Sunday, January 20, 2008
Aint nothing going on but the rent
As a person who was born into so-called poverty, although our family did not feel like that, I entered into adult life none more the wise than I started out, to now be in a position where I am considered to be in the top ten per cent of the nation with regards to earning potential as a professional computer consultant. I am therefore in a unique position to detail my thoughts on money, it's problems, rewards, misconceptions and truths. Also highlight the difference's between those who have and those who have less and hopefully explain why earning money is more than a materialistic venture or trying to floss a Jay Z lifestyle.
For the last 20 years I have been a computer consultant, never having a permanent job, taking the risk to earn more money without security!!, or yearly apprasial's. I decided at an early age it is difficult to have a career and money and if I had the choice I'd rather have the money. I was partly swayed, by growing up in south London during the 70's and 80's. From back in the day, we were wearing Burberry Mac and 40 pound shoe to go to school. My first pay packet went completly on a Benetton jumper and I walked to work the following week, having learnt I like money and want more of it. I'd seen too many people continue to slave away for a pittance, while certain people in society discussed swimming pools and extension's. When I landed my first job, I was as niave as Titus Bramble and the art of defending. Clueless to say the least. The turning point was reading Malcolm X's autobiography. From then on everything became crystal clear, it was though I was Stevie Wonder for the first 21 years of my exsistence. I used to question things before but reading Malcolm squashed any doubts I possesed. Ruthlessly. That was more than twenty years ago and I have never looked backed since. Malcolm X is more than a role model to me. Other than my family members, I believe him to be the greatest human being in the last 200 years. Period.
With my eyes and ears opened, since 1992 I have earnt ₤1000 a week and since 2001 this has more than doubled, now to the rate of ₤11,000 pounds per month at the beginning of 2008, and should I be here another two months you can believe I am going to be seeking my boss and give him the down low on youths clothes, wifey handbag, Mummy need new fridge - dem chat - and could an extra £1000 a month be cool. In the market of IT this is just above average, not excessive, but comfortable enough to not worry about the ballif's knocking on the door. I am forever surrounded by similar people who's plan's and ideas of holidays would in the real world border on the insanity but in this cheap version of footballer's life style I get to see some things privvy to only those this side of the four figure a week brigade. Take last Friday for example. Someone in the office order's cakes for Friday, which is a traditional Dutch treat, known as Vfali. We are a team of ten and I am one of the lowest paid, so you get the scene. Money men, with nothing to do but plan exotic holiday and who can spend the most on wifey this weekend. To me I love them jokes. I don't want to be around people stressing about, they can't do this or that. Eventually that negativity rubs off on you, so better to be around money man. Anyway, back to the cake story. These are those ₤15 cakes, that you think twice about treating the wife to unless you're on a promise. Now this chap, was meant to order two, but mistaking Dutch for another language, three cakes arrived and he duly paid for three. And extra ₤15. No hassle no debate and gladly brought the three large cakes in the office for the rest of the pack to feed off.
Now in the world I was brought up in, this could not have happened. There would have been and endless argument and the baker had better understand that this was his mistake and he better fix the problem quick before someone get didgy and have to bring drama in the reception area of a large multi billion dollar organisation. If the baker, who kindly had brought the cakes left with anything less than a fat lip, he could consider himself fortunate. This is where I come from. We don't make mistakes that cost us money. And if we do it's a life or death matter. On the spot; there and then, regardless of circumstances, environment or the cost. I've noticed people with money are different. More humble. Yes, more are stupid than people in the real world, but they are also less harmful. More like your weed junkie than your alcoholic. It's the same when you go out to lunch or restaurant with money men. There could be four or five of us at a table and the drinks bill would come to say ₤150 - ₤200. One man will get up and say, I got that. Just like that. ₤200 bills - no problem. Raas, you no that don't go down in Camberwell. I love my people, but damm, we need to fix up a little better. When I'm back in town and go out with my boys, I always try and pay the whole bill, one because I don't see them that often and two, because I realise my position/situation and do it out of love for my spa's. But some people are not having it. They would be at the table dividing up shit and calculating that the you only had two spritzer and should only pay x. Raas....Look, I'm forty something and I can't be eating my food with people like that. We need to grow up and show we is big people.
Another thing I noticed, is that people without money think money it's not important. Well let me tell you this as an adult with two kids and a missus who think she lives on the set of 'Sex and the City' , money is fucking important. Are there any people out there who have not paid they're Gas bill or last telephone bill cracking Jamie Foxx jokes? If so, please write in, so I can expose your ass to the world and ask what the fuck you are doing as a grown up adult. Don't get me wrong, love, family and health are more important than material wealth, but I have never met anyone come back from Bahamas and say, "That was shit, I wish I had gone to Butlin's". Life is about balance and one person's desire and fetish is different from another person.
As a black person brought up like many of us today, with no expectations and none other than to be thankful to have a job and not to look no higher than clerk, to reach where I have after twenty odd years was no way easy and I am fucking proud of where and what I have accomplished. I did not attend any further education like university or college. I learnt the hard way, by educating myself and seeking to further that knowledge on a daily basis. Whether that be relationship, friendship, work, Fatherhood, Son, Brother, whatever, along the way we all make mistakes and go through adversity, but it's what you learn and how you cope with the falls, that teaches you how to keep getting up, prepared to be knoecked agan, but knowing the rewards and the journey is what life is all about. Money is like a marker, not in a status or bragging way like a lot of white guys, but a challenge and defianace to all the negative people who entered your life. A way we can measure against people like Trevor Phillips, Sir Trevor Mc, Ian Wright and Lennox Lewis. And being in this postion is just the start. To start to spread a message which will eventually and with God's blessing enable more of our black people to come through as I have have done and see that there are more fruits under the tree than that stale old orange.
Money has enabled me to see parts of the world, I could only dream of when I used to go to school on the Old Kent road. Money has opened doors to show my children sights and places I couldn't even spell when I was they're age, never mind visit. My 5 yr old daughter has been on an aeroplane as much as my Mum, and I did not go on a plane until I was 11. I use the plane more times than a bus, hopping between Amsterdam, Marseilles, Frankfurt, London or wherever I claim to be working. But I look on that as a positive note, as it's all about evolution and money plays an important role in that. For us to grow and set the marker, we need role model's other than sports personel and singer's. Role model's our youth's can realistically measure against, who looks like them, acts like them, talks like them, grew up like them etc...We have to set goals and raise standards - a bit like how for example, Rio Ferdinand's son cannot be seen working at the local petrol garage. Rio's son/daughter has too be bigger and better than Rio in whatever course of life he or she chooses. That is not Rio's fault. It's called evolution. Rio's parent's paved the way for Rio and Anton. Now they pave the way for their children to be better and more successful. Problem's arise when the child has passed the adult in terms of employment status or finance or that the parent has become complacement as though there is nothing more to aim for in life, instead of growing with the child, realising they have a different role to play as elder parent and grandparents and not hanging their bottom lip complainig of how we children fled the nest and left them penniless and broke. When you're Mum is on the board of council for the environment then as a child, you cannot come up and be working in Greggs the baker's. That is not evolution that is wha-de-raas-tion and that kind of mentality needs to go quicker than Didier Drogba's hair style.
The days when people used to earn 10k a month and you could live like king are over. Ten grand a month buys you a little freedom that I can pay my bills ahead of schedule and more or less decide where I want to go on holiday with the family. I'm at a stage of my life where I can make my Mum sleep at night, without financial worries, and those especially with black Mother's know you cannot put a price on making sure Mummy has a smile and not to fret when the fridge or washing machine packs up. I can do things for my nieces and nephews which will get them a little start in life, something we all want for our loved ones. But this can also have the reverse effect. For example I notice my son, does not have the same drive and desire to better himself that I had when I were his age. At times I think whether because he is surrounded by money and it's so called trappings, that it is difficult for him to comprehend the real world? He notice's that the car will have a problem and before you know it, we have a hire car on the drive-way for a week. I do wonder how he will learn hardship like we did back in 70's, but maybe it's a different era and like all good things in life, time will tell. He view's a restaurant as like a second kitchen and goes through clothes like he's auditioning for junior versace. My young daughter think's everyone has a TV in their bedroom and wonder's why her friends do not download Dora or Bratz. I love the fact that she can explain to you that vietnamese restaurants do not sell Chicken Tikka Masala and tries to use chopsticks when we go to a chinese. This is an experience and education in life I could not have provided them without money and sufficent funds. I understand money has made us like this, but we all have a choice and I decided I didn't want to go to bed worrying about the bills and use that area for better purposes. I wanted to have a choice in my future and dictate the start my children had in life, without being part of a lottery. And you cannot do that on 1975 money. We're living in an era where crap footballers earn mega bucks. You can either get vex or get your piece of the cake and getting vex does not allow you to eat at the Ivy or give your children the confidence to make the step . Without enough money you never get the space and peace to breathe in order to better your life. Money enables you to do that. Money enables you not to have to worry so much if the washing machine breaks down. So money removes pressure and removing that presure enables you to think more clearly and plan a better future for your family. Money enables you to move on with your life instead of always hitting dead-stops. Of course I am not exempt to everyday problems like normal human beings, just as much as David Beckham farts in his car and Posh controls the finances. We all have marital and family issues and problems that crop up and have to be taken care of. Like most men, I have no say in my house with two females and the young one at that age, where she now has more shoes than me. I have found in 15 years of living with wifey, that when you remove the money chat, they have less to stress and worry about and more time for freaky x-rated adult games involving fruit, ice cream and a green chilli. So it's not only economical but it also has its advantages in the midnight hour, get down low department, which at the end of the day is what we spend most of the day thinking about. Or should this not be your cup of cocoa, then you have the option of spending your days off, hogging YOUR sofa, watching 4 hours of uninterruptted cricket, while the rest of the family are at the beach, because as a black man we really have no place being at them place and the option of cricket on SKY SPORTS 3, x amount of good weed and lager in the fidge or being at the beach, is really no competition. Because you paid the rent motherfucker. The Rent!
I had one close friend, who is still friend, who in the early stages of his marriage made his girl cut coupons out of the newspaper to save on groceries. Yeah I witnessed it with my own eyes. All because he was not man or strong enough to change his job to bring in more money. And that is the bottom line. Remove the fear to change job. Men need to take responsibility for our families and children. We got a society where both men and women are going out to work and we wonder why little Johnny is sniffing glue after school or worse walking around like mack-daddy, talking about GATand he got rep. It's because men folk, allow women to be all and sundry instead of us taking care of business. Don't get me wrong women should work if they want, but the main payments and breadwinner of the house should be from the man. How are you to show your son to be a man if you are sending his Mummy out to do somehing she does not want to do or does not enjoy? Fifty years ago, such thoughts would have you banished to the tower. And even in caveman era, men did not send women out to catch the lion and buffalo to then enter their modern day cave and season it, before cooking. How are you showing you daughter the type of husband she is to seek if you are sending her Mummy to slave away in a baker's for eight hours a day and then expect to come home cook, clean and make sure the ironing is done. And then on top of that you want her to perform some Lil Kim, legs behind neck moves, and when she does not comply you deem her frigid. I'm surprised I do not hear more stories of women chopping up men's clothes due to their selfishness to not act like a real man. I even went as far to reseach that most men with money eat the coochie while poor men turn their nose up and complain about the taste. Now if that is not a way to tell you that money men are happy, then I am sorry for you ladies. You need to decide if you want a poor man who feels insecure about his financial status and sexual prowess or a real man, prepared to earn whatever it takes for his family and also goes downstairs on queue and comes up smiling like the cat who's got the cream.
So to those who say money is not important, get a fucking life and stop living in cuckoo land. The future of your children depend on you making in-roads for them. How are you to do that on ₤30,000 a year is beyond me. If you're still in doubt go and get the latest 50 Cent/G Unit album (bootleg download of course) and tell me you don't just love Fiddy when he chat's about being on a paper-chase. Because if you failed to notice we're living in hard times and A'in't Nothing Going On But The Rent.