Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

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Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by Melanzanisalat » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:49 pm

Hi, everyone,

I am a 35 years old woman and I live in Austria/Europe.
I theoretically work as an accountant. Practically I am the accountant, controller, treasurer, manager of subsidiaries and occasionally Putzfrau (i.e. cleaning lady) all-in-one. That’s because my boss is perpetually in the cost-saving mode and does not want to spend the company’s valuable resources by hiring more personnel.
Now it’s audit season and I spend 10-11-12 hours per day in the office. I receive unreasonable workload and deadlines and I am expected to be at work whenever my boss feels like it: late in the evening, on weekends, holidays and - crème-de-la crème – also when sick. Whenever I refuse he reminds me of the lazy people he fired and also that I am pretty incompetent and I should be grateful that he is so full of sh!t....aaahm patience with regard to my deficiencies . My boss also mentions from time to time that it is hard to have children and he strongly advises me against it. So I am also not allowed to become – God forbid! - pregnant.

These are the reasons why I passionately hate my job. Of course I will take measures soon, i.e. change my employer. Again. I change my jobs about every 2 years, sometimes because I look for a higher salary, sometimes because I grow bored with the job, sometimes because of unacceptable bosses like this one.

Until now I have worked with 7-8 companies and noticed many cases of employee mistreatment, particularly when the employee is in an unfavorable position such as: young and inexperienced, lacking whatever studies/certification, woman just returning from maternity leave …or OLD as in “over 50 years old!”.

I am still young and can still afford changing jobs, but what would happen when I am old and vulnerable? I don’t want to be forced to put up with this shit when I’m 60!

The ERE way is my hope.
I plan my exit in about 10-max 15 years, where “exit” does not mean turning inactive, instead it means escaping from the employees’ class to enter the capitalists’ class. Yes, I dream of having my small business, where no one tells me what to do, none holds me accountable, none challenges my decisions. In short: I dream of gaining control over my life. There’s nothing on Earth I treasure more than Freedom.
The glorious day when I leave the labor market for good will be my Independence Day and I will celebrate it religiously every year until the day I die.

In anticipation of the Independence Day, I accumulate start-up capital.

And now some figures – all in EUR
My monthly salary net of taxes: 1,975
Rent: 650
Utilities: 40
Internet: 24
Transportation: 31
Food (in the office): 75
Food (at home): 75
Medical expenses: 15
Lottery tickets: 20
Clothing: 20
Going out: 100
Cosmetics/personal care: 40
Cleaning products: 15
Presents: 50
Mobile phone: 35
Miscellaneous: 50

That leaves monthly savings of 735, i.e. 37% (shamefully low).
However, in Austria one receives 14 salaries per year. I spend one extra salary on holidays (love traveling) whereas the other salary goes directly to savings.

I plan to put aside at least 10.000 EUR per year.

Savings now: 32,000 EUR in my bank deposit and 2,000 EUR in a pension fund.

I have discovered the ERE website in August last year and started to keep track of my expenses for the first time in my life. The actual saving fluctuates around 700-800 per month, except the months when I need to give away more presents or participate to costly events like weddings. However, this is only the beginning; I will push the costs lower and also find a better paid job soon.
I have also bought the ERE book - great lecture, in the evenings it was like medicine for my poor soul crushed after a dreadful workday.
Like advised in ERE book, I do my shopping depending on what is for sale in supermarkets. Now I browse carefully the flyers that supermarkets send into my mail box instead to throwing them away as I did before.
I cook more often at home and convinced my boyfriend that this is the correct way to eat. I usually cook smth, put it in his plate and after he tries it and says “it tastes good” I let him know the cost of the dish, e.g.Aloo Gobi: 1,19 EUR the cauliflower, 0.06 the onion, 0.20 the potatoes, 0.4 lemon, 0.7 ghee, 0.3 fresh ginger, 0.7 rough estimation for spices = 3.55 EUR, that is 1.78 p.p. (actually lower because we could not eat it all and about 1 extra portion remained for the next day). At the Indian restaurant we would have paid 7.9 EUR p.p. He is always nicely surprised by the comparison.

I am so thrilled of this new found way that I could write on and on…unfortunately it already 2.44 AM!! and I need to go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day to slave away, right?

Thanks Jacob!
I wish I could have found this blog earlier.
Last edited by Melanzanisalat on Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

George the original one
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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by George the original one » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:19 pm


37% saving rate is a very decent starting place. To kick it up to 50%, you'd need to save (or earn) an extra 255/mo and I bet you can see the potential spots for savings.

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by Nomini » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:12 am

George the original one wrote:To kick it up to 50%, you'd need to save (or earn) an extra 255/mo and I bet you can see the potential spots for savings.
Not quite true. To hit 50% savings rate, she'd need to save around 255 euros/month extra, but to do it with earnings and not expenditure reduction would take just over 500 euros/month extra. Since savings rate is an important metric, imo, this could make a difference in how to approach it.

Aside from this, welcome, Melanzanisalat! Like George the original one said, there are some easy wins to be had here. Lottery definitely jumped out at me as something which costs without improving quality of life.

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by GandK » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:44 am


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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by chenda » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:15 pm

welcome Melanzanisalat :)

Your manager sounds horrific and is surely acting illegally. Can you work freelance as an accountant straight away ?

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by GPMagnus » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:50 pm

Welcome to the board and I wish you the best with your plan. However, I urge you to edit the following part of your post as you wrote:
Now it’s audit season and I spend 10-11-12 hours per day in the concentration camp …aaahm, office
Some members of my family were in concentration camps. I hope for your sake you never have to spend one second in anything remotely resembling a concentration camp.

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by Melanzanisalat » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:50 pm

@ George the original one – thanks for support. I already have a big saving idea. My boyfriend and I currently live separately but we will move together this year and thus split the rent. Now I pay 650 alone, soon we will be paying 700-750 together. That measure alone will boost my saving rate above 50%!
@ Nomini – I will fight on both fronts, to increase my revenues and at the same time reduce expenses. My salary is about 300 EUR (net of taxes) below market, so there is chance of improvement as soon as I change my job.
I see some potential to reduce expenses mainly at “Going out” item – this already happens, today it’s the 17th of the month and I consumed only 24 EUR from the allocated 100. At “Cosmetics” as well – it costs a lot to have a hair stylist dye my hair blond every 2 months. Someday I will return to my natural brown color but not yet, I still enjoy it too much the way it is. Possibly, I can push down “Food at the office” if I start bringing in food cooked at home. “Food at home” will decrease after moving with my boyfriend because what happens now is that he spends all weekends plus some evenings during the week at my place where I cook for both with ingredients that I buy from my budget alone. I tell him often how much his dish costs but I never ask him to actually hand me the money, LOL.
Oh, don’t take my “Lottery” away, I like to fantasize about it. I know about the tiny winning chances but: (i) buying a ticket now and then feeds me some kind of positive energy, I think “if my number comes on Sunday then on Monday I submit my resignation and on Tuesday I go to the Trade Registry to set up my firm. Life is not so shitty after all.” (ii) In Austria every week 1 or 2 individuals become lottery millionaires, I see no reason why one of this individuals could not be me. I am generally a lucky person (iii) I don’t really need 1 Million, actually 200.000 are just perfect for my plan. But I suppose I can cut "Lottery" to half.
@ GandK – nice to see a greeting from you, thanks!
@ chenda – indeed my manager is crappy as a person, however as a specialist in his field is extremely competent. I will sure use what I painfully learn now from him. Today my colleague told me something unexpected: when I am not around he speaks nicely of me and praises my work. That’s perverse!
No, I cannot freelance as accountant in Austria because I lack the local Auditor/Tax Advisor exams. I suppose I could freelance in the UK because I have the ACCA qualification but my boyfriend doesn’t want to relocate and I don’t want to change the boyfriend. ACCA is not recognized in Austria and I lack the motivation to sacrifice the little spare time that I have by studying again for the Austrian qualifications.
@ GPMagnus – I am sorry for what happened to your family and it was surely not my intention to offend or hurt anybody. Post edited as requested.

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by Frosti85 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:28 am


lottery tickets are a -EV bet. do you realize that ?

The most likely outcome is you losing money. That will just delay your ERE plans.

"I am generally a lucky person".. more like an irrational person ;)

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:05 pm

Being a business owner means trading one boss for many. You will call them clien5s, or customers, but the relationship is the same.

On that note, you didn't start this job as the accountant / office manager/janitor, volunteering to work 12 hour days, etc. You developed this job, with your boss, together. We all make our own deals. Changing bosses may hit the reset button on the deal, but if your new boss is similar to the old one, you will be likely to make the new job like the old one.

I recommend focusing on how you have made this job as it is, so you won't face a job like this again, because you will face people like your boss again. Learning to counter a request that you do something extra is going to be invaluable to you.

Good luck, and welcome to the forum.

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by Sclass » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:27 pm

Welcome. Sounds like you need to find a new boss. I've been in situations like this and moving on is a good call.

I had a math professor once encourage me by saying if you understand the problem you're half done. While his isn't always true, it's necessary of getting to a solution. You are already aware that your situation sucks making you miles(kilometers) ahead of employees who just take it or lie to themselves.

Good luck. There's always a way.

Edit 2x: you know, whenever I got into the wearing too many hats and getting exploited category I realized my behavior had a lot to do with it. Something Riggerjack just wrote resonated with me. I found myself in a lot of jobs where other "engineers" were doing a lot less design than me with very little breadth while being paid and ranked the same. I realize now that it was because I was capable and they just sucked all the time and talent out of me. Somebody here said humans will take all the resources available up to the point they are not available. When working with these other loser guys I realized they weren't expected to do what I did because management knew their limits. I felt like I was supporting a dozen people. But it was my fault for stepping up.

I asked the HR VP many years later why I never got promoted while the incompetent got to be my boss and she laughed, "who would do the work? Management was very aware of he skill shortage and moved the losers into engineering management positions." So it was degrading but kind of my fault.

Two times at two separate jobs I was informed by wily coworkers that I should dumb down. One said f..k up more. Don't be the guy that can always save the day. Mess up and they won't put more load on you. If you work twice as hard and design twice as much will they pay you twice as much? My naive self thought so but I pretty much was just used up by the companies. Another guy said I was clearly the most competent guy on the floor but I would never be rewarded for it. I'd just be piled with more work which was indeed the truth.

So if you're already underpaid, f..k up a little. Dumb it down. I know we pride ourselves on being "good" but we don't own he shop. If I had to work again I would ascertain whether working harder would get me rewarded with more money or more work.

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:28 pm

Nothing will help your boss prioritize your accounting responsibilities like "accidentally " increased taxes... Just saying...

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by wolf » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:29 am

Have I missed something? Her last post was from Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:50 am. Although, I hope she will respond.

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by Sclass » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:19 pm

Oops! I'm always doing this. I need to remember to check the dates

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Re: Slave-waged Woman Living in Austria

Post by BlueNote » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:53 pm

Accountants with a real grudge typically quit right at the end of the fiscal year so that the employer experiences maximum pain. You'd be burned into your employers memory forever if you did that. :twisted:

I just looked up income tax rates in Austria :shock:

Not sure if you're able to travel to and work in a lower tax EU country but that would be a way to get better pay.

ERE oriented people generally aren't big on taking advantage of welfare programs and it seems that Austria has a gold plated welfare state (hence the taxes) so that's a huge drag.

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