Well, I’m working 6 days a week on a rate of $50 an hour, and yet somehow, I’m consistently broke.
Part of that is that I only work a few hours a day, but most of it is that I have yet to get paid a full wage. I’ve worked two months for one agency and have only been paid for one month – some deferred payment system that is apparently common which I’ve never come across before.
This crippled me twice. The first month when I came to pick up my much needed paycheck to finally live comfortably, they said ‘next month’. The next month I came, I expected an even bigger paycheck of one month, plus the 2 weeks I worked prior to that, they said ‘only 4 weeks worth’. So I had exactly enough to pay for my 2 months of rent and a sandwich to spare.
I had to borrow from family again. That money has since gone on said rent and now I’m in more debt that I am from University (at least that’s how it feels).
When I finally get paid on my third month here in 2 and 3 weeks, I will have lived through the biggest holiday of the year in poverty while everyone enjoys themselves, and when I do get the money, I will have just about enough to pay back what I owe to the most immediate helpers, and by the time I get paid again, that money will go on the next two months of rent, making me poor again.
The month after that, I will repeat and be comfortable, but there’s another twist to the story. The week holiday means a week of no work. Meaning a week of no pay, something I need. The payment is deferred so my main paycheck will pay me only 3 weeks around the time I need to pay off 2 months of rent.
The cycle of just catching up continues and continues. All I can do is get more and more work until I have no free time and just wait 2 months to get paid off and sync myself into financial security, but that’s exactly the opposite of what I came to China to do. I came for freedom of options, not to slave away doing something I am not designed to do, things that are not my ambitions.
Now I find myself working 6 days a week, living day by day, which destroys my creativity, replaced with constant thoughts of how far this $30 is gonna get me.
Honestly, it’s already spent. I need to top up my phone, which is $15, travel to work is a further $10/week. People are knocking on my door to get me to pay the bills, I need food of course.
It’s tragic how common this mindset is around the world, and even more tragic how LUXURY it is in the eyes of most.
I just didn’t expect things to be this tight. Ever.
I had a way through, I had an extra weekly paycheck which would support me until payday and life was safe. The second that cancelled, everything was thrown up in the air.
It’s hard, after such disappointment, to just continue and get ready for the work you have to go to. But it has to be done. Gotta swallow the thought, get up and do it.
It feels much safer to just hide under bed covers and disappear, but that would just perpetuate the problem down the line. Gotta think ahead. Gotta survive. Gotta show everyone. Gotta pay everyone back. Owe $4000. I can do it.