA Today that talks about this.

Fear of Failure Equates to Lower Expectations and Underearning

Settling for something that allows an income is a fear of failure. Don’t lower your expectations below what you know you are capable of doing. I used to apply, and take, mainly low-end jobs just to say “I have a job”. Yet, I’d almost always work my way up to some supervisory role within a year or so. I’d never look at this as a sign of improvement; I always saw this as something I’d better not get used to because something will screw it up. Usually something did screw up, and often it was me either leaving or pushing one too many buttons. I can’t seem to handle success in any real amount sometimes.

Don’t Think About the Money

Here’s a neat way of explaining it by Jim Roi. He wrote a post on Compulsive Underearning as a Symptom of Spiritual Dis-ease.

I began to admit that I was “poor”, not so much that I did or didn’t have money but that “poor” was my core way of being.  Once I admitted it I began to see it.  Everything told me I was poor.  I walked down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and everything with a price tag told me I was poor. The uneasy feeling I got whenever I went to a restaurant, when I would hear my fathers voice saying at the dinner table, “Do you know how much this meal would cost you in a restaurant?”  All this told me I was poor. The place I lived in told me I was poor.  The things I couldn’t afford to do told me I was poor.  My wife’s family told me I was poor.  We were poor.  All the missed opportunities told me I was poor.  I was hopelessly poor, just like my drunken angry father and my docile saintly mother.  “Blessed are the poor”.  Cursed are the poor.  “The poor ye shall always have with you”.  “At the great banquet table of life, there just aren’t enough seats”.  Economics is the “dismal science”.  And I remember all that because it is what I had always struggled to deny.  Not to become rich or wealthy mind you, I had no notions of wealth, but just not to have to think about money, money, money!

Get a Routine, a Schedule, on Paper and Keep It

No I don’t mean get a date planner; unless you really need one to keep track of your hours. I use a calendar hanging on a wall to write important things on. Use a notebook with each page being for a specific day. Just use something that allows you to track what needs doing and get it done.

This by no means is a complete guide to getting to the end goal. Earning what you are actually worth. But it may help someone make a run for it at least.

What’s your goal?

William Swan, writer

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{ 1 comment }

Crystal January 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Poverty is often a state of mind, not a number. My husband’s family (two parents, three kids) lived many years on income as low as $1,000 per year (yes – per year, not per month!) while pursuing their dream. Were they poor? NO! Despite having no money at times, they never considered themselves poor. Instead, they put their minds and energy into figuring out how to make it all work. And now, nearly 50 years later, the dream continues. In fact, my husband just published Impossible Beyond This Point, an inspiring firsthand account of their struggle and triumph creating the life in the wilderness that we’re all still living today.
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