MAY 10, 2011—After graduating last year, I could not imagine myself with money to spend that did not come from my mom or using a credit card that was not an extension of her credit card. And being employed did not sink into my consciousness as a reality until this day: my first payday.
The days leading to this special moment have not been exactly pleasant to me. Even as a junior nurse, I have handled 16 patients all in one shift. To make matters worse, I was asked to stay for eight hours more at the end of that shift. Yes, I have worked for 16 straight hours! Thank God my immune system held up.
I swear I am in no way complaining. All employees may have their own beefs about their work, but I guess this is just my definition of “hard-earned” when I use the term in relation to my salary.
So, I’m not really sure if one is supposed to be resting on her payday, but my day-off fell on May 10, so I’m here at home writing this. My ATM lies in front of me and I don’t have any idea what to do with it. Should I go to the bank now? Oh, there was this one time my dad went to the bank to withdraw his salary from an ATM, but then he came back disappointed, telling me that there was no money in his ATM account yet. I don’t know what he did; I guess he got it the next day.
What if the same thing happens to me when I go to the bank? It’s really unnecessary, but I allow myself to be bothered by that thought for a fleeting moment. And I wonder: if I do finally get hold of my first personally hard-earned money, what am I going to do with it? A lot of things come to mind—I need a new cell phone, my laptop’s LCD is broken, I need a massage, I’ll buy new shoes, makeup, have my nails done, and I know my first hard-earned salary won’t be able to pay for all of them.
A friend told me I should spend every single centavo of my first pay because doing so brings good luck. I believed him at first, but now that I am about to get my salary, it strikes me that he just wanted me to treat him when this day shall have arrived. I’ve been told as well that I should give all of my first hard-earned salary to my parents. Not half of it but the whole package—just to be that “sweet” earning daughter. But then there’s also this treat-your-family-with-your-first-salary thing which I’ve been told is, well, compulsory.
The sky is slowly getting dark now, and I have to get to the bank fast. To be sure, I’m going to treat my family this weekend with my first pay, and what remains of it goes to mom.
The shoes and makeup, as well as liquor party for my friends, well, they will have to wait till next payday.
First pay, here I come!
Airina April B. Desuyo, 21, is a staff nurse at Manila Doctors Hospital.
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