When you talk to people who are successful and inquire about their success you often find common threads. Individuals who are successful may or may not have a college education, family money-connections or even the luxury of being born in the United States resulting in birthright citizenship. What you do find are individuals and/or families who work hard, learn to sacrifice, prioritize what they feel is most important to them and people who respect all human beings.
An education helps to build a foundation, a foundation for opportunity. However that education is of no use to someone who does not use that foundation to then build upon that blessing. A college degree or professional certification is only a tool towards achieving one’s goals. I have heard college graduates say things like, I didn’t graduate college to pick up trash – that’s why we have a janitor. I will not get my hands dirty – I am a college graduate…….and it goes on and on. My grandfather always said, “Todo trabajo es digno.” which translates into “There is dignity in every job.” I never quite understood that until one extremely hot summer day I was walking into a building that was in the process of remodeling. The remodel included a new roof that required hot tar, black building materials, an awful smell under a hot Texas sun with 100 plus degree weather. The person I was walking with looked over at me and in a very mocking tone said those suckers, that’s why I have a college degree.
Rather than appreciate and be happy that his college degree afforded him such a special opportunity, he mocked those who were working under austere conditions to make his life more comfortable. That moment has stayed with me because it was at that precise moment that I fully realized what my grandfather meant every time he reminded me that there is dignity in work. I am not good at fixing my car, installing electronic equipment or sewing. I do however appreciate the skills and intelligence it takes to complete those tasks – and many others that I don’t know how to or would rather not perform.
If this economic downturn has taught Americans anything, I hope it would be the reality of life. Often when things are going well, God places obstacles in our path to remind us to be humble. Losing a job is not laughing matter, I have been there and I remember the feeling of vulnerability. Not knowing how I was going to pay my bills. If you have steady employment, appreciate and take care of it. Try to remember what it was like to struggle or work very hard and still not be able to make ends meet. Most of us have been there, some of us are still there. Remember that there is dignity in working hard and taking pride in doing the best job possible. Rather than looking past the janitor who is scrubbing the toilets you use every day or the dishwasher who is making sure you are served a delicious meal on a clean plate, thank them. Thank them for the job they are doing which makes your life easier. Thank them for taking pride in completing a job and doing it well; and be grateful for the opportunity you have to be gainfully employed and not worry about where your next meal is coming from.