Rich People Problems vs Me

by Jane Moneypenny

“Well, we were in Paris, so I HAD to go to Chloe and get two or three items. Two weeks later, I found my daughter wearing what I got. I mean, I was just furious!”

I sit there quietly, thumbing through the newspaper, pretending to read and trying to ignore the conversation. The CMO of our company is a pretty cool lady from DC. Tough, successful, pretty and rich. Very rich.

The nice thing about working for a small company is the top honchos are as very much part of the every day culture as any other employee. They’re accessible, eat lunches with us and are to a certain degree, the every man. They’re work at our levels, pitch big ideas and are at every step of the way for projects. The one difference? They’re rich, as indicated above.

There were two Forbes magazines on the lunch table. One is about travel so I excitedly flip through it to find there’s a special about travel in Africa. But, their version is Tanzania was on the complete opposite spectrum of mine (I’m not complaining; just comparing). Beautiful lodgings, first class flights, the best of the best.

Today, the CMO has returned from a long client trip to Vietnam. She regals the lunch group with her adventures and shows us a picture of a squatter. I shrug; squatters are completely normal to me and personally, a little cleaner than regular toilets. But she is completely horrified. And equally horrified at the “dirtiness” that is the streets of a very beautiful country. We all know Asia is a very different region from America. In fact, most countries are very different from America, but that’s why we travel, isn’t it?

The conversation is making me claustrophobic and I can feel irritation clawing inside me. I gracefully slip out and catch up with the office manager, who also had escaped.

“The price tag for her to fly first class was $32,000. She insisted because there may be ‘goats and sh*t’ in coach.”

I have no words. I can practically feel my heart drop and my brain try to compute. The price tag is so ridiculous that I’m speechless for five minutes. That kind of money would get me around the world for a year and she (well, I guess the company) spend it in a blink of an eye. Now, no one likes coach. I always said if I won the lottery, I would travel the same way I do now, except for flying. But 28K for a first class flight for a person that is “one of us” is one the most ubsurd things I’ve ever heard.

So the job search continues. Obviously, the rich aren’t the reason I’m leaving, but in the last year and a half I’ve been here, I’ve felt claustrophobic about the “whiteness” and “first world problems” the people here represent. For them, ordering pad thai is culture. I stand at this blurry line of wanting nice things for myself and appreciating everything I have from growing up in America, but also anger at those that think America is the only and best country and everything outside of it is dirty or crazy.

Next up: my ridiculous fear of dating, especially online.