I’ve just been listening to a discussion on the radio about the huge pay gap between ordinary workers, often on minimum wage (£5.73 per hour), and the high-flying bosses of their companies who earn what, to ordinary people, seem like obscene amounts (around £2.5 million per annum in some cases). Apparently several MPs have called for a “High Pay Commission” and it was mentioned that they may go so far as to introduce a national maximum wage.
One caller raised the point that the bosses of these companies – and bankers seem to be the biggest offenders – are completely out of touch with the everyday lives of their workers, in a “let them eat cake” type of way. It goes both ways, however. Those of us who are average have a hard time understanding the challenges of those we might consider “mega-rich”.
Although I come from a middle-class family, and went to University, I am often hard-pushed to feel sympathy for those callers to the helpline who are suffering the effects of the recession to such a degree that they can hardly afford the school fees any longer, may have to do without a new car this year, and might even have to move to a smaller house where the children would have to share bedrooms. Because I have never had a new car (mine are usually at least five years old when I buy them) have never even considered sending my children to private school, and my two youngest have shared a bedroom for many years, these things doesn’t seem like so terrible from where I’m sitting.
But I have come to appreciate that actually, financial trials and tragedies are difficult and painful whatever your starting point; whether you are a FTSE100 CEO having to give up the private helicopter and second home in Monte Carlo, or a factory worker faced with working a short week due to cutbacks and thus unable to take the family to Butlin’s. Losing something which was important to your lifestyle is difficult and upsetting, whatever that thing may be. The legal profession is traditionally a well paid one, with ample financial rewards, but many lawyers are finding that they are struggling even to make enough money for the necessities of life. LawCare is here to provide support and empathy as they face this challenge; but we are also here to help those whose trials are outside our personal fields of reference. Whether you are on minimum or maximum wage, the pain of loss and financial challenge is the same, and we are here to offer non-judgmental support and advice.
LawCare’s free and confidential helpline is available 9-7.30 Monday-Friday, 10-4 weekends, on:
0800 279 6888 (Solicitors, Law Students and Legal Executives in England and Wales)
0800 279 6869 (Solicitors, Advocates and Law Students in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man)
0800 018 4299 (Barristers, Clerks and Judges in England and Wales)
1800 991801 (Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland)
1800 303145 (Barristers in the Republic of Ireland)