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I Work to Make Money and There’s No Shame in That – Tiffany Philippou – Medium

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Money is a great thing to want for our lives

I’m telling you it’s ok to want to make $

Money matters

Money makes me happy. I’m not saying money buys you happiness. You can’t go into a shop and pay for it on your credit card. But from my experience, money can have a profound impact on improving your life.

Money gives me the freedom to work without fear. I can say no to projects that won’t propel me forward because I’m not worried about paying rent. Money means I can fulfil my burning desire to write. I can live alone in a flat that has space and natural light, which I find essential as I work from home. My flat is also a five-minute walk away from my sister, so it’s easy to see her and my nephew — they bring me an immense amount of joy.

My favourite thing about money is I can buy books and media subscriptions without having to think about it. I can also buy tickets to see shows in our culture-rich capital. These things nourish my soul and bring me great pleasure. Money also means I can afford a dermatologist to help with my lifelong struggle with acne. As any fellow sufferers will know, acne can have a horrible impact on your mental health. And as I said in my confidence blog post (and is always told in Queer Eye) — spending money on making yourself look good helps you to feel good. When you feel good, you can shine a light onto the world and have the confidence to open yourself up to others.

But I haven’t always felt like I’ve had enough money. I used to be quite bad with money. Not having enough money used to occupy too many of my thoughts and I felt ashamed to demand more. I feel pretty good with money now — and that’s not because I’m a budgeting genius or a thrifty dame — it’s because I have the confidence to ask for it now that I run my own consulting business.

So if you’re seeking a good life, let’s be real about the importance that money plays in creating that for you. Wanting to earn a good amount of money is a valuable and honest goal and a brilliant reason to show up to work and do a good job.

When did everyone start pretending that work wasn’t about earning money?

In my piece for Sifted the other week, I called out the startup bullshit of trying to get people to make financial sacrifices to prove their dedication when they join a company. This is part of a dodgy and patronising narrative that money isn’t important and thus companies don’t need to pay us what we’re worth.

Money is a great reason to be motivated at work. It’s the closest to the truth of why you’re there. Forgive me for spelling this out, but unless you work for a non-profit, a business’s primary function and reason for existence is to make money. And your role in that business (whether full-time or freelance) is to help it make more money.

This is the capitalist society we live in. But what’s really damaging is that we’re being manipulated into thinking we shouldn’t be driven by money in our working lives. We’re encouraged to feel shame for wanting money for ourselves. Anyone who’s been told no when asking for a pay rise (which was me, every time) will have felt that awkward discomfort and shame as you’re put back in your place, told you don’t deserve it, and you shuffle back to your desk feeling like shit.

I speak to both men and women here. However, I do see — and what the gender pay gap tells me — that women are less confident in asking for money for themselves. I believe shame around money is less prominent in the male psyche because of traditional gender roles. But times have changed, and women need to catch up fast when it comes to earning money.

I also can’t help but notice the growing trend for content, usually targeted at women, which tells us how to be better with the money we already have. This is my problem with self-help literature in general, but the narrative that we can do better with what we already have places the blame at our door for not being sensible, rather than speaking the truth about money. I guess it wouldn’t make a compelling self-help book, but the reality is, budget all you like, but the best ways to really save money are to; live at home with your parents rent-free, refuse all social invitations and never buy anyone any gifts. In my view, this is hardly the life I’d want for myself. It’s easy to be good with money if you have enough of it. Those who are ‘bad’ with money, may just have had less to start with. If this is you, then end the guilt and have the confidence to start asking for more or make a plan of how you’re going to get it.

We must end the shame and guilt around having, or not having money and have the confidence to demand more

How to make more money could be its own post, and I barely scratch the surface in this one. The best time to earn more is when you’re starting a new role or project. I’ve always been told no when asking for a pay rise. I suggest you be bold before you start because it’s when they’re excited about working with you. One old school piece of advice, which still rings true, is to ask for the largest number you can without bursting out laughing. It works every time.

I also think we need to combat the capitalist, individualistic mindset by taking collective responsibility for change. We have to know our worth and not undercut people. If you can take a low salary — don’t. If you can afford to work for free — don’t. It is actually your duty to others to ask for the amount you’re worth.

So I encourage you to pursue more money for your life and I urge you to demand it from your work. Don’t let it be something you fear or feel ashamed of. Money matters because it gives you the freedom to live a good and fulfilled life. My work gives me that and there ain’t no shame in that.

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