to find it really irritating when people who earn a lot say...

(348 Posts)
Doodledumdums Sat 29-Jun-13 22:02:37

...But I work really hard for the money I get.

Sorry, totally unimportant, but it really irritates me!

I have a few friends who earn quite a lot of money, and I don't begrudge them this at all, but I just find it really insulting when they say 'But I do work really hard for it.' I also work hard! I feel like it implies that I don't! Okay, I am on maternity leave at the moment, so am not actually at work, (although i'd say that to some extent, looking after a baby is harder than my actual job anyway!) but when I am working, I am usually in the office by 8am, and often don't leave until 7pm, and I earn literally a fraction of what some of my friends earn. That is fine, I knew that when I got in to my chosen industry, but it doesn't mean that I don't work as hard as they do or deserve more!

They don't need to be defensive about it at all! It is totally fine that they earn what they do, I just don't understand why they can't be a bit more gracious about it and say something like 'Yes, I am lucky that I have a job I love which pays well.'

Oh I don't know, maybe I am being unreasonable and ultra-sensitive. I am sure they don't mean to imply that I don't work hard, but it just feels like that sometimes. Totally a first world issue!

P.S- I have self esteem and anxiety issues...which is possibly why I find this upsetting!

apostropheuse Sat 29-Jun-13 22:06:47

I've never discussed with my friends what they earn. It's not something that ever comes up in conversation.

I've also never had anyone tell me that they work really hard for their money.

Maybe my friends are more modest.

Sorry not much help, not sure if you're unreasonable or not.

pompeii Sat 29-Jun-13 22:08:54

Well I don't have self esteem issues and this annoys me too, and I earn a decent salary. Its as if these people think children who work 16 hours a day in sweatshops are obviously lazy dossers because they only get 10p a day. You generally need to work hard to get paid a lot, but equally many people work hard and never earn much.

Refusing to accept luck is a factor makes you an egotistical twat.

Doodledumdums Sat 29-Jun-13 22:09:49

That is probably the key should never be discussed! Then no one would feel the need to justify it in any way, and I wouldn't be irritated!

SomethingProfound Sat 29-Jun-13 22:10:29

I have friends who earn more than double my salary. I would never dream of commenting on their salary.
It's simply none of my business.

They have worked hard for it some studying for years, or slogging their guts out to work their way up.

YABU why should they be gracious about being successful. The comment "I work hard for it" seems like a defensive response, what is the comment that has provoked it?

Doodledumdums Sat 29-Jun-13 22:12:08

Thank you Pompeii! I am glad I have your support! smile

I really feel like that is totally the implication. When actually, a child working 16 hours a day in a sweat shop deserves infinitely more than anyone sitting in a stuffy extremely safe office!

Waimea Sat 29-Jun-13 22:12:48

I've never heard anyone say
I don't think they are trying to offend you

LalyRawr Sat 29-Jun-13 22:13:24

But well, are they lucky though?

They got their jobs via working hard, not via luck. Winning the lottery is luck. Earning well in a job they love is down to them, not down to some stroke of chance.

To be honest, they are speaking the truth. They do work hard, but I don't automatically see the assumption that this implies you do not.

hermioneweasley Sat 29-Jun-13 22:13:31

Of course luck is a factor, but I work with many senior and highly paid people and I say with confidence that only a tiny fraction of the population could do their jobs. The complexity, variety, pace of issues as well as the ability to manage multiple stakeholders and answer to (for example) government bodies or city analysts is a rare skill set. And the jobs tend to be 24/7, maybe not in the office all the hours, but utterly consuming. There is no such thing as an evening off or a weekend or a holiday - they are just doing calls from by the pool instead.

dramaqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 22:13:51

I don't think it is all about how hard a high earner works, but more about the level of responsibility. Those in higher paid jobs generally have more at stake than those who are lower earners, and consequently take decisions that affect others.

MrsDeVere Sat 29-Jun-13 22:14:21

You hear it all the time but not necessarily from friends. Its usually from wankers like Cameron who are constantly pushing the idea of 'decent HARD working families' who are feeling the pinch.

Because if you are on a good salary you are hard working and decent and if you are on a low salary you are very very lazy and simply don't put in the hours.

Like security guards, farm labourers, warehouse workers, TAs, carers etc etc etc.

<little bit of politics>

LalyRawr Sat 29-Jun-13 22:14:50

I fail to see the connection between em working hard at a job they love and enforced child labour confused

WorraLiberty Sat 29-Jun-13 22:16:31

I've only ever heard (or read on here) people saying that when they're criticised for their spending choices.

Devora Sat 29-Jun-13 22:17:35

YANBU. I earn a pretty good salary and work hard for it. Not harder than a nurse, though, or a care worker. I can't justify the gap and wouldn't attempt to.

You know why the "I've worked hard for it" line annoys me? It's because the speaker is prioritising their personal vanity over the political imperative to tackle social inequality in this country. Same as when people justify their use of private education by implying that everyone else could make the same choice if they weren't being so profligate with cars and holidays. (Mind you, I mainly see on MN rather than in RL.)

I don't care about running down individuals who earn good money or are able to buy a good education. What I do care about is being able to have honest, informed conversations about the social problems of our country.

tinkerbellvspredator Sat 29-Jun-13 22:18:24

I earn quite a good amount, I don't claim I work hard because actually I don't work long hours and half the time my work isn't pressured or difficult in my eyes. I feel very embarrassed talking about my working week in those terms so just say something like 'work's fine'. Make of that what you will!

HollyBerryBush Sat 29-Jun-13 22:18:58

People get paid according to market worth.

but it is spectacularly vulgar to discuss moeny

LeGavrOrf Sat 29-Jun-13 22:19:03

I am constantly humbled by the fact that there are people wo work their arse off in jobs I couldn't contemplate doing and earn a pittance.

Old folks homes workers, childcare, call centres, bin men, fruit pickers.

There is an element of luck in earning a decent salary - being in the right place at the right time certainly.

Lorelilee Sat 29-Jun-13 22:19:35

They are probably being defensive and (badly) trying to justify it (although no one should have to) because they feel a sense of resentment/inferiority from you.

Doodledumdums Sat 29-Jun-13 22:20:00

Yes I think actually MrsDeVere, you have hit the nail on the head! It is not necessarily my friends who annoy me when they say it, but the implication from anywhere really. David Cameron especially!

rowtunda Sat 29-Jun-13 22:24:37

TBH I think you are being unreasonable. I am a high earner and luck had nothing to do with me getting where I am today - I have worked bloody hard for it right from GSCEs. I went to university for 6 years and then had a further 6 years of post grad on the job training to get to where I am today.i worked long and unsociable hours.

TBH it really pisses me off that you expect high earners to say they are lucky! It's not luck of the draw, if you want to earn a lot you bloody have to work for it. You chose a career which doesn't pay the same sort of money, that's not unlucky that was your choice and if your happy in your career and then what is your issue? - it's not your friends fault that you are not getting paid as much as them is it?

grumpyoldbat Sat 29-Jun-13 22:26:39

YANBU, it's not that I think they don't work, nor that I think think they don't deserve it. I object to the implication that I don't work hard or that I am worthless. When it has been said to me this has always been implied.

Before I am flamed I don't openly discuss my salary it's always been in response to me having to say 'I'm sorry I can't afford that' in response to the latest expensive collection.

savoirfaire Sat 29-Jun-13 22:29:06

YANBU. I have friends who earn lots of money, who came out of amazing universities with top class degrees, who work loads and loads of hours and get well compensated for it. They are mostly good people, who work hard, often at a sacrifice to their personal life, and that's all well and good.

However, I also have friends who came out of amazing universities with top class degrees, who work loads and loads of hours and chose to put their personal talent and personal determination into fields like medical research or international development. They are mostly good people, who work hard, often at a sacrifice to their personal life. The work that they do (particularly those in research) will have a massive impact on generations. They are compensated poorly. They choose to do this out of a vocation and a love and we should all recognise that we need there to be more people like this. This group don't live in big houses, send their children to private schools or drive flash cars. But they work just as hard as the other.

needaholidaynow Sat 29-Jun-13 22:31:36

People on a low wage can slug away for hours on end as well. We're all doing the same thing- earning money for a living. The amount we receive is irrelevant.

Doodledumdums Sat 29-Jun-13 22:33:49

I don't think that I show resentment though? Though maybe I do, but it is unintentional.

Maybe the issue is that I comment on things that perhaps I shouldn't? So for example, if my friend is going on an amazing holiday, I say things like 'Oh wow, lucky you, I am so jealous, I'd love to go there!' I guess maybe this provokes a defensive response? I don't mean it to be a comment on the money they have spent, but maybe that is how it is taken?

That is a very good point Devora and certainly an aspect that I hadn't thought of.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 29-Jun-13 22:36:05

Salaries are openly discussed amongst my friends and colleagues. We're at the beginning of our careers and have yet to start dramatically pulling away from each other. Maybe that is a generational thing?

Yanbu and also yabu at the same time.

I work hard. I don't doubt for a second the head of my dept works harder for his salary. Usually but not always more money = harder work/longer hours.

Doesn't mean I look down on people for the work they do or doubt they work hard for the salary they earn.

Thurlow Sat 29-Jun-13 22:36:45

Some people have worked hard to earn a high salary - doctors, architects, vets, they all spend years qualifying into their job. But YANBU, other people did luck out in to a high-paying job. I have a friend who works in finance/insurance who earns a fortune and has said to me before "I used to work as support staff too, you know" in a supposedly supportive way - though my profession takes longer to qualify in to than hers <grr> It's just a lower paid profession, that's all, as some are.

I find that people who will say something like "I work hard for my money" are the kind of people who will talk about their money, when obviously most people don't. The friend mentioned above talks about money constantly even though she currently lives rent free in central London while she and her husband bring in nearly 6 figure salaries each, yet she will complain about how hard it is to save money etc. Yet another friend who genuinely does work 16 hour days and earns an absolute fortune never mentions is and gets embarrassed if anything to do with money is brought up (we only know vaguely what he earns because DP knows the sector well)

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sat 29-Jun-13 22:37:57

You see, I think it is actually good luck to have the foresight and opportunity to study hard for exams from the word go. I did, and there's no doubt that I was lucky to have parents who supported education and the capability to do well. Luck can be broad and long term.

rowtunda Sat 29-Jun-13 22:40:45

I think you are being over sensitive and jumping to the conclusion that they must be insinuating that you don't work hard. I think it is much more likely they are being defensive about living the lifestyle that they do.

We had friends like this who would keep making comments about how we could afford to go on holiday and save to buy a house etc etc. it really grated on us because they acted like the money had just dropped out of the sky onto our lap and internally there was a bit of me thinking well I have worked bloody hard for it and I refuse to feel guilty about spending it!

Then kids came along and all the money seems to disappear anyway now and holidays are substituted for childcare!

grumpyoldbat Sat 29-Jun-13 22:41:25

Perhaps you don't alis but sadly many do look down on us. There is only so much being told you are lazy, worthless etc that one person can take before it gets them down. Especially when they are working their arse of for the privilege of being the shit on someone's shoe

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 29-Jun-13 22:42:11

Thurlow traditional professional vocations are not the way to earn a high salary. Lots of people are earning high salaries after working their way up from nothing in the retail sector for example. If I was one of those people (I'm not) I damn well would not be making out like I was just lucky.

In the realms of normal jobs I thinks it's fair to assume we all work hard. I only get a po face about that phrase "I work hard for my money" when it's uttered by footballers,actors,singers who are in reality, merely lucky they are good at and successful at their favourite hobby.

PoppyWearer Sat 29-Jun-13 22:43:30

They might go on an amazing holiday, but they have to check work email and answer the Blackberry every five minutes? Threats that you will lose your job if you don't do it?

Believe me, the Facebook boasting is a facade. Reality very different.

I wish my DH (yes, higher earner) "only" worked 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday. That would be good.

I absolutely do think that doctors, nurses, midwives,etc should be paid a lot more. I grew up in a public sector household, I get that.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 29-Jun-13 22:45:44


I know people do. When I worked in retail whilst at school/uni people used to say utterly outrageously rude things to me and presumably my colleagues. It used to drive me bonkers. After a few years of that I was rude back in a really nice way. They could never complain but certainly left feeling like the prize prick they were.

I hate the attitude that people are beneath you because they do x job and you do y job.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 29-Jun-13 22:46:14

Sounds to me like they are trying to justify their large salary when so many have so little. As most people see success by how much money they have and can earn, it is understandable that some people do this.

I sort of pity people like this and gently remind them, the figures they are quoting me are phone numbers and I'm not governed by how much money I have or earn. Its not important to me.

grumpyoldbat Sat 29-Jun-13 22:48:11

poppy I'm expected to check my work e-mails when I'm off too. Not as often obviously. We can also be called in to work at a moments notice.

MorrisZapp Sat 29-Jun-13 22:48:18


Only on mumsnet does a person saying 'I work hard' translate as 'you do not work hard'.

Personally, I know I'm overpaid and lucky, and I admit it and joke about it all the time.

But my DP works his backside off. No way will I pretend that he doesn't in order to protect the feelings of over sensitive flowers who take offence at the sun rising and setting.

It's not about you. They are referring to themselves.

inabeautifulplace Sat 29-Jun-13 22:53:16

All anyone can do is make the best of the opportunities available to them. Working hard will certainly help, but I don't believe it's the defining factor for a successful career. I agree with the OP, it's very common for people to use it as a differentiator when discussing salaries. Perhaps because if someone stated that they had a brain the size of a planet it would be seen as conceited ;)

Doodledumdums Sat 29-Jun-13 22:54:21

Rowtunda I am sorry that I have insulted you. I don't mean that high earners don't deserve the money that they earn, and I don't resent them for earning lots of money. Merely that I feel the implication is that the more you earn, the harder you work, and I don't think that this is the case.

To be honest, I do feel that luck comes into it to a certain extent. I also worked hard since my GCSE's, went to University etc- but my skill set and the fact that I have self esteem and anxiety issues steered me towards a career which doesn't pay highly- but that doesn't mean that I don't work very hard! I would have LOVED to have been a veterinary surgeon, but there is no amount of studying which would have made it possible, my brain just isn't capable, and I am far too anxious to cope with the demands of the job- which isn't really my fault exactly is it?

No, it is not my friends fault that they earn more than me, and I do not resent them for this at all, my point was that I don't like the implication that I don't work hard!

I also feel that really in this economic climate, anyone who has a job should feel lucky!

grumpyoldbat Sat 29-Jun-13 22:56:15

morris I can assure you in many cases offence has been meant, generally the clue has been the follow up statement. Some examples I have been on the receiving end of are: 'of course you wouldn't know what hard work is', 'I wouldn't expect someone like you to understand', 'you could be like me if only you'd done ok at school'.

As a one off statement it's fine but years of repitition wears you down.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 29-Jun-13 22:57:30


No I don't feel lucky to have a job. I worked damned hard at school and university. Have worked since I was 16. Worked for a terrible employer in the not so distant past who then sacked me because he couldn't afford to pay me. I diligently applied for jobs,worked as a temp until I got one.

Luck didn't come into it.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sat 29-Jun-13 22:59:13

But the thing is, some people who earn a load do work hard, very hard indeed. Study hard to get into the right profession, and then huge hours with massive amounts of responsibility.

I'm not thinking of myself when I say this. grin

Why shouldn't they say they work hard if it is the truth? Why should they be obliged to downplay things because some random might think they're implying something they're not necessarily?

My brother earns an absolute mint, but he worked damned hard through university and applied himself job after job after job to build up his career and get where he is today. He works extremely hard.

It is absolutely no reflection on anyone else.

What is that Eleanor Roosevelt saying, that applies in situations like this...?

garlicnutty Sat 29-Jun-13 22:59:55

Yes, yes, yes, Doodle!

You see it a lot on on here. As MrsDV says, too, it's become part of our everyday hate rhetoric against the poor. The offence isn't in the statement that they work hard, but in the clear implication that lower earners work less hard.

The other part of the same fault is denying that luck or privilege played a part. Some on your thread have already started with this.

I used to earn a lot. I didn't work any harder than my cleaner's husband, much more of my work was fun, and I was less likely to be injured by my work. Compared to him, I was privileged. I got there by hard work and luck. I was lucky to be as bright as I was and to be able to get a place at a good school. I was lucky my parents valued education, applied to that school, and encouraged my studies. If I hadn't gone to university, I wouldn't have known about careers such as the one I went into. I got into it easily because, as well as being bright and privileged, I was pretty and charming - again, luck and privilege. Then I went on to meet the right people, be in the right places at the right time (privilege, luck, luck,) and be given opportunities to earn a lot (privilege.)

My cleaner's husband was a qualified builder, electrician and gas fitter. His training was as demanding as a degree, just in different ways. He was a nice man, very hard-working, and not that bright. He was born into a not-privileged environment. I earned about thirty times as much as him, but was not a better person. Just luckier.

rowtunda Sat 29-Jun-13 23:01:21

Doodle sums you haven't insulted me but I do feel that you are projecting your insecurities onto your higher earning friends. Them saying they have worked hard for their money doesn't mean therefore automatically mean they are implying they don't think you don't work hard etc. I think it is just the way you are thinking about yourself.

I think you're maybe misinterpreting. When I say DH "works hard", what I actually mean is that he has a shit load of responsibility - people's jobs etc - and he gets up at ungodly hours to travel for meetings, spending a lot of time in airports. The work he does isn't "hard" like a care worker or a nurse's is, but it's all the other stuff around work.

Yes, he gets well paid for it, but I'm sure he'll have a heart attack before he's 55.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 29-Jun-13 23:02:25


To the "You could have been like me statement", I'm afraid you wouldn't stop me.
I'd say something like, thank goodness I made the right decision, or heaven forbid. So you are the result of a good education? Wow, so glad I didn't have one.

I love twats like this "grumpy". I bet you are a lot nicer and imo that's whats important not money and a fancy education. thanks
Don't let the bastards grind you down love.

inabeautifulplace Sat 29-Jun-13 23:04:42

"I only get a po face about that phrase "I work hard for my money" when it's uttered by footballers"

Footballers might be lucky to have the physical potential, but the massive majority have to put the effort in in order to succeed. I would suspect it's the most competitive career choice in this country.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 29-Jun-13 23:05:46

For avoidance of doubt,though I worked hard at school and university I by no means earn a high salary. Earning the "living wage" at some point soon is my goal.

MorrisZapp Sat 29-Jun-13 23:06:00

Grumpyoldbat, the statements you've had flung at you sound rude, obnoxious and offensive.

But this thread is about the phrase 'I work hard for it'. Which is not offensive unless you want to twist it into some kind of sweeping statement on the state of the nation. Maybe some people do use it that way, but I know I don't. I know exactly how hard some lower paid earners work, I've been one myself.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 29-Jun-13 23:06:49


At least quote me properly if you're going to do so.

garlicnutty Sat 29-Jun-13 23:10:09

There's so much self-justifying bollocks on this thread already! Doodle said in her OP: "I just don't understand why they can't be a bit more gracious about it and say something like 'Yes, I am lucky that I have a job I love which pays well.' "

Yes - why not?

Surely nobody's daft enough to believe reward comes in direct proportion to effort? If you've been lucky, be grateful. And gracious.

MrsGSR Sat 29-Jun-13 23:12:15

I don't think your being unreasonable. Most people who earn a lot do work very hard, and I could understand why someone up thread was annoyed at the suggestion luck had something to do with it. However some people have worked just as hard but had bad luck and therefore earn a lot less.

My dad works 80+ hours a week, has a degree and the highest level of qualification possible for his profession, but earns very little due to a really bad series of events when I was a kid (none of which were his fault or could have been helped) and it does annoy me that some people make out he must work less hard as he earns less.

grumpyoldbat Sat 29-Jun-13 23:12:49

I do actually have an education, some people just make assumptions because I don't have a high flying city job I must be thick. I can't illustrate it on the internet but generally the person's tone of voice when saying it indicates how it is meant. I like one group of these people the other I think of as pompous pricks.

In case there is any doubts the nice ones are those who are simply defending themselves. The pompous pricks are those who look down on others simply based on their job.

garlicnutty Sat 29-Jun-13 23:12:59

Morris, no-one would think to remark that they work hard for their pay unless they're taking a combative stance. Everyone who gets wages, works. It's taken for granted.

maddening Sat 29-Jun-13 23:14:32

how do these conversations about their salaries arise? Why do your friends feel they have to justify themselves to you?

either drop these friends or stop talking to them about their salaries? Might make them feel less awkward and you less resentful.

I am not paid brilliantly but work hard - I don't have this angst nor these conversations - generally you don't talk to friends in depth about their finances.

TheBuskersDog Sat 29-Jun-13 23:16:42

rowtunda there is an element of luck in whether you have the academic ability to go to university etc. Some people no matter how hard they try will never achieve highly academically and that is usually the key to entering highly paid occupations. We don't all have a choice of any occupation as we are not all equally capable of doing any job. Also we need people to do jobs that don't require six years of study but which are important for society to function, shop workers, street cleaners etc.

It's mostly on Mumsnet that I've seen this sort of thing really, as someone else said justifying spending money on things that many can't afford, the attitude that they deserve more money because they studied for so many years etc, and for many on here that university education was free as well.

What's even worse though is when they say my husband works hard for our money while I sit on my arse all day.

Doodledumdums Sat 29-Jun-13 23:17:19


With all due respect, I do think that luck plays a factor, for a number of reasons. I am not denying the fact that you worked really hard, as did I, but the mere fact that we have been born into a situation whereby education is not only possible, but a right (assuming you are in the UK), means that we are lucky.

I think in the case of my original OP, I am possibly (as I suspected!) being a bit over-sensitive, but I do think that the fact remains that there is an unwritten implication that lower earners/people with less responsibility don't work as hard, and in a lot of cases this is true, but in other cases it isn't!

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 29-Jun-13 23:18:41

maddening my friends and colleagues just ask each other. We're all early/mid 20's. I'm sure that will change when we start pulling away from each other but at the moment we're all earning within 2k of one another.

RinseAndRepeat Sat 29-Jun-13 23:20:25

I get the 'well it's alright for you, you earn loads' from people sometimes one friend in particular but that's another thread .

I always reply that I work hard for it. Not because I mean that by implication she doesn't work hard for her smaller salary. But because she seems to be implying that somehow my larger salary just fell into my lap without me having to do anything.

When actually I got where I am by working my tits off and taking a lot of shit off assholes.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 29-Jun-13 23:20:27


Nobody is any better than you, with the exception of me perhaps and thats only because I think nobody is better than me.
I don't work at all and turned my back on a very well paid career, paying far more than most on here, as was quite famous over 20 years ago. Money means nothing.
You can't take it with you and you can only spend it once.
I am relatively poor now, but rich in so many other ways.
Really, don't give them a second thought, have you ever thought they may be jealous of your lifestyle.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 29-Jun-13 23:21:12


But that is a different argument isn't it,that we're lucky to have the opportunity to be educated isn't the same as being lucky to have a job.

The current economic climate is horrendous. I do think that finding a job can be in part luck, purely looking in the right place at the right time,keeping it however is not down to luck.

RinseAndRepeat Sat 29-Jun-13 23:24:49

I agree there's an inherent privilege conferred on those who are born into white, middle class or upper class families. Its an uncomfortable truth that if you're a minority of any kind - race, class, physical ability - it's more difficult to find and exploit the same opportunities as those who are wealthy, rich and white.

And which circumstances you're born into is entirely based on chance. So luck does play a part in it.

But after that it's sheer hard graft.

I also know plenty of people born into privilege who've wasted every opportunity given to them and have amounted to not very much at all because of laziness and entitlement.

OP - YABU. it isn't about you. Your friends aren't making any judgement on you but you are projecting your insecurities on them. Perhaps they are picking up the vibes from you that you disapprove or are jealous of their success?

Garlic, I disagree about the luck. Certainly you were fortunate in a lot of ways in your upbringing and inate abilities but no matter how 'lucky' you are to have them, they would have been pointless without your effort. The driving force behind your good job is the hard work not the luck. You could have messed about at school, dropped out, fallen out with your parents and gone to live in a squat and all that 'luck' wouldn't have meant anything. I don't understand why you down play your effort.

Just as an aside why is it 'vulgar' to talk about money? Do you not think that if we were all a little less secretive and cagey about what we earn, the pay gap between men and women might have been closed by now. As it is, I bet plenty of inequality goes unchallenged simply because people don't tell each other what they earn and they aren't aware that their colleagues are earning more than them.

Doodledumdums Sat 29-Jun-13 23:31:13

Alis I think that finding and keeping a job are both down to luck really. Companies are dissolving all over the place at the moment, and it isn't necessarily the fault of the employees. My brother got made redundant last year because his company lost a huge contract which was basically paying his salary, he had no control over it, and had worked exceptionally hard to get the job, and was working 7am- 1am most days, yet he still got made redundant. Luckily for him, within a week he was offered an even better job and is happier than ever- but a lot of his colleagues weren't.

Justfornowitwilldo Sat 29-Jun-13 23:32:59

'I just don't understand why they can't be a bit more gracious about it and say something like 'Yes, I am lucky that I have a job I love which pays well.'

It's not some odd coincidence that people are in high earning jobs! They (most of them anyway) made a series of deliberate choices that led them there! They could have chosen to do something they enjoyed more that would never really pay well or chosen a job where the responsibility ends when you walk out the door and the hours are set. They could have chosen to have their children younger or be a SAHM.

Loshad Sat 29-Jun-13 23:33:05

Doodle, but that is not always the case. My husband had a shit education and left school at 16 with 1 CSE grade 1 (for younger folk equivalent allegedly to one grade C GCSE). He worked in the local hotel kitchens chopping veg before seeing the light. Whilst working he did some O levels, he then did A levels at local college, whilst working to fund himself. and got a place to read medicine.
5 years later his first job started at 8 am on Friday morning, it was his teams on take weekend and he finished at 10 pm on the monday night having worked almost the entire time , only to be ready for an 8 am start on Tuesday. Luck had nothing to do with where he is now.

garlicnutty Sat 29-Jun-13 23:37:11

BBB, I think you missed my point there. I compared my (old, well-paid) self with my cleaner's husband because we both worked hard and were of similar disposition in many ways. He trained for as long as I did. But I got more brains than him, and a better educational environment. Them's the breaks ... it is luck.

MorrisZapp Sat 29-Jun-13 23:37:28

Totally agree Bertha. Why is it vulgar to discuss money? I know roughly what my friends earn. I got a payrise recently and rushed to tell my sister and best friend, as they would when they get good news.

And I don't see how it is necessarily combative to mention how hard you work. I've got friends who are teachers, they earned lots more than me for a long time, but I know exactly how hard they worked for it and was always sympathetic when they wanted to bitch about their jobs. They weren't justifying anything, just chatting and offloading as we all do.

Jinsei Sat 29-Jun-13 23:37:41

I have no doubt that I work harder in my current job than the people who I line manage, and I have a lot more stress to deal with too. My boss has more than me, and so within our organisation, I think salary probably is a reasonably accurate reflection of effort invested/burden carried.

However, I used to work for a different organisation in a different sector, and I worked way harder than I do now for less than half the salary. It was a charity, and although we didn't get paid a lot, we were motivated by the fact that we were making a difference.

Some types of jobs are just better paid than others, and there some incredibly hardworking people who earn very little. Likewise, there are some very high earners who probably don't do much to deserve it.

Yes, hard work helps you to get good grades in school (if you're lucky enough to have some innate intelligence and access to a decent education). Yes, hard work helps you to get ahead I'm your chosen field (especially if you're lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time). But it's ridiculous and very arrogant to say that there isn't some luck involved in addition to all your hard work. Of course there is!

garlicnutty Sat 29-Jun-13 23:38:32

"better educational environment" would probably have been more accurate as "social environment", tbh. Goes with the education anyway.

BrianTheMole Sat 29-Jun-13 23:38:41

I know what you mean op. i have a friend who has a high earning job. He does work hard, bloody hard, but so do I in my lesser paid job. But somehow my job is perceived as less meaningful and not worth talking about. Apart from the occasional comments about when am I going to get a better paid job.


I don't hear it from friends,but I do see it on here,and other places online.

DH and I both work,he's a chef and works appallingly long hours,its very stressful and its just him in the kitchen,he has to do everything from ordering food in to buffets to bacon sandwiches to cooking 3 course meals for 60 and the washing up (often all in the same day)

I work part time inbetween his shifts and on his days off,we can't afford childcare (we do have a lovely FIL who has the DC when we are both working)

I honestly don't believe that the people earning 100k work any harder than we do,and it makes me seethe.
I don't care that they earn more,I'd just rather they said "I work hard,luckily within an industry/in a job that pays well" rather than implying that everyone else is just lazy hmm

MissHC Sat 29-Jun-13 23:44:08

I earn more than most of my friends. More than any of my friends if I think of it. I don't earn a fortune (not like some of these 100k+ salaries on here), but very decently for my age. Anyway, I never volunteer how much I earn and when it has come up before I've always said that I'm very lucky and that it's mainly due to me speaking a lot of languages. Also I do feel it's a bit like a lottery because my friends are all as well educated as me (at least to degree level, most are postgrads). And I'd definitely say you have to be very lucky to be given opportunities - like getting invited for a job interview in the first place, especially as a graduate without much experience.

I am fully aware that most people work just as hard, if not harder than me. My DP is on about half my salary and works his ass off as he's in training. He certainly works harder than me and is better educated than me with 2 degrees, a masters and a professional postgraduate qualification.

I am very happy that I've been so lucky and I wouldn't dream of saying "but I work hard for it" as yeah, I do work and long hours etc, but so does everyone else I know. And they've not been so lucky with salary. I agree with you that it does seem to imply that they don't work as hard.


As for the discussion whether luck plays a part or not, as someone who graduated in 2008 (so just at the start of the crisis), I can tell you that luck nowadays DEFINITELY plays a part. Maybe not so much once you've got experience in a certain field and you're pretty much guaranteed a job interview if you apply for a job, but it really does play a HUGE part if you're applying for jobs together with 100+ other graduates.

To give you my personal example, I'm not saying I'm amazing, however even though I have a masters degree from a very good university and speak 5 languages, when I first graduated I could NOT find a job. I didn't get any interviews. And if I did the response was always either "You're overqualified" (for low level jobs) or "You don't have enough experience" (for higher level jobs). And it was exactly the same for all of my friends who graduated the same time or later, apart from those who happened to know the right person. In the end I managed to find a job in a call centre of all places, where I met DP (with his 2 degrees etc) and worked with lots of other graduates in exactly the same position. Yeah a bunch of idiots worked there too (like the ones you see on the BBC "the call centre"), but most were HARD WORKING, intelligent and educated young people. However we were all on a salary of £13k (including shift work). I earn four times that amount now but I don't work any harder. In fact I find my job a hell of a lot easier than when I worked at the call centre because at least now I don't have to deal with people crying on the phone every day or swearing at me all the time.

Quite different e.g. for my current M.D. He was VERY lucky. Graduated late 90's, got into one of those graduate schemes and has never done anything but management. And his degree (just a bachelors) wasn't even relevant to the field, from a very standard university and he "only" got a 2:1 nor any relevant work experience. Nowadays you would never get into a graduate scheme with those qualifications.

So maybe in the past (before the crisis) it wasn't so much down to luck however now it definitely is.

Sorry for the massive post but I had to get that off my chest.

AmberSocks Sat 29-Jun-13 23:47:20

i have to say yabu,as in some cases,aybe in a lot of cases,those who earn more have sepnt more time working towards where they are today,and still put in a lot of time and effort now.

For example,i KNOW that my husband who owns a large-ish business works harder than the people who are in the warehouse packing books.Firstly there is the fact he puts in more hours than them and also the fact they can go home and mentally switch off from work,he cantits 24/7 for him,so in that case yabu.....

BUT saying that,i dont know each and every persona circumstances,there could be people there who have other jobs,carers,single mums etc,so yanbu.

but in general,i would say someone who has spent a long time studying,working towards and putting time into a rewarding high earning career works harder tan someone in the co-op.

garlicnutty Sat 29-Jun-13 23:47:38

It's not some odd coincidence that people are in high earning jobs! They ... made a series of deliberate choices that led them there! They could have chosen to do something they enjoyed more ... or chosen a job where the responsibility ends when you walk out the door ... They could have chosen to have their children younger or be a SAHM.

^ ^ That, right there, is what OP meant angry Supercilious claptrap. Who knew low-paid people were all in jobs they absolutely love? That low pay = no responsibility? And all the happy, low-paid, irresponsible workers dance merrily away from their duties at the end of the day, not a care in the world?

I shan't even touch the have children/SAHM part.

AmberSocks Sat 29-Jun-13 23:47:51

theres no such thing as luck.

MorrisZapp Sat 29-Jun-13 23:48:18

Saying 'I work hard' does not imply anything about anyone else.

If I told you I had eaten a delicious dinner, does that mean I think your dinner was crap?

My DP does work hard. It is fact, not judgement.

Doodledumdums Sat 29-Jun-13 23:50:16

Loshad That is brilliant that your DH did that, and I am not denying that he works exceptionally hard, but he is lucky that he has the intelligence to have been able to do it. It doesn't matter how hard some people work, not everyone has the capabilities to be able to achieve similar things. I worked hard in the area that I was good at, but it wasn't the area that I wanted to be good at, which would have lead me to a great job and money- I just had to follow my capabilities, as do most people, so I think that to a certain extent you are lucky if your capabilities lead you to well paid things.

I also am not sure why it is vulgar to discuss money- it is a fairly important aspect of life! But I guess whether or not you feel comfortable discussing it is down to the individual.

garlicnutty Sat 29-Jun-13 23:51:15

... Oops, I missed out the other important part! Highly-paid workers, apparently, hate their jobs and trudge around endlessly weighed down by their responsibilities and professional concern.

My arse! Most of the best-paid jobs are enormous fun! If you're fortunate enough to have an aptitude, passion, and the right breaks, people can't pay you enough!

MorrisZapp Sat 29-Jun-13 23:52:33

Garlic you're inventing stuff that wasn't said. People in well paid jobs generally made choices to get there. Nobody said low paid people have no responsibility, or that they dance home from work.

I think people often come out with stock phrases such as I work hard for my money because they are concerned that income differences can be a source of tension. I don't discuss my salary with my siblings or some of my friends because the differential is too great. My annual salary is more than the value of my brothers' houses. They both work hard too. I do pick up the tab at family events though.

garlicnutty Sat 29-Jun-13 23:55:16

I was replying to a specific quote, Morris, which I quoted. It included "They could have chosen to do something they enjoyed more ... or chosen a job where the responsibility ends when you walk out the door."

The quote clearly implied that high-paid jobs are all important drudgery, while low-paid ones are carefree fun.

Which is bollocks, as should be obvious.

MorrisZapp Sat 29-Jun-13 23:55:43

Most of the best paid jobs are enormous fun? Are we talking being Mick Jagger here or what? Fair enough, people like him are lucky sods. But I'm assuming Op isn't hanging out with uber wealthy performers and artists. I thought she meant those in senior positions in eg medicine, industry etc.

Yes,and so does mine.
He doesn't switch off either,he finishes at 11pm and starts at 6am some days,in between he is planning and worrying and hoping he'll get everything done in time.

His boss is a total bastard,he knows the job market it shit so he's made it clear if DP complains or asks for help in the kitchen he'll be fired.

In fact DP's salary was supposed to go up after 3 months,he's been there a year (got the food hygine up from 2 to 5 and gets complemintents from customers for everything he cooks) and every time he mentions it he's told there are plenty of people who'd work for less.


MissHC Sat 29-Jun-13 23:58:03

Totally agree with garlicnutty.

So nurses, care workers and the like can obviously switch off completely ones they go home?

As in my post above, I used to work in a call centre. We dealt with government grants that included installing heating systems in people's homes. I can't tell you the amount of times I went home crying or didn't sleep at night, because someone spoke to me for an hour earlier that day, begging me to please get their heating sorted because they didn't have any hot water nor heating and it was the middle of the winter and they had a 2 year old and no where else to go. Or the person with terminal cancer. Or the mother of the disabled child. Every single day there were hard breaking stories, and all I could do was sit and there and tell them I was sorry but that there was nothing I could do to get them prioritised. And that the timescales were 6 months (if they were lucky).

As mentioned, I earned £13k a year in that role. Working 40 hours a week. I can tell you that when I went home I could NOT switch off.

Now I earn a multiple of that and I can go home and not care if something's going wrong because what I do doesn't have any influence over anyone's well being.

There are THOUSANDS of jobs that people have to put their live and soul into and the pay is crap. Pretty much all healthcare jobs to start with. I think it's extremely obnoxious and arrogant to say that people who are on £100k+ salaries work harder than others.

My dad earns that and yes, he works hard and he deserves it. But so does a nurse in a stretched NHS hospital on a £20k salary.

MorrisZapp Sat 29-Jun-13 23:58:43

Nope, that quote does not imply that low paid jobs are carefree or fun at all. It does however point out the reality of how much responsibility one generally takes on when progressing the career ladder.

garlicnutty Sat 29-Jun-13 23:59:45

I worked in advertising and fashion. One year, I earned 30 times what my cleaner's husband did.

While out & about with my advertising pals, I'd often run into bunches of finance people. They earned even more than we did and had at least as much fun.

You don't have to be a rock star to live a pretty nice life.

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 00:01:13

I've reached my pompous tripe tolerance threshold. Goodnight, all you "worthy" and ungracious high earners!

harverina Sun 30-Jun-13 00:01:32

Well there are some professions which require a lot of hard work, determination and intelligence to get into and be successful in. These people are deserving of their high salaries and have arguably worked hard for it. You have people who are on professions who earn lots of money without doing much for it.

On the flip side, you have people in low income jobs who work hard and are committed to their jobs.

I agree that in most cases, more money is paid for more responsibility. If your willing to be a brain surgeon and have worked hard to get grades to get into uni, completed uni then done the post qualifying exams then I would tend to agree that this person has worked harder than say, a sales assistant.

I don't think that by saying "well I worked hard" is necessarily putting you down or suggesting that you don't work hard.

Mamafratelli Sun 30-Jun-13 00:01:41

I have a friend who earns a hell of a lot she would never say it but she works bloody hard. A lot harder than anyone else I know. Often found at her desk at midnight, even 2am then back in before 7 the next day.

She loves her job but I don't envy her for a second.

ShellyBoobs Sun 30-Jun-13 00:04:19

I'm on the fence with this one.

I know people who earn very little but work very hard for it. I genuinely feel for them. One of my closest friends is in this position and it seriously upsets me how hard she works to see her just about scrape by. So much so that I try very hard to help her out where I can, without insulting her (she's a proud woman).

I also know a few others who wouldn't dream of doing anything other than the bare minimum, arriving at and leaving work on the dot without caring if things are left unfinished. I assume they don't earn a huge amount. That seems fair to me.

My own salary is good but I made and make a lot of sacrifices to be in a position to earn it. I studied full time until I was 26 whilst working full time hours on top - I had no choice but to leave home and make my own way at a young age so I don't feel 'lucky' to have got the qualifications I did.

I also don't feel lucky that in the last 7 weeks I've done 2 weeks in Indonesia, travelled back to the UK for a week, gone back out again for a week and then travelled from there to Thailand for a few more days. I've also spent 2 separate days in London (we live in Yorkshire) and spent 1 night in Amsterdam. Oh and I was away for DD's birthday. Again.

Whether I'm travelling or in the UK I will work 60+ hours most weeks and on top of that I'll be checking and responding to emails at night and over the weekend. On top of that, a lot of the long-haul travel is at the weekend in order to be where I need to be on Monday. That's not lucky either.

My circle of friends don't discuss incomes (thank god) but I know I'd be cat's-bumming if there was any insinuation that I was just 'lucky' to earn well.

stopgap Sun 30-Jun-13 00:06:42

The hardest jobs I ever had were factory jobs while I was at university. One involved folding linen in stifling heat for up to ten hours a day--with nary a sufficient break to eat a soggy canteen sandwich--and the other involved packing boxes of medical supplies at lightning speed. The exhaustion at the end of the day was indescribable, and subsequent professional jobs in copywriting and editing have been far easier in many ways.

As for nursing, that seems to hit all the grafting high notes: stress, physical toil and long, unsociable hours.

IsSpringSprangedYet Sun 30-Jun-13 00:06:48


Maybe they feel a bit guilty or awkward sharing their salary and feel they need to defend themselves? And maybe they aren't 'lucky' to earn well - maybe they actually do work hard?

I wouldn't have read that as them insulting you, just that they were defending themselves IYSWIM?

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 30-Jun-13 00:11:10

I've never heard anyone say the bit about working hard for their money. But then I work in the City and so do my friends. We all earn a lot so we don't have to feel defensive about money.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 30-Jun-13 00:11:43

.. around each other.

MorrisZapp Sun 30-Jun-13 00:14:31

Garlic, I'm not surprised you and your friends had great nights out and have nice lives. I'm talking about the actual work day.

A high earning accountant for example, certainly might have fun at the weekends and enjoying great holidays etc. But the time spent at work is different.

Most working people enjoy their 'down time', regardless of income.

ShellyBoobs Sun 30-Jun-13 00:15:35

The hardest jobs I ever had were factory jobs while I was at university.

For physical toughness, I would say exactly the same. I worked nightshifts in a cardboard factory while studying; I don't think I could ever get used to the heat, noise and hard physical toil.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 30-Jun-13 00:17:47


As you will see in one of previous posts I did say I found myself unemployed because my (fucking awful) employer found himself unable to pay me. He sacked me because I was the newest employee and therefore the easier to get rid of.

When I say keeping a job is not down to luck I meant in a business that is functioning well. I wouldn't dream of saying that somebody who found themselves made redundant/ sacked prior the year (or two years as it is now) before having any kind of legal rights because of cash flow problems was to blame.

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 00:17:57

Does nobody understand the concepts of humility & gratitude any more? sad

"Lucky" is not an insult, you dimwits. Why on earth can't you just acknowledge your relative privilege; good fortune; luck?

Just acknowledge it, and acknowledge that not everyone gets the breaks. Then you won't have to do all that ridiculous posturing, and you will be gracious.

Easy, isn't it smile

<harrumphs to bed at last>

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 00:20:12

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ShellyBoobs Sun 30-Jun-13 00:21:49

garlic are you pissed?

You're making personal attacks on people now.

Morris how are people on low wages supposed to enjoy their 'downtime' when they've got no fricking money,or time,to do anything?!

Mainly,when we are not at work,we are asleep. We are exhausted,and even if we weren't,we don't have any spare money for outings or nights out.
We enjoy our DC and each others company,but I do wish we could have some fun days out together,as it is we simply can't do anymore overtime to get the extra cash for it.

At least if we worked hard for a decent wage we could have the luxury of that.

All we can do is hope that one of us will stumble upon a better paid job,or that we'll find the time to pursue our other qualifications that are on the back burner as we haven't the time or money to invest in them.

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 00:28:41

No, Shelly, only on one person wink It is unlovely of me, though a common enough reaction to adversaries who insist on pretending to misunderstand one's points. Like some other posters, too, I find it extra repulsive when wives are supercilious on behalf of their husbands' earning power, and wanted to check whether Morris was one such.

Not pissed, but incredibly tired and really do need to shut the browser.

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 00:29:04

But I'm assuming Op isn't hanging out with uber wealthy performers and artists. you mention it...I do happen to have Gerard Butler and Michael Buble on speed dial grin

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 30-Jun-13 00:29:08

Bit rude garlic

Not everybody has to be "grateful" for their education because they worked their way the career ladder in their chosen (or not) field. Sometimes successes is down to working really fucking hard and not much else.

Wake up.


"Lucky" can devalue the effort and choices that people have made. Was I lucky that one of my parents died when I was a teenager meaning that I had to do a couple of years extra to make up for the impact on my schooling?

I fully acknowledge that I am very well paid for what I do and in that sense I am in a better position than many people. But I didn't have an amazing smooth and easy path to get to where I am. Where I am lucky is that I am academically inclined in a country that supports that.

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 00:33:33

Not everybody has to be "grateful"

I was talking about "grace." Nobody has to be gracious. But the opposite of having grace is being an arse.

Denying respect to others, while bigging yourself up, is repulsive. Doing it to others because they have less than you is disgusting.

I don't believe any Mumsnetter would disagree. Don't understand why so many of you are insisting on it here.

wannabeawallaby Sun 30-Jun-13 00:35:53

Yanbu OP. Gets on my tits too.

And life is a game of luck. You're lucky that job existed for you to get it. Lucky you were born in this country with its opportunities and not in a backwater slum in a third world country. Lucky you were born with all your senses. Lucky the people also being interviewed for that job weren't better than you. Lucky your parents met so you were born...

It's all luck and random chance.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 30-Jun-13 00:44:36

Well it looks like we agree with each other actually garlic .

lottieandmia Sun 30-Jun-13 00:53:49

YANBU - there are a lot of people who think they earn a lot because they work harder than everyone else and are somehow superior. When in reality there are many people who also work very hard for little money because they don't work in a lucrative area.

VelvetSpoon Sun 30-Jun-13 00:57:59

I wouldn't say I earn a lot, a decent salary admittedly, and about 3x the amount several of my friends do. I don't tend to make a big song and dance about what I earn or how hard I work. My friends (none of who have DC) have chosen to do low paid, stress free jobs because that suits them. They didn't want careers, or promotions, or to work before 9.01am or after 4.59pm, which is their choice. Plenty of people make similar choices. But I think having made that active choice not to seek out a better paid role, nor to advance yourself, you can't bleat about what others in far more stressful roles earn...

Justfornowitwilldo Sun 30-Jun-13 01:34:57

'Lucky' minimises the deliberate effort that's gone into getting and keeping a highly paid job.

Of course there are low paid jobs that require lots of training, long hours and carry heavy responsibilities. They also don't hide their wage structures. You know what you're getting into. I doubt anyone goes into teaching for the money and glamour of it. Some jobs, some sectors, pay very well. Others pay very little for the qualifications and commitment.

sashh Sun 30-Jun-13 02:21:47

The one I hate, if you ever see pupils from top public schools interviewed they always say, "my parents work really hard to sent me here".

It implies that other people don't work hard.

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 30-Jun-13 06:12:27

MN is full of parents going on about how their DC worked so hard on their school project for example. It never occurred to me that these parents were taking a dig at me and suggesting that my DCs didn't work hard on theirs [sarcasm emoticon]

Let's face it people. A lot of you have a chip on your shoulders about other people earning more than you.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 30-Jun-13 06:29:10

The whole point of contention, on this thread, is whether or not something's being implied or not.

If you take it that someone who earns a lot and says they work hard for it, is implying something about everyone else, then of course your back is up from the start.

If, on the other hand, you think all they're doing is commenting on their own situation and nobody else's, then there's absolutely zero reason for your back to be up.

Why not assume that it's not actually all about you, and assume the latter?

Probably they are working hard. So are you. So what's the big deal?

frogspoon Sun 30-Jun-13 07:03:39

I think getting a well paid job is a combination of both luck and hard work, you cannot do it without both.

As wannabe has correctly said, you are lucky to be born in a country which offers you free education, healthcare etc, giving you the opportunities to make the most of your life. You're also lucky to have abilities and talents that mean you are able to do a particular job. However this luck on its own would be pretty useless without a lot of hard work.

For most well-paid jobs, getting good grades at school and university is required, and these require alot of hard work for the majority of people. Not to mention sending off hundreds of job applications and preparing for many interviews. You can't just saunter into an interview with no preparation and expect to get the job, you have to work hard for it, especially in this current economic climate.

It's alot more competitive to e.g. get into medical school or secure a law training contract than to get a job in a supermarket. You have to work harder to get it.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 30-Jun-13 07:12:42

I don't see why acknowledging luck in the case of careers means that hard work is belittled. Dh works incredibly hard but has the good luck to be good at something that means his hard work is financially rewarded. And to gabe been the right person at the right time. No goid having the luck without the hard work and cuce versa. There's no logic in denying luck unless you are prepared to say that those on low incomes necessarily don't work hard.

Xmasbaby11 Sun 30-Jun-13 07:27:26

YABa little bitU when it's about friends.

They are probably telling the truth when they say they work hard. I don't think it's passing judgement on anyone else.

RedHelenB Sun 30-Jun-13 07:59:52

Try getting work in a supermarket nowadays!

I think some people need a reality check! And FWIW, some people I know on £50k plus salaries DON'T actually work very hard in terms of hours at work. Or indeed in gaining extra qualifications.

Theironfistofarkus Sun 30-Jun-13 08:02:03

Having money can be down to either luck or hard work but in most cases it is down to a combination of the two. I am fortunate in that I had the right academic abilities and support to get my job which has high earning potential. I do work very hard though - long hours, enormous responsibility, high stress and I have to be available to work 100% of the time if required. I have weeks from time to time when I am never home before midnight or later (sometimes dont go home) and then work all weekend. I lost most of my holiday last year. If not at work am checking blackberry constantly. I don't think it would be unfair of me to say that I work hard for my money. But I recognise that I am lucky to have the choice and that some people work very hard without good compensation. If I say that I work hard for my money I mean exactly what I say and nothing more. There is no hidden agenda or judgement about what anyone else does or indeed implication that there was no luck involved.

grumpyoldbat Sun 30-Jun-13 08:10:52

Imo all the hard work in the world is worthless without a bit of luck but equally all the luck in the world is worthless without hard work.

Yes people with good jobs have made good choices but you can only chose from the options available to them so are lucky their choice was available to them.

Yes they probably worked hard at school at uni and excelled at interview but were lucky the job was there to apply for at the point where they were qualified/experienced enough to do so.

They are lucky they haven't been struck down by some illness or accident that makes it impossible to do their job.

None of this means they haven't worked hard because the must have worked hard to take advantage of this luck.

amazingmumof6 Sun 30-Jun-13 08:12:53

if I heard someone say "I'm lucky I have job and it pays well" I'd think they are bragging.
if anyone posted that in here they'd be flamed

I don't know if YABU or not.

best not to discuss money with family/friends.

MorrisZapp Sun 30-Jun-13 08:26:04

Grumpy, all that you say is of course true. But in normal conversation, people just respond directly don't they, not with a series of caveats and waivers.

I'm assuming Garlicnutty is sleeping off last night's excess. My theory is that she is Liz Jones smile

Garlic, as I said upthread, I have a good job of my own which I freely admit I got through a series of lucky circumstances. I earn 37k and I don't honestly work that hard for it, which is why I used the example of my DP instead. He earns a bit less than me and he works incredibly hard for it.

We're not high earners in the MN sense, but I earn vastly more than I ever dreamed I would when I left uni all those years ago. I feel very comfortably off, though we are not rich compared to the kind of high earning I think this thread is about.

Of course we're lucky in many ways, lucky to have our health, our skills etc but really, are we only allowed to discuss our working lives with 'grace'? MN would be a dead zone v quickly if all we were allowed to DP in life was count our blessings.

Latara Sun 30-Jun-13 08:28:48

Luck does come into it.

I was a Staff Nurse earning 26K but i was really ill with mental health problems so now i have to work as an HCA on half that wage.

Bad luck can happen to anyone.

Hopefully i will work as an SN again, but it's likely to be only part time so not earning the money. But i work extremely hard and get very tired due to medication.
People imply that i'm lucky because i'm part time but they don't know the truth.

HighInterestRat Sun 30-Jun-13 08:37:10

I also think a lot of it is luck. I have an ok paid job but am very good at it (listen to me bragging blush) and also have very good qualifications. My manager often asks me for help sad. She is hopeless at her job, much less qualified than me (although a lovely person) but was given a good opportunity.

One day when I am past the ridiculous two under three stage I will move on. Although I am terrible at interviewing and selling myself so need to work on that too. grin

HighInterestRat Sun 30-Jun-13 08:48:39

My DH earns three times as much as me and he left school with barely any G.C.S.E.s, did a bricklaying course (N.V.Q.s?) and set up his own business. He bought his first house aged 20, his spelling is horrendous grin and he supports our family financially in a way I wouldn't be able to.

I excelled all the way through school, graduated in a profession and am now coasting in my career, working part-time in a job I am overqualified for. Confidence is an issue for me, there aren't many opportunities for me in our area and we have young children so I have picked up the slack because I earn less and he works for himself. We both worked hard, just in different ways I suppose, and his way has paid off more than mine.

WetGrass Sun 30-Jun-13 08:58:15

You - whoever you are - have made your choices - and bristle at any implied judgement of that by anyone speaking about their circumstances and remuneration.

But - by being sensitive to your feelings - it also creates a culture of secrecy - where your children (whoever they are) will struggle to get full understanding of the potential economic and lifestyle consequences of their choices.

So the children of bricklayers become bricklayers and the children of lawyers become lawyers. And the world keeps going round; the condecension of tact keeping everybody in their birthright.

DolomitesDonkey Sun 30-Jun-13 08:59:19

I do kind of get where you're coming from.

But, if you find looking after a baby harder than your actual job you do undermine yourself somewhat there.

kungfupannda Sun 30-Jun-13 09:04:50

What are the conversations which lead to these defensive comments?

If they're just coming out with it amidst a whole load of bragging about how much they have, I can see why you'd be getting fed up.

But if these comments are in response to things that you are saying like your example of "oh you're so lucky to go there on holiday", then you might need to have a think about whether you're commenting too often on their salaries/situations. If every time something like holidays/houses/cars are mentioned, you make some comment about how lucky they are, or compare your own situation, your friends might find themselves becoming defensive.

Arisbottle Sun 30-Jun-13 09:05:53

This seems to be my fourth luck thread. My DH earns a very good wage, yes he has worked hard, although lots have worked harder and earn less but it was luck that turned that hard work into cold hard cash and success.

I used to earn a very good wage, I know earn a decent wage, again I work quite hard, although as a teacher I spent 12 weeks doing absolutely nothing, but again I am lucky that my hard work has turned into success .

Hard work and luck are needed.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 30-Jun-13 09:08:54

Everything is comparative though - apparently I am lucky to be SAHM - I worked all hours in a crappy on-call IT job for 15 years -to earn the money that let me "be lucky"..

hubby earns good money in a civil service job with a good pension - apparently he is lucky according to his brother - who had all the same chances but chose not to go to uni, chose to travel round the world, chose not to save money etc etc.... sometimes people do make sacrifices early on (and work bloody hard for their money) in order to reap the "luck" hmm later....

Here we go again.

Just because people say they work hard they are not implying that others don't.

I think it's a lot sadder that this country has become a place where people feel they have to justify their success.

MrsMelons Sun 30-Jun-13 09:15:12

I am a bit on the fence with this. If someone is implying that a lower paid earner does not work hard by saying that then YANBU however if they are responding to comments around how lucky they are to earn a lot then this is generally a response given as higher earners get fed up of hearing it.

I have a particular friend who constantly says how lucky we are, we are not mega earners at all but DH and i earn similar amounts so have a good household income. We are in a field that takes a lot to qualify in and pays well, it is hard work and not everyone could do it as the exams are very academic amd have a low pass rate.

I don't think we are lucky, we have made good decisions and have worked hard. DH does a lot of evening work also.

I don't feel bad about what I earn as I chose the type of job I wanted as did this particular friend but the difference is hers took 9 months of a NVQ3 to qualify in and mine took 6 years of professional qualifications.

We both love our jobs but I do resent her comments so may get defensive with her.

I do not kid myself that hard work = high salary but I think we have to realise that different jobs pay different salaries and that is life!

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Sun 30-Jun-13 09:18:29

Generally speaking, highly paid people are usually highly skilled and perform roles that the average person would not be capable of.
Anyone could turn their hand to being a cleaner. Not everyone has the brain to become a top surgeon or lawyer. It is simple supply and demand. The highly intelligent command higher pay because they are in short supply. I really struggle to see why people can't accept this.

MrsMelons Sun 30-Jun-13 09:19:24

Madeofstardust - I agree, DH and I bought properties young when our mates were out clubbing and holidaying in Ibiza. When we met we combined our houses. Apparently that is 'lucky' as is losing a parent young to get a bit of inheritance. We have been through redundancies etc also but people forget that.

We work bloody hard and always have done but that is not to say higher or lower earners than us work harder/less hard than us.

MrsMelons Sun 30-Jun-13 09:22:21

Property - I think you have hit the nail on the head there.

On MN once, an OP suggested that everyone should earn similar salaries to make it fair hmm - no chance -I want that brain surgeon to be paid shed loads of ever operating on me or my family!!!

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 09:27:46

Dolomites I more mean in terms of having to get up three times a night, not being able to get food for myself easily during the day, and not being able to go to the toilet without taking LO with me etc! Which were not issues I was faced with while I was working!

I think that the definition of 'hard work' depends on the person in question. Ostensibly it may appear that a person working in a shop doesn't work as hard as a company director, but what if the shop worker has MH issues which make working an extremely big challenge? Or has learning difficulties? (I am in no way suggesting that you must have MH or learning difficulties to work in a shop by the way!) I just think that hard work is not necessarily dictated by your level of responsibility, there are a lot of other factors that come into play.

I also agree with other posters who have said that good high paying jobs are a combination of luck and hard work, and I think you have to have both. If you believe that both are not necessary, then you are certainly implying that other people who have lower paid/level jobs don't work as hard as you do,
otherwise the implication is that they would be
where you are.

Obviously I am not suggesting that everyone works as hard as each other, of course they don't! It goes without saying that a lot of people in well paid high level jobs work extremely hard, but that does not mean that there are not a lot of people in lower paid
jobs who also work extremely hard.

edam Sun 30-Jun-13 09:32:17

property - that's a very simplistic idea. So how do you explain City types earning shedloads then? They are clearly not super-intelligent. Look at the crisis we are all paying for. Look how rich Fred Goodwin is!

Every time someone runs that experiment with a merchant banker/stockbroker/fund manager picking investments against a child and a monkey, either the child or monkey wins.

Yeah, doctors tend to be reasonably bright, but I've worked with enough of them to know they aren't all Einsteins. Some are bright, some are really clever, some are thick in particular ways - a doc may be good at maths or assessing clinical evidence but have sod-all people skills. Is emotional intelligence not a form of intelligence?

And there are plenty of bright writers and vicars and barristers working in criminal legal aid who aren't that well paid. As well as bright cleaners and hairdressers and whatever.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Sun 30-Jun-13 09:43:08

For whatever reason though Edam, the examples you give clearly have "something" that sets them apart from others. The doctors had an ability to study hard for many years. Plus a level of emotional detachment that I would not be capable of. I have a lovely friend who is a consultant in oncology (paediatric). I could not do that job for all the money in the world. I truly could not cope with that level of tragedy day in, day out. Not many could. I don't begrudge her one penny of her big salary.
The banking types you refer to handle stress and risk in a way that most could not.
Of course not all highly paid people have special qualities or are unusual but the majority are. That is how remuneration works. If the average person can do the job then the pay will be average too.

MrsMelons Sun 30-Jun-13 09:44:46

Edam - this is then where the hard work and long hours come in to it I guess. I am not willing to work all the hours of the day to earn more. It is also partially about choice, some very clever people may not have the drive to have a high paid job or simply may not want to. My SIL left a £40k a year finance job to become a beauty therpist earning peanuts.

My friend is a doctor and was definitely not the most intelligent in our group but she had to work extra hard to qualify, she also had to work part time as had no financial support. She is a brilliant doctor. Most of the people she qualified with breezed through their exams as were very intelligent and had parents who could afford to pay for accommodation etc.

Trills Sun 30-Jun-13 09:46:58

People who say that luck has nothing to do with them being in a good situation (work-wise or otherwise) are either stupid, naive, or extremely unimaginative.

Ashoething Sun 30-Jun-13 09:53:11

I dislike the implication that people who aren't on mega-bucks are just not working hard enough. MY dh earns 45 grand as a lawyer. He never works less than a 15 hour day but has not had pay rise in 5 years and with the cuts to legal aid is never likely to earn much more.

Is he really just not working hard enough?hmm

MrsBungle Sun 30-Jun-13 09:53:32

Op, I agree. I earn probably 10 x or more what my mum earned when she was bringing up my brother and I on her own. She worked extremely hard in low paid jobs. She's work all day when we were at school in a factory - a physical job. Pick us up from school and take us to clean the local library (which I loved!). She worked loads of hours and very hard just to put food on the table.

I have 2 degrees and got an ok job which pays quite well. I don't believe I work anything like as hard as she did although i have a lot more responsibility.

What annoys me more than this, though, is when David Cameron says "people who work hard, save and do the right thing". My mum had no chance of saving. Lots of people with very low incomes have zero chance if saving. Doesn't mean they don't work hard or do the right thing.

Pagwatch Sun 30-Jun-13 10:01:00

I can actually understand the impulse to say one what defensively 'I work hard for what we have' because I have met several people who based their entire conversations around "well it's alright for you..."

I am staggeringly fortunate, not least because I am able to support a disabled child when many many other parents find their finances destroyed by a disability.

But I still recall with irritation a parade of people who have suggested that I was born with a silver spoon, have no concept of struggle and remain aloof from any hurt, pain or distress because I have money.

I have twice resorted to justifying myself (although I have regretted it since) and it was along the lines of "we didn't win the bloody lottery. I didn't inherit. Our lives are not a piece of cake." which I think is sometimes what 'I work hard' is all about.

And yes to those who said that only on mumsnet does 'I worked hard for this' translate into 'you don't

But even bigger yes to 'never discuss money . It's crass'

morethanpotatoprints Sun 30-Jun-13 10:04:24

Trills, I think it is far more unimaginative to suggest luck exists as some sort of bonus for random people or situations they may find themselves in. I think I'd rather think that a good position in life has come from hard work, good financial management, building relationships etc.

Lottery is luck, roll of a die is luck, winning at Bingo. It is something that is out of control of the people involved.

I think its a cop out for many, rather than saying hey we cocked up with that, or didn't manage that correctly etc they say Oh well its bad luck. because they don't learn from this they carry on and continue with "bad luck"

daisychain01 Sun 30-Jun-13 10:04:38

My personal rule has always been never EVER discuss my salary with anyone, especially not at work. It is wholly unhelpful, invariably creating discontent, comparisons that defy logic (it is remarkably difficult to truly remunerate like for like in every case especially where in my place of work there is always an element of personal contribution, individual expertise and complexity of different projects in that heady mix!) and feelings of injustice. I couldnt care less what other people earn and I want to enjoy the interactions with people, uncoloured by resentment and envy. As for discussions with friends, I know what each of my friends does for a living and with that comes some implied knowledge about what they might earn, but They are my friends so It has nothing to do with anything and it never comes up in conversation and I would never want to ask them, that is really embarrassing and uncomfortable.

My biggest bugbear is that ghastly question about how much is your house worth. Give me strength! What does it have to do with anything? Then if you do tell people, it just gives further opportunity for discussion and analysis, so I prefer not to 'go there'.

Funnily enough, it means I am not aware of ever offending anyone's sensibilities - hopefully there is a connection!

People are more important than what they are 'worth', or having a price label placed on them.

Back2Two Sun 30-Jun-13 10:06:03

Not a serious post, but....My eyes have been opened by watching The Apprentice (this series, I've never seen it before)

These "city types" and "entrepreneurs" are a whole breed apart from me and my peer group. Yet, I'm amazed and fascinated to see that the amazing skill sets they appear to need to succeed are just really simple arguing bullying negotiating skills, being able to barter as "buying" skills.....saying they can "project manage" which means being able to delegate.....
Oh, and walking on vertiginous heels whilst having a head of hair that makes you look like one of those funny troll dolls from years ago!

They will all earn more than me (I'm a qualified health professional). I bet they don't have to buy there own tea bags for work either. Still, I just don't belong in that world.

Pagwatch Sun 30-Jun-13 10:11:46

Yy Trills
There is always luck.
I grew up really poor and ad a shit education but I was luck to have a decent mind and a father who made me use it reading. I also broke up with a guy just as I was trying to get a job and the misery of that break up sent me to the City just as a company decided they wanted to hire a couple of Alevel educated young women into a predominately male environment.
There were a hundred more moments of luck, good choices and better than expected results that brought me to a fairly comfortable lifestyle.

Even my sons disability came into play. My dh was so miserable and so driven that his grief let him hide in work for about 6 years - his 'hard work' was actually just a by product of misery. Nevertheless, luck.

Pagwatch Sun 30-Jun-13 10:14:35


Please don't make the mistake of thinking anyone in the City is anything like the apprentice. It's a ridiculous tv show with candidates diliberately chosen from the preposterous and the deluded.

I worked in the city for 16 years and still visit regularly.
I have never met anyone like any of those ridiculous people. Well one. A bloke called Nigel in about 1986.

Arisbottle Sun 30-Jun-13 10:15:06

But does working hard to earn your money make you a nicer person?

I really don't care of someone thinks we inherited our money or we earned it and I don't really care about others.

If someone is a decent person they are that regardless of how much money they have and how they earned that money, obviously not including those who exploit others.

Back2Two Sun 30-Jun-13 10:15:55

But yes, "hard work" and "hard work" can be two complelety different things anyway.

Hard,physical exhausting slog which may be brain numbingly challenging at times (boredom and repetition with little financial reward) working long hours

Hard...challenging work calling on your intelliegence, sharp judgment, skills, being able to make difficult speedy decisions, the buck stopping with you, dealing with lots of money...dealing with people's lives....

OctopusPete8 Sun 30-Jun-13 10:18:36

I hate people in general who say 'I've worked hard for what I've got' I've come across a few.

It's just incredible arrogance to think you work harder than anyone else. or deserve a good salary more than anyone else.

OctopusPete8 Sun 30-Jun-13 10:22:23

Yes it angers me that DC and the like accuse WC families or rather imply they don't work hard enough.

I cannot fathom how anyone can say anything other about carers,shop workers are worked to the bone and get paid little for it.

MorrisZapp Sun 30-Jun-13 10:32:00

I've never heard anybody say or imply that carers don't work hard enough. As for shop work, I did it for years and found it relatively easy. I've met lots of fantastic retail staff, and equally I've met lots of appalling stuck up arseholes who think they're doing you a favour just by allowing you into their shop, or who use their time to chat to their mates and dissect their antics from the night before like I used to do

Pagwatch Sun 30-Jun-13 10:41:14

No, I don't think that or mean that.

I think that people can assume that inherited wealth means you have no understanding of the difficulties in life and therefore lack empathy or understanding of struggle. As in the scenario I described when a couple of people regularly stuck a dismisive 'it's alright for you' into converstions with me.

I don't give a shit what people have or don't if they are my friends and the couple of people with inherited wealth who are perfectly nice.
Iwas simply describing why someone might respond defensively to the 'out of touch ergo selfish shit' thing that is a common enough stereotype.

Trills Sun 30-Jun-13 10:42:00

potatoprints - I am not saying that luck is the only factor, but it is always ONE of the factors involved in how things turn out.

I'd agree that saying that people who have good outcomes have good luck, and those who have bad outcomes have bad luck, is just as much an oversimplification as saying that everything is down to your choices and hard work with no aspect of luck involved.

LittleBearPad Sun 30-Jun-13 10:42:28

YY to Pag's point about the Apprentice bearing no relation to the City at all.

Don't imagine that working in the City is exciting all the time. TV programmes and films paint a glamorous picture because the reality would be very dull. It can also be repetitive and exhausting. It pays well but emails never stop and deadlines shorten with every project. My DH had a four day week this week due to a day off. He still worked about 60 hours in the days he was in the office. He is still checking his blackberry and thinking about everything that must be done this week. He is exhausted.

Trills Sun 30-Jun-13 10:42:43

Every outcome is both a combination of your choices and circumstances out of your control.

Maybe I should say that, rather than "luck".

Viviennemary Sun 30-Jun-13 10:45:15

I don't find that particularly irritating. But it is annoying when people go on about being miserable and stressed in their very well paid jobs but just carry on. And having a really good job with a great salary isn't usually down to luck. IMHO.

Shitsinger Sun 30-Jun-13 10:50:03

Every outcome is both a combination of your choices and circumstances out of your control

Totally agree with this - to suggest otherwise is incredibly arrogant and narrow minded.

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Sun 30-Jun-13 10:54:44

I agree that it is a combination of luck and hard work. I earn an ok wage (teacher), but it was both luck and graft that got me to the position I am in.

- being born in UK with free education and in an area with fantastic schools
- intelligence
- parents that highly valued education and pushed all their DC
- applying for PGCE in the final year that my subject was a shortage subject, which meant I got the highest bursary as I couldn't afford the training otherwise
- being selected for the PGCE as one of 20 out of 200 applicants. I doubt I was ''better" than 180 others, or had worked harder, I managed to 'click' with the interviewers. Again, luck involved as the main lady was replaced with another by the time the course started who actively disliked me.
Etc. etc.

Hard graft has enabled me to progress quickly with promotions. My old HoD gave me the advice "always work at the next level beyond your current position, if you want to progress", which has served me well.

I have once used the phrase 'I work hard for it'. We were interviewing for a new HoD. At the time I was second in dept and was introduced to the candidates. One lady sneeringly said "You're very young to be a second. I don't agree with young people being promoted quickly." My response was defensive as she made it sound that it was pure luck and I didn't deserve my position (she'd judged me in 3 seconds purely based on my age).

So to summarise, people should not deny that luck (good or bad) did not play a part in their situation, however, hard graft (or lack of it) also is involved.

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Sun 30-Jun-13 10:58:33

Or what Trills said, in rather more concise manner than me. blush

LittleBearPad Sun 30-Jun-13 10:59:30

I think the phrase 'I work hard for it' is practically always defensive. Either because someone is saying you're lucky with no acknowledgment that part of your good salary is luck but there is also hard work and specific choices made at school/uni etc. Or because you feel guilty about how much you earn in comparison to some other people because society dictates the worth of some occupations versus others.

alemci Sun 30-Jun-13 11:05:51

I think some people are more willing to take risks and are more condident about leading people and have more stress.

I plod in life but would rather have time to myself and work part time for rubbish money and leave the job at work. good luck to peoplesmile

ReindeerBollocks Sun 30-Jun-13 11:11:22

I had a relative say this to me recently (and yes they were bragging). They know I'm carer for DS and it has been incredibly hard and stressful doing what I have to do. It was unbelievably arrogant of them as there was the implication that this person was somehow better.

Hard work isn't always measured in monetary terms and anyone who thinks it is, is generally an arsehole.

I don't begrudge anyone with a decent salary but i do resent the implication that i am somehow less worthy than them due to not earning a higher salary — however this attitude rarely occurs with the other high earners that we know.

Triumphoveradversity Sun 30-Jun-13 11:23:36

I know people that work hard across all income levels. My friend is a cleaner so its physically demanding. I also have a friend who is in charge of safety at a huge petrochemical plant, if they screw up they could blow up the facility and kill lots of people in the process.

A long time ago I worked in a day surgery unit and assisted at general anaesthetics, that is stressful as people can die under anaesthetic. DH is a specialist in his field and gives advice as an expert but he does not have to worry about killing people.

Hard work comes in different guises.

Apart from hard work and intellect a lot is down to contacts and also on occasion if a person is likeable. Just the whole their face fits, or doesn't.

edam Sun 30-Jun-13 11:27:00

When researchers have looked into this and measured stress and hard work carefully, they'd come to the conclusion that it's the people either at the bottom of the heap who have the worst deal, or in one or two studies I've seen, the people in the middle - who have to implement and defend decisions made by the big bosses and soak up any pissed off-ness from the people at the bottom of the work heirarchy.

The more control you have over your life and your working life, the happier and less stressed you are. If you have the ability to make choices, you are happier and less stressed - even if you choose something that is intrinisically stressful - than someone who just has to soak it up.

So carers, for instance, have it really bad. Either paid - in which case your bosses might tell you you only have 15 minutes to give an elderly person their tea, or unpaid caring for a relative, in which case you have to deal with a load of stuff that you can't control.

That's far more stressful than a company director. Who has a lot of support, a lot of minions to do stuff for them, whether it's a business task or picking up their dry cleaning. They can afford a cleaner at home so don't have to come back after a long shift on their feet to be confronted with all the housework. It is harder to be the person being made redundant than the person making them redundant. It's quite hard to be the person delivering the message - not as hard as being the victim, but harder than the chief exec who often doesn't know the victim or have to deal with them face-to-face.

Mintberry Sun 30-Jun-13 11:49:38

It's a combination of luck and hard work. I agree with you, OP. It's very telling when posters, for example Rowtunda in the first page, says things like "I worked hard - I went to university for 6 years" etc, but the point is, they had the opportunity to do that. Some people I knew growing up were just expected to get full time jobs at 16, their parents wouldn't support their education any more.

Those people might work extremely hard, but they are much less likely to earn as much - luck plays a HUGE part in it.

I was the first person in my family to go to university, and now I do earn a bit more than most of them, but that is not because I am smarter, or more hard working, or somehow a better person, that is purely because I happened to be born with parents who were willing to pay for my upkeep while I did my A-Levels, and were compliant with me going to university so I could apply for enough student finance, etc. I could have just as easily been born to parents who sold me to the circus aged 5! wink

Most people just don't realise how lucky they are, IMO.

Mia4 Sun 30-Jun-13 12:00:38

YANBU to be annoyed OP, it gets my back up a bit when people who earn more to me say that when I work as hard a they do for much less. But that was my choice, my career would always pay less then theirs and they do work hard, it's a defensive thing on both sides most of the time.

It is ironic though that you mention in your post that they are being defensive to say that because equally you are being defensive in thinking they are putting you down and feeling annoyed.

Seems the only people that may be not affected by hearing it on either side are those who don't work hard, for little or a lot.

On another tangent though, though i work as hard as my friends for much less I love my choice in career and job while they all hate theirs. I often see in my social circle that those who are less paid actually love their jobs while those who are paid a lot more, don't. So for me personally, it offsets the 'working hard' defence.

bettycocker Sun 30-Jun-13 12:09:39

IME the people who say "but I work hard for the money I get" are the prople who are stressed out and and don't like their job. The people who say "Yes, I am lucky" are pretty contented with what they do.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 30-Jun-13 12:17:54

I've read most of this, but not all, so apologies if this has already been said.

There is more than one type of hard work, and it's not just about hard work anyway. It's about the value that each worker has.

A shop worker may physically work harder in a day than a well paid office worker, but there are countless people that could do the shop job. There may only be a few people that are capable of doing the office job well, therefore the office worker has a higher value than the shop worker.

I also think the work it has taken to get into a well paid position has to be taken into account. One person may have made the choice to enjoy their younger years by not working particularly hard, another may have chosen to study and build up their experience. I don't think it's fair to dismiss the latter persons hard work by calling it luck. And I don't see why someone hears the phrase 'I work hard for what I've got' and then makes it about themselves. If someone says it, (although its not something I've ever heard) they are talking about themselves. Take it as it was intended without making it all about you.

honestpointofview Sun 30-Jun-13 12:18:38

I earn a good salary and would never it bring it up. Sometimes however people say I am lucky. Then i do get defensive. I would not say "but i work hard" but i might point out that I have worked since i was 13 and even when i was in full time study i have always had two jobs working over 60 hours per week plus my study. So I feel that I have created my opportunities and earned the right to earn what I do.

That being said I would never be rude and say to my friends I earn a lot, or that they don't work hard and they would not say I am lucky.

tethersend Sun 30-Jun-13 12:30:57

Out of every thousand people who work equally as hard, approximately six will 'make it'.

If everyone of them 'made it' though hard work alone, capitalist society would collapse, as it relies on there being more at the bottom than at the top.

daisychain01 Sun 30-Jun-13 12:37:48

edam Some of your broad generalisations about company directors (eg: they have less stress because they have minions around them and a cleaner at home) are along the lines of "well its alright for them" "they have an easy life" judgement.

It really isnt as simple as making a correlation between seniority, bigger wage packet and not having the same levels of stress. Company directors have enormous amounts of stress on their shoulders, they have the responsibility of delivering shareholder value, keeping people employed, delivering increasing profit levels, knowing what is actually going on at all levels of their organisation, notwithstanding their own professional reputation (not all executives should be tarred with the same brush, the "bash the bankers", many do a brilliant job!) - hence they do get a bigger salary which enables them to employ a cleaner etc!

Its a different type of stress, but its all still stress. Hey look a David Cameron (no, I am NOT a fan) a monied man, privileged, with a cleaner and minions, but he had a young disabled son, who as we know died last year. Even having the privileges, everything money can buy, he lost that boy and no money will bring his son back. God alone knows how Cameron carried on shouldering that sort of grief with the eyes of the country on him and being slagged off as a rubbish PM. Whatever I think of his method of running this country, my heart did go out to him.

Yes, There are millions of people without the facilities that money can buy and they do have the stress of disability, deprivation etc - my point is that stress cannot be quantified, minimised or eradicated simply by throwing money at it. Probably the stress just moves to a different part of the person's life!

Also research shows that people handle stress differently (perceptions, personality type and environment plus availability of support networks all play a part). Senior directors are in their job because they have a stronger stomach than most for handling stress. But they are often Type A people (highly competitive) which can bring about stress. So stress factors cant all be 'explained away' by money!

LittlePeaPod Sun 30-Jun-13 12:50:53

Op its about perception. You are perceiving their saying I work really hard for my money as them been defensive. When in actual fact they probably do work really hard for their cash and thats the be all and end all. That doesn't mean they think you don't. You chose your field, they choose theirs and as a result they have more disposable income to have the nice holidays that you comment on. It sounds like you are either overly sensitive or maybe feel insecure about your own earnings. With this in mind, I think YABVU.

On a different note why anyone wants to discuss their earnings with others or want to know what others earn is beyond me.

edam Sun 30-Jun-13 13:05:16

no, no, daisy, you misunderstand. There is good evidence from research that senior execs have less stress than the people at the bottom of the heap because they have far more control over their lives - they get to make decisions, rather than have decisions made for them. That doesn't mean they have NO stress, of course they do. But less, on average, than people at the bottom.

Contrast a director who has to make a difficult decision with someone on benefits who has their benefits stopped - whether that's due to a mistake (which are common) or because they've done something wrong. Even if the director loses his or her job, they've got options, they've got assets and savings (unless they are really stupid), they've got contacts.

I know quite a few company directors, senior execs, doctors and so on - and they all have stressful jobs. But they all largely enjoy those jobs and are under less stress than someone who has four cleaning jobs and struggles to get to the end of the month without taking out a payday loan.

Crowler Sun 30-Jun-13 13:16:52

I don't really like to hear people talking about their money or how hard they work, because I think it's self-important and self-involved. I avoid people like this, which is difficult in London.

I think people use online boards as an escape valve, and feel free to discuss this in a way they wouldn't dream in real life (one hopes, anyway).

Anyone who thinks there is not a huge amount of luck that goes into success is deluded. This is not to say that extremely successful people don't work hard, or "make their own luck". It's just that there are giant swathes of people who do work hard and "make their own luck" and it just doesn't work out.

TheRealFellatio Sun 30-Jun-13 13:20:07

But they wouldn't need be be defensive about it, or feel the need to justify it if other people didn't keep making passive aggressive little digs about it, would they?

Arisbottle Sun 30-Jun-13 13:21:31

Following on from Edam's point people in middle management often experience their own type of stress that those higher up the chain don't have as they are in a no man's land with a lot of time constraints .

People with money can also limit their stress at home by buying in help.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 30-Jun-13 13:23:23

i've only ever heard it on here
no-one i know, from a bin man to a hospital medical director and lots in between, talks about what they earn so there's no (attempted) justification

Crowler Sun 30-Jun-13 13:25:35

It's kind of silly to meet that kind of commentary with "I work really hard and this is MY MONEY"; it's just sinking to the lowest common denominator.

I don't know why anyone would feel the need to defend themselves against someone prying into their finances, it just makes them look as silly as the inquisitor.

Latara Sun 30-Jun-13 13:29:29

I have a colleague who says ''well X has a disability and works FULL TIME'' it feels as if she's aiming her comment at me because i have to work part time due to my health problems (which i refuse to discuss with her and she is desperate to know everything).

I do know people who make the ''well i work hard for it'' comment and she is one of them; the thing is that what is hard for one person can be easy for another; hard work is subjective to how each person copes.

TimeofChange Sun 30-Jun-13 13:33:15

edam: I am MD of a small company.
It is often extremely stressful.
The nature of our work is last minute.
We could get a phone call today for a £10k job to be ready in two days time.
It is stressful in the quiet periods wondering how I'm going to pay the seven lots of wages at the end of each week.
It is stressful in the very busy periods working 7 days per week 12 hours per day.

The money the business has made has always been reinvested into the business, so we have little to fall back on.
By the way, I am not stupid.

I do not live a life of luxury.
But I agree that people on minimum wage get a very raw deal.

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 13:34:53

TheRealFellatio I don't make passive aggressive digs?!

Crowler Your second post somewhat implies that you think that I am the one doing the prying? Why would that necessarily be the assumption?

MarinaIvy Sun 30-Jun-13 13:38:09

Here you go:

Snog Sun 30-Jun-13 13:47:21

OP I wonder if your friend is feeling defensive or entitled or both?

TheRealFellatio Sun 30-Jun-13 13:52:46

I din't necessarily mean you Doodles - why on earth would you immediately assume that?

But you said:

AIBU to find it really irritating when people who earn a lot say....but I work really hard for the money I get.

I am merely pointing out that that kind of stock reply is almost always in response to people feeling judged for earning great money. I can't imagine very many people start a conversation with 'I earn a fortune but I really do work hard for it.' What usually happens is that someone else says 'Blimey, you earn a fortune' and then the person says 'yes, but I really work hard for it.'

Most people realise it is not really polite or appropriate to keep dissecting the salary (and the worth) of an averagely paid or poorly acquaintance to their face, but somehow when they sense someone is much better off than them it suddenly becomes open season to say what they like, ask rude and probing questions, make you the butt of their jokes or have an opinion on whether they think they are worth it - even if they understand fuck all about what you do, or how you ended up doing it!

TheRealFellatio Sun 30-Jun-13 13:54:38

poorly paid acquaintance, not poorly acquaintance!

daisychain01 Sun 30-Jun-13 13:54:59

Edam Id love to know where that research comes from, it sounds remarkably arbitrary and non-scientific smile

Crowler Sun 30-Jun-13 13:57:48

Doodledumdums I was responding to TheRealFellatio. Just writing this name makes me giggle :-)

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 13:57:58

Fantastic link, Marina grin Everyone here should read it!

Crowler Sun 30-Jun-13 13:58:24

Like TheRealFellatio I was not assuming this was you.

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 13:59:09

Daisy, there is a lot of that research and it is properly structured.

LondonMan Sun 30-Jun-13 14:01:03

I was replying to a specific quote, Morris, which I quoted. It included "They could have chosen to do something they enjoyed more ... or chosen a job where the responsibility ends when you walk out the door."

The quote clearly implied that high-paid jobs are all important drudgery, while low-paid ones are carefree fun.

The quote did not imply what you claimed, either in your original response or the one quoted here.

The set of people who have turned down well-paid jobs is not the same as the set of people who don't have well-paid jobs.

daisychain01 Sun 30-Jun-13 14:05:44

I agree with Crowther, TheRealFellatio is a truly awesome nickname and I'm goddam jealous as hell that I didnt think of it first!

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 14:07:14

Sorry, my mistake, I thought you were refering to me because I had written the op.

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 14:07:58

Agreed, it is a brilliant name!!

Edam in a sense I agree with you about control being a big part of stress. My worst job, which wasn't well paid for my qualifications and in relations to my colleagues, was my most stressful and miserable because I had no control and despite working hard, my contribution and expertise were not being recognised. It was horrible and made me ill.

I don't think that those at the top of the pile are necessarily in the stress free place because they supposedly have control though. Some probably do have a more stress free life but plenty don't. Stress is probably down to personality not just control. Some people thrive on responsibility, some don't. In fact I would suggest that if you believe in luck or at least if you believe that it is as important as hard work, you have to believe that control is a bit of an illusion. You can't say you have control if luck, good or bad, is in a position to change things for you.

TooMuchRain Sun 30-Jun-13 14:11:09

I would agree with what Holly said up thread about is coming down to market worth. It's not that people who earn a lot necessarily work harder or that they are 'lucky' in that they were just gifted a job.

I would say they are lucky in the sense that their job has a high market worth. And it's not as a simple as saying people who do very important but low-paid jobs are idiots for choosing the wrong profession - they chose a profession that is fundamental to our society but which, as a society, we bizarrely choose to de-value.

Abra1d Sun 30-Jun-13 14:15:33

Actually I think most rich people probably do work harder than average. I left the City because I didn't want to get up that early every day. I left my management consultancy marketing job because I didn't want to work ten hours every day with young children. If I had been prepared to work longer hours I would be far better off now.

Things I do find annoying about my rich friends (who are generally lovely):

Downplaying their holiday houses in AFrica/Greece, wherever: Oh it's so simple. There's no wifi so the children have to do simple outdoor things. Such as going out on the yacht/power boat.

Boasting about their green lifestyles and recycling and heating systems. While flying four or five times a year. And they usually have huge families, too.

TheRealFellatio Sun 30-Jun-13 14:24:42

I don't know why anyone would feel the need to defend themselves against someone prying into their finances, it just makes them look as silly as the inquisitor.

Well I agree in theory Crowler except that if you sat there just nodding and saying 'yes, I do earn a ton more than most people, don't I? Isn't it fabulous? I really fell on my feet there.' then you'd be slated for being smug and boasty. Damned if you do and damned if you don't!

I imagine it's like being incredibly beautiful. If people ask 'what's it like being so beautiful?' and you say 'Oh don't be daft, I 'm not that beautiful really - I have sticky out ears and I hate my nose' ' then people will think 'fuck off with your false modesty, how do you think that makes someone totally ordinary like me feel, when you are so faux critical of yourself?'

Whereas if they get asked 'what's it like being so beautiful?' and they just answer the question straight, without any attempt at self-deprecation, then some people will always think 'Oh fuck off with your big head and your over-inflated opinion of yourself, you're nothing special anyway.'


cory Sun 30-Jun-13 14:25:13

What I would like to hear more often is:

I enjoy a good wage because other people are working so hard to provide the infra-structure without which a job like mine could not exist.

Don't often hear that, do you?

But how long do company director and top lawyers and bank managers think they could keep going if there weren't other people prepared to work ridiculous hours (because wages are so low), commute stupid distances (because wages won't allow them to live centrally), and sometimes even put their lives at risk to keep the roads open, the railways running, the ships afloat that bring import goods into the country, the ports safe and working, the sewers functioning, the bins emptied and the food delivered to the shops?

cory Sun 30-Jun-13 14:27:56

When you listen to these people you often get the impression that "if only everybody else worked as hard as me they could be company directors too".

Whereas a brief reflection suggests that "if everybody became a company director we would all die from cholera within the year".

cory Sun 30-Jun-13 14:29:57

They're like small children who think "daddy is silly because he goes to the office in the morning when he could be going to softplay with me", because they haven't yet worked out that if daddy didn't go to the office there wouldn't ever be any softplay- and no food and no house either.

RubySparks Sun 30-Jun-13 14:36:21

That link was great - that does kind of say it all!

amazingmumof6 Sun 30-Jun-13 17:44:10

TRF I agree with you about the damned if I do damned if I don't.
I tried to say something similar earlier, but you phrased it so much better.


Crowler Sun 30-Jun-13 18:06:23

Honestly, I would have a hard time spending time with someone who 1. had much less money than me and made snarky comments about how much more money I had than them or 2. had much more money than me and endlessly bragged about how much money they had.

I wouldn't choose to spend time with either. Life is just like this; people have more money than you, people have less. You have to get your head on straight & stop with the comparisons.

Whereas a brief reflection suggests that "if everybody became a company director we would all die from cholera within the year".


IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 30-Jun-13 18:22:47

I think some high earners and I guess low too if they don't value the work company directors and the like do, would do well to be humble enough to realise that most of us who are lucky enough to make any choices, put our hard work where it will earn us the best return, given our talents and opportunities. Some people get high financial rewards, some don't. Although an ex friend of mine sees things differently, I see that we are both good at and work hard in our chosen careers. It's just hers is more financially gratifying. I need her in business to keep the economy going, she needs me, or others like me to teach her children.

FasterStronger Sun 30-Jun-13 18:27:15

OP what would you like people who have high salaries to say?

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 18:30:35

FS - "Yes, I've been lucky to have the opportunity." Or even "Yeah, everyone here works hard; it doesn't seem fair sometimes!"

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 18:36:22

I really can't better the way these points are made in the Six Things link, but try this on ... A wheelchair-bound person tells an able-bodied friend they envy their friend's Salsa dancing abilities. The dancing friend replies to the disabled one, "I worked really hard at it!"
Insensitive or not?

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 18:53:00

FasterStronger I don't really expect them to say anything particularly, I just think that sometimes a little sensitivity is nice. I don't wear old clothes and drive a beaten up old ford because I don't work hard, in my opinion, I do work really hard! I just feel that to a certain extent, the implication is there that they deserve nicer things because they work harder, and I don't necessarily think that is the case.

People may be right though, maybe it is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. I doubt i'll ever find out for sure, I work in a notoriously badly paid industry!

If you are in a badly paid industry, change industry and change your 'luck'. Don't begrudge others their higher earnings just because you have made a choice to be in the industry you are in.

If you aren't bothered enough to change your job and earn more then you can't moan if others are paid better than you. For all this talk about luck, it has a fair bit to do with personal choice too.

I too wonder how your friends came to say that they worked hard for their money. I just hope you aren't one of those people who say, 'Aren't you lucky for having x, y or z. If you did you kind of deserve their response.

If you didn't lead them to defend themselves in this way though, if they made the comments totally out of thin air to boast, change your friends if the inequality bothers you that much.

Garlic that is a poor example. A disabled person can't just get up and dance no matter how hard they try. A person in a poorly paid job could, with effort, change jobs if they really wanted to.

For the record I don't get paid much, just above minimum wage. It wouldn't occur to me be jealous of other people because they earn more than me because I could do something about it.

Elquota Sun 30-Jun-13 19:30:41


Many of those on low incomes work at least as hard as some people earning several times more.

There are people in Africa living on £1 a day who work harder than any of us, so money and work are clearly not directly proportionate.

No, it's not as simple as "changing jobs if you really wanted to". Wanting something doesn't necessarily make it possible, as there are other factors that can't be changed (health, location, outlay etc)

garlicnutty Sun 30-Jun-13 19:31:18

Where have all these assumptions of jealousy come from?

Going back to me and my cleaner (because I'm poor now, and because we had those conversations at length that year,) she wasn't hating me for being so much better-off than me. She was envious, sure, and I didn't blame her. She and her DH worked as hard as me and mine - I'd say harder, actually - we were all the same age, and her husband's training was as lengthy as my H's and mine. The vast disparity between our lifestyles was down to intellect, education and opportunity. I wouldn't say either of them were thick - just not as conventionally bright as us - and they worked in 'obvious' trades, whereas my H and I were in less well-known areas (which we, ourselves, didn't know about until we went to uni, because we came from the working class.)

The comparison with disability is not spurious. It's extremely insulting to suppose everybody has the same advantages and opportunities. They don't! ... And, as cory, says, we don't even want everybody to be a managing director so why look down on those who keep the world going round?

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 19:49:23

BigBoobiedBertha- I think that was a little harsh! You are making a few incorrect assumptions IMO.

If you are in a badly paid industry, change industry and change your 'luck'. Don't begrudge others their higher earnings just because you have made a choice to be in the industry you are in.

I don't want to change my industry. I worked very hard to get into this industry, and am very lucky to have my job. I have said repeatedly that I don't begrudge anyone earning the money that they do! This conversation has got nothing to do with me begrudging people for what they earn. It is to do with my feeling that the perception is that I don't work as hard.

If you aren't bothered enough to change your job and earn more then you can't moan if others are paid better than you. For all this talk about luck, it has a fair bit to do with personal choice too.

It has nothing to do with me not being bothered enough to change my job, I love my job, and I am not moaning that others are paid more than me. Sure, it would be nice if my chosen industry included higher pay, but it doesn't, and I knew that before I chose it. I say again, my objection is that because my industry pays less than others, there is sometimes an implication that I don't work as hard.

* I just hope you aren't one of those people who say, 'Aren't you lucky for having x, y or z.*

No, the conversations do not come about like that. There are various situations where the comment has been made, either to me directly, or indirectly to a whole group of people during a general conversation.

change your friends if the inequality bothers you that much.

I said in my original OP that this was a first world issue and totally unimportant- so I feel that changing my friends would be a little extreme! I merely started a thread about something which irritates me, and it has provoked quite a lively debate. I am not sure it is necessary to change my friends over it! My husband cuts his toenails on our sofa and that irritates me, but I am not going to leave him over it!

A person in a poorly paid job could, with effort, change jobs if they really wanted to

I guess this is a matter of opinion, but IMO it is not true. Changing jobs requires a lot more than just effort. It doesn't matter how much effort I put in, I could never achieve my dream of being a vet- for many reasons.

* It wouldn't occur to me be jealous of other people because they earn more than me*

I never said I was jealous!

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 30-Jun-13 19:51:33

'I work hard' does not translate as 'you don't work hard'.

A does not = B. In fact, A has absolutely no correlation with B at all. The only way it does, is if you arbitrarily decide it does in your own head.

amazingmumof6 Sun 30-Jun-13 19:52:06

I just want to say that my DH is highly paid and works hard for it.
my sister is not paid very well - also works hard for it. both have jobs that not many people can do, DH more so than my sis. she lives in a different country, much poorer then the UK generally.

I wish my sister could earn more. she is single, no kids.
I actually wish DH could earn more as 6 are eyewateringly expensive.

I look up to both of them enormously and equally.

I don't know what this adds to the conversation apart from that comparing salaries alone is a dumb thing to do.

Doobydoo Sun 30-Jun-13 19:52:55


amazingmumof6 Sun 30-Jun-13 19:53:09

* 6 kids are

Thurlow Sun 30-Jun-13 19:56:12

Yes, bigboobedbertha, because right now there are so many jobs in higher paying careers/industries that are just sitting there, waiting for a less experienced person to turn up... Weirdo.

Well you can just give up and say' woe is me I don't earn much and I work soooo hard' (do you though if you think looking after a baby is as harder than your job) and stay bitter about other people's success or you can try and change things for yourself. At least try, don't just blames everything and everybody else for you failure to earn what you think you deserve to earn. Whinging about your friends is weird not trying to better yourself.

Back2Two Sun 30-Jun-13 20:45:07

therealfellatio I agree, good point.

I've actually been thinking about this thread a bit today, since I posted on it this morning.

It's a bit like many things in life. It's like, being lucky enough to be in a good and happy relationship....I sometimes find myself stuck for how to talk to my sister or my friends who are looking to meet someone. If I talk about my own experience as a single woman in order to empathise with their situation (empathy which is 100% honest and heartfelt) but " yeah, it's shit, I know I spent years with no-one in particular wondering if I'd ever find someone...blah blah blah" it sounds lame and patronising becuase they can always just say " yeah, but you met him in the end didn't you"

I was lucky to meet him. but i did make a lot of decisions about a lot of other men and some life decisions that changed my path a lot. so, was it pure luck? Just as it's not really "the done thing" to be openly proud and vocal about being lucky enough to earn good money it's also not really the thing to be open about how fab things are with my dh and how I'm overjoyed that I met him. That would be like bragging about earning loads of money and having a great job.

Maybe, it's just a culturally tacky thing to talk about luck, good fortune and cash. And it's quite obvious why. Cos life is not fair.

Hope I make sense. I've drunk lots of rosé.

Thurlow Sun 30-Jun-13 21:03:22

As the OP says in her reply to you, changing jobs takes more than effort. It could require requalification that takes years and £000's to achieve, which is out of most people's power, or it requires a position to become magically available in a higher paid sector. In the real world this just doesn't happen than easily.

As others have said and I agree, there is an element of luck involved in this. I qualified and went into a sector that looked as though it was a good decision, but has been badly hit by the recession. Other friends chose different sectors back in the early 00's when things like finance were relatively easy to get into as a graduate, and have been there long enough now to mostly have secure positions and survived the recessions. At the start out, there wasn't anything to chose between what we were doing. But the luck of the recession has made things turn our differently for us.

What the OP is talking about, and I do agree with, is that some people believe that their higher wage is to do purely with working hard. For some people yes, it is a reflection of how hard they do work/have worked compared to other people. For other people, it is all to do with having found a profession that is recession proof, and so it can be a bit galling when they imply their higher wage is purely to do with working hard.

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 21:08:29

Well my work doesn't wake me up three-four times a night screaming, and while I am there I am able to eat food easily and go to the toilet alone, so in that respect, yes, looking after a baby is harder! But in general, no, my job is harder and a lot more stressful. I was just trying to highlight that looking after a baby isn't always a walk in the park!

I think you are misinterpreting my original OP. I am not remotely bitter, I don't feel like saying 'woe is me', and I don't want to change things for myself. I haven't failed. This has nothing to do with me wanting what other people have. You appear to be confusing a higher income as 'Success'. I am not bitter about anyone else's 'Success', I am successful IMO, I just don't earn as much as some of my friends, this does not mean I don't see myself as being as successful as them, it just means that they earn more, and my point is that I dislike the implication that this means that I don't work as hard.

Why is whinging about my friends weird?! I hadn't realised that there was a protocol about what we are allowed to post on here?! And I fail to see the correlation between whinging about my friends and how it implies that I am not trying to better myself? I never said that me whinging about my friends was an attempt to better myself? Not that I want to 'Better myself'. I am not sure where the assumption has come from that I am bitter and need to better myself?!

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sun 30-Jun-13 21:14:35

All the talk about 'luck' is a red herring.

It still all depends on you hearing 'I work hard' and translating it as 'you do not'.

And that's entirely of your own head's making.

WetGrass Sun 30-Jun-13 21:17:48

Is it like:

DH says "Delicious custard Mum"
DW hears "Not like the nasty tinned stuff I get at home"

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 21:24:24

Haha, possibly WetGrass! That analogy made me laugh!

There is no protocol about what we can post here. I made no comment on whether you should have written your OP, merely on how strange it is to care so much about your friends comments. I don't believe I am misinterpreting the OP at all. People post what they want us to know, and obviously don't put the other side of the story. You still haven't said what prompted the comment which I find very telling and on that basis I can't think why you care what they think unless you don't think they deserve what they have and you deserve more.

I was called weird for daring to suggest that if you don't like what you do and think you should be better paid for your hard work then you should try and do something about it and complaining for the sake of it won't change anything.

I also find it weird that you think that you are in some competition with them about how hard you work. They aren't passing judgement on whether you work hard or not but you seem to determined to make it about you. On the other hand if you really believe they think you are lazy and they are so much more superior to you, ditch them. Life is too short for all this angst.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 30-Jun-13 21:46:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amazingmumof6 Sun 30-Jun-13 21:46:52

BBB - you find it strange that OP cares about her friend's comment and are critisizing her for it.

but you clearly care about the issue enough to have posted several time.

so is it ok for you to care about something that happened to someone else, but not ok for her to care about what bugs her?

nice hypocrisy and double standards thereconfused

Ghanagirl Sun 30-Jun-13 21:48:32

I'm possibly sensitive too, but I'm bright and articulate, (plus attractive) but have worked in a caring profession since leaving uni and have friends who say the same, plus clients who say why don't you do something which pays more as you are intelligent and attractive, but then who would do the jobs which are import but not as well paid? Stupid unattractive resentful people!!

Dozer Sun 30-Jun-13 21:51:57

Sometimes well-paid people (or their partners) say that kind of thing when they seem to be feeling scrutinised or judged for being a high earner, to try to be self-depreciating. Doubt its meant to imply that people on lower incomes don't work hard.

Liara Sun 30-Jun-13 21:55:25

I find it quite irritating too, and very insulting. And when I was employed I was very highly paid.

But I was always aware that it was just the luck of the draw, and nothing to do with the intrinsic value of my job or how hard I worked. Having a sister who was doing a very tough medical residency at the time as I started my job probably helped keep things in perspective.

Technotropic Sun 30-Jun-13 21:56:32

From experience the 'But I do work really hard for it.' line usually follows a comment like, 'but it's alright for you as you earn loads'.

IMHO it's an awkward response to an awkward preceding statement or comment. No one wants to sound like they're bragging so try to fumble around for some kind of justification why they earn a lot of money.

Of course they could say that they earn a shed load of cash and don't have to work very hard for it at all but that would sound really crap.

daisychain01 Sun 30-Jun-13 22:18:50

Thurlow, hate to break it to you, but it is a fallacy that 'secure jobs' and 'recession-proof' professions exist! There is no such thing as a job for life, everyone who has a job has to work double as hard currently just to stand still in their career, and hold on to their job, with wage increases being just about on par with inflation, at about 2% in most industries.

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 22:20:43

I care because they are my friends, and in general I care far too much about what other people think of me. (Mostly a result of the anxiety issues which I said about in my OP- which I appreciate is not remotely my friends fault!)

I am not trying to hide anything by not describing the situation which provoked my OP, it's just that it didn't really seem very interesting for anyone to read! But this is what happened...

I saw some friends on Saturday, and one of my friends mentioned that she was getting a promotion, and she was saying that she was annoyed that her employer was refusing to recognise the extra responsibility by giving her a pay rise, and one of my friends asked her how much they were paying her, so she told us, and then asked us how much we were earning comparative to when we left uni (five years ago). So we went round the group and said what we earned when we started, and what we are earning now, and when it got to one of my friends, he said 'I started on £24k and am now on £130k+ commission, but I work bloody hard for it.' I just feel that given the situation, a justification wasn't really necessary. I guess there were probably a few raised eyebrows, because let's face it, from 24k to 130k in 5 years is a pretty impressive jump, but no one made any comments which I feel required a justification or made him feel awkward. So it sort of made me feel like he was saying that the reason I (and others in the group) earn not much more than when we started was because we don't work as hard as he does.

I probably am reading in to it too much, but that is just what it felt like he was implying.

amazingmumof6 Sun 30-Jun-13 22:27:35

doodle I really think in that case he was just being defensive, it probably wasn't the first time he felt he had to justify it.

I doubt it was about

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 22:35:12

amazing Yes you are probably right. It's just that it is a comment which can only be said if you earn a lot, because it would sound very strange if someone said 'I earn 20k, but I work bloody hard for it!' I am being over-sensitive, but I am proud of my job and what I have achieved, (especially given the fact that I could barely leave my house between the age of 19-21 because I was so petrified of everything!), so I hate any implication that I haven't and don't work hard!

amazingmumof6 Sun 30-Jun-13 22:37:42

doodle a bit off the subject - I have learnt to not get involved in the "what does your DH do?" game anymore, especially from stranger.

that is the first question I get asked as soon as people find out we have 6 children! so irritating!
Whether it is truly a code for "are you living on benefits?" or it just feels like it I hardly ever give straight answer.

my current favourite answers are either : "if I tell you I'll have to kill you" or "ask me no questions I tell you no lies". followed by a smile
that shuts them up.

FWIW if he is a really good friend I'd actually ask him what he meant by it. give him a chance to explain.
also if he doesn't realize he ticks people off, a little chat about this might even help him to think how he comes across.
hth smile

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 22:49:00

Haha, good answers amazing! It is very prying of strangers to ask what your DH does, I don't blame you for wanting to keep it to yourself!

Yes he is a very good friend (He was actually a bridesman at my wedding!), so it may be a good idea to talk to him.

Totally separate comment, but he was also complaining about his work colleague who is 34 weeks pregnant and has still got morning sickness, and he said she needs to stop complaining because 'Pregnancy is not an illness!'

Maybe a little discussion about tact wouldn't go amiss!!

amazingmumof6 Sun 30-Jun-13 23:01:31

doodles have a chat with him.tell him how his comment made you feel.
I'm pretty sure he will be surprised that you got hurt by it!

"If someone frowns at you do not turn your nose up, but ask what's bothering them.
Chances are they are unhappy about themselves and didn't even notice you were there!" (as in the frowning was not directed at you)

I found that "advice" invaluable and helped me avoid a lot of unnecessary grief!
I really hope you it will help you next time!
(quote is a rough translation from one of my favourite childhood books)

amazingmumof6 Sun 30-Jun-13 23:06:15

crap, I missed the end bit!

......were there, and you might be able to help them!"

so there.wink

Doodledumdums Sun 30-Jun-13 23:12:41

Great advice, thank you smile

Thurlow Mon 01-Jul-13 07:32:08

Daisy, I know nothing is recession proof, I just know a lot of people in industries that have been so slammed by the recession the industry/career hardly exists any more, and then I know people who are doing ok and redundancies have been minimal. I also know from personal experience than wage increases don't even have to cover inflation <learning to take deep breaths when public sector friends discuss pay issues>

Thurlow Mon 01-Jul-13 07:36:12

Sorry, that's all by the by, really. I think all I am trying to add to the argument is that some sectors just pay more than others, and so some people in certain jobs just earn more than others and its not got much to do with hard work.

sleeplessbunny Mon 01-Jul-13 07:41:58

Side issue I know, but I think attitudes like "it is vulgar to discuss money" strongly contribute to the gender pay gap.

I myself feel distinctly uncomfortable discussing money but I believe it's only when we can do this as a society without stigma that the employment market will become more equitable.

RoooneyMara Mon 01-Jul-13 07:48:23

I think it's short sighted of people to say this - that they earn a lot because they have worked hard.

It isn't necessarily an equation that holds, I mean, people who clean toilets are doing something not many of us want to do, yet their pay scale has to be among the lowest in the UK

I know people who earn an absolute ton and their work seems to involve doing some calculations and sending a lot of emails. And travelling a lot.

I don't think they find it very hard, as such. They are just good at it, good with people, good with communication. And very fortunate. I think they worked hard at uni to get the qualifications necessary, which yes I think is valid, as I dropped out in the sixth form (not through being lazy. I was completely depressed and in quite a bad way, but still)

Others work really really hard in very boring jobs, from early till late and earn minimum wage. That's kind of unfair.

There are other jobs that I think are very stressful, very difficult and carry HUGE responsibility and for that I think people need to be rewarded or no one would want to take it on.

Pay = compensation for how bloody hard it is, sometimes.

But then you come back to the cleaning argument. I don't know.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 08:03:57

Rooney while you are right and not many of us would want to clean toilets for a living any of us could. if we had to! which why the people doing it do it, they have no better option (for whatever reason).
and because of that they will do a disgusting job for peanuts if they want to earn any money at all!

of course it's not a pretty job, but I would not call it hard work or strenous physical or intellectual work!

big diffe

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 08:04:19

garlicnutty FS - "Yes, I've been lucky to have the opportunity." Or even "Yeah, everyone here works hard; it doesn't seem fair sometimes!"

I don't agree with that. I know there are lots of people who work hard for little payment. but in my & DPs social groups, we have all had very similar opportunities and there is a correlation between how important work is to you and how far you rise up the structure in your chosen area.

1) i earn lots of money because i am worth it. i can solve problems much quicker (say 5-10 times quicker) than other people working in the same area. i am like an athlete who has been training since childhood. they develop their muscles. i develop part of my brain. very few people can do what i do. i did A level maths in 6 weeks. i could do that because i had previously studied 6 hours per day after school and sometimes from 5am.

2) many other people work hard and are paid badly.

these 2 facts are not mutually exclusive.

athletes are partly the best because of genetics, but they took advantage of the opportunities they had. the end results was a combination of luck and genetics.

but personally if i ever has the good fortune to meet a world class athlete, i would not be thinking how lucky they were. there were other people with as good, or even better, or maybe almost as good genes, who didn't take the opportunities. i would be trying to understand how they approached their chosen sport and what made them the best.

i would look at what i could learn from their success not waste the opportunity thinking about how lucky they were.

MrsMelons Mon 01-Jul-13 08:23:43

There is a correlation between whether anyone can do a job or whether only people who have specific skills can do it and how much people are paid.

Anyone could clean if they wanted to, same as being a nursery worker or a packer in a factory etc etc, the pay is low because of this, this is not to say anyone would be good at these things because that is most definitely not the case. I could easily pass a level 3 NVQ to be qualified as a nursery worker but I know I would be crap at the job. I would probably be good at the paperwork. I think people in non skilled jobs are very much respected but unfortunately the reality is that you cannot pay a cleaner £50k a year as what would then professionals such as doctors ans lawyers be paid after training for years and years in a job only a select few succeed at?

Please don't take any offence to any of my examples - that is not what I mean but I have used them to explain my point.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Jul-13 08:34:57

Well to be honest it annoys me when people have the attitude that others are "lucky" to have a high paying job.

There's no luck involved in getting a high paid job.

I don't have a high flying city type job. People that do aren't lucky, they're either cleverer than me, have more qualifications, have worked harder, are better at previous jobs or are more career minded. Probably all of those. So yes, they probably have worked harder.

I'm sure I work as hard during the hours I'm actually at work so I know what you mean by that. But maybe they work differently iykwim? DH earns double what I do and sits at a desk while drinking coffee a lot. I don't have time to have a wee and am stressed beyond belief. So I do work very hard but I don't think that dh is lucky to have his job. He worked very hard in less well paid jobs to get where he is.

Trills Mon 01-Jul-13 08:37:39

they're either cleverer than me, have more qualifications, have worked harder, are better at previous jobs or are more career minded. Probably all of those.

AND they are also lucky. Because they could have all of the aptitude and all of the hard work and circumstances could still have arranged themselves in a different way.

Doodledumdums Mon 01-Jul-13 08:46:20

Sorry, but luck is definitely involved imo! Not exclusively of course, hard work is generally also necessary, but luck is definitely a contributing factor!

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 08:53:45

There's no luck involved in getting a high paid job.

I don't have a high flying city type job. People that do aren't lucky, they're either cleverer than me, have more qualifications, have worked harder, are better at previous jobs or are more career minded. Probably all of those. So yes, they probably have worked harder.

Are you kidding me?

Have you not heard of the bank bailout?

These people are not uniformly clever. Your statement is just astonishing to me.

I just don't understand people getting all tetchy at the mention of luck. This does not discount success, it's merely a statement of fact.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 08:54:15

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Jul-13 08:34:57
"Well to be honest it annoys me when people have the attitude that others are "lucky" to have a high paying job.

There's no luck involved in getting a high paid job.

I don't have a high flying city type job. People that do aren't lucky, they're either cleverer than me, have more qualifications, have worked harder, are better at previous jobs or are more career minded. Probably all of those. So yes, they probably have worked harder."

Is there no luck involved in being born with the kind of brain that makes you better at your job?

MrsMelons Mon 01-Jul-13 08:56:57

But then luck is involved in all cases then, there are a lot of people unemployed so technically it is luck that one cleaner gets a job over another.

It is not luck that I qualified in my field, it is hard work to qualify, it is not necessarily luck that I got my job over other candidates but I suppose it could be considered luck that I realised I wanted to do this particular job and that I was academically able to pass the exams. I think saying it is luck belittles people's achievements some what but there could be some luck involved in what opportunities present themselves but the rest I believe is down to the individual.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 09:04:11

Yes, the world class athletes may well have worked harder than some of the almost-but-not-quite-world-class-athletes. But somebody who is born with dodgy joints or dyspraxia, or even somebody born with ordinary not-very-athletic genes is never going to make a world class athlete even if they train three times as hard as the top most athlete.

I had a friend in Sixth Form who worked far far harder than me, who was totally focused, did exactly as she was told, got extra tutoring, gave it everything. I rarely did any revision at all, seldom remembered my homework. I still got the A's and she got the B's and C's, because that was the capacity she had. Her hard work ensured she wasn't stuck with D's and E's, which was an excellent result for her.

I see university students who work themselves into breakdowns because they have been taught to believe that anybody can have what they want as long as they work hard enough. So when their essays are still not very good and they still get low marks, they think they have let themselves down and that there must be some way of working even longer into the night to achieve the same results as the top performers.

melika Mon 01-Jul-13 09:06:25

It's not luck that my DH runs a very busy business where others fail, his business has lots of competitors in the area. I can say he works very hard and he bloody well does. He has never had anything given to him, he is passionate and obsessive about getting things done right.

Coming from a poor family, he has used his intelligence to get where he is today.

Doodledumdums Mon 01-Jul-13 09:13:09

I don't think it belittles achievement at all. I actually think it is arrogant not to accept luck as a contributing factor, or else it implies that everyone could be in the same position if they had just worked harder, which is simply not true.

I have a badly paid but essentially good and respectable job, and I consider myself very lucky to have it. It required a degree, which I was lucky enough to be able to get, it requires a certain skill set which I am lucky to have, and a lot of equally good people applied for it, but I was lucky that my boss chose me. Had there been a different interviewer or a slightly different set of circumstances, I would maybe not have got it. So that's all a lot of luck! I would suggest that I am not alone, and that actually all of the above luck factors apply to most people in most jobs, including highly paid supposedly successful roles! I don't really understand why it is bad to admit it?

MrsMelons Mon 01-Jul-13 09:20:16

Fair point, I guess what I was saying is that in that case luck applies to everyone, high paid or not.

I guess I feel defensive about it some times as I do not consider I am 'lucky' to be in a fortunate position as it is a combination of a number of factors - hard work, good choices and a mixture of both good and bad luck that has landed DH and I where we are.

samandi Mon 01-Jul-13 09:21:06

*Well to be honest it annoys me when people have the attitude that others are "lucky" to have a high paying job.

There's no luck involved in getting a high paid job.*

Of course there is, especially in this day and age. Several of the people I know in well-paying jobs were lucky enough (born earlier) to get good positions several years ago, or they knew someone to get a foot in the door, or they happened to be in the right place at the right time when someone retired. You might also be lucky enough to have certain skills that others don't.

It's often a mixture of things, including forward-thinking, the willingness to work long hours (but yes, people on a low wage often work long hours too) and people skills, but it's a bit disingenuous to think that luck doesn't play a part too.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 09:24:36

anyone thinking there's no luck involved is a fool.

humans don't and simply can not control everything.

however smart you are if you are born in a country poorer or much poorer than the UK you may not have access to education or other resources.

where you are born or what circumstances you are born into is pure good or bad luck.
none of us chooses that and it will determine a huge part of who you will eventually become, for better or for worse.

it is nature and nurture that form us all. you will do well or not so well somwtimes because of your good luck or despite of your bad luck.

You can not deny that there is an element of luck, but of course it isn't the all determining factor either - no one said it was!

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 09:29:01

It's harder these days, and luck increasingly plays a role.

I would say I am modestly successful (financially) and there are major events of "luck" that figure into this.

1. I graduated from business school in the US in 1997. You had to be a moron to not get a job paying over 100K.

2. I went into IT/management consulting. There were fewer women around in those days, and I was pretty. Now I'm 41 (and not so pretty anymore) and I'm still in IT consulting, in a parachute in/parachute out capacity - and I'm in a much better position to see the effect that a pretty woman has in a work environment.

3. We bought an expensive house that we could only barely afford in London in 2005, and again in 2008; both doubled.

Without these three strokes of luck (1 and 3 figure more prominently I suspect), my own contribution to our family finances would have been far less significant.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 10:11:15

melika Mon 01-Jul-13 09:06:25

"Coming from a poor family, he has used his intelligence to get where he is today."

Exactly. And if he had been born without intelligence, he wouldn't have been able to use it to get there.

CuChullain Mon 01-Jul-13 10:24:34

@ sam

"You might also be lucky enough to have certain skills that others don't."

I would have thought that the skills you possess are entirely down to the choices you have made in life. I did not become an engineer because I was 'lucky', I became an engineer because I chose the right GCSEs, A Levels and degree course from a decent university. On the flipside, I am crap at playing the guitar, mostly due to the fact I rarely pick it up and practice, nothing to do with being lucky.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 10:26:35

intelligence is not a genetic characteristic. scientist have recently discovered that the brain is much more plastic than previously thought.

i.e. how you use it determines its capabilities. like your muscles etc. (for people without disabilities)

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 10:28:39

"It's a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get"
Arnold Palmer (American Golfer. b.1929)

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 10:37:35

I agree that raw intelligence is probably less a result of luck than it is what you use your brain for. And, choosing engineering is an excellent example of creating your own luck.

Still, there are legions of people who will work hard and make good decisions their whole life, and never be met with success.

To say nothing of people who are born in extremely poor countries, for whom it's just a struggle to stay alive.

MrsMelons Mon 01-Jul-13 10:57:06

Dh and I do the same job, I find exams easy and do a few days cramming at the last minute, DH is dyslexic and finds it a struggle. He has to work every night for 6 months.

The end result is still the same so even the academic side is not purely luck.

I have changed my opinion based on this thread though and see how an element of luck comes into it but I do still find it offensive for others to suggest we are lucky to be where we are as often there has been a lot of sacrifice involved whatever the level of job.

Doodledumdums Mon 01-Jul-13 11:28:59

FasterStronger No offence, but that is total rubbish! I worked so hard at school, and I got very good grades, but I do not remotely have a scientific brain and could not master sciences in a way that was necessary to become a vet which was my dream! Frankly I find it insulting that anyone could suggest that had I used my brain more that I could have achieved it, because it is a fact that I couldn't. Even if it was possible, the opportunities to study are finite, and given the amount of work required, even if I had possessed the capabilities, I would have drowned under the sheer amount of work and the limited time in which to do it. Therefore rendering it impossible.

I accepted this and am fine about it, and picked a career path which I was academically more naturally suited to and was within my capabilities, but it was still bloody hard work.

I cannot see levels of intelligence as anything other than a genetic characteristic. I think it is quite dangerous to suggest to children in particular that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it and work hard enough, that is where shattered dreams, low self esteem and anxiety issues can stem from.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 11:32:21

I cannot see levels of intelligence as anything other than a genetic characteristic

the latest research disagrees with you.

I think it is quite dangerous to suggest to children in particular that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it and work hard enough I agree clearly there are limits - I am not suggesting anyone can be Stephen Hawkins.

and you need more than intelligence to succeed. e.g. resilience. but again this is a learnt characteristic.

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 11:35:32

Doodledumdums, intelligence isn't just science or math.

I can't speak for faster but I would gather she meant that within a certain band of raw intelligence, people can achieve different things based on what they set their mind to, and how much they stretch themselves. This doesn't apply to low IQ people, nor does it mean that people of normal intelligence are well-suited to a career in quantum mechanics (or similar).

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 11:36:19

I see I've cross posted with fasterstronger.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 11:40:17

cu I can only presume sam meant to say talent or ability.
that's how I read it.

I make quilts, clothes, jewellery etc. I design them. It's easy for me. from the moment I have an idea I can see the whole thing.
I figure out the design, do the maths and spend hours, days weeks creating.

I learnt some of the technical aspects (mainly self-taught) but not only do I have an inborn talent for creativity I have the patience to complete each project.

I get loads of compliments ( if only I could make a living out of it..) but as I said it is easy for me.
others struggle to sew on a button and have no interest in learning.

so I have skills others don't ( and vica versa) but only because talent and interest coincided first. skills were built on those.

but I can't claim to know what sam meant. only what I read into it.

Doodledumdums Mon 01-Jul-13 11:47:28

I didn't say that intelligence is just science or maths? I was just saying that those were areas I was lacking in order to get the career which I actually wanted.

I'm not sure that I really know what you mean by a raw level of intelligence? Obviously people can achieve different things based on how much they stretch and apply themselves, but there is a limit, and each persons limit is set at a different level. So two people could spend exactly the same amount of time and energy studying for something, but one may well achieve a lot more than the other because they are naturally more intelligent. I think it is important to realise your limitations, especially if you are very hard working, or else you will always strive for an unachievable goal.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 11:54:17

else you will always strive for an unachievable goal.

I always strive for an unachievable goal. whatever I do is never enough. next time I will always try to do better than last time. I don't want to be satisfied. I want to be hungry.

Doodledumdums Mon 01-Jul-13 12:01:39

Well great if that works for you, but personally I feel that it is very mentally and emotionally damaging to constantly strive for something that you can't reach. Sure, strive for something higher which is within your reach, but unachievable? Surely that isn't healthy.

My dream of being a vet is unachievable, but had I decided to go for it, i'd be shouldering misery, many failed and repeated years attempting to get into veterinary school, a lot of heartache and no success. Instead I changed my goalposts and am now happy and working my way up in a different career. I still have ambitions, but they are ambitions which I would hope are remotely achievable with the hard work and dedication that I am capable of.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 12:03:09

doodle - I think everyone needs to step outside their comfort zone in order to see what they can do. so I really don't like the idea of 'knowing your limits' as a general rule.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 12:06:37

doodle - this is the difference in how you & I see things:

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 12:15:49

but then faster it is your desire that pushes your forward.
you want to do the next thing, the next challenge. I'm like that too.
no one asks me to do things, I want to do them. I get really frustrated when I can't (lack of time etc)

but not every one is like that and it is not their fault.
their achievement will be limited to the level of their interest/drive/desire/motivation whatever I call it.

we are all born with different talents, so for some it is the lack of talent that puts a stop to achieving their goals.

or being less intelligent or interested or whatever.

I think it is lucky for you to have had a talent for something that you could turn into a high paying job with lots of hard work and determination.
And good on you!

"success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" - and precisely because of that I agree with doodles that without talent/inborn ability/affinity the highest level of success is unachievable.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 12:27:19

if that's true, then everyone on the relationships board with abusive partners, should not strive for something better, because that just their limits.

why on MN do we say women deserve better in relationships but not in everything in life? if someone thinks a characteristic about themselves is holding them back, I don't think they need to accept it. I don't think they should accept it.

and if they do they need to recognise their choice to accept it.

Doodledumdums Mon 01-Jul-13 12:38:15

That is a very odd analogy! How can you compare career success with being in an abusive relationship?! That doesn't make sense! People aren't limited to being in abusive relationships because they can't achieve anything else, of course not!! That is vastly different to having career limitations! You don't achieve relationships, they aren't goals!

Clearly we have very different views on this, and you aren't going to change your views because of what I say, but I won't change mine either. It wasn't my choice to accept my limitations didn't extend to me being a vet, it was a fact that they didn't stretch that far.

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 12:44:12

amazingmum, you've lost me there.

Drive is not a genetic trait. The absence of drive is essentially laziness. There's nothing wrong with being lazy (provided you are willing to accept the consequences - many aren't) - but surely you're not saying it's a genetic trait?

My view on luck is more like as I've described above - graduating from business school during a booming economy. Not motivation.

Thurlow Mon 01-Jul-13 12:44:13

That's not a decent analogy hmm

Some people are shite at science and maths. I was. A lot of the traditional higher paying careers involve at the very least decent science or maths A-levels, if not an out-and-out aptitude for those subjects. (which is possibly the reason why they pay more anyway, as there is a premium for people with those skills) So someone might have desperately wanted to be a doctor, but just lacked the skills in chemistry to get them into a medical degree.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 12:45:06

How can you compare career success with being in an abusive relationship?!

I am comparing someone limiting their abilities with someone placing limits on their self worth.

both are subjective. and many people (esp. women) underestimate what they are capable of/deserve.

I could not cope without him/I don't think I could succeed at...

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 12:47:59

There is a difference between striving for a goal that might be obtainable (leaving your abusive partner) or that might at least lead to a slightly lower but still acceptable goal (trying to write a better article than your last one) and a situation where people are wrecking their health because they have set their sights on one unfixable goal and will not give up until they reached it.

Think of youngsters wrecking their joints and starving themselves to become ballet dancers when they don't really have the physique, or students committing suicide when they realise they are not going to get a First despite working harder than anybody else in their year.

Yes, the brain is plastic: that's why the student may be getting a 2:2 or even a 2:1 instead of a fail. But it still doesn't mean they are going to get the same grades, or the same job opportunities, as the naturally gifted student who can take an essay question and develop it in a way that opens up new windows to the professor who is a specialist in the subject.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 12:50:59

Think of youngsters wrecking their joints and starving themselves to become ballet dancers when they don't really have the physique, or students committing suicide when they realise they are not going to get a First despite working harder than anybody else in their year.

realism and resilience play a role so clearly if people don't have them its not going to work.

samandi Mon 01-Jul-13 12:51:30

Yes, I did mean natural talent or ability. And skills you can develop to a certain extent, but certain people will always be able to pick them up more easily.

chocolatecrispies Mon 01-Jul-13 12:52:00

Yanbu. I work in the public sector. I have three degrees and several years of experience. My work is extremely stressful and demanding and sometimes life or death. We are all burning out due to the high level of responsibility and pressure. My salary has been frozen for 3 years. There are no promotion prospects at all as all the senior jobs have been cut. I didn't choose this - 10 years ago the climate was completely different. The implication of 'I work hard for it' is 'harder than you and others who earn less'. It's a lie people tell themselves and others to justify social inequality and why looking after money is valued so much more highly than looking after people.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 12:59:05

And skills you can develop to a certain extent, but certain people will always be able to pick them up more easily.

there can be advantages to initially finding something harder. e.g.

person A: succeeds easily.
person B: fails, regroups, thinks, plans, tries again, succeeds.

person B has gained more from the experience.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 12:59:49

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 12:50:59
"Think of youngsters wrecking their joints and starving themselves to become ballet dancers when they don't really have the physique, or students committing suicide when they realise they are not going to get a First despite working harder than anybody else in their year.

realism and resilience play a role so clearly if people don't have them its not going to work."

Yes, but isn't realism the same as recognising your limitations? confused

If your feet are the wrong shape for professional ballet, then they are the wrong shape for professional ballet. If you have gone through a whole degree course and never yet come up with an idea that any tutor has praised for originality or creativity, might it not be time to recognise that maybe an academic career is not for you?

You can still aim at getting better at something else or using the skills you have acquired for pushing yourself in some other area. But I think you get to a point where it makes sense to listen to what other people are telling you and look at how you compare to other people around you.

samandi Mon 01-Jul-13 12:59:59

Also, it is quite possible to be offended by high-earners who say "I work hard[er than other people]" without wanting to be them. Many people are fairly happy in their lower-paid jobs and have chosen to go into those fields knowing the pay is less than for other jobs - it doesn't mean that they don't work hard though.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:00:57

my DS3 is very conscientious. he wants to do his homework.
he's only 8 but has been always like this since starting school. he wants to be the best.

DS2 is lazy as pigshit.
I have to nag him to do anything (apart from playing foitball)
he's been like that. I hope with time he'll change his attitude, he'll learn why he has to work hard.

but DS3 is already there. he was born that way. lucky for him

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 13:03:10

erStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 12:59:05
"And skills you can develop to a certain extent, but certain people will always be able to pick them up more easily.

there can be advantages to initially finding something harder. e.g.

person A: succeeds easily.
person B: fails, regroups, thinks, plans, tries again, succeeds.

person B has gained more from the experience."

This is very true. But does not allow for:

person C: fails, regroups, plans and tries again but still doesn't do well
because complete lack of innate ability to understand how things work in this particular area

samandi Mon 01-Jul-13 13:03:49

*And skills you can develop to a certain extent, but certain people will always be able to pick them up more easily.

there can be advantages to initially finding something harder. e.g.

person A: succeeds easily.
person B: fails, regroups, thinks, plans, tries again, succeeds.

person B has gained more from the experience.*

In the meantime person B might have sacrificed several years of his/her life and spent thousands of pounds on tuition fees/more training/etc. I wouldn't say that was necessarily a good thing. Perhaps they would have been better off following a different path.

I'm unconvinced that person B has necessarily gained more from the experience (presumably you mean stuff like character development etc.)anyway.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:05:57

I can't remember where I heard this :
there are to types of people regarding motivation
1-the ones who do things to get a reward
2-the ones who do things to avoid a punishment.

you are born one way or the other. the first type will always do better.
I'm not saying you can't change your attitude.
but you can't choose what you are born with

WetGrass Mon 01-Jul-13 13:07:51

I find the philosophy of 'some of us are born to be mediocre' a bit confused - particularly as some kind of life lesson for DC.

Striving for excellence should be universal - as should the acceptance of the fact that everyone has limitations and frustrations - and will ultimately reach their own peak.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:08:51

and btw everyone is a doer in some things and an avoider in other things.

I'm a doer when it comes to making things.
I'm an avoider f it comes to getting up early
and so on

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 13:11:02

amazingmum, I don't think that means he's doomed to laziness. What is he, 10? He is very likely to turn it around as he develops a sense of competition, or an understanding of how grades will affect path.

I also have a really lazy 10 year old.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 13:11:46

cory person C: fails, regroups, plans and tries again but still doesn't do well because complete lack of innate ability to understand how things work in this particular area

who says they have a complete lack of innate ability? and that's subjective - you are not talking about a definitive measure.

and C can still learnt from the experience.

what wetgrass says. Striving for excellence should be universal.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 13:15:25

C hasn't failed because they have shown themselves they have balls. now they need to apply those balls in a better way than the previous time.

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 13:16:03

I remain steadfast in my belief that luck plays a role in success, but I am surprised that people are so convinced that one is born with a certain set of fixed characteristics!

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:16:42

x-post? I didn't say he was doomed to laziness! shock like I'd allow him that luxury to be lazy!grin

only that he is motivated differently. since birth.

Crowler Mon 01-Jul-13 13:17:23

^^Didn't mean to suggest you felt he was.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:20:03


in my earlier post I said both nature and nurture play massive roles!

and I agree about luck playing a role - also said it before that what characteristics or genetics you arw born with are not a person choice, nor are where you are born etc.

I think we actually agree on a lot of things. slightly different angles

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 13:20:17

crowler - i am surprised too. but it is widespread and it is called 'fixed mindset' thinking.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:27:08


FWIW I admire your strength for being able turn your back on something you realized weren't for you after all.
that is very hard to do.

not every one is supposed to be a vet or a teacher or a mechanic or a lawyer.
IMO it is far better to accept reality and be happy, than forever chasing an unrealistic dream and be unhappy.
well donethanks

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 13:49:50

I dont think there is anything wrong with changing your mind about what you want to do but you cannot then criticize someone else who has pursued their aims further than you.

and I don't think accepting = happiness. I see lots of people go for the easy route and just 'kick the can down the road'.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 14:03:53

FS accepting things/situations you can not change requires a lot of strength and positive attitude and the reward is peace of mind.
not an important thing for you I'm guessing.

but it is a great thing to achieve too.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 14:08:09

amazing - I don't disagree with you at all in general terms. it just where you draw the line between the things you can and cannot change is where it gets complex.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 14:08:19

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 13:15:25
"C hasn't failed because they have shown themselves they have balls. now they need to apply those balls in a better way than the previous time."

Very much agree with this. But sometimes that better way needs to be in a different area.

A student who after years of coaching and diligent practising is still singing out of tune probably needs to accept that all this energy is not going to help them to a career as an opera singer. They need to use that energy and that love of music in a different way.

A university student of history or English literature who writes weak essays without much original thought or logical coherence, tries again and again to improve and after 3 years of tutorial feedback and much effort on their own part is still writing weak essays without much original thought or logical coherence probably needs to accept that a PhD is not the way for them. They need to see where their real strengths lie.

Of course we don't have to call it failure: we can give full credit for the effort put it and the lessons learnt. But that is not the same as promising the hoped-for outcome if you only regroup and try again.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 14:32:48

FS thanks.
and that is the cruix of the matter.
when and why we choose to carry on or to give up.
some of it is inbuilt, some of it is learnt. it also depends on a variety of circumstances.

impossible to tell what I would have done in dooodles shoes, so I choose to take her word for it when she says she chose the altogether better option for herself.
not that she needs to prove anything or justify herself to me or anyone else!

she may have regrets, but she seems to be content with her decision. good for her!

you will keep going and strive for new challenges. good for you!

maybe one day you can accept that giving something up is not always a sign of weakness - which is what I suppose you think now.
(do correct me if I'm guessing wrong)

garlicnutty Mon 01-Jul-13 14:42:30

FS, you attributed your mathematical brilliance to intensive study as a child - that is, you claim the credit for having a "good maths brain" because you claim you deliberately expanded that part of your brain.

I studied very hard at maths, too. I had number tables on my bedroom walls from pre-school, always representing the next stage of achievement in my maths education. I sat up to the small hours with my geometry homework, night after night. In my teens, I persuaded a maths tutor to give me free weekend lessons - I did these for two years.

I am more numerate than average, in consequence. But I scraped my maths O-level with the lowest pass grade. I still struggle with geometry.

I never worried about English, French or German. I used to dash my homework off in the bus to school, didn't bother reading all the set texts, skived at least half the lessons and did no revision at all for French and English (I crammed German verb tables the night before.) I left two of the exams early, seeing no more to do. I sailed through all three with high grades and a distinction.

In summary, then, I sneer at your "brain development". You have a talent for maths; I have one for language. Your talent happens to yield higher rewards in our society. There's no shame in thanking your genes for a natural talent. I'm inclined to feel you should be more ashamed of insisting anyone could do it, for in doing so you belittle others' talents along with your own.

garlicnutty Mon 01-Jul-13 14:46:04

We have gone off topic a bit, I suppose. Doodle's original complaint, "But I work hard for it!" is as meaningless as "But I go in every day!"

You won't find many workers who say "I doss around most days!" (I was one, as it goes; I landed well on my feet with that career.) Saying you work hard means nothing, unless you really mean to imply your listeners don't.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 14:54:00

I like being off topic. I tend to learn more [rebel]

garlicnutty Mon 01-Jul-13 14:55:27

Me, too grin

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 15:03:07

I suspect that most people who claim they would never give up on anything have already done a lot of subconscious de-selecting of possible career paths that they would not have been very good at.

I have never consciously considered becoming a mathematician, an economist, a gymnast or a a dentist. I tell myself that any of those jobs would have seemed really boring. But it may well be that I feel that way about them because I suspect I wouldn't be any good at them. The field where I have pushed myself, and climbed back after failure, and tried again and again is one where I do have some reasonable hope of eventual success.

The tragic thing, it seems to me, is when somebody's dream does not coincide with their abilities. And it does happen.

garlicnutty Mon 01-Jul-13 15:09:19

It happens an awful lot, doesn't it, cory, especially now we Brits have adopted dishonest "You can do/be anything!" styles of motivation. We laugh at the pre-selection auditions for shows like the X-Factor, but those are real human dreams being shattered. I think it causes huge amounts of resentment, too: if we believe the lie that reward reflects effort, then we label ourselves and others 'failures', but see the talented as cheats.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 15:10:10

garlic I sneer at your "brain development

you are welcome to sneer but I prefer to Learn What Science Says

cory we need to widen the definition of success.

melika Mon 01-Jul-13 15:15:51

As DH often quotes:-

There are three types of people in this world:
those who make things happen,
those who watch things happen
and those who wonder what happened.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 15:18:04 this program is v good about brain plasticity

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 15:31:39

Faster and stronger Mon 01-Jul-13 15:10:10

"cory we need to widen the definition of success."

But how far do we need to widen it?

To singing badly on X-Factor because you can't accept that even if you spend every spare moment rehearsing that won't necessarily mean you are going to be able to produce something that other people can listen to without shuddering?

(fwiw not everybody who auditions for X-factor is hoping for effortless success: some have been working on their act for years, doesn't necessarily make them any better)

To failing every exam + resits and keep spending more money on fees, because you won't listen to the tutors gently suggesting that perhaps some other path would be better for you?

To persisting as a dentist though the patients complain of your clumsiness, until you are kicked out by the Dentist's Board?

To trying again and again as a surgeon, though your death rates are three times as high as your colleagues?

garlicnutty Mon 01-Jul-13 15:35:59

Well illustrated, imo, cory.

FS, your adherence to brain plasticity as the answer to every perspective presented here is remarkable. It almost suggests a very non-plastic quality to your thinking.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 15:36:47

gnutty ^ I'm inclined to feel you should be more ashamed of insisting anyone could do it, for in doing so you belittle others' talents along with your own.^

you don't have the most positive approach! I think many people can do more than they think they can. I think many people (esp women) underestimate themselves. of course most people could not be Usain Bolt however hard they tried. but most people don't want to be Mr Bolt.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 15:42:31

cory To failing every exam + resits and keep spending more money on fees, because you won't listen to the tutors gently suggesting that perhaps some other path would be better for you?

I am not advocating ignoring experts.

garlicnutty Mon 01-Jul-13 15:45:19

But I'd rather have done a maths-based career than the talk-based one I was suited to. I bloody worked for it! But my talents are what they are, and I was successful in most senses of the word.

Massive diversion, but as you're a mathematician ... My geometry-blindness has stopped me getting any good at my preferred choice of second career (game programming,) but I am an absolute wizard at stats and discovered a gift for calculus: both disciplines can be approached, it turns out, from a "language" point of view, whereas vectors and shizz require linear logic.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 15:49:13

I think some people underestimate themselves and others overestimate themselves. As a university tutor I get to see both kinds.

The problem is that both kinds of lacking realism comes with a price.

In the case of over-estimating your abilities the price is often economic: spending money on fees for a course that you then fail, inisisting that your family have to live on subsistence level while you work away on your career as a writer or musician, because you are convinced success is just around the corner.

Sometimes it is physical: ruining joints that are not naturally strong enough or flexible enough for the intense work they need to do for gymnastics or ballet or athletics, neglecting your health by sitting for long hours over your books, high blood pressure or heart attacks due to stressful travelling.

The price of underestimating your abilities is often primarily economic: loss of potential wages.

But sometimes affects health, with dissatisfaction leading to stress, which then leads to physical illness.

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 16:07:05

garlicn you are spot on about calculus and languages being connected. it is proven that improving one improves the other -for example learning latin makes you use the same part of the brain as logic & maths do and more intensively too. ( don't know if being good at maths would help learning languages but I would not be surprised if it did)

I can't pull up links. a friend is a latin teacher and she told me this:
there was an effort in Florida years ago to teach latin in schools to Spanish speaking kids of poor backgrounds to help improve their language skills - which in return would have given them a better chance at education and so on.

the end of year results showed that not only their use of language improved, but to everyone's surprise their maths test results improved dramatically.
it was a significant enough difference that a lot of research & experiments were conducted to find out if learning latin really would help improve your maths skilks. ( or were they just a fluke)
they found the answer to be a resounding yes.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 16:16:19

gn - I hated languages at school - why do I need to know how to buy a cinema ticket in france? it just seemed stupid to me.

then in my twenties I realised that learning a language meant you could speak to people and they liked you bothering to speak their language. it became communication. & fun.

once I had a point to learning a language, it became much easier to do and I enjoy it. i now learn the basics wherever we go (say 30 words of Croatian, Icelandic etc. no grammar). it is completely different than my school experience. i got As at GCSE but it was a real struggle & i hated every class. if you has asked me then, i would have said i was no good at languages - ask me now and i just wasn't good at school but do i think i could have been good? Yes. and the same applies to other people who don't think they are good at something. can they be better? Yes.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 16:19:17

Never felt Latin did much for my calculus sad

Though my db who is also a classicist is very good at maths- and a proficient musician.

Having sat in the same postgrad seminars as him for several years, I always had the feeling that though we were ostensibly tackling the same problems in the same texts and both getting good results, our brains weren't actually doing the same thing.

For him Latin was about logic and connections, for me it was far more about associations and context (though I obviously had to know enough grammar to translate the text).

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 16:23:07

FS thanks for links. I've alwsys been fascinated with the human brain. and psychology.

people who have certain types of brain damage can re-learn things precisely because the healthy parts of the brain can take over and form new synapses.
and so does learning totally new.

you can teach an old dog new tricks!grin
which is good for me, as I want study more when kids are older and I have more time....

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 16:24:53

FS if you ever want to learn Hungarian let me knowwink

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 16:25:51

and anyone else of coursewink

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 16:26:50

Perhaps some of the differences in opinion is because we are talking about different levels of achievement, FasterStronger.

I grew up in a country where you were simply made to acquire basic competence in at least one foreign language (more usually two or three). To me, that was something like dressing yourself or swimming- barring SN, it was something that anybody would learn; being talented or not didn't really come into it, because it was such a very basic thing.

Perhaps most GCSE work comes into this category- barring SN, most people probably could get there if working hard enough and supported well enough by good teaching, though some clearly have to work harder than others.

But at university level, and especially at postgrad level, it is not just about learning something that other people present to you: it is about having ideas that other people will recognise as interesting and original. I imagine that might well be the case with running a business too; it's about creativity and flare as much as about hard work.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 16:29:04

amazingmum, let me present my mum as a source of inspiration. She went back to university after retirement and learnt Czech and Russian. Her last degree modules were in Old Church Slavonic, which she learnt well enough to provide research support for a project at her university. She was in her 70s by then. Never too late... grin

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 16:37:06

thanks cory
your mum is inspirational indeed!

I watched a film last year about 100+ year old people.
one was a 107 year old lady who survived a concentration camp with her then 5 year old son. she used to be a concert pianist and still practises every day.
another keeps up with technology and is on Skype to "see" her family.
one man swims and walks every day.
they were all as active mentally and physically as they could be, but it was their positive attitude that was utterly humbling.
I was in awe of all of them. very inspiring indeed!

FasterStronger Mon 01-Jul-13 16:37:44

cory i agree that learning multiple languages should be normal - but my experience is of uk only.

i am only talking about GCSEs in relation to learning languages. not in terms of general achievement, as clearly that would be a bar appropriate for a 16 yo.

cory Mon 01-Jul-13 16:55:49

I think when it comes to learning a language we are tapping into the basic linguistic ability that NT people have: all that needs to be added is motivation, exposure and (after a certain age) good explanation.

But I suspect that to be an inventor, the director of a large company, a composer or a mathematician (as opposed to somebody who can count out the right change) you probably need more than the basic ability that most NT people have.

AllDirections Mon 01-Jul-13 20:20:20

* I actually think it is arrogant not to accept luck as a contributing factor*

^ This ^

I have some friends who say they work hard for their money and it's usually in relation to the fact that I get tax credits to top up my low income. They're really nice people but they just don't get the fact that they were lucky to have had supportive parents, lucky that they were encouraged to go into well paid professions, lucky that their professions are still booming, lucky that they've inherited money, lucky that they've had help with childcare from family, lucky that they're healthy, etc, etc, They work hard, they really do, but the way they say they work hard for their money implies that I don't. And that makes me sad sad

MrsMelons Mon 01-Jul-13 20:48:59

AllDirections - I think you are right with everything you say and have articulated where the luck part comes into it really well.

I will have to disagree regarding the inheritence part, from our POV anyway - DH would have done anything to not have lost his DM at a young age so would have been happy to not have inheritence. He does not consider to be lucky in that respect!

My SIL had tax credits to top up her income in the past but I would never consider she doesn't work as hard as me, in fact she worked more hours and unsociable ones at that and her job was physically demanding. If people imply that they either are not thinking before they are speaking or have not actually thought it through!

AllDirections Mon 01-Jul-13 21:10:31

I agree with you MrsMelons about the inheritance part. It's very sad that people lose loved ones and I know that people would rather not lose them than inherit money. I was just thinking about it from a view that my friends have had opportunities to advance their careers using their inheritances.

garlicnutty Mon 01-Jul-13 21:36:42

Hmm, yes: not thinking about inheritance exactly, but family money - XH1 and I were the first, by several years, of our friends to get a mortgage. We were fairly loaded in those days, however we cut a lot of corners in favour of buying a flat. We walked when others got cabs, used the free concerts & gigs where they bought tickets for big-name bands, went on package holidays instead of 'travelling', and such.

We were lucky. We bought a place in Clapham just before it got trendy, then did the same again with a little house that we had to gut & refurbish. Our friends seemed to think we were a bit weird, being house-obsessed while they rented lovely character flats in Notting Hill and enjoyed the fruits of their obscene salaries even more lavishly than we did ours. Later, it all became clear. Their parents, on retirement, reduced their inheritance tax liabilities by buying them homes - or, at least, giving them very hefty deposits for their first mortgages. It was quite peculiar that not a single one of them realised we didn't have parents with money! To them, we'd just been a bit odd wanting to buy into the machine so young; they simply didn't click that not everybody had a wedge of wonga in the parental pipeline.

XH and I were immensely lucky. Yes, we were clever, and wise, and read the market correctly, and had the confidence to break out of the industrial working class. But we didn't always recognise how very lucky we'd been that all our choices worked out well (I used to read the average wage every budget day, and be at a complete loss to imagine how people actually lived on that, let alone maintained a family.) Our friends never, as far as we could see, even realised that most people's dads don't bung them a few hundred thousand on retirement.

There's something in that link about how the human curse, as well as a gift, is that we start losing pleasure in what we have as soon as we've got it; this drives us to further achievements (it's also what the Dalai Lama keeps telling us to watch out for!) As I get older - and I think I'm getting wiser, not least because I am now very poor - I find I value that old-fashioned virtue, humility, more and more. Humility isn't grovelling or putting yourself down. It's realism, and appreciating reality smile

Doodledumdums Mon 01-Jul-13 22:49:35

^FWIW I admire your strength for being able turn your back on something you realized weren't for you after all.
that is very hard to do.

not every one is supposed to be a vet or a teacher or a mechanic or a lawyer.
IMO it is far better to accept reality and be happy, than forever chasing an unrealistic dream and be unhappy.
well done^

Thank you Amazing smile I do sometimes feel sad that it isn't something which was possible, as I really do think I would have loved it, but there are quite a few factors which made it an impossible dream for me.

Ah well, such is life I guess! We can't all be good at everything!

amazingmumof6 Mon 01-Jul-13 23:05:00

you are welcome doodle
I meant it.

we all have regrets, but regrets are a waste of time and energy. and so is guilt.

a friend wanted to be a pilot. he is colour blind. shit happens, best to move on!wink

Doodledumdums Mon 01-Jul-13 23:13:45

Ah no that is a shame sad

I guess in an ideal world we would all have whatever we wanted and do whatever took our fancy, but I suppose the world just doesn't work like that!

Yes you are very right, regrets and guilt are definitely a waste of time. Absolutely best to move on! Life is too short!

cory Tue 02-Jul-13 06:38:28

My db spent his pre-teens and teens preparing for a career as a musician, practising every spare moment, doing a 10 round trip by train every weekend to meet up with the maestro. After his first year at the conservatoire discovered he had a stiffness in his fingers that basically meant he would never be able to make a career of it. He went into a totally different field, non-music related at all, and has been very successful. Shit happens indeed. It's what you do with the shit in your life that matters.

FasterStronger Tue 02-Jul-13 08:44:21

i think there is a big difference between putting your own experiences down to luck than other people's.

after all, you know when and why you made a decision. I have made bad decisions that have worked out (that's luck) and good decisions, most of which have worked out (of course sometime you are unlucky).

but I don't know the contents of other people's minds, or the details of their lives, so i don't really know who they ended up where they are in life. some people are in a better place than me (however they define that) because they have made better decisions. of course some people will live life recklessly and still end up in a better place than me. but that does not bother me. or interest me

life is way too short to want the lucky ones to accept their lot is down to luck. because either i am wrong (because i did not know their life story & it was not down to luck). or it is down to luck - but i am more interested in the parts of life that you can influence.

the people who interest me the most are those who make the best of what live throws at them. because those are the ones you can learn from.

also it is also very easy to judge someone else as lucky whilst ignoring your own massive luck in life: to be born in the UK, not Afghanistan. in the 19th century not the 12th. compared with that, one person getting given a deposit for a house, and one not, seems like very small fry.

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