In my last post I talked about knowing your worth in order to demand it. In that same conversation about fair compensation, the mother (my employer) said one more excruciating thing to me.
Let me set the scene for you a bit. The husband and wife stood behind a high countertop, while I sat at the kitchen table. Consciously or not, they made themselves "above me" for this conversation. Having noticed this, I engaged my core, held my shoulders back, and my chin high. I made a promise to myself not to react to anything they said with my face. I didn't want them to see (or smell) my fear.
My insecurity was their best game piece.
What she said to me was so lacking in empathy and consideration that I had no idea how to respond. She stood in her (multi) million dollar home and said,
"Natalie, money doesn't buy happiness. I'm worried that if we give you this raise, it won't be enough for you, and you'll just want more."
I can't be sure what my face did. Hopefully it didn't betray me. My mind was flooded with doubt. She had just played on my greatest insecurity.
Maybe I'm just being extravagant.
Maybe I don't deserve it.
Maybe I'm just being selfish.
Then I remembered why I needed this raise so badly. I was working as many hours as I could, sometimes for ten families a week, and I was still not making ends meet. My wage was too low, and my opportunities for extra hours were inconsistent.
I could not afford the time or the price of proper self care. This job, as I described in my previous post, took an incredible amount of energy, and emotional strength.
Not only did I deserve to make ends meet with such hard work and sacrifice, I needed to afford to take care of myself with high quality food, yoga, and acupuncture.
Her words were cutting, but I'm glad she said them. This experience illuminated my own insecurities, and gave me the opportunity to watch an epic grappling match between my self worth and self doubt.
Money doesn't buy happiness, but it does:
rent my roof,
give me time,
and provide a means of trade for my self care essentials.
Money keeps me going, but it is not my joy. Wanting to take care of myself in basic ways, without fear of financial failure, is not selfish. It's survival.
What are your thoughts? Do you put your self care needs first? What would you have said?
Thanks for reading, make good choices. :)