middleclass353

Please, please, please ... can I have a pay rise?

A not particularly scientific observation I've made about the children of the wealthy is they seem largely unafflicted by the middle class guilt of making lots of money.

Given, rich kids' opportunity to make lots of money is often exponentially aided by their parents' wealth, the good schools they attended and the social networks they access.

However, many also inherit an entrepreneurial attitude (and parental start-up cash) that makes them hesitant to become wage-earners, or if they do, to target lucrative industries.

I know enough rich kids to acknowledge plenty of them also go their own way in industries unconnected to their families, without handouts from the olds and just assume they'll be paid handsomely for their efforts.

I can't think of one that's limited by the "just be happy you've got a job" mindset and hesitates to push for promotions or payrises, or won't demand top dollar for their services.

Some of you might term this attitude venal, but I like to think of it as a person knowing their value and not buying into the oft-voiced manipulation that business is "doing us a favour creating jobs". It should always be a symbiotic relationship.

A friend of mine told me recently he's just reached the "earning more than my parents" threshold at the ripe old age of 32.

"I can't seem to conceptualise being richer than mum and dad," he said which translates, in my opinion, to him being underpaid.

This man is gifted, has just gone off contract with a major corporation and has stalled his salary negotiations "so I can see out this project I'm working on".

He's had to take stewardship of a poorly-managed, over-budget, strife-ridden departmental merger because all his superiors have resigned in frustration or been sacked.

And he thinks this is a good time to just smile and be happy he's got a job?

The knowledge he holds about this transaction is conservatively worth five times his salary because of how much it would cost to bring an outside consultant(s) up to speed on the project.

But he's talking about pushing for a mere 10 or 20 per cent pay rise.

When I told him this was the absolute best time to renegotiate his salary - from a position of strength - he started on about loyalty and gratitude, then with a sigh, admitted he suffered from a "middle class mindset".

I countered that if there's one dismal continuity in human relationships, it's that the strong dominate the weak, the smart exploit the stupid and if he's thinking about subverting that dynamic, do it in 20 years once he's bought a house and a yacht.

You can bet if this project does go belly-up, the cost overruns continue to accrue, or my friend outlives his usefulness, "loyalty and gratitude" will be the last concepts being discussed by his managers.

Do you or your children have a "middle class mindset"? Should we feel thankful to simply have a job?

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