Hello, My Name Is Tom, and I’m an Underearner


undereanersIn high school, I bought my own M&M’s for marching band fundraisers rather than sell them to my neighbors. Not because I’m a huge fan of M&M’s, but because I hated to sell anything.

I’ve never really negotiated for a raise … I’ve either waited until my boss gave me one or left for a better job.

I have generated countless ideas that I thought were brillant at the time I came up with them, only to toss them out a short while later as rubbish.

I can be a world-class procrastinator.

According to Underearners Anonymous, these are all classic symptoms of being an underearner, and the cure is a 12-step recovery process aided by the support group above.

But I wondered if that was really the answer to my money issues.

Fortunately, there was an easy way to find out.

I learned that a cluster of Underearners Anonymous chapters in the New York City area were holding a special storytelling event on Saturday, June 1, which they dubbed Share-A-Day. At the events, members would share how UA works for them. It only cost $10 for four hours, which sounded like a bargain to me, not to mention a great opportunity to check out the organization and see if I belonged to their tribe.

Coming Face-to-Face with My Underearning

The night before Share-A-Day, I feared that I’d be the only person at the event. That I’d be alone in a cold room with metal folding chairs as a man who looked like Chris Farley told me how to pull my life together. Both were discomforting thoughts.

By Saturday afternoon, I was running late to the meeting. (Symptom of Underearning No. 1: Time Indifference—We put off what must be done and do not use our time to support our own vision and further our own goals.) The event was held in a conference room at St. Margaret’s House, a senior living facility not too far from Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.

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  • Roger Williams

    Thanks, Tom.This was such an eye-opening article.
    I also have to wonder if there are particular personality traits that correspond to underearning that can be seen in other areas of life as well.

  • Dia

    Very interesting article.

  • jayne Carson

    Thank you……Im an underearner! Need help before I end up homeless!