You don’t know it yet, but today you woke up a slave.
Ok, all dramatics aside, if you’re reading this on your morning commute as you head off to another day at the grind, then you’re getting a pretty stiff deal. You should be earning approximately $296.90¹ for the day’s work – but you’re not.
Fun fact: there’s an extra day in a leap year because the earth doesn’t take 365 days to complete an orbit around the sun – it takes 365.2422 days, give or take a little. So every four years, that almost-quarter of a day adds up to one whole February 29th.
Not so fun fact: we tend to ignore these extra days. If you’re born on February 29th, your legal birthday will usually be considered 1st March or February 28th instead. If you follow tradition and propose to your boyfriend on Feb 29th (who, admittedly, you started dating on Valentine’s Day, but that’s long enough when it’s True Love, ok?) you may wake in the middle of the night to find him and all his possessions gone. And if you’re being paid a salary, you’re not getting your $296.90 for going to work.
Totally unfair. Astronomy has really let us down here. But if you think that’s the extent of the injustice, strap yourself in, because it gets worse.
This morning, you woke up, rubbed the sleep from your eyes, staggered through the shower and chowed down on some peanut butter on toast, blissfully ignorant of what was about to happen to you.
And then, you either got in your car or pressed yourself into a train carriage next to a guy who’s sweating profusely and listening to 80’s hair bands way too loudly on his phone.
If you’re sequestered in your own car, you spend $3.75² on petrol by the time you get to work and home again. If you’re on the train, you pay about $5.61³ to hear second-hand Bon Jovi on the way to work and Motley Crue on the way back.
You get to work and pretend to stare at facts and figures while actually surfing through Twitter. It feels like approximately a million years since you sat down at your desk (it’s 9.30 a.m.). So you go on your daily coffee run. Ah, coffee, your one true love.
You don’t even begrudge the $3.50 it costs you. You’ve got to get through the day somehow.
Back to work. In an effort to do something vaguely productive, you check your credit card statement. The debt that was there yesterday is… still there.
You’re an average Aussie, sitting on the average Aussie credit card debt of $4,400. Today you’ll pay $2.11 for the privilege, because your lender is charging you 17.48% interest, which you think is ok – but that’s because you didn’t compare the best credit card deals.
Well, you’re working so hard it must be lunch time. Mike from IT keeps looking around every time your stomach rumbles. ‘Is that thunder?’ you hear him ask, looking out the window at the bluest sky to ever grace this city.
In the interest of workplace efficiency and not distracting your coworkers with your thunderous stomach, you head to the deli for a sandwich the size of your head.
$10 for a sandwich, $3 for a drink. If you’d been a little more organised this morning, you could have packed lunch and saved some dosh. But realistically, how many times can you eat re-heated meatloaf and not want to be sick? No regrets.
Refueled and rejuvenated, you head back to work and plow through the rest of your to-do list. Nothing can stop you now. You’re a machine of workplace productivity.
At 5 o’clock you’re out the door and drop into the pub for a reward of the alcoholic variety.
Let’s be honest, you deserve that $8 house red.
You listen to Motley Crue on the way home, just like I promised. Or, if you’ve stuck to one glass of wine and not one bottle, you drive to your kid’s daycare to pick up the bundle of sunshine and joy that makes it all worthwhile.
You shell out $75ˆ for the care and feeding of your bundle of joy. The nine hours of separation you’ve just paid for has been an adventure for them, so you sit quietly in the driver’s seat and listen to the latest episode of your favourite program, ‘What I stuck up my nose today.’
Home feels like the promised land, where you’re sheltered from the horrible day I’ve just promised you. You want nothing more than to put your feet up, maybe watch a little TV, and mostly, to not suddenly hemorrhage anymore money. But then…
To keep a roof over your head, you pay $41.14 in interest on your $330,000 home loan at a rate of 4.55%. Alternatively, you drop $69 in rent for an apartment you never really liked anyway.
Exhausting. Bet you wish you’d chucked a sickie. You’re handing out all this money today, you didn’t get paid the $296.90 you deserve, and now, you’re sitting in the dark because you’re vaguely terrified of what your next electricity bill will bring.
Didn’t I tell you? Slave for a day.
- Figure based on ABS data, May 2015 – the average weekly earnings for ordinary time for full time persons $1484.50, divided by 5 for daily earnings.
- Cost of petrol only, based on national average distance travelled to and from work (km) assuming 10.7L per 100km.
- Source. Based on total annual cost of $1,296 divided by 231 working days (weekends, public holidays and 20 days annual leave deducted)
- ˆSource: Average cost of childcare in Australia from AMP/NATSEM Income and Wealth Report Childcare: Affordability in Australia (2014). Based on “long day” care (most common form of formal childcare, usually open for 8-10 hours or more).
- ˆˆSource: CoreLogic’s RP Data December Rental Index Results for December 31, 2015 – this data is calculated on dwellings generally which includes houses and units