Some day, just before the end of the world, but years after I’ve left this job and moved on, I’ll tell you all about that time when I worked at a publishing house in Frankfurt. For now however, I’d rather not give anyone an excuse to get their panties in a bunch, so I’ll let you jump to your own conclusions with a few vague winks and nods.
New job day one: Umm… What?
New job day two: Well then, why not? Sweet.
And now for something completely different.
Money. The blessing and the curse. The more money that I have, the more it stresses me out. When you have no money there’s no reason to spend any time thinking about it. If rent and food are covered regardless (here I can always pay later, and you guys all know about the food in the trash), then what’s there to think about? Nothing in the bank, nothing to think about. See what I mean?
When you have it you think about what it would be best to do with it, you beat yourself up for spending it on the wrong things, and suddenly you find yourself noticing when it’s not there anymore.
Money being the societal obsession that it is, it strikes me as strange that a lot of people don’t really talk about it. It’s considered rude in certain company to ask someone how much she makes, or how much he pays for his car or apartment. But why? (Class is the most obvious answer to this question, though perhaps there are many factors.)
When I worked in publishing in the United States, I had to sign an agreement promising I would not talk about my salary with my co-workers. They didn’t tell me why this was necessary, and I assumed it had something to do with preventing mutiny, which meant that they knew there would be a reason to mutiny should people start talking freely about who was making what. They prided themselves on being an employee-friendly organization. Hmm.
Two days ago I asked my boss when I could expect my first paycheck. “Middle of April,” his secretary answered from across the room.
“Would it be possible to get a partial payment beforehand?” I wanted to know. “I have exactly enough money to take the train here for the rest of the month, but that’s it. If you want me to work I at least need to be able to get here.” I said it cheerfully. In another life I think I might have found this admission embarrassing.
Boss-Man laughed, and they arranged to send me a payment for my first two weeks early. Now he probably thinks I’m one of those people who says “I don’t have any money” and mean “I have plenty of money, but don’t feel like spending it on this right now.”
If he didn’t think that, he would have been asking himself how I planned on feeding myself until then. I wish he had asked me. I would have liked to have seen the look on his face when I answered.