Struggle to Survive

Warning - brutally honest, salary figure-laced, distraught and discouraged post ahead. Leave now if you don't need to read such stuff!!! Unless you're looking for someone to bestow your recent lotto winnings on... :-)

I'm not sure I should blog this, but consider it a route marker on the journey... a blip in the timeline that is now.

I've just exited the first staff meeting of the year, clutching my updated salary information for 2007. And feeling physically ill. I thought we would survive this year. More than survive - thrive. But my already-meagre salary has been dealt another few blows - sudden taxation on the "free" housing (which takes a third of my salary before I'm paid, is based on a percentage of my earnings not how big the place is, and is not maintained - oh, and married couples get to split the cost where I'm slammed with the entire amount), contributions to the (seldom used) medical aid unexpectedly doubled, and the 6,8% across-the-board increase eaten up by other charges that get deducted without my knowledge or permission.

Basically, where I once saw R(edited) in a good month (about the same as I started out with 11 years ago), I'll now be seeing about R(edited, but a lot less) - and I'm terrified. We cannot survive on that at all. It barely covers food for the month. We were sorta making it last year, only because I paid my son's schooling annually in advance (can't this year) and dug into credit limits for everything else. Now I honestly don't know what I'm going to do. I'm tired of fighting to merely exist. I'm tired of worrying if we'll make it past week one of each month. I'm tired of watching yet another thing break down and wondering where I'll get cash to fix it. I'm tired of seeing others buy expensive toys and plough cash into stuff I could never dream of.

I've started this year off working after-hours for extra money - baking things to sell to hungry colleagues & students, generating orders for food items etc. But suddenly it looks like it's not going to be enough. I'm not prone to swearing (much), but SHIT this is bad. Other than that month a few years ago where there was only enough food in the house for my son for 2 weeks (not for me), this is the worst it's been.

"So quit whining and find a new job!" I hear you say. That's the aim, but the timetable was set for the end of this year, not now. Giving me a chance to either get my own business stuff running well enough to live on, or find something that will cover rent, travel to work (unneeded at the moment), schooling (currently receive a discount and a partial payback, kid walks there and back) and still keep us alive. Then there's the problem of my having many skills, but specializing in nothing well enough to be paid decently for it. I suddenly feel like I've hit rock bottom, and hit it hard.

Of course, the perverse Daily Guru then popped up in my inbox, full of cheer and light, stating:

You cannot have the success without the failures.
Any experience can be transformed into something of value.
Everything depends on the way you look at things.

In all of your adversities lies the seeds of equivalent advantages.
In every defeat there is a lesson showing you how to win the next time.

What are stumbling blocks and defeat before you
can be stepping stones to victory if you remain determined.

View your problems as opportunities.
When it's dark enough you can see the stars.
I'm trying, I really am! It just seems that the more I do, the worse off I get. I simply don't know what next anymore. I'm battling forward, and just going backwards.

Is it any wonder that many of my nightmares involve money?

Off to have a good cry and hope I can find some light in this bloody dark tunnel... Perhaps things will look better in a couple hours - and I can delete this.

And MORE perverse happy stuff just keeps flowing in, smacking me upside the head:
* Chief Happiness Officer talks about working a sucky job for a year ('cept I'm not in it for the money - hmm.. maybe I am, 'cos I'm trying to save by staying!)

::light-in-tunnel update::
OK, one good cry, one piece of most excellent chili-chocolate and some sustainance later, and my make-a-plan brainspace is starting to function. I've maintained that I keep getting kicks in the rear, making me uncomfortable enough that I'll blerry-well go DO all the good stuff I've been threatening to try, all those brilliant ideas rattling around in my semi-blonde head. (And just had to answer a phonecall for another order that will bring in a few more pennies) It's a matter of sucking it up, soldiering on, and MAKING things happen. Not just sitting back and woe-is-me'ing. YES, it's going to take hard work and sacrifice. YES it's going to mean a shuffling of priorities, less done in some areas and more in others. But there's one thing I know - you get only a couple of chances each day, a couple of choices. Once your hours, minutes, seconds have ticked past they're gone for good. It's now or never, and NOW it's going to have to be.

So I'm sitting with some more of those plans (after tonight's parent-teacher meeting, while the brownies are baking), setting out concrete steps to start on the road to where I want to be. Trawling the job websites, I know what I don't want. I need to finalize in my head what I DO want, visualize it and then go for it. Take the darn risks, and trust.

Here's to being knocked down! And getting up again.