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ASK LIZZIE; I DO LIKE MY JOB BUT THEY DON'T SEEM INTERESTED IN A PAY RISE OR A PROPER DEAL.

AUTHOR AND THERAPIST ELISABETH WILSON HAS WRITTEN A SERIES OF BEST–SELLING SELF–HELP BOOKS. WRITE TO HER AT ASK LIZZIE, SUNDAY MAIL, 1 CENTRAL QUAY, GLASGOW G3 8DA OR ASKLIZZIE@ SUNDAYMAIL.CO.UK (SORRY, SHE CAN'T REPLY TO EVERY LETTER).

I'm 25 and living with my lovely boyfriend. I work at a local radio station, which I quite like but the trouble is money.

I took a big drop in income to take this job (I was a temp before) because I thought there would be opportunities.

Initially, I was on a three–month contract with the understanding that it would be made permanent and that the money would increase after three months.

But that has never happened. They can't give me a permanent contract because "there's no money".

I thought I was being taken on as a trainee producer but there's no training. I basically get treated like I'm on work experience. I really don't mind doing the donkey work if I thought this would lead somewhere but I've been there a year now and they just keep offering to renew the three–month contract. For a second summer, I can't go away.

After I've paid all my bills, I have about PS20 extra a week, not enough to buy shoes, much less go on a wee holiday. Last year, my boyfriend went away with some of his friends and I didn't mind but this year, I do. There's a bit of me that thinks he should offer to pay for me but I don't really want that.

I don't want to put it on a credit card – I just can't afford to pay back the interest. I think the only solution is for me to move back with my parents, even though my brother is already there and they don't have much room.

I do have sympathy for you. It's hard to feel you're slogging away and never getting anywhere. What I thought interesting about your letter were your solutions to the problem – you had to give up something (holidays, shoes), or your parents had to give up something (space), or your boyfriend should give up something (money) . But your work? Zip. Nada. It's OK for them to carry on merrily exploiting you.

You seem to have discounted the obvious solution of being paid properly and fairly for your labour.

I know your immediate reaction is going to be "but if I ask for more money, they'll say there's none".

Fair enough but at least you would have asked. I wonder if there's more here. I wonder if you're scared to ask for more money in case you're seen as being pushy or difficult.

Perhaps you grew up feeling that things are a bit unfair, or that you don't get what you want, no matter how nice you are.

I suggest it because that's what you are enacting here. If so, experiment with changing that pattern. One way of doing it would be to request a meeting with your boss and, while emphasising how much you love your job, ask for feedback, career progression, a proper job description and goal setting so that you can work towards being a permanent member of the team. Then tackle the money.

How much money do you need a month to save for a wee holiday once a year? Work out the sum and then double it. Ask for that. That gives you some wiggle room so they can negotiate you down but you still come out with what you want.

If they won't pay you and they won't train you, find out what they are prepared to offer to keep you.

And if it's nothing, you don't have to waste any more energy wondering if this is a job with prospects. Clearly, it isn't. Time to move on.

Dealing with money issues is tough but, for giving people like you, facing down fears about saying: "I'm worth this", is nearly always a positive experience. Good luck.

My husband died last year. I know I should be getting over it but I'm just not. I cry all the time and I'm irritable and angry with my children. They're fed up with me and are saying: "Mum, come on, you need to move on." But I just don't know how.

A year is a very small amount of time to come to terms with the loss of someone you loved and lived with. It might be too soon to get counselling but I think it's worth trying – call Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland on 0845 600 2227.

They specialise in supporting people after bereavement. Ask for practical support in the things that you dread doing on your own – worrying about them keeps us stuck in the "hopeless and helpless" place.

And also make a real effort to find some way to squeeze out a few moments of feeling content, at least once a day, even if you can't keep up those feelings for too long.

Eventually, you'll find those moments will get longer.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 4, 2013
Words:848
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