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It's Fiiiiiinance!

By Tom Wiseman

Now, in my mind "banker" is just Cockney rhyming slang, not an actual profession, and I'm only semi-ashamed to admit that my level of mathematics is similar to that of an 11 year old (in fact, 11 is a number I have trouble wrapping my head around without removing shoes and socks). Eh, so what, I'm nicer with vowels.

What's this got to do with the price of bread I hear you asking? Er, everything! Haven't you been listening? In capitalism everybody needs to take some financial responsibility now and again, and "salary" is always a main factor when choosing a job. With my crack accountancy team back in the UK (Hi Ma!) it's time for me to step up to bat...just don't ask me to calculate my average.

If I had a peso for every time someone said to me "I really admire you teachers, you're very heroic, to do what you do for such rubbish money!" I'd be richer than the Head of Modern Languages. But you'd be surprised...

In the less than lucrative world of English Language teaching Latin America is probably one of the bottom rungs in terms of pay—if you want to stack a millie head to Japan or Korea, or, if oil money is more your thing (and you don't like contact with the opposite sex) the Saudis are ready to return your call! I suppose technically you can add Zimbabwe to that list.

Luckily for me Latin America is one of the top rungs for awesomeness and I couldn't really give a hoot about loot, not all treasure is silver and gold mate.

Back in England a months "work" would earn me enough for a round the world airfare (thanks P.Wise!), but when you factor in the cost of independent living here in Mexico I am left with only a bus fare at the months end. People always go on about "security", don't they? "Ooh, it's nice to have a bit of security," but people forget you can have too much security. Just look at Heathrow Airport.

My life is pretty simple when you strip it down to the necessities, I don't spend a whole lot on luxury, I buy food and water. Hell, I don't even pay attention! My contract is a handshake because I prefer to live my life this way, for me a man's word is worth more than a piece of paper.

Security is an illusion and the fact is I am able to live pretty handsomely, locally, if not globally. My 7000 pesos a month (700 bucks, 300 squid) affords me a penthouse apartment (well, it's on the top floor) in a top spot in the centre of the city, the shirt on my back and as many gorditas as I can eat.

That's food clothing and shelter for those of you who are up on your 12 Jewels.

This month has hit my pocket hard, it's amazing how easily the balance can be tipped—a phone bill here, a stolen bag there. These are the rainy dayz I save for.

My life bears no similarity to this video but like Lil' Wayne I am straight Cash Money, no bank account, that brown paper bag money. Yes, another perk of the job is that it is "cash in hand," not a term the tax inspectors like but I do get to feel like Tony Soprano every 1st and 15th ("you're only as good as your last envelope!"). I don't need to worry about money because I am merely a conduit, I run up like: Where the paper? Where the paper? Gotta get it, gotta have it, once I get it I'ma spend it then it's back to doing any damn thing just to get it!

I love teaching, and I hate work. I resent spending a minute of my life doing something I don't like doing. Teaching isn't work to me, I am in the wonderful position of making my passions pay my way. My life is wonderful and I have what I need, and I believe that this is something that we should all strive for.

I'd like to leave you with the ancient wisdom of Chuang Tzu:

"If you can cast aside fame and fortune, and revert to the true calling of your heart, then you can see that a real scholar should not let a single day go by without pursuing a true course!"

Until next time, you do the math...sss...


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