After ten minutes of running around and throwing wet towels at each other, I found myself drying my car, while my little nephew went to change for karate. As I dried the car this question just popped into my head, as if prompting me to examine this idea. So I consider it and present it to you. Is this American Entitlement or the Assimilation of the Latino Mind into American Culture?

As many know, I was raised in an one parent immigrant home and although my mother did not receive her citizenship until I was in my teens, we lived a pretty good middle class lifestyle. I never had to stop from going to school in order to work for the family or go help my mom at her work after school. I pretty much had anything I needed growing up. As I grew up I achieved a place in the honor system, which in itself created a “superior” mindset.

The only career I held was that of a teacher. I worked not only hard, but more than was required of me every day. Not only because I loved doing what I did, but also because it was my integrity on the line. I had a profession, a career, and I was a hard worker. I wanted it to show in everything.

Yet, I find myself, at this  moment in a transition in my life. I am delving into the restaurant industry for a few years and see where that takes me. That means I really can’t get too involve with any other careers, which means taking day jobs to supplement my restaurant job. I currently hold a job at a call center. It is not a bad call center, not like the ones you hear horror stories about or the ones you hate calling you. And although I am learning a lot about sales, and how to overcome my negative mind, most of it is pretty redundant and boring. You call 80+ people and you invite them to an event. They either say yes or no, and you repeat. All day, 8 hours, 5 days a week, 20+ days a month. *ring ring* all day.

It is a big adjustment for me, and I really only stay because of the pay, $11.00 to just sit there and dial the number, *shrugs shoulders* I can do that. Yet, being a teacher for 10 years, or so, kinda makes me restless. Every day teaching was different. It was NEVER the same and even when I did teach the subject again, the following year, it was a new set of kiddos so my approach was different. Not this job. Yet, I CHOSE to work there, for the pay. Not HAD to, but CHOSE to.

Recently, I quit a server position. Loved the staff, loved the place, but the tips were not enough (if I got tipped at all). It was in a location where the local culture doesn’t really follow the tips guidelines. I quit. I quit because I felt my time was worth a lot more than what the guests were offering. My services were worth a lot more.

This is what makes me think, why do I feel/think this way? There are servers there that have been working for 2+ years. Obviously they think its worth their time. Yet, I know I can earn a lot more in a different part of the city. I am in this privileged position, in the position to rate a job either worth of my time or not. The “entitled mind” as I call it because when I think about it, I feel entitled to earn more money for my time and services.

I think it came to me as I washed my car because people who wash cars do not tend to CHOOSE that job, they are doing it because they have to. Yet, here I was washing my car for fun, complaining about my boring job, contemplating my many options, thinking about moving to Denver, transitioning into a different career, taking time out of my professional life to accomplish other things, I have OPTIONS.

And for a minute I felt guilty. Guilty to have OPTIONS, to have this mindset of the “world is my oyster and I can do as I please”. If I fail, it won’t be the end of the world. I will be able to get back on my horse. Go back to teaching, which I LOVE. It won’t kill me, or destroy my soul to do it for the next 4o or so years. Even there, I can move within the world of education to something NEW and EXCITING. Really what I was asking myself was:

AM I ALLOWED THAT? As a Latina woman am I allowed to have such feelings, such a mindset? If I am, is it bad? Do I think  I am better than other people who work a lot harder for the same or less amount of money? Is my mind a product of being raised in the U.S.A or being assimilated into it or both? Is it the Entitlement Mindset I have been surrounded by or the Assimilation of my Latino brain into the American Culture?

And more importantly, is it ok to feel this way?

I believe my mind is that of the Latino brain that has been assimilated into the American Culture of Entitlement. The fact that I doubt it and feel guilty about it states that I have a base that rejects this entitled mindset. I was raised in a household in which hard work was the only way to earn money. Yet, my education showed me I could do as much or more with my mind as well. And if I have any children, I know that their mindset will be filled with entitlements. Entitlement to earn what they deserve and that this world is definitely their oyster and they can do as they please. Now that makes smile. That makes me proud. Why?

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Because of my mother’s hard labor. It is because of her holding the base (with hard labor work) that I was able to step on the ladder and move up, and as she continues to push me onward (and my own mind grows stronger) , I climb, smiling, knowing she holds the ladder strong, until I reach that ceiling where her grandchildren will start their journey.

 

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