The Working Poor

According to Wikipedia the working poor are "working people whose incomes fall below a given poverty line". I first came across the term in Japan in the mid-1990's and thought it was an accurate term back then but find that it still rings so true to me today.

As a single 30-something male working a 36 hour week office job, I earn just enough to cover bills, rent and taxes but don't make enough to afford other, special, things in life. I earn just enough to pay my gas bills but don't earn enough to buy decent food, I earn just enough to pay my rent but could never afford luxuries like a car or vacation, I earn just enough to pay taxes but if an extra expense appears, I struggle to make ends meet. I earn just enough to live but not enough to feel alive.

I'd love a better job but prospects where I live are non-existent; I try going for some promotions to get better pay but my face never fits the company image so I'm left scraping the barrel while the younger guys blow their inflated pay checks on stupid junk. I don't need to be rich, I don't want much in life, but this existence feels like a vicious circle that is impossible to escape. Every month I pay my bills just in time with nothing to spare, something as basic as needing new shoes or having to pay to repair a pair of glasses has to be budgeted for and I've gone without heating in the past just to afford something to eat.

If I was on welfare the government would pay my bills, rent and taxes, I'd have food tokens and health care. My pride prevents that, I like having a work ethic but at the same time it frustrates me walking home in the rain to a one room apartment while my unemployed neighbours drive their government donated cars to their rent-free four bedroom houses.

Earning too much to receive handouts, earning too little to live. The vicious circle of being one of the working poor.
LoneVagabond LoneVagabond
31-35, M
6 Responses Jan 21, 2013

Good description of the problem. Try these for size. Would you be prepared to live somewhere else? Research cost of living country wide. Then look at all the jobs you could potentially do - including jobs below your status. For example I worked as a legal secretary. Then I discovered a legal secretary only gets paid £16k pa and a postman gets £21k pa. So I switched, got better pay, holidays and pension and no headaches. Pay scales aren't always rational. Also moving you might pay out the same but get a better quality of life. Can your firm transfer you to another office somewhere else. I feel for your problem. The way things are arranged is not fair. Best of luck.

I'm on welfare and it isn't fun...in saying that , it pays some bills, not all, and decent food is an Issue.

The lifestyle you describe is pretty much the norm for the majority of people in my country, I think(Romania).
It's terrible. But I'm sure if you keep trying, things will get better. Maybe take a loan to continue your studies?
What did you study?

i love this...but keep hanging in there! something will come along :)

<p>how do you know they have no job and live off the gov?</p>my son works two jobs, to keep him self off the roll....

My neighbours? Because a lot of people around here boast about not working like it's a badge of pride for them.

Join the military, get a skill, get money for college and get out.

Not every one can join the military .. my son could not do to back problems and my brother has flat feet so they told him no.

This is true. I was just trying to throw out a suggestion.

thats cool