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A True Confession: I Can’t Afford to Keep the Job I Love.

Allison London

I can’t afford to keep my job. For five years I’ve worked at a flourishing financial company. My employer was thrilled with my performance and I’d never been happier contributing to such a fantastic team. I jumped out of bed each morning delighted to roll up my sleeves for another productive day with my coworkers.

My six-figure salary was handsome indeed, but the cost of living consumed my bi-weekly paychecks with a vengeance. After making my hefty rent payment, covering my internet and phone bill and buying a few groceries, I was left with as little at $54.00 to last until the next pay period. How in the world could this be happening to a hardworking middle aged woman? I was embarrassed to ask family members for assistance, had no time or energy to take on another job, and knew I didn’t have the funds to repay a high interest rate loan. Month after month my anxiety escalated. Although I maintained a stringent budget, I couldn’t break free from the vicious cycle. And so, it continued, not enough money to pay my bills, worry and fret over late payments, a declining credit score and sleepless nights that depleted me further.

The shame I felt was horrible as I knew in my heart I was an honest, productive person with a solid income most folks would be envious of. But when my anxiety surpassed the shame and embarrassment, I needed to raise a hand for help.

I worked up the nerve to ask my employer for a raise but was met with, “So sorry, we just can’t pay you any more for the role. You’re at the high end of the comp scale already.”

And that’s when I began to take a long hard look at our antiquated two-week pay cycle. If only I could have accessed my pay a little ahead of schedule. I would have been able to pay those bills on time. I would have had the wiggle room I needed to breathe a bit easier. It wasn’t that I was overspending, I just didn’t have the liquidity when I desperately needed it. I simply couldn’t stretch the money I had earned far enough between paydays. Like many people living in high cost areas, I’ve decided to move to a less expensive state. I can’t afford to stay where I am because it’s cost prohibitive. However, even with living in a different state, enjoying a smaller tax bracket, a lower cost of housing and slight reductions in the cost for goods and services, I still feel strongly about changing how we get paid. No one should have to move away from a job they’re good at or a place they love because their paycheck doesn’t come quickly enough.

In this instant access world why are we still beholden to a two-week pay cycle? There are companies out there trying to disrupt our archaic infrastructure but all of them, to date, charge recurring fees to either the employee, employer or both. It’s high time to find a new and improved model for payroll so we can all feel proud of our jobs and enjoy remuneration at a faster rate.

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