July 31st 2003:
The day I got my first paycheck. I had worked for 32 days, and 16861 Rs was credited to my account. I was so enthusiastic about my first salary that I had made around 5 trips to ATM to check if the amount was already credited. There is something fun about the first paycheck which is unexplainable, right.
That must be the only month where I spent almost whole of my salary. I first bought myself a cell phone, one of the cheapest ones that was available, those days even these used to cost around 6000Rs. The first weekend, I was supposed to take out my cousins out for a drink and a nice dinner, we were link a bunch of 13 people and I ended up spending around 7ooo Rs on the dinner. That must be the only time ever in my life where I was totally drunk. I was so drunk I could not even sign the check at the restaurant and my dad had to do it for me. [Totally different and hilarious story, may be another post soon :)]. I did spend some money on clothes. In total my salary for the month was almost spent. Knowing my spending habits, this was like a shock to myself, just a month back I used to live with an allowance of 150Rs per month, within which I saved too. What a change it was.
Even though I spent a lot within my first month, I was back to my normal habits from second month. I used to save most of what I earn. I can’t say if it was good or bad.
Those days, we used to have bi-annual salary revisions. After just two months in the company, my salary was revised, as it was too small tenure, I was handed a nominal increase of around 6-7%, I must have seen my revised salary atleast 10 times that day. I immediately planned what I would be buying for myself and what I would buy for my parents with the extra money in the next month. The increase translated into something like 1000rs per month extra. But still I had so many plans for next few months on spending 1000Rs.
2nd July 2007:
The hikes were announced yesterday, we were all called individually by managers, and handed over hike letters. I was anxious to know how much I got, Is it good compared to others?, Is it good compared to my expectations, Was I expecting too much, Am I paid very less compared to other companies. These were the questions on my mind. I got a satisfactory hike. I came back to my normal routine. My colleague reminds me the salaries for month of June has been credited. I had totally forgotten about the salaries this month, I checked how much of income tax has been cut this time. The only column I look at now a days when my payslip comes out. The amount of deduction towards tax this month.
I was anxious about the percentage of hike, but really had no clue as to how much it translates into, I mean the actual amount, how much more I will be getting per month, Is it going to make happy?, Am I going to buy something, Am I going to spend the extra money I make, Am I going to enjoy the extra cash. Answer for almost all the above questions is No. Probably another week I will forget about the fact that hike happened. Until I notice more tax being cut from my salary next month.
Its not just me, I did speak to a couple of my colleagues who had the same opinion. The enthusiasm we had with out first pay check, our first hike etc, is totally lost, none of us were really bothered about how we can enjoy the extra money, only thing we were bothered was how much people in other companies are making.
Annual salary hike has ended up becoming just a number, number we use to value our performance against peers in the company and peers out in the other companies.
I think more responsibilities or financial liabilities might change me. May be the movement from enjoyment to no feeling, will turn into worries, how will I make the extra cash ? will be the question on my mind.
P.S If you think the numbers and dates are fake, you don’t know me. 🙂