Humans logo

Poverty Charges Interest

Institutionalized Poverty is Unacceptable

By Susan Eileen Published 7 months ago 6 min read
Poverty Charges Interest
Photo by Mihály Köles on Unsplash

Poverty, like wealth, also charges interest. Don't have money for tires now? Pay for a tow truck and lost time from work later. Don't have time or insurance for a dental cleaning? Pay for dentures later. Don't have the money for a vacation? Pay for a nervous breakdown later. Negative momentum in the wrong direction is still momemtum. In our current economy, you can go up or down, but staying afloat with a middle-class job is as scarce as a unicorn these days. What we've got now is modern-day corporate slavery.

Corporate Slavery


Modern day slavery in the workforce is corporate slavery - it is the mistreatment of employees, by paying low wages and no healthcare. Typically, you have a toxic manager that focuses on what you do wrong (which is minimal) and never focuses on what you do well; he would never understand that you have a life outside of work. In my case, there is a point system for attendance - for instance getting one point for calling in sick. You can only earn a certain number of points if you call off for work, but you could be a single mother with sick children. Corporate Slavery has risen dramatically due to the decline of unions and "The Right to Work".

Exemplification of usage:

Me: Kathy just called in sick for today because, when she woke up, her fiancee next to her had died in bed.

Krystal: Can you believe that Sheri's response to Kathy was that, since it was unplanned absence, she would earn a point! Then, the boss told her she wouldn't pay for her bereavement time, because he was just a fiancee - not yet a husband.

Me: So wait! Are you telling me that Kathy won't receive the paid bereavement because he was "just" a fiancee? I can't believe Sheri would even mention points! Like Kathy givesa shit right now...

Krystal: This is corporate slavery. Remember when the computers were non-functional and we had to show up to this damn cube farm all three days and just at a non-working computer?

Me: That was horribly boring! Right, right! This is just a form of modern day slavery. I hate it in here - I get no time off during the week to be able to interview for a better job. It is almost impossible to get your time off approved - we're always understaffed!

This is a 100% true example of what happened to me.


In March 2012 I lost my teaching job. I ended up at a cube farm for a property preservation company. In 2009 the economy crashed and along with it the real estate market. Americans tend to spend more than they earn, and this came back to haunt many people. They lost their jobs, their wives, and their homes. I was soon to be in that category but didn’t know it yet.

The boss that I had at that time was a ruthless bitch, to put it bluntly. She quite literally lived and died for work. Even when she had breast cancer, she didn’t miss work. Even during chemotherapy, she didn’t miss work, which is an exceptionally bad idea (your immune system is quite compromised during chemotherapy). I will tell you what I have told everybody in my life – on your deathbed, you will not every say, “I wish I had worked more! If only my emails were organized!” Don’t prioritize money over happiness, work over family, fun over a boss that will fire you over the smallest and most petty of details.

This job basically felt as abusive as a toxic relationship. Your emails were monitored. It was a dead- end job with no escape. I wanted a better job, but couldn’t even get time off for an interview. Since my self-esteem could fit in a thimble at the time, I didn’t even do well at the interviews I did manage to obtain.

It was a call center. I definitely learned the importance of overgrown grass! Neighbors of the foreclosed properties would call screaming and irate at the tall grass next store. They would literally spend half an hour screaming about the uncut grass. It was my job to call the grass vendor and arrange for a grass cut. I was exceptionally good at what I did, not that I received any praise. If anything, I was a victim of what is called “The Peter Principle.” I was promoted to my own level of incompetence.

As I said, my boss was a bitch. She would start emails with, “please help me understand..” That phrase was like rubbing the fur on a cat backwards. It made me irate almost instantly. Further aggravating the problem is that the issue in question was usually a cluster fuck that was made that way by someone else. I get handed a disaster, and then in turn, it’s somehow my fault.

I was hated by the other incompetent people at work. On any given day, I would make 90 phone calls to vendors to get overdue work orders done. My co-workers would be shoe-shopping online and then get mad that I out performed them. As I said, it felt as toxic as a domestically abusive relationship. Why I worried about that job at night – which by the way, paid thirteen dollars an hour when I had a Master’s Degree going to waste – I have no idea. I wasn’t taking my own advice about minimizing the impact of work on my life.

I was there for four full years. In 2016, they lost a huge account with Fannie Mae in seventeen states. This led to a drastic workforce reduction. By that time, I had been promoted to team lead – a dead end boring data entry position. We weren’t allowed to talk to our coworkers even during our downtime. Even during a full-blackout, this position made us stare our computers. Getting fired from this job was definitely a blessing in disguise. I was underpaid and underutilized and abused to boot! Jobs are a dime a dozen – as the saying goes – it if costs you your peace, it is too expensive – and that job was a soul-sucking nightmare! Next!


This job is a perfect example of instutionalized poverty. I had to miss work for blown out tires, bad teeth, and the like. When I got offered other jobs, I didn't have reliable transportation because my current job paid such low-wages jobs. We can do better in this country. We have done better in this country. Everyone likes to complain that no one wants to work, but ignores the facts that we're treated like serfs in the Middle Ages.

I don't know who needs to hear this, but if it costs you your sanity and peace at night, it's too damn expensive.


About the Creator

Susan Eileen

I am an aspiring writer currently writing a book on the Sober Revolution we are in the midst of, a book about essays that will change the way you think, and a novel about a serial killer. I am also working on a book of poetry.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.