This article will be more personal than others, so please bear with me.
I am poor. I live in a poor country and my teen age years were hard and ugly. My family (father and his parents) would barely make the ends meet each month and they made huge efforts to keep me fed and in school. In my family being a good student was the only thing the kid had to do and they were very strict about this. They knew that only studying hard I would have the chance to maybe have a better life. A good job maybe and money in the future. Not huge riches, but at least a decent living.
We couldn’t afford too many things back then. I recall I used to wear the same pair of jeans for 2-3 years, I had very few pairs of shoes, mainly casual-sport ones (since they lasted longer and I could wear them anywhere). Shopping for clothes was always unpleasant: I had to be careful since I knew the next chance to get something new would be in 3-4 months the soonest.
The moment I finished school, I went to a radio station and started working as a DJ. For a total beginner and a “kid” compared to others, the first year was horrible. I used to work for 8-10 hours on the air (can’t understand how I made it) so that I can show them I am of some value. I wanted to learn all I could about music and in 6 months I became one of the best from there, even if I was a paria months ago.
I worked through college too, happy to be able to earn something to help my family and also pay for my studies. The wage was pretty small, but it was already better than before.
After some time I decided it’s a good idea to get a second job. I was still on the radio and would earn twice the money at an advertising firm. I was the one to do most of the work there and this helped me learn more about running a business.
One year passed and I was ready to move on. A new radio station opened in my city and I went there. The wage was quite good (as much as both previous jobs would pay me together). So, I was once again on a better deal.
It was clear to me that working for others is a good deal, but the best deal for me at least would be to manage my own business. I saved some money and 1 year ago I started my own small web business. As I mentioned in another article: it’s a small venture, but I earn quite well. I work all day long, all weekends, I am again tired all the time, but it does look pretty nice.
In my case the only way to fight poverty was to just look for something to do. Something to bring me money. A bad job at first (since I was a beginner with no experience), then more experience, better jobs, maybe 2 at the same time or a job and a business as I have now. My financial numbers look pretty nice now. I earn enough now to be able to pay for my new car, for any food I feel like eating, I can now buy clothes when I see something nice and even save some more. I can also take care of my grandma and father and try to make them forget: “we can’t afford this now”. Well, we can now afford good meals and even some home-improvements. And we can visit our relatives or just drive outside the city in our nice car.
I was never interested in mentioning about my poverty. When we were really poor, I felt ashamed about this. It never occurred to me to whine about this. I didn’t want people to know I have no money, even if it was obvious.
I have coleagues and friends who like to boast about their financial problems. Some are indeed in dire straights, others just like getting the attention. They like others to feel sorry for them, it seems like this gives them a weird pleasure.
Such people don’t think about HOW to change this, they are content with their situation and accept their fate. And it’s so wrong. The best thing we can do is just work more, cut expenses, try to understand where do we go wrong and try to think about solutions. Just whining and contemplating a bad situation won’t solve this. Sure, realizing you have a problem solves half of it (at least that’s what some say), but half is not ALL.
I know so many people who fight for a better life. I even read some blogs about this and I have a huge admiration for them. They don’t “brag” with their poverty, they do something about it.
For my coleagues (some just can’t adjust to my new situation) I had one word: “WORK! You see me earn some more than before? What’s stopping you? Try to see what you are good at and make money from it”.
It’s not a shame to work, it’s a shame to just whine and expect miracles. Sometimes we make our luck. Or at least we help with it.