Random thoughts with a spattering of thoughtfulness.

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

“…you didn’t build that [alone].”

I don’t usually get into politics. I’m incredibly uninformed, which I believe, rightly so, means I have no credibility on the topic. But, right now I’ve got something to say.

Obama’s gotten a lot of flack about the Romney campaign ad that quotes him saying, “if you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that.” And, I got to thinking that doesn’t seem accurate for someone who’s seeking a second term, so I found the source and I’m linking the full transcript of that speech.

As it turns out, the context of that quote refers to the American Dream and how everyone has opportunity. The implied meaning of, “you didn’t build that” refers to mentors, teachers, people who inspired your dreams and pushed you to make them a reality. It’s about working together and helping each other.

The lines leading up to this statement were, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.”

There is not a single successful person who can deny the truth in that statement. Even if you didn’t have a financial investor, there was someone who believed in you, someone who supported you, or even someone who walked out on you and made you more determined.

“This unbelievable American system” is why every child grows up believing they can pursue whatever they can dream and, for those who have dreams and work for them, this is every ounce of truth. Even if there is some small-business owner somewhere in America with no public education who has earned success with absolutely no help at all, no support, no beliefs, no advice, if you’re a minority (ethnic or otherwise) you, at the very least, had help from a system of government that allows you such freedoms. Your incorporation or LLC forms weren’t denied because of your ethnicity, creed, or sex.

Americans have countless freedoms they, all to often, take for granted. We all have something to complain about. We all look at others and think of how much easier that person has it. But, really, there are a ton of success stories. There are countless Americans who worked themselves out of poverty, overcoming countless obstacles. Children from low-income households who grow up on welfare and work their way through college to become successful entrepreneurs. Single mothers who juggle being mommy with a full-time job and night classes to make a career for themselves and improve quality of life for their children.

I, personally, know of a single mother who worked three jobs to afford any extra-curricular activity in which her, now grown, children cared to participate. She managed three jobs, after-school activities for two children, and a spotless home. That, my friends, is hard work.

In my opinion, (my opinion only, so take it as you will) those of us who take our freedoms for granted are the ones who have never really (and be honest here) had to work for them. We are a generation who view freedom as an entitlement, not a privilege. The American system never promised to MAKE your dreams come true, only to allow YOU the OPPORTUNITY to make them true for yourself.

The Americans who fight for their dreams and who overcome all obstacles to see them to fruition are the ones who truly appreciate the freedom and opportunity this country has to offer. And, I’m sure, none will deny having some help. A friend who believed in you, or gave you a book, or watched the baby at night.

My rant here is not meant to be biased towards either presidential candidate. My goal is only to point out how easy it is to misconstrue meaning by taking words out of context. And, to highlight how important it is to appreciate what we have and what we’re capable of.

For all my friends and family, and to all mankind, I love you, but do a little research and think for yourself before you go hopping on the media bandwagon as it rolls by collecting mindless zombies.


My New College Degree

There’s not a lot of “enlightenment” in this first post. But, give me time. I’m sure I’ll track some here and there as I muddle my way into blogging. So, here it goes…

My New College Degree

I got it. Yay! Now what do I do with it? When I applied for graduation I was excited at the prospect of being finished with school, at least for a little bit, and the idea of transitioning into a career I might actually enjoy. But, I received my diploma the other day and now I feel more disgruntled than anything else. Here are the reasons for my vexed feelings, in no particular order:

  1. I majored in Communication Studies. While this is a subject with which I am absolutely enamored, it’s also very broad. On a positive note, I can apply it to almost any industry. On the other hand, I can apply it to almost any industry. For the past 15 years of my life I’ve struggled with what I wanted to be when I grow up. Majoring in Communication Studies certainly didn’t help to narrow my options.

    On top of that, of everyone I know, I’m probably one of the more–if not the most–fickle. In the last two semesters leading up to graduation I wanted to pursue a career in: technical writing, education, journalism, graphic design, editing, publishing, creative writing, grammar, public information, linguistics, speech pathology, instructional design, etc. The list goes on and on. Not to mention, I changed my mind at least every two weeks and at the very moment a new ambition sauntered in, the old was already forgotten. I have no idea what I want to do with my life and I got myself a spinning arrow for a college degree.

  2. The job market sucks. Even if I had the slightest idea as to what I wanted to do, I seriously doubt I’d have any luck finding gainful employment doing it. I have this fancy, schmancy degree now, but I have no experience. With a crappy job market and no experience, my options seem limited to a massive pay cut for a highly competitive, low- to non-paying internship. Actually, this reason alone wouldn’t be so bad if not for the burden of my current predicament, which leads me to reason #3.
  3. I have a job that pays well. Granted, I’m miserable doing it everyday, but it’s a nice paycheck. Of course, this was never my intention. When I was hired at my current place of employment it was for an entry-level position paying little more than minimum wage, which was fine with me. All I needed some sort of income while I finished school. My hiring position was only ever intended to be a job, certainly not a career. Well, I managed to make myself a victim of my own success. I’m a fast learner, hard worker, and produce a quality product, so I was promoted to a new department within six months. Six months into that position, I was promoted again. That department held on to me for a year before I was promoted to my current position (which I’ve held for just over two years now), so, in less than five years, I’ve more than doubled my original starting salary. I certainly can’t complain in that arena, so why am I miserable?

    My job isn’t even very challenging (which may contribute, at least in part, to my misery), but it’s just not what I want to do. I work in the entertainment industry, which, for some people, may be a dream come true. In the beginning, I’ll admit, it does hold some level of grandeur. Some people love it and want nothing more than to create memorable experiences for patrons who attend their events. That’s great for them. For me, working in entertainment has the slow, cumulative effect of leaching every ounce of joy from my soul. The great and powerful wizard just isn’t the same once you’ve seen the man behind the curtain. I don’t want to have memorable experiences at entertainment venues because, when I’m off work the last place I want to be is at work. Also, anytime I attend another venue I spend more of my evening criticizing how they operate than enjoying the show. It sucks the fun out of everything, but I’ll be damned if I don’t get more-than-fair compensation. So, as much as I hate it, I’m comfortable with my salary and I don’t know how to get away.

And that about sums up why I’m less-than-excited about my new college degree. I feel like I should be ecstatic, but I just can’t when my prospects seem so bleak. Of course, I can’t pretend that I know what the future looks like. As much as I try, I can’t see into even the immediate future. Perhaps one day–sooner rather than later, I hope–I’ll be thankful I paid (and am still paying) the $50,000 for a BA in Communication Studies.