I gotta be honest I’m incredibly frustrated and having one of those moments in my life when you are faced with a whole wall of bullshit and you think to yourself “I gotta knock that shit down.” So as you may or may not have figured out from my recent posts I live in a very big city and have been living and working here for about 12 years.
I’ve worked for some big and influential companies within the financial sector (please hold the applause), whose names won’t be revealed to protect the guilty and to protect me because they can be like Trump and sue people who say things about them that they don’t like. Years ago in 2008 during the economic crisis that was created by Wall Street, I was laid off from the prestigious financial firm that I worked with at the time. Devastating is the word I’d use to describe that time period. For the first time in my life I was truly unemployed and although I was making the rounds with recruiters (aka Pimps), my phone didn’t ring. WTF?! WHY? I had done everything they tell you to do. I had a degree from a good State University and graduated with honors, I exceeded expectations at said major financial firm and did more than was in my job description, I worked shitloads of hours and was at the beck and call of my company. All of this meant fuck all in the end! Why? Because regardless of what these companies tell you when you come in, and no matter how much of the “kumbaya punch” you drink, if the market dips and their profit margins decline that risk their bonus structure they will distance themselves from you quicker than a politician from a dead hooker.
So after the markets crashed and my comfy little world collapsed I found myself in between a rock and hard place. They wanted someone battle tested because to have that prestigious firm’s name on my resume meant that I knew what the fuck I was doing and could handle my shit, and they also assumed that I had been paid well-ish and companies didn’t want to pay that kind of money anymore. Let me rephrase, they didn’t want to pay the average worker a decent salary anymore and now that they had the economic crisis to lean on they could downgrade people’s salaries and not look like the bad guy and they fully jumped on that band wagon. And many of us are still trying to recover from this.
I eventually landed a role at a new prestigious firm going in at $10k less than I was paid before, but I could hear my mother’s voice in the back of my head “you get in there and work hard and show them what you got and they will take care of you.” Nothing against you mom but that’s bollocks! If you take a job for less money for whatever reason, you will be fucked by that low salary for years to come. Because it is now part of your “salary history” which nearly all companies ask about today. They will base your worth not on what their budget is for the role for which you are applying, but by how your previous employers valued you. They automatically assume that if you weren’t paid well by others that it is somehow due to some failing of your own and it speaks to what you may lack and not that these large corporations take advantage of people everyday. And particularly if you made a good living before 2008, your new norm is now whatever you had to take to make ends meet. They won’t take you back to that point in time. NEVER.
What was really infuriating about the economic crisis was that after 3,000 of us from my company had been laid off, we had difficulties finding new roles and we certainly had difficulties finding salaries similar to what we had; the real slap in the face was hearing that the company reported record profits in the first quarter while so many were not doing well. Another thing to note is that many CEO’s salaries didn’t change. Now many of them will say “my salary hasn’t gone up in years” and to some extent that is true. If you look at some CEO’s salaries they remained flat over a 5 year period, however, their salaries were already quite high to begin with but what is important to look at are their bonuses which have increased over the same period. CEO salaries are now on average more than 300% higher than the average worker in their company. And why is that? Because they created and favor a system that limits how many and who can rise to the top. They definitely control who gets wealth and who doesn’t and salary histories are one of the ways they do it, and health insurance is the other. Think about it, for most of us to have insurance we have to have a job and to have insurance that doesn’t cost you a lot of money out of your paycheck and at the doctor’s office, you need to work for a large firm. There is a reason that medical expenses are the main reason people have to apply for bankruptcy.
Fast forward to present moment, I was recruited away from a role I liked although I didn’t like the company, and the new role wasn’t as advertised. After a few months my boss approached me saying she didn’t think this was a fit and I agreed, so we worked out a deal to try and help each other while we both searched and I stayed on for a few months, but eventually the end came and so now I’m officially unemployed. AGAIN, I find myself between a rock and the abyss. I actually had a recruiter tell me just yesterday that since I now have an end date on my resume for my last position that I am racing against the clock, AND I can no longer demand a decent salary because I will be competing for roles with employed people who are preferred. I’ve also been told by many recruiters that I can only expect a $10k increase at the max on my next salary based on my salary history.
Regardless of the fact that I was underpaid for years companies out there will not pay more than a $10k increase regardless of what their budget for the role is or even if you are the perfect candidate. Does that sound fair? Does that sound right? NO! Now they are all aware of how they took massive advantage of people after the crisis in 2008, and they continue to take advantage with these rules to benefit their bottom line. But because most of us have no real options for health care when unemployed, we acquiesce to this elitist system so that we can take care of ourselves, which in this scenario makes us the Hos!
Now let’s talk about the pimps aka the recruiters. I would love to believe in heaven and hell because it warms my heart to think that there is a special place in hell for recruiters but alas that will only be a sweet fantasy. A girl can dream! They are so full of shit. I love how they are all up your ass when they think they can peddle you out to one of their clients, you are fantastic and talented and oh so amazing “I’ve gotta meet you” they say, “hurry please and come in and meet me.” Now if the client that they wanted to dangle you in front of like meat to a tiger didn’t bite, then you go down to the bottom of the pile and they stop taking your calls until another hungry tiger comes along and they need meat! They are the first ones to bully you into the “salary history” conversation because let’s not forget they get paid by the client. They tell you that their clients ask for this information and they want us to pretend that don’t know why, if their client can get someone to do the job for $20k less why not! I’m sure that windfall makes it back to the recruiter somehow especially if they get more search work from them.
Now what I’d like is if this question became illegal in every State and not just Massachusetts. However, if not, then they shouldn’t be able to ask the question unless we can ask them the salary history of that specific role. How have you paid people in that role for the last 10 years? I’m sure they wouldn’t want to provide that sort of transparency now would they. At this moment I think all this shit is pointing me in one direction….to finally find some way to create my own business and work for myself. Actually that’s the way many in the world are going.
They are no longer willing to subjugate themselves or prostitute themselves for the sake of making money for someone else’s wealth and benefit. Now if this country ever got its shit together and demanded true universal health care and other humane benefits, that would mean that corporations who hold the media, government and us hostage for their greedy gain would have to find another way of doing business. They would have to start sharing more because otherwise, why would anyone go work for them when they could do it on their own? Sure they might not make ridiculous amounts of money but they will make enough to live and enjoy themselves and be able to seek medical care when needed and for some of us that is quite enough.