Friday, February 5, 2010

What more can I sell?

It's now just over three months since my marriage/family breakup.  In that time, the kids' father and I have worked out a so-far successful 50/50 arrangement, the kids seem happier, the old house has sold (for a crap price, but sold is sold), I'm settled into my childhood home again, one child has started school, one is now at a new kindy, and one is now sleeping happily in two houses.

But I need money to make ends meet.  Although my parents aren't complaining about having to support me again, I feel enormous guilt that I am being a financial burden to people who have worked so hard for so many years and are having to spend their hard-earned retirement money in this way.  I am actively looking for work, and have a few promising options looming, but it doesn't resolve my short term financial crisis.  The ex is being belligerent, and to fight for any support from him, no matter how short term, ironically involves spending money on legal fees to obtain.  A rock and hard place sandwich.

So, on the urging on well-meaning friends, I took a deep breath, swallowed my already damaged pride, and went to a WINZ office.
"What have I got to lose," I tried to justify to myself.  "I've already sold my confidence, self esteem, security, stability, family cohesiveness.  Might as well sell my dignity while I'm at it.  Wonder how long it will be before I'm in a position to buy some depression?"
Up until my recent, life-changing events, I was critical of the welfare state.  I refused to accept most arguments for its existence, beyond a degree of assistance to help those in short term strife.

But, for me, it was not to be.  Having completely surrendered my dignity by walking into a bloody WINZ office, I was then humiliated.  Forgot that was free.

It seems I should have no trouble finding a job (yes, I know that, but it doesn't solve my problems until I GET that job), and that maybe I should rethink my decision to break up the marriage.  Is there, by any change, I can try and resolve the issues with my ex?  Because there are apparently people out there who need financial assistance more than me.

Perhaps being open about my situation was my very downfall.  Perhaps I should have lied about my background and my education and my past career.  Perhaps I should have stayed in an abusive marriage.  Perhaps I should have said that I intend to not look for a job, that I intend to reproduce wantonly, and that I intend to stay on a benefit forever.

Would that have made me a more worthy recipient?

Do they honestly think I actually wanted to walk into their office in the first place?

Hell, I was even prepared to consider paying it back once I got a job.

Instead, I am now essentially begging, and relying on the goodness of friends and family to help me pay the shortfall through interest free loans.  The new lifestyle is hardly hedonistic.  I no longer use the car, there are no luxury items on the grocery list, and the biggest treat for the kids last week was a $1 DVD borrowed from the library.  I am baking most things for the lunchboxes, and the kids haven't had new clothes since Christmas.  Any clothing and shoes for the kids is coming from friends, The Warehouse sales, and op shops.  This is life on the cheap.

The reality is what I am seeking to make ends meet is only around $75-100 per week.  This is considerably less than what I have contributed to the NZ government coffers in my working life so far.  As a crude calculation, I estimate that I have contributed the government has stolen from me about $346,500 in taxes alone.

But I don't get any short term help, even though my intentions are good.  And yet I am expected to continue my contributions.

Where is the incentive to work?

3 comments:

Oswald Bastable said...

It's like a compulsary insurance policy that you can never make a claim on.

Inventory2 said...

Hang in there OM - and thanks for your honesty and candour. Hope things pick up for you very quickly.

Stephen said...

Choices have consequences. That is the libertarian way. You have to live with yours.

I suspect you won't publish this - being libertarian and all.