This will be easy for me to write, as a white male in America. It needs to be talked about, so here goes. Let’s talk about opportunity in America.
The basis for my beliefs is this: I personally know, (and know OF many more) people of multiple races, both genders, and from all financial backgrounds, that have managed to become insanely successful business people in America. I would have left off the “business people” part, but it was recently pointed out to my by an astute colleague that “successful” means different things to different people. I will concede this point, and specifically talk about business success.
So, if I know people; black, white, latino, asian, male, female, from wealth, from poverty, from middle class… all of which have become successful business people…
… how can anyone say that opportunity is only for middle and upper class white males and for assorted “lucky” minority group members?
I hear this same line of crap almost daily, especially since I began this site. People send me tons of email telling me that my perspective is whacky because I’m a caucasian male from a middle-class family.
I don’t claim to know what it’s like to be in a minority group, but I know that being successful isn’t easy for anyone, including me. I’ve had a heck of a time getting to where I’m at, and I had to work my ever-loving BUTT off. I worked 10-12 hours a day, followed by 6-8 hours of classes, in addition to the normal life stuff. My first job involved hot wax and dimly-lit rooms (I swear… the truth) and I made just over minimum wage. Yup… me… middle-class caucasian boy.
I knew I’d better take those big 180 dollar checks and apply them to my future, lest I be earning 180 a week at age 40, so I went to the community college. You know why? Because the high school I went to didn’t have counselors to show us dumb 18 year olds how to apply for scholarships, so even though I was Salutatorian of my class, I didn’t get a single scholarship. I couldn’t afford to go to any university… so off to the community college I went.
Meanwhile, I worked my butt off at work. I exceeded my production quotas every day, because I wanted to succeed. My boss recognized my hard work, and since I was taking computer classes at the community college, allowed me to move into a computer department. Had I not been spending that fat check on school, and been working my butt off at work, I would not have been moved into computers.
I continued to work my butt off in the computer department, and exceeded my production quotas daily there, too. I finished my Associates Degree, and was promoted at my job. Not because I was white or middle class, but because I had gone to school, and worked my butt off at work, outperforming my coworkers.
Everyone in the department I began supervising said I got the job because I was a suck up.
So, at this point, I was feeling even more oppressive feelings and knew for a fact I didn’t want to be tied into a boring dead-end job for very much longer.
I bit the bullet. I lived in my parent’s basement so I could pay the out-of-state tuition at the University of Missouri in KC. Yes, Out. Of. State. 580$ PER credit hour. Plus fees. Plus books. That’s $10,000 per semester. $20,000 per year. I couldn’t afford to go out anywhere. Ever. Even living in my parent’s basement, I still racked up debt beyond belief. But I knew if I stayed on it, it would pay off. I didn’t have time or energy to date at all. I was literally working either on work or on school for 19-20 hours a day, 6 or even 7 days per week. You tell me, when could I have fit in a relationship? Yeah right.
People teased me incessantly about living at home. They called me the “weird nerdy guy that lives with mom.” And I knew I was just hanging on till the tables turned.
I finished my Bachelor’s degree and was immediately offered a promotion at my job, which I turned down, because it was in a crappy part of the country. Once again… I’m abitious, but I’m patient. Not six months later, I was offered my current job. Making a lot more money. Seriously. A lot.
Oh yeah, after my BA, I bought a killer new house, a new car, two puppies… the list goes on. I had to defer gratification for a long time… nearly 9 years, but you know what… without deferring the gratification, I’d still be working for peanuts in a dead-end job on a production line somewhere.
Could I have gotten this current job without all of the previous work experience and the BA? Not a chance.
And guess what, I’m doing the MBA now, because I know that if I stop spending the time and money to better myself, I’ll never be able to grow to the next level.
Now, once I find Ms. Right, the ducks will all be in a row, the stars will be aligned, and the hard work will have payed off completely.
But I ask you… couldn’t ANYONE do what I did?
Of course they could!
Regardless of age, race, blah blah blah.
You don’t even have to have good grades to get into a community college. But if you get good grades there, you get to go to the university…
Every decision you make, to do something, to not do something, to spend money on something, to not spend money on something, to spend time on something, to not spend time on something, has a profound affect on the rest of your life.
So, your parents hate you and won’t let you live in the basement? Somebody will. Even if you have to pay a couple hundred a month to rent a shabby room somewhere, you can still do this. It’ll just take a little longer.
So don’t give me your liberal, whiny, “the man’s keeping me down”, moronic, victim crap anymore. Do I think I’m smarter than anyone else? Heck no. The more I’ve learned the dumber I feel.
But I’m sure as hell a lot more dedicated, focused, and determined than a lot of people out there. Yup. I said it. I, Incredipete the Incredi, have a whole heck of a lot of drive and determination.
Don’t like your life? It’s your fault. Fix it.