Friday, November 19, 2010

Commitment Phobia...and Bill Collectors

I heard the phone ring this morning just a little after 12pm  (FYI 12 pm is an artist's morning!), in my head I knew it was probably a bill collector but I decided to answer. What am I hiding from anyway? I know I owe the money and so do they. Whatever. I figured at least I would have someone to take my frustration out on if this didn't go well. Here, I should pause to mention that as a result of the conversation I had with my bill collector this morning, I had a major catharsis.

Thank you bill collector lady.

Resume story.

So anyway, the bill collector lady was talking my ear off about how much I owe and blah blah blah, when she said something that caught me off guard. She said "Miss Jackson, you made a commitment to us to pay this bill and we expect your loyalty on this matter." Wow. Commitment...loyalty??? Never thought I would hear those words from a bill collector, those are words I am used to hearing and saying when I am talking about a relationship. Her words made me realize that in truth, I do have a relationship with my creditors. And here is where I got pissed. Pissed because of how one-sided this whole commitment and loyalty was.

When you get a loan, apply for a credit card, start a new job or even buy a book online, you are expected to make a "commitment." To promise to pay the loan or the credit card, to come to work, to agree to the terms of usage for your new online book company no matter what. But in return what do they owe you? Jack shit! You are expected to come to work when your sick or tired. To remain loyal to your job in the midst of cutbacks that make you have to work harder yet receive less pay. You are expected to endure long hours with little praise and when you do take the time for yourself or say that you need a break, you are promptly reminded of the "commitment" you made to the job. The same holds true for your creditors. Creditors don't care, what you're going through. They don't care if you lost your job...or were laid off. They still want their money. So my question is why I am expected to honor my "commitments" when my job didn't have to honor theirs? Don't they have a responsibility to me as well? What about the university that I paid over $100,000 to attend? Shouldn't I get a refund, when I can't find a job that pays for all these "commitments" I have? Why is this shit so one-sided?

A few days ago a friend of mine read the manuscript for my book and in the comment section for one of the chapters she told me that I need to do a book about capitalism. I agree with her and while I won't go into detail here on my feelings about capitalism, I will say I am frustrated that we live in a system the punishes people simply for being alive.  As humans, we have basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) and it takes money to meet those needs. For most of us the only way to get money is to get  job,  so we make commitments.  Beneath those commitments is just a the desire to get our needs met. We just want to fucken eat! That's why so many people hate their job, they didn't get the job because they liked it in the first place, they/we do it because we have to. But in the end, the job owes you nothing. They can let you go for whatever, whenever. More than likely they will manufacture some reason to blame you for what happened. They may say, you were late a lot, or sick too much. As if you have the capacity to control traffic or your health. It's bull shit and I'm tired of it. So, I know this isn't the most upbeat post, but I have to keep it real. Shit like this is the reason I work so hard on my book. I can't imagine doing this for the rest of my life. Constantly, being controlled, manipulated and blamed...simply because I want to eat. I'm over it.

I'm not a cheater, so I won't sign another lease or get another credit card on the side. I am walking away from it altogether. Until they are willing to hold up their end of the bargain, I won't be making anymore "commitments." Just call me a bachelorette...

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