The Beatles sang "all you need is love". But for me it is not true. I need respect as well. Sometimes I just feel I don't get much. I know that my boss respects me in a way, and the reason he doesn't complain that I work only nine to five is that his research would go much worse without me. I have been thinking so much lately about respect. To a large extent in our Australian society, money equals respect. It worked the same way in Iran. Dr Mahmoodian, who helped me get my job in Iran, told me that my salary in Iran was really good, and because I was not married, it made it really wunderbar. (Am I overusing this word?) The problem was that I didn't respect myself because the salary was less than my PhD scholarship had been, and it was about a third of my Australian salary after tax. There were also lots of other signs that people didn't respect me. For example, I went to lots of parties at the Australian consul's house in Niavaran (actually Manzariyeh, a posh area in north Tehran) and the consul jocularly remarked to his guests that I was an idiot for coming, and I already believed it myself. All his other guests had come to Iran for a good reason, that is, as diplomats or to work in some kind of engineering job, and everyone was being paid about ten times as much as me. (Yet obviously being so far above the average Iranian meant that they were completely out of touch with the way most people lived.) I told my English students about my salary and they said it was good but I could not lead a good life in Iran with it. Lastly one of my fellow postdocs said she had been talking to a relative and the relative couldn't understand why I had come here. Ziba, the postdoc, suggested I had discovered what Iran was about in a year and I should go back... but I enjoyed learning the language, and I was tired of Australia, so I stayed a bit longer.

So that was an intangible lack of respect based on the tangible aspect of money. (I don't have to worry about height.) More tangibly, it bothers me when people don't respond to my emails. I think it demonstrates a lack of respect, too. Dr Mahmoodian and Dr Khosrovshahi frequently did not respond to my emails when I was in Iran. Probably, this should have caused me to leave there earlier. And concerning the most unpleasant incident in Iran, when a policeman came to check one of my neighbour's reports that a foreigner was living a next door (!!), I don't feel that IPM or Dr Khosrovshahi took the incident as seriously as I did.

This should help explain why respect is very important to me and also salary. I will do almost any job, but it has to pay more than my current one, because for long periods of time in my life, I have had both a low salary and a lack of respect from people. And I am never going back to that.

(As a footnote I will say that in the past the way the vast majority of my interactions with women have gone is like this: I meet them, get their phone number/email address, then text them/write to them, and they ignore me. On the one hand, it has sometimes been good being poor, because it has weeded out superficial people, but I could never help feeling that if I earned more it would have happened much less often, and I would have got more positive attention.)


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