Help for Underearners

Thought for today:

Underearning is often a symptom of compulsive debting.  Compulsive underearners find themselves never making ends meet and they can’t figure out why.  They suffer depression, deprivation, envy and low self-esteem.

Underearners need a way to increase income, but one never seems to develop.  Even with the prospect of a new career, they can feel stuck in a dead-end.

Members share:

“I worked for minimum wage for years going through college. Being married, I thought it was ok to have the low paying job, because my husband made good money.  But then my husband asked for a divorce.  He took me to court for a long drawn out battle, and I felt victimized.  Now I’m hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and one semester from getting my degree, with no way to complete it.  So I’m moving to a new state with no job, in a leap of faith, kids and all.”

“I graduated school recently with a medical technician degree, but with my student loans I still can’t make ends meet.”

“I’ve been under-employed so long I feel like giving up.  I work odd jobs when I can get them, which is rare.  I never have the energy I need to do them.”

External causes of under-earning:

There are both internal and external reasons for under earning, and there are things  we can do about each.

First, the external: To even the casual observer, the world economy is obviously getting more competitive, and wages are generally flat for most workers.   The pace of change is becoming so fast that people train for careers in fields that have already changed by the time they graduate.

But the general trend of the internet is helping cut costs.  People can rent out their couches with AirBnB very easily.  Sellit  makes it easy to sell things locally, while Ebay and Amazon are available to sell your possessions.  They can decide to drive others with Uber.  It’s easier that ever for people to connect.  The Internet is making things more democratic.

The future is brighter, too.  Marginal costs are going down all around us.  Basic clothing and electronics are getting cheaper all the time.  In a few years, manufacturing will be very inexpensive with 3D printers that build items with movable parts based on recycled materials.  People can install solar energy and sell energy back to the grid.

So the external factors are really transition issues.  As Jeremy Rifkin has written, our economy is transitioning into a Third Industrial Revolution, where democratically distributed opportunity becomes available to more and more people as time goes on.  The quicker we switch to the new business model the better – especially by using the latest web technologies.

Internal Causes:

A major internal cause for under earning include being in (or planning for) a career in a field that is undergoing rapid transitions, and not keeping up with the technology.  To combat this, plan to learn the things needed in three years, not what’s needed today.  The future is coming too fast to do otherwise.

But what about the chronic under earner?  The person so depressed that can’t even imagine getting a better job.  The one who feels like a perpetual victim.

When an actively compulsive underearner looks for work they have such a negative expectation of the results that they are always rejected.  If they are able to hold a job, they are never happy with it.

Attitude is everything.  Yes, the world is unfair.  Yes, it is hard to get work.  True, family and friends will not understand what you are going through.  But the fellowship of DA can help in the one area you can control: yourself.

Members of DA find comfort talking about issues of earning as well as spending.

A member shares:

“Unemployed for over a year, I was going back to school.  I shared every day with my sponsor about how to get through the lack of money, the bill collectors, and the low self-esteem.

“When my unemployment ran out, I finally decided to work at a minimum wage job.  It was then that I started to get out of myself.

“Then, coincidentally, I began consulting per diem, a few weeks at a time.  Eventually my attitude got more hopeful, and then an employment agency called me with an offer that matched my career.  The money was average for my field.

“I soon realized that my boss was a tyrant, and I started circulating resumes to get a new job.  Thankfully, just as it came to a head with my job, I found a new job, one that I am happy with today.  I make good money, have a good retirement plan, and have been steadily reducing my total debt.

“I think it was my attitude change that had gotten me throughout it all.  Without sharing with my sponsor, and working the tools of DA, and doing service in DA, I wouldn’t have gotten the perspective I needed.”

“When all else fails, I do service in DA.  I take part in DA’s Public Information committees, where I volunteer to talk in libraries about compulsive debting.  When I carry the message of DA to the debtor who still suffers, I feel better about myself, my life, and my recovery.”

Meditation for today:

Many of us think of authority as a triangle.  As you move up the power chain of command, you have less and less company.  Finally, you are at the top, with great wealth and power, and no one knows how you feel.  It’s lonely at the top.

Why not invert the triangle?  At the bottom point we find the basic services that we all can use to build our own power.  As we move up the inverted pyramid, we get more people able to use the resources to create.

Affirmation for today:

“I am able to fit myself to current economic circumstances.”

“As I listen for ways to solve problems, I am able to earn larger amounts of money.”

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2015: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

Earn What You Deserve: How to Stop Underearning & Start Thriving

The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World

Please click the book image to get this important resource.

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