Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

People are Funny About Money, Honey

I received an e-mail a few weeks back that I put in my "I'll deal with this later" file.

Usually that means it will stay in my Inbox until I do some feng shui deleting. Or I'll do it never. It's 50-50.

Anyway, I found it. It was from someone who works at Toronto Life magazine.

"Rebecca," it began. "We're conducting a salary survey of prominent and interesting Torontonians. The results will be published in our next issue and blah, blah, blah..We wondered if you would be willing to tell us how much you earned in 2005 blah blah blah Please let me know if you're interested in participating."

My first thought was, "Hey, thanks for thinking I'm such a prominent and interesting Torontonian, even though I don't really consider myself a Torontonian anymore."

A few years back, Toronto Life asked me the same question. A few years back, I was kind of incredibly stupid and gave them an answer. I thought, "Well, I'm a journalist and always asking people intimate details of their personal life, and I expect them to answer. So I should."

Well, the shit hit the proverbial fan. Actually, the shit hit the fan at the newspaper where I used to work. Apparently, after I disclosed how much I was making, the poor higher ups were accosted by other staff asking to be paid more.

Was I being paid too much? Absolutely....not. Why would anyone ever think they were being paid too much?

Only journalists (and teachers and nurses - who I do believe are paid way too little) would ever think I was being paid too much. I can tell you most lawyers, basketball players, rock stars, Simon Cowell, the cast of Friends, would have looked at what I was being paid and thought I was close to being on welfare.

Like every one else in the world, I always think I'm being paid too little. Even the cast of Friends thought they were being too little. Do I think journalists are paid too little? Maybe. For example, the freelance rate has remained the same - $1 a word - since, I think, the 1800s.

Anyway, I thought about sending Toronto Life back an answer this time: "I made $500,000 in 2005, give or take."

Ha ha! I can't believe you actually thought that was true! I'm a writer, in Canada, for goodness sake!

The truth is, it would be very hard to tell anyone how much I made in 2005. I was making a salary, I also had a few book deals, which pay out in installments, and Knocked Up, my first book, sold in a couple more countries, and some of those deals came in, I think, and you know, I do some freelance work, but that depends on month to month.

All I know is that I do believe I work quite hard. I mean, it's hard work making it seem like what I do is not hard work. If you know what I mean.

All I know is that if I wanted to, I could have bought that Coach purse, and probably not thought twice about it. And, no, this has nada to do with The Fiance. I'm talking about my money, honey, the money that I've made.

And since it's a few years later, and I'm not as incredibly stupid as a few years abck, I would never have answered.

Who the heck is stupid enough to answer such a personal question? I guess I'll find out next month. I can hardly wait.


Blogger Kristen said...

Yeah, I hate that question. And it's EVERYWHERE I turn. Magazine polls, websites...I can't get away from it! I don't really know what I make either. It sure as hell isn't what you do though, LOL. But I work for my stepdad and my hours are different all the time. Plus, like you said- who the heck is stupid enough to answer such a personal question?

When I waited tables in high school I always kept my tips to myself. The others would always ask and I sure as hell learned the wrath of the bad waitress when they found out I was making like a hundred more than they were a night. Not my fault they sucked, lol. But they all hated me and from then on I swore to never disclose such info. LOL.

10:37 PM

Blogger Heather said...

I just think it's a shame no one pays us to be mom.

4:23 AM

Anonymous Steph said...

That issue of Toronto Life came out yesterday. I had no idea people actually gave up their salaries- I thought the magazine dug it up somehow!

4:34 AM

Blogger Not Jenny said...

I don't know which I would rather tell: my actual weight or the amount of money I make. Actually, I can tell you my salary is in the range of "pittance" because I only pick up shifts to work the mininmum hours required to keep my nursing license.

Who would answer that question? I have a friend who is always bragging about how much her husband makes and all of the stuff he buys her--it gets really old, really fast. There are far more interesting things to talk about.

5:42 AM

Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

"Feng shui deleting." Love it.

Seriously, that Toronto Life piece is put together solely for the purpose of giving TOians something to be outraged about. We're all so freakin' Protestant here, even the Catholics...

6:38 AM


My 8 year old daughter asked yesterday if $20 was a lot of money in the olden days. I told her $20 is still alot of money. Heck $1 is alot of money if that's all you have.

6:39 AM

Blogger hautemama said...

I love boomerangin' a question with the same question back, gets 'em everytime! I think people love to talk about themselves usually, so deep down the reason they're asking is so you'll ask them.

9:20 AM

Blogger Petite Mom Blogger said...

Yeah, I'm not sure it's such a good idea to disclose the amount of money you make. I think I did that once but I'm sure I'm not even anywhere near what you do/make but that doesn't matter...

11:13 AM

Blogger Ali said...

he. funny that.
someone stumbled upon my blog doing a google search "rebecca eckler's salary"


6:56 PM

Blogger Jenn said...

That goes in the category of "Nosy, and none of your business". Pretty much how I feel about any questions asked by those banking telemarketers. Seriously, I think RBC has called me twice a day for the past week.
Not to worry - Not many people actually read Toronto Life. It's one of those magazines that you pick up to be hip, but it sits in your bathroom magazine rack.Really, more people are going to be reading about Brangelina in People.

10:14 AM


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