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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!

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.

AgentProvocateur Sat 29-Jun-13 23:02:02

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.

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