Fighting Poverty with Passion
Taking a Pay Check
“So what’s the pay like?” This is the first question that I’m thinking for any of the jobs I’ve ever had. When you talk about being hired at a new job, EVERYBODY wants to know how much you’ll make. Money, money, money…always calculating when I’m going to get paid, what trip am I going to spend my hard earned dollars on, dinners with friends, partying, buying new clothes for different events that I planned on never rewearing, cell phones. Just absolutely ridiculous! All in the name of money, one of my biggest concerns and for the most part, one of my only concerns. Fast forward to the present, I am now an AmeriCorps VISTA! A lot my friends and family are excited for my experience, but I am more excited to gain a different frame of thinking. In terms of thinking about receiving my “living wage” and then receiving my end of service award…people are confused about why being a VISTA matters so much to me considering I’m being paid at the poverty line, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that His people need my time versus what money I could possibly give. The reason why I took this position was to find a calling on my life to help His people. So what’s it like being an AmeriCorps VISTA and being paid as one… let’s just say they’re both challenging lol but it has made me come to the realization people are living like this everyday, stressed about how bills are going to be paid, cell phones cut off, no money to party and definitely no trips, buying groceries and using coupons…talk about a change in mentality.
I came to the realization that money is NOT EVERYTHING! I see the world always in the pursuit of money and time. I am in a place in my life where giving my time is worth more than making the money. Of course I miss my old lifestyle! I have somehow still maintain some parts of it, but being a VISTA has brought me into a new and more positive perspective especially in terms of money.
I will tell you one thing, since making not so much, I have reined in my impulsive and frivolous ways. I can honestly say I am feeling the pinch in my pocket, but now I focus on my needs rather than wants and that is really the basic foundation of life. We need to weigh out what we want and what we need and I think that the younger generations have a less handle on that due to the instant gratification and dealing in the world with debt and the all mighty “plastic”.
The world was revolving while I was stagnant and standing still. I have such a new look out on life that I hope to pass down to my children and other’s children. We’ll just say I’m happy to just get back to the basics 😉
-Brittany Lane, TNVNET VISTA, Urban Research and Outreach/ Engagement Center, at the University of Minnesota