Thursday, July 10, 2008

Living in shadows

Today I went with my boss to a business lunch.
I work with a company that does data processing for financial institutions. So I know a little bit about interest rates and debit credit cards, atms, checks, loans, insurance..etc. Or at least I should.
Well, the topic with the other people in the table soon turned into the economy and how it affected people. They started talking precisely about people who just made it by doing the minimum payments on their credit cards and how ignorant they were to do that since they would never get out of debt.
They told about stories of people paying one debt by taking out cash advances on another card, efectively digging up a hole to cover another one.
All that time they were talking I felt I had a big arrow pointing towards me with a big sign saying "loser". I barely spoke a word while they talked long on that subject. I don't know if they could feel my face all warm and red as I felt it.
Fortunately they moved on to other economic problems like the rising cost of food and fuel.
One comforting thing to know was that I wasn't the only one with those problems. The bad part was how they felt people got themselves into that situation by ignorance and so I felt that they wouldn't be so kind to me if they knew I was in that same situation. They would probably say "you know better..!! how could you get yourself in that situation....".
So here is one of my big dilemmas. Working in the financial sector and having myself financial difficulties. I could only wish my boss and our customers could continue trusting me if they knew just how big my debt was and how hard it was for me to keep making those monthly payments.
Whenever I get a call from a bank I wonder if it's a work call asking me for information about a system or something or if it's going to be a call from their collection department. I wonder if some of the people in the banks that I work with know how much debt I have with their bank and how many times i've missed a payment.  Do you think they would help me to maybe get a payment plan or would they go ahead and tell my boss that I had money trouble and let him see how he would handle me? Or would they just play dumb and not tell anyone officially.
So far no one I know in the banks has let me know they are aware of my troubles. Even the IT guy at the credit bureau is someone I know and he would probably be the one to know the most about my problems. I haven't heard from him. I guess they don't run credit reports on friends just for hell of it.
Payday is coming soon. Not soon enough I think. I know that all of it already has an owner, and it's not me.
BTW, the picture is of a 1 lempira bill, the currency used in Honduras.


Jorge said...

Hola amigo: quería invitarte que visites el blog que estoy realizando con mis alumnos de segundo año de la secundaria sobre LA DISCRIMINACIÓN.
Tema arduo e interesante.
Seguro será de tu agrado.
Tu aporte será valioso
Un abrazo desde la Argentina.

La Gringa said...

I could just picture "the big red arrow" in my mind! It made me smile, although the situation is not funny. I admire you for being able to write about it.

Maybe you should know better, maybe not. I really blame the banks who offer all these things as if it is a gift, without the appropriate warnings or education to their customers.


AJ said...

La gringa,

you have no idea how many times that has happened and I feel that big arrow pointing at me.

I will have to do a post on how I came to this situation..or at least some of my behavior that let me get to this point. It has been difficult figuring out how I got here, but when I look inside myself with honesty I find the reasons. I'll post about that soon I hope