My Struggle with Salary Envy

If you’re looking for a kumbaya story or “8 Savvy Tips to Get Over Income Jealousy!” I’m sorry to disappoint, but this ain’t it. You see, a friend of mine – a friend that I value and respect – just posted his new salary on Facebook and instead of being a good friend with a simple, “Congratulations!” I yelled, “F*CKER!” and shoved my laptop away in disgust.

I mean, I should be happy for him, right? Six figures at 27 years old is pretty darn impressive. And, deep down inside I’m sure I am happy for this kid, but it’s hard to feel it when I’m overwhelmed with feelings of mediocrity and failure.

I just hate that this guy earns more than 2.5 times my salary! I hate it. And, not because I feel my own salary is lacking – I’m actually pretty content with my circumstances – but every time I see my college friends’ lives in comparison to my own, it’s a friendly reminder of what could have been. With each new achievement, it’s like I hear my mother’s voice crying, “Why, oh why, couldn’t you have just stayed in engineering?”

And, yes – that could have been me. Believe it or not, I’m actually pretty damn smart. I’ve got skills, I’ve got talent, and – by the grace of God – some people even call me charming. But in addition to smarts, skills, talents, and charm, I lack two things: focus and discipline. And, let’s be honest here, folks – in this world, these are the only skills that matter.

So, what will I do? The only thing I can do, really. I’ll keep writing, keep learning, and – most importantly – I’ll keep dreaming. And, maybe someday – just maybe – I’ll finally become that six-figure girl.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless March 19, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Hey Katasha! I like your new domain name! 🙂 Also, I just noticed that you and I have almost exactly the same amount of debt. (Wahoo.) :/

    I can totally relate to the salary envy you’re describing. I definitely have a lot of moments where I feel like I effed up my life by choosing to major in English and spend the entirety of my 20s wandering from low-paying job to low-paying job. But you’re right — all we can do is go forward from where we are!

    • Reply Katasha March 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      LOL – we’re like debt sisters!! Oh jeez, that’s so morbid 😐

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels crummy about salary envy. I feel kinda lame posting about it, but I figured it was a good moment to capture in case I want to reflect on it later on.

      Also, glad you like the new domain name! Did a bit of soul searching and realized broke girl rehab was better than broke girl blogging. I won’t be broke forever!

  • Reply Mrs Groovy March 20, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Hi Katasha – Mr. Groovy wrote about “Experience Envy” but I can totally relate to salary envy. I’m almost 30 years older than you and about to end my working life, and wish I could end it with a higher salary. Why? It’s not because I need it. It’s ego. I’m sure that over the past 10 years, had we stayed in NY, I would have changed jobs at least 3 times. In the 9 to 5, world, a job change is the best time to massively increase your salary. I’m convinced I would have been earning at least 30K more if we hadn’t relocated. BUT our expenses would have been a lot higher. AND, I cut out 3 hour a day commute. And we love living in the south.

    I’m sure you had good reasons for getting out of engineering, but I would say lack of focus and discipline are not two of them. Someone who cuts down on debt, starts a blog, gains an audience, etc. etc. is not a person without focus and discipline. Try not to be so hard on yourself.

    • Reply Katasha March 20, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      Wow. You are absolutely right. It totally is my ego. I wish I had something more profound to add, but all I can say is, yes – you’re totally right.

      Also, I’m very grateful that – for whatever reason – you found me worthy enough to be a fellow blogger friend 🙂 I really enjoy reading from your experience as someone who’s already been through it all, and so-so close to the finish line!

      Thanks again, Mrs Groovy! <3

  • Reply NZ Muse March 22, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Ha, I feel this so, so hard! Thankfully a bit less since I left journalism and now have better earning prospects… but it’s tough.

    • Reply Katasha March 23, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Hey, NZ Muse –
      Welcome! Yeah, normally I don’t worry about salaries until people bring theirs up and I’m like oh yeah, that’s right – I’M BROKE. Hahahaha 🙂

      I’m glad you found a new career that’s more profitable!
      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply Chonce March 23, 2016 at 7:05 am

    I can definitely relate! Even though I probably earn a bit more than my friends who are my age, I always tend to compare myself with older or more experienced people and it’s just not productive or realistic. Everyone has their own journey and situation so I’ve been trying to use other people’s earnings and good news to inspire and motivate myself to do more. One day, I hope to earn six figures too!

    • Reply Katasha March 23, 2016 at 9:58 am

      Hey Chonce!

      Yeah, you’re totally right – it’s completely unproductive and not fair to compare myself to others, but I still feel it, you know? Definitely I can turn the energy around as use it as motivation instead of shame.

      Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • Reply Kara April 8, 2016 at 10:54 am

    gah, going through some of this right now. It’s not even that i want a gazillion dollars, it’s just that I want a ‘normal’ salary. Is 50K so much to ask for? I’m happy for other people, but angry that’s not also my situation. Not a great headspace!

    • Reply Katasha April 13, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      OMG yes! That’s exactly me right now – I’m not even expecting to be a 6-figure badass, but it just PAINS me to see other people at that level when I barely hit $40K.

      Oh well, I guess it’s time for me to start hustling 🙂

  • Reply Karen April 11, 2016 at 5:50 am

    That’s kind of one of the reasons why I don’t use Facebook personally, and use it more for the blog. That’s awesome that he has a raise and is doing quite well at such a young age, but I really don’t think it’s necessary to post it on Facebook for the world to see.

    Since I have quit so many jobs and have experienced several bouts of unemployment, I am pretty sure the majority of my friends and family are earning way more than I am. If they’re saving more and have a higher net worth? Hard to say because we never really talk about it, but I could be in a better place than some of them.

    • Reply Katasha April 17, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Hey Karen! So honored that you stopped by my humble little blog 🙂
      And, that’s so true about what you said regarding saving and having a higher net worth – I’m starting to understand everyone’s lives aren’t always as they seem, even if they do earn six figures.

      That’s social media for ya!

  • Reply Jen @ Frugal Millennial April 17, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I graduated from a competitive master’s program, and it was so depressing to see many of my classmates landing awesome jobs right after grad school while I struggled to land ANY job. I always tried to remind myself that I shouldn’t compare myself to them – many of them had years of relevant work experience, and I had no full-time work experience at all (I went straight from college to grad school).

    I ended up accepting a job that paid less than half of what I had expected to earn. I make more than that now, but I still wonder what would’ve happened if I hadn’t “settled” and if I had waited to find a higher paying job (would my salary be higher now?). I accepted the first job I was offered because I was terrified about not being able to pay off my $75k of student loan debt.

    • Reply Katasha April 17, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      Yeah, I hear you – I sort of dicked around after college and when I took my first “real” job, I accepted it right away because I was so consumed with my student debt!

      I do believe that – if we would have negotiated – we probably would be at a better level now, but there’s no use in crying over spilled milk, right? Now, I’m just trying to focus on building my marketable skills and gaining the confidence to eventually ask for a raise.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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