Just to make guitarman feel better here's my tale of woe.
Better appreciate this as I've spent about four years resisting the temptation to post here.
I'm 30, didn't go to university as I had no idea what to study and thought my guile and charm would get me by.
Ha. That poor, naive child.
I'm in the South-East, but not a prosperous part - more akin to Grimsby than Chelsea. Worked in banking for five years, starting on 11k and finishing on the grand sum of £16k with an annual bonus of 2k. Despite promises of promotion and training nothing was forthcoming so I left for retail - less money, but no travel time and saved money on petrol.
After a couple of years I had been promoted from an Xmas temp to assistant manager. They offered me £13.5k for the role, which I respectively declined for the insult it was. The head of HR seemed genuinely shocked that I thought it was a low salary. Managed to beat them up to £16.5k - seems to be a sticking point for me. At the end of the three months secondment I was offered the role permanently, which I declined as the hours I was working meant I was on less than NMW.
I now work part-time for the company on about £6k, while I am trying to set up by myself. Writing - I have a story coming up in The People's Friend Special, so grab yourselves a copy as it will be worth something when I'm a big-shot eating cake with the likes of JK Rowling. When I'm getting interviewed by Richard & Judy for the book club I'll give the website a plug, I won't forget the cause. Solidarity brothers! Etc.
As an afterthought - I do find it a bit insulting that it is assumed that those not earning well are thick as. Some of them might be. But not all of us.
I have a wife and daughter and we live at home with my parents. We get on well, luckily! Managed to save a bit over the last eleven years as well.