Let me start off by saying I work hard, I am in retail and I work my butt off, and I feel like I am not appreciated even one little bit for my hard work. I am a professional photographer and I love working with children and making memories for families. I love it when a family likes me enough to come back over and over again and I get to see the children grow up. But the company I work for is really something else. First off, they won't let any of the studios employ more than one person full time. Ok, I can deal with only working part time. I like my job, and in this economy I'm not stupid enough to quit before having something else lined up first, but I'll be with this company for a full year this month and guess what? I don't get a raise. Let me go back to when I first started, when I first started it was about 2 weeks before the Illinois wages law changed and minimum wage went from $7.50 an hour to $7.75, and well, I was suppose to get a pay increase after my first 45 days. Well, my company decided that I was only going to move up to minimum wage! My studio manager tried to ask her manager several times to at least move me up to $8.00 an hour but she refused to budge. So I barely scraped by for a few months, and really considered quitting, before they incorporated a "spiff" program where if we sold a certain amount or higher to a customer, we would earn a percentage of that sale, like if I sold $59.99 to $79.98, I would earn $2.00. $79.99 to $99.98 I'd earn $3, and so on. Well, I work HARD for those spiffs, so hard that I was taking my meager $275 bi-weekly paychecks up to more than $400 before taxes (anywhere from $325 to $350 after taxes). I live for those spiffs because without them I couldn't afford anything. I moved from the Chicago area in April of last year because we couldn't afford to live there anymore. I couldn't find work after I got sick and then had a botched surgery in early 2007, and we were on a downward spiral. So I packed my mom, my two kids, and our zoo up and we left. We researched a lot of different places and I visited several different states trying to find a good, affordable place for us to live. We happened to find the house we have now on Craigslist, of all places, and on Easter of 2008 I packed up the family and we came down to see the house. It was big, it was out in the country, and we all agreed that, while it needed work, we loved it. Everyone would have their own room, the zoo would have space, and even thought it was big enough to swallow up our old house back North, it was infinitely cheaper than the old house. We lost the old house in a weird, freak foreclosure that I won't even try to explain right now, but it didn't reflect badly on us, but from years of struggling up there both my mom and I had bad credit and without a job I wasn't going to have anyone give me a loan to buy a house, so we felt that the best option was rent to own, and this house was available both as a rent to own, or as straight purchase. So we are renting to own. My mom retired in 2007 and her health has been taking a slow road South, so when I moved out this way I brought her with cause I want to keep an eye on her. Nervous Nelly that I am (I mean come on, she's the only mom I have!). I also knew that finding work would be so much easier if I had someone to watch my kids, and she was as eager as I was to get away from Chicago. And so we moved down to West Central Indiana on April 3rd of last year. Once we got unpacked some and learned our way around, I started applying for jobs. One of the first places I applied was to the photo studio I work for now, however the bigger boss came in and chose another girl over me, even though I had prior photography experience, and that girl flaked after 3 weeks, broke 2 $1,200 cameras, and decided to just stop coming in to work, so my current studio manager called me back and begged me to come in for a second interview. She had wanted me in the beginning and she was my main supporter when the bigger boss came in to do the final interview. But she liked me too, and I was hired, and so here I have been, working, supporting my family, trying to survive. The bills here are sooooooooooo much cheaper, but lately we've been having other problems. Like here I am at my one year mark on the 30th of this month, and I am not getting a raise. I almost cried when my studio manager told me that. Instead, the company has decided to make these "bonuses" that we have to work towards, in 4 12 weeks segments. If we don't keep our sales up, our sittings up, and follow all the rules, including doing all the paperwork right and keeping our labor down, we lose out on our chance at the bonus. So my studio manager Kathy and I worked furiously hard for 12 weeks long, without first being told that this bonus was replacing any chance of a raise, and amazingly we not only made the bonus, we made 100% of it. Yes, depending on how a studio does, we can win all or just some of the bonus. My studio, and one other in our district were the only ones to get a full 100% of the bonus. Oh I worked soooooo hard for it, and it finally showed up on the paycheck I got Friday. Know how much I earned? A whopping $52. I again nearly cried. So I am suppose to work hard for this company, NOT get raises, and only POSSIBLY get bonuses that should rightfully be mine every 12 WEEKS!Needless to say, I am furious. I live 30 miles from Danville, and slowly the two cars we had were dying. First my Ford went. I had to drive up to Chicago in January of this year because my best friend died, and while I was driving up there my trans started to go. It finally bit the dust while I was there, and I had to find an emergency car while I was there, and well, in a rush I bought a lemon. It got me home, and it got me to and from work for all of a month before the radiator went. I don't know much about cars, but I know that tons of steam coming from under the hood has something to do with the radiator. And so I parked the car in front of the house and there it has sat since early March. My neighbor worked on my mom's station wagon and I've been taking in to work, but there are serious problems with it. She took it in July of '08 to the Ford dealer in Hoopeston to get some general work done. When she first bought the car in early '08 the front passenger window didn't work, and the rear driver's side window didn't work. So, instead of removing the dashboard and properly replacing the wiring, the guy decided to jerry rig some wires UNDER the dashboard and tie them into the fuse box. Well, she got to drive it all of a few weeks before something happened and the dash suddenly stopped working. It's a digital dash and suddenly she couldn't read the odometer, her speed, nothing. Then the car died completely. Well, it sat over the winter while we both relied on the Ford, and just one day before the new Nissan died, my neighbor who had been laid off and was bored came over and asked if he could look at the Mercury wagon and see if he could figure out why it wasn't running. He fixed it in one afternoon (turns out one of the battery posts was really loose), and the very next day I had no choice but to take the Mercury to work. Well, it's making noises now cause I know it needs a tune up, and then, just in time for this last check, right after I placed two bids on e-bay for eggs, I blew TWO TIRES. First one went, and I got a new tire, had someone help me put it on, and I thought with my tight budget I would be ok til my next paycheck. Then my mom needed a ride yesterday morning to the vet. So we got in the car, we went, and all was fine going, but on the way back, coming down the highway, another tire blew. And we were too far from the house for me to try and limp the car back without doing serious damage to the rim, so I had to call a tow truck.I got towed no more than 8 miles but it cost $77. Can you say "Ouch!" Timing lucked out where my friend was coming down from Chicago yesterday afternoon and when he got to my house he took me and my flat tire to the WalMart in Danville and I paid another $92 for the tire to get replaced. So here I am, 2 days after payday, all I have left in my bank account is $72, and I am low on food in my house, and I still need gas in my car for the next two weeks, and the two bids I had made on e-bay? I am top bidder on both, and I can't get out of either one. Once those are over I'll be down another nearly $30. I am so depressed right now. I budget my paychecks pretty close so that my bank account isn't in the negative, and so that my lights don't get turned off, and had I not blown the two tires and needed the towing, I'd have enough money for gas, food, and any pet supplies I would need for the next two weeks. I don't know what to do. My first thought is to sell most of the eggs I win in the bid, cause I can't afford to keep them and incubate them, I just can't afford it. My only other option is to sell some of the new chicks I paid for with my last paycheck, and that arrived June 5th. Either option isn't going to really make me enough money to feed 4 people and keep gas in my car for the next two weeks. I CANNOT miss work this entire week because my boss is on vacation, and the only help we have will NOT work on a moment's notice, and my boss will be in Florida visiting her best friend, so if the car breaks down, or I run out of gas money, I may as well just consider myself out of a job, cause the bigger boss will fire me. Even though I was just offered a possible studio manager in training position. But get this, they want me to float between 3 studios, waiting for one of the current studio managers to quit (or more likely, get FIRED), and for only a $1.25 more an hour, WITHOUT travel pay reimbursement. They want me to travel between my current studio in Danville (30 miles, 30 minutes away, Champaign (60 miles, 60 minutes away, and Terre Haute Indiana (? miles, 1 1/2 hours away). I haven't said yes or no cause the stipulation is that I mandatory have to be willing to take one the studio manager position of whichever studio has an opening first. I couldn't handle 3 hours drive each day to Terre Haute, and I don't want to. I can't afford this company's insurance either, so we are without any. I'm not on public assistance. I really wanted to start my online schooling this year, get it going so I can get a better job and be able to better support my family. My mom's money only goes so far too, and her bank account is way up in Chicago, and they won't give her a bank card, so she can only write checks. She's found two places down here willing to take her checks, K-Mart and Food For Less. Whoopee! She bought me my chicken coop as my birthday present by writing me a check for the amount, and then I cashed it and paid the guy who built it in cash cause he wouldn't take a check. Can't say I blame him in today's society though. But she's strapped this month cause she's had expenses come up, and bills that had to get paid. I really don't know what to do. If anyone has taken the time to read this from beginning to end, and you have some advice, please, share it, before I lose my mind. I don't know what to do. I already suffer from depression, and I can't afford my meds, so this added stress is just getting to be too much. Please, if anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear it.