Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Stress of Being a Breadwinner

I know it may seem hard to believe when you are living in poverty as a graduate student, but one day you will leave the University and you will have a job.  You will be getting paid. And you may or may not find yourself getting paid more than your partner.  Notice I say getting paid 'more than your partner," and not "getting paid a lot." You may or may not get paid a lot. But if you find yourself in the breadwinner position, you better hope you are getting paid a lot.

Just Another Day at the Office

I worked through graduate school.  In fact, I worked three jobs while in graduate school. I busted my butt and while I still made a pretty measly amount, it was not from a lack of trying and I was certainly not living it up as a kept woman.  My SO definitely contributed the lion's share, and made it so that in the months I couldn't make enough we still had a roof over our heads, and groceries, and maybe even the ability to travel.

When I quit graduate school we were both excited to finally be leaving my crappy earning power in the dust.  Unfortunately, the timing of this departure coincided with his career coming to a screeching halt.  In some ways the timing was lucky--any earlier and it would have been very tough to handle, and I really appreciate that I came to the decision to quit graduate school  on my own and not out of financial necessity.  However, it did feel like a cruel twist of fate to suddenly be plunged back into a financial headwind.

My first job out of graduate school definitely paid more, but it paid little enough that by the time we bought the second car we now needed almost all of my extra income got swallowed up with that and utility bills.  FUN!  Not only was there the stress of being responsible for everything, but this shift in earning and my SO's concerns over his career made it difficult to talk to him about it.  While we can normally talk about anything, the one thing I found I couldn't go to him about was the money situation.  It him feel terrible, we fought, and ultimately didn't make me feel any better either.

Two years later I ended up getting a much higher paying job, and I though "Great!  This will solve our problems!"  And it did.  Sort of.  Paying our bills got easier, but it's still really stressful being the bread winner.  I feel caught between a rock and a hard place:  glad that I can pay the bills, but not really wanting to.  

No comments:

Post a Comment