Are you or your friends among the working poor?


Lately I have been noticing a new career trend that’s growing slowly but if we ignore it, it will become as wild as the rate of unemployment.

Have you ever had that friend who works but every time you meet to hang out they can’t even afford to buy themselves a meal or even transport themselves to an event?

Well your friend is among the working poor. I have been interacting with a lot of people who tell me they work but have nothing to show for it. Then it hit me, these are the working poor. They work and earn just enough money to help them get to work every month and pay off a couple of bills (House rent, electricity bills and water bills) that’s all.

Poverty in the work place is as real as unemployment in Uganda and very few people are bold enough to talk about it. Most of them mask it within the bad labour laws, low salaries and blah blah.

But the main reason to why this trend is escalating is because employees are allowing their companies to pay them less and then their companies present a huge amount of expectations on the little they earn from them.


Someone exchanges 10 hours of his day for 300,000/= or less for a month. 10 fricken hours go to waste for that much a month. You accept it silently then your boss puts expectation on you through taxes and fashion.

You are expected to look good, dress the part and get to work on time. Let’s say you are a journalist receiving 300,000/= a month, your media house requires you to be in tiptop fashion. Your hair has to represent the company down to your clothes.

For women it’s even worse because the cheapest hair style goes for 50,000/= plus the labour but most times the price goes higher since you want to look as good as the building you walk out of.

My take on this is “if your bosses expect you to look ravishing then they might as well need to increase your pay check”, because either way it is you the employee that is losing in wasted time and you will have no saving at all.

I  highly suggest to low paying companies to provide for their employees uniforms, shoes and a particular hairstyle that fits their pay check just like in the army.

But if you’re paying less and expect me to invest in my looks to make your company look good out there, that is a serious cope out on my side as an employee.

I would rather leave your company, get a low paying job as a construction site porter, earn 10,000/= every day and by the end of the month I have 300,000/= of no hustle.

No taxes charged, no fashion expectations on me and above all I have meals provided so if I get to spend 5,000/= every day I will have 150,000/= in savings, makes a much bigger difference. My hairstylists can afford to work on only two women a day and walks away with 140,000/=. But I know Halima best she literally grazes around 6 to 7 women’s heads a day making 490,000/=.

That’s a much better deal and she is not expected to dress a certain way so all the fashion constraints she puts upon herself are affordable for her. If she can’t afford clothing or a hairstyle because of a more pressing issue, she will tone it down but an employed person doesn’t have that privilege.

This tendency of employees sticking to bad jobs for experience is also disconcerting, you may gain the experience at a low paying firm but you’ll have lost 10 years of building your life at a different company. People I suggest move on if you are feeling or see that you fit the description of the employed poor.

Am not asking you to revolt against your boss but there must be a way for us to change this, we must find a way to handle this cancer before it spreads further. It just seems like we are working for vampires, living in a vampire state and have vampire relatives who expect us to contribute something every time they get a problem.

It’s even worse if you have a family, a landlord and a shop keeper who depend on you.  Vampire electricity companies, telecom companies and unexplained bank charges all waiting to suck on that 300,000/=.

I hope you will still be so sane not to accept a bribe when presented the opportunity because school fees is also another vampire waiting to be fed next week.

Happy new month.




No tags 3 Comments
3 Responses
  • martha
    September 1, 2014

    your right

  • Javi the man
    September 2, 2014

    Just quit like sarah has said. tolinda bidde

  • Javi the man
    September 2, 2014

    Yo getting me wrong. Get a better job where you can earn and keep some savings.

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