Because We’re Worth It!

I’ve never knowingly been paid less than my male counterparts, but the thought I might have makes my blood boil! I turned on the news this morning to hear that women earn 80p for every £1 earned by men.

Is the Equal Pay Act worth the paper it’s written on? It’s a disgrace that in 2014 most women working full-time are effectively working for free for the next two months. Of course that’s just half the story as women at the top of their game try to break through the glass ceiling. So what are we going to do about it???

Is the gender pay gap a symptom of a more widespread prejudice towards women in the workplace? In my working life, I’ve been asked at a final interview if I was thinking of getting pregnant as the other strongest candidate was a man and therefore couldn’t!

I’ve discovered having a baby can be tantamount to committing career suicide. A friend whose baby was 9 months old was asked at interview what she’d been doing in her time off. When she explained she’d just had a baby the panel expressed disappointment that she hadn’t done any courses.

While working freelance, I was amazed as a male colleague daily shouted “part-timer” at a female colleague leaving the office at 5pm to collect her children from out of school clubs. As if it isn’t hard enough trying to find a balance working full-time while keeping up with the domestic chores and having some time left over for the family without comments like that!

Women have proved themselves to be just as, and in some cases more than, capable and hard-working as men. We are tenacious, resourceful, incredible multitaskers and facilitators…and unequivocally worth more than we’re getting!

Ebay it!

Make no bones about it money’s tight at the moment! It’s what comes of being part of “The Squeezed Middle”. But in these times of state imposed austerity where would we be without Ebay?

I discovered it in 2009 after my first son was born. Maternity pay had come to an end. A conversation with a coffee swigging, dopey looking nursery nurse about how she’d record my son’s first word in a tatty lever arch file put the kibosh on me returning to work full-time. Nevertheless bills needed to be paid and the thought of not having any cash of my own made my blood run cold.

So I found ebay…My first sale was a pair of unused red sequinned nipple tassles bought for me by a Director I worked with on a documentary in Manchester just before I got married. Inappropriate? At the time that was exactly what I was thinking as I opened it in full view of the office but that’s tv for you, dahling! However, with their Agent Provocateur packaging still in tact they went for £25 – air kisses all round! Suddenly, clutter became cash in disguise.

I’ve often thought ebay is missing a trick by not doing a timeline for sales and purchases like Facebook. Mine would tell my life story – from those carefree days of tassled pasties to the BabyDan sling in vgc to maternity clothes bundle after baby number 2, armfuls of recycled toys and now salvaged bath taps after our bathroom refurb (19 hours to go and 32 watchers).

My highs have included managing to sell a used breast pump; turning a profit of £30 on a second hand chair I bought for £45 and making a quick £13 on a Bumbo seat I bought for a song at a charity shop (the Portas effect is yet to reach the Samaritans in Willesden Green).

Thankfully, I’ve only had a few bad experiences in my 4 years of ebay buying and selling. Most farcical was a John Lewis mirrored chest of drawers which arrived (eventually) smashed to smithereens in a courier’s van worthy of a bank job that ran out of petrol 300 yards from my front door.

The seller refused to help me get compensation and instead started sending me abusive emails claiming that I led a “charmed life”. After doing a bit of research I discovered she ran a hydroponics shop and I learnt the valuable lesson of checking feedback on sellers before hitting the “confirm bid” button.

I think there comes a point in every ebay user’s life where shopping habits are influenced by a purchase’s resale value. My kids are constantly asking if I’m going to ebay this or that and it has been used as an effective threat to curb bad behaviour!

Next time you’re tempted to read one of those “How to make money in your lunch hour” articles use the time more productively to research the completed listings on ebay and sell your unwanted stuff.

I find the item that went for the most and figure out why…what was the starting bid, how long did the auction run for, when did it end, what does the description say. Another tip is never underestimate the postage. If you can’t stand the idea of queuing in your local Post Office use a courier like myHermes. They’ll pick up from you direct and they often work out cheaper.

It never fails to surprise me what sells from used perfume bottles to this season’s Primark must have…the possibilities are endless. So get selling everything, including the kitchen sink!