Kicking against the pricks
One of those possibly ill-advised work-related posts. But hey.
There's a pay freeze this year for UK-based staff at NGO X. I kind of get why. Were it up to me, I'd freeze the higher salaries and up the lower ones a bit, but it's not up to me. We do have a union, of which I am a member, and if there's an argument to be had, it's in a collective bargaining environment. It's a free country still, and we shouldn't lose sight of that.
But there are some money saving measures which have been introduced with (to my knowledge) no consultation at all. For example, you can now no longer request a cash float if you are travelling within the UK, the EU or the US. You should use your NGO X credit card, they now say, or pay with your own funds and then claim it back. This is more cost-effective.
Well, not for me it's not. I do not have an NGO X credit card. I also do not have a personal credit card. I once had the former, but they cut back on them a few years ago, and to be fair I never missed it that much. I have never had the latter.
But I will be in New York for work from 27-31 July, which is (to state the obvious) the end of the month. And at the end of the month, I'm skint. This is what happens when you have a fixed rate mortgage and a part time salary. And generally it's fine, because generally I can control my expenditure. But four days in New York will cost money that I will not have at my disposal and cannot easily access right now.
My manager was happy to support the case for an exception, and I'm optimistic that, because I was brave enough to ask and she is senior enough to have influence, there will be a cash float forthcoming. But it's a dumb thing, speaking-in-a-personal-capacity, to have a blanket policy on. It assumes individual staff members have a) a corporate credit card, b) pillowed personal finances or c) easy access to credit, and a) are rare unless you are relatively senior and travel a lot, b) is a palpably unfair assumption and c) is what got the world into this mess.
So I was recounting this saga to a colleague earlier today. I got to the 'and I don't *have* a personal credit card' bit.
'Is that an ideological position?' he asked.
Yeah, I said. Mostly.
And it is, but not many people notice that. I could afford to pay my Poll Tax back in 1989 (I was at university and my parents basically said 'send us the bill') but I chose not to, because it was ill-thought through and wholly inequitable. If only those who literally cannot comply do not comply, it becomes something about them rather than something about the thing they are not complying with.
Sometimes, you've got to exercise the choices you're lucky enough to have. On the whole, I don't believe in credit. Mortgages, yes, and microcredit, yes, but generally, if you can't afford it, save up for it and then buy it, do not buy it and then worry about how you're going to pay for it. So why would I *need* a credit card?
And I can count the times I've wished I'd had one on the fingers of one hand. I may be weird, but I may also be the future. So now I need to work on that policy. Wish me luck.joella