T Nation

Being Poor

So all my life my parents have never made much money. But I think times are at an all time low. My dad’s basically only making 10 a hour working 40 hours a week, which for a family man is nothing. Apparently the water is gonna be shut off this Friday. How would you guys deal with this?

Honestly, I know it sucks but depending on how old you are, I’d try to get a job to help out your family.

Sorry to hear, stay positive, this will make you tougher and stronger in the long run.

Maybe try and get some part time work a couple nights a week/ weekends as long as it doesn’t affect your studies too much.

Not sure how old you are, but the best thing you can do is put your best effort to whatever your responsibilities are now… You may be able to snag some part time work but most important is to just not add any extra stress or strain to them from your actions or choices.

In some ways, its a blessing in disguise.

Everyone can learn to get by with much, you had to learn to get by with little.

Assuming that your Dad does the best he can, maybe you could get a part time job and chip in?

If you’re in Texas, tell your dad to get a job in the oilfield. Even a roustabout makes more than that. An operator on a production platform makes 12 - 14 going in and gets an 84 hour week, so there’s lots of OT. Texas has one of the best economies in the country right now. There is work to be had. Get a job and help out.

My parents busted their asses to move when I was almost of school age to an area with a great school district so I (and later my brothers) would get the best possible education. I don’t think I ever realized the situation until high school when I got a good look at the cars all the other kids (kids!) were driving. My father was able to get a car that was gonna be scrapped for parts for me for about $200 and painted it for me himself.

I was ecstatic, but I also realized at that moment that we were undoubtedly at the bottom of the financial ladder in the neighborhood. What I’m getting at, is that my understanding how difficult it was, and how hard my parents were both working, helped me keep a better perspective on things. As soon as I was able, I (I think 14 is the age in NY) got working papers and found whatever jobs I could to make money.

I don’t know how old you are, but I’m sure chipping in, and doing your best to focus on the family is a good idea. Even BS jobs, you’d be surprised what some people would pay you for, sometimes completely off the books. My brother used to help some guy in the neighborhood carry bricks into his yard. I think he was maybe 12 at the time, but he was bringing home a nice $100 a week, tax free (and this was in the 80’s!)

Keep your chin up, focus on what’s really important, and remember that you guys are a team. Also, understand the position your folks are in emotionally. I’m sure they’re probably considering options as well, and don’t want to feel like they’re not doing well enough by you.

S

[quote]My brother used to help some guy in the neighborhood carry bricks into his yard. I think he was maybe 12 at the time, but he was bringing home a nice $100 a week, tax free (and this was in the 80’s!)

S[/quote]
Maybe I’m paranoid/cynical, and no offence to Stu, but is this ringing alarm bells for anyone else?

I second what other’s have said. Get a job (Most likely part time) yourself and help out. It will teach you a hell of a lot about pride and the sense of connection and family bond will only be stronger because of it. It’s a win/win imo. You will feel like a man early in life.

I’m obviously not in your situation but it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you spend. Any expenses you could suggesting cutting out right off the top of your head?

It would help a lot if we knew how old you are.

[quote]Jathan.young wrote:
So all my life my parents have never made much money. But I think times are at an all time low. My dad’s basically only making 10 a hour working 40 hours a week, which for a family man is nothing. Apparently the water is gonna be shut off this Friday. How would you guys deal with this? [/quote]

As others have already suggested, I would try finding at least a part-time job. Even when I was too young to get a worker’s permit I was baby-sitting a few nights a week and doing yard work for neighbors. I think doing a paper route may also be an option.

Some other options could include cutting back on things you really don’t need (i.e. giving up things like cable) or your parents getting second jobs.

Tough situation, no doubt… :frowning:

[quote]Bod-of-Phwoar wrote:

[quote]My brother used to help some guy in the neighborhood carry bricks into his yard. I think he was maybe 12 at the time, but he was bringing home a nice $100 a week, tax free (and this was in the 80’s!)

S[/quote]
Maybe I’m paranoid/cynical, and no offence to Stu, but is this ringing alarm bells for anyone else?[/quote]
No. What English alarm bells are going off.

Most of the people I know are in similar situations to this. I used to be as well, but my mother was promoted at work.

It sucks. I can only bring in what little I’m able to make doing gardens, mixing concrete, etc. and my father’s employment doesn’t pay nearly so well as it arguably should be (he is an engineer). I think we both suffer from the feeling that we should be helping to support her rather than the other way round.

This is one of the countless humiliations that people with little money have to suffer, and the sucky part is that all I can offer is sympathy.

Oh, and one thing: poor people know things that rich people don’t. For example, most of my middle class friends look down on boxing and other martial arts as ‘violent’. Those of us who know have seen that fighting can actually be a good way to stay out of trouble. If you ever have the money, I recommend it.

Also, obtain by any means the album ‘and out come the wolves’ by Rancid and play it whenever it gets too much. I swear it works.

[quote]Testy1 wrote:
It would help a lot if we knew how old you are.[/quote]
his profile says 17

[quote]Derek542 wrote:

[quote]Bod-of-Phwoar wrote:

[quote]My brother used to help some guy in the neighborhood carry bricks into his yard. I think he was maybe 12 at the time, but he was bringing home a nice $100 a week, tax free (and this was in the 80’s!)

S[/quote]
Maybe I’m paranoid/cynical, and no offence to Stu, but is this ringing alarm bells for anyone else?[/quote]
No. What English alarm bells are going off.[/quote]

I also am English and my alarm bells are firmly staying on. I realise twelve is an easy age to be naive, but it would take upwards of 200 dollars and at least two pints of free mineral water a day for me to be a guy’s brick-skank.

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:

[quote]Derek542 wrote:

[quote]Bod-of-Phwoar wrote:

[quote]My brother used to help some guy in the neighborhood carry bricks into his yard. I think he was maybe 12 at the time, but he was bringing home a nice $100 a week, tax free (and this was in the 80’s!)

S[/quote]
Maybe I’m paranoid/cynical, and no offence to Stu, but is this ringing alarm bells for anyone else?[/quote]
No. What English alarm bells are going off.[/quote]

I also am English and my alarm bells are firmly staying on. I realise twelve is an easy age to be naive, but it would take upwards of 200 dollars and at least two pints of free mineral water a day for me to be a guy’s brick-skank.[/quote]
I have worked since I was 12.

How old are you two?

[quote]Derek542 wrote:

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:

[quote]Derek542 wrote:

[quote]Bod-of-Phwoar wrote:

[quote]My brother used to help some guy in the neighborhood carry bricks into his yard. I think he was maybe 12 at the time, but he was bringing home a nice $100 a week, tax free (and this was in the 80’s!)

S[/quote]
Maybe I’m paranoid/cynical, and no offence to Stu, but is this ringing alarm bells for anyone else?[/quote]
No. What English alarm bells are going off.[/quote]

I also am English and my alarm bells are firmly staying on. I realise twelve is an easy age to be naive, but it would take upwards of 200 dollars and at least two pints of free mineral water a day for me to be a guy’s brick-skank.[/quote]
I have worked since I was 12.

How old are you two?[/quote]

I think they think “brick” is a drug reference.

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:

[quote]Derek542 wrote:

[quote]Big Kahuna wrote:

[quote]Derek542 wrote:

[quote]Bod-of-Phwoar wrote:

[quote]My brother used to help some guy in the neighborhood carry bricks into his yard. I think he was maybe 12 at the time, but he was bringing home a nice $100 a week, tax free (and this was in the 80’s!)

S[/quote]
Maybe I’m paranoid/cynical, and no offence to Stu, but is this ringing alarm bells for anyone else?[/quote]
No. What English alarm bells are going off.[/quote]

I also am English and my alarm bells are firmly staying on. I realise twelve is an easy age to be naive, but it would take upwards of 200 dollars and at least two pints of free mineral water a day for me to be a guy’s brick-skank.[/quote]
I have worked since I was 12.

How old are you two?[/quote]

I think they think “brick” is a drug reference.

[/quote]
Really?

They think this is Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels?

Growing up poor sucks; I know first hand the joys of not having clothes that fit, duct tape on shoes in H.S., being fucking cold because I didn’t have a jacket, and trying to pretend I was riding my bike in the mountains and snow for fun when the truth was my family didn’t have a working car.

The way out for me was the Army and I happened to be decent at math, so I got an engineering degree. Education will get you out, if you pick the right kind of educaiton. I am not sure any given college degree is worth anything comparted to a solid trade: plumbing, electrical, welding, etc. Some are (e.g., accounting, engineering, nursing, etc). You know you and what you can do.

While the advice re: “some job” is good, you need to think long term. If it fucks with you getting a trade or in college, don’t do it.

If it helps, yes, the economy is as bad as it was in the Great Depression, so you are not alone. And the government is again making it worse with stupid laws that keep businesses from hiring; there just happens to be a media that covers for the administration and technology is such that being poor is more tolerable than it was — e.g., it’s pretty easy not to starve, whereas that was not true in the the 1930s. Just don’t fall into the trap of government dependence. Once in the system, you are fucked; I’ve never met anyone who got out.