Musings on class and ‘stations’ of life.

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I got my first mean blog comment the other day. I didn’t approve it, because at first it shocked me. Some people don’t have the same views as me! Quelle horreur! But it also amused me. And then it made me sad.

To paraphrase, the comment said that I was a ‘well-to-do moocher’, with ‘ideas above my station’ and that I should ‘just get a job’.

First of all: I am no longer on JSA so am no longer ‘mooching’. I only ever received £31 per week as I work on Saturdays. And I am entitled to it. People who don’t accept money they are entitled to through some misplaced sense of pride are, to be quite honest, stupid.

Secondly, I don’t have to get just any old job. My parents support me, I work part time and I get money from other places: babysitting and eBay. Yes, it’s not enough to move out on, but it’s enough for me to afford to go abroad twice a year and go out once a week if I so wish. Why would I give that up to be some wage slave in a shop?

Nothing against people who work in retail – I do currently! (Along with the marketing work and some acting). But I’d only do it if I had to. I’ve got plenty of experience in retail and to be honest, I don’t want to do it any longer than I have to. I’m not polite enough to answer stupid questions from the public five days a week.

I also have a degree. I don’t pay it back until I’m earning £15k, which a zero hours contract from New Look isn’t going to get me. So by telling me to accept any old job, you’re telling me to not pay back my loans and tuition fees? Hmm. Ok.

The point in the comment that bothered me the most was that I have ‘ideas above my station’. So, what exactly is my ‘station’ in life? Do tell. I’m all ears. I come from a working class family with middle class cultural interests and live in a reasonably expensive, predominantly white area in the countryside (it was my grandparents’ house which my parents bought off my mom’s brother after my grandmother died). We have a huge back garden, live next door to lakes and a park. My parents both only work part time as they have no mortgage. We all have a lot of hobbies and don’t do things together as a family very often as we’re all perfectly happy entertaining ourselves, but we do like to go out to posh pubs, visit the theatre and sometimes a nice country house.

That said, my mom is a housekeeping supervisor in a hospital, and works as a cleaner and a gardener for other people. My dad sells antiques, but also works in a pub as a barman.

Interesting class boundaries, wouldn’t you agree?

There is no such thing as a ‘station in life’. That is Victorian, class-ridden crap. If no one wished to better themselves or their situation, we’d all still be roaming around the world like nomads, living in caves (this is also the argument to ‘If it’s not broken don’t fix it’).

If I want to hold out for the well-paid job, the job that enables me to pay back my university fees, the job that interests me, the job I will stay in, the job I will be good at – that is my prerogative. People can advise, they can disapprove (preferably silently, in their heads), but no one can instill their beliefs upon me. We all have different views: some people think any work is better than nothing. I think those people don’t know how to entertain themselves. Some people would rather be at work than at home, reading a book – that is not me. But if it’s you, I don’t wish to change that. We’re all different.

It makes me sad that work is seen as the be all and end all of life and if you wish to spend your time doing something more intellectually worthy, you’re an economically inactive lay-about. If I have children and marry someone who can support a family on one salary, I think I’d much rather be a housewife than out working. Many, many women don’t want to do that, and that is FINE.

Why should we all be the same? Life would be very boring.

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