Lazy Self-Worth

Sometimes, I swear I’m only on LinkedIn (Ashley Ford-McAllister, picture shows me in a red waistcoat at my wedding, if you’re interested) to find things to be annoyed about.

Other times, I treat it as the balance to Facebook (you can follow Negative Is Also A Charge over there, too.)

I’ve somehow ended up following mostly left-wing folk on FB, and mostly right-wing on LI – maybe it’s just the nature of the kind of people who are drawn to each site.

My problem is…I’m a social capitalist. Capitalism works, it allows a society to make a profit, which allows that society to invest in its people and its infrastructure…but it needs to be tempered with a non-judgmental concern for all others, which can only arise from a stable, secure, sustainable sense of self-worth.

I have worked in school holidays, during college, and as much of the time as I was able to find someone to employ me once I left formal education. I have walked dogs (and picked up their crap) for £5 an hour when there was nothing else. I’ve set up, run, and lost a business, and I’ve started again. I’ve offered free advice to others, in the hope that they’ll engage me for pay in the future – and seen my ideas allow them to take off, while they don’t even mention me in dispatches.  I’ve been homeless and destitute, too, and considered both sex work and suicide. (As a not-particularly attractive Asexual male, the sex work considerations never really got out of the starting blocks.)

I see so many people, working their arses off, living lives of quiet desperation – and then getting accused of being “lazy” and “entitled” by people whose self-worth depends utterly on others being “lesser” – and the world knowing those people are “lesser” by the very visible marker of their being paid less.

If a burger flipper is getting $15 an hour, then the office manager DESERVES at least $30 an hour…if the office manager is getting $30 an hour, the CEO DESERVES at least $90 an hour…if the CEO is getting $90 an hour, the surgeon who saved another CEO’s life following a heart attack DESERVES at least $200…. And, meanwhile, the burger flipper is “lazy” because “they could have chosen to work harder at school, and get a better job.”

I left school with high grades across the board. I took A-Levels,and only didn’t go to University because mental health issues got in the way. My A-Levels were all at strong grades, too.  I have vocational qualifications which I passed with merit or distinction. I did work hard – and, in everyone’s eyes, including my own, sometimes, I’m still “worthless.”

I remember one job, in corporate insolvency – my salary worked out to £7.20 an hour. Clients were billed £25 an hour for my time. Which is it that I’m worth? £7..20 an hour, or £25 an hour?

This – spiraling wage costs because people can’t get a grip and develop a genuine sense of self-worth, and instead take the “lazy self-worth” option of going “but I earn more money than those people, so I’m a better person than them” – is going to be the spark that sets the next recession off.  Businesses can’t afford to keep placating your insecurities with more and more money – because they’ll have to put up their prices, not to cover a “living wage” that doesn’t really allow you to live in most capitalist economies, but to cover the “But if they’re getting X, I  deserve Y, because my job is more valuable than theirs!” shrieks and demands. Once they’ve put up prices, fewer people will be able to buy their products – but they’re still having to placate their workforce’s insecurities, still having to buy people the sense of self-worth they were too lazy to develop for themselves.

Where does my self-worth come from? It comes from knowing that, even if they won’t pay for it, people want my advice. It comes from knowing – as I proved within 15mins of waking up, at 7.15am this morning – that I can turn around a solid 500 word piece in half an hour (I’d been away without internet for the past couple of days, during which time I’d had an email asking me to submit for a vacancy screening that was taking place TODAY). I may well never get paid for that, either. It comes from knowing that I can survive with literally nothing, because I’ve done so before.

It doesn’t come – doesn’t need to come – from the pathetic merry-go-round of being paid more than someone else.

And that corporate insolvency job I mentioned? I’d say my work was worth about £10 an hour – a little more than I was being paid, especially since I was the only person in that office happy to do “forensic accounting”, and the most capable at it – but not as much as the clients were being billed.

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