When that finally ran dry it didn't bother me to deliver pizzas or do landscaping work, if that's all that's available. You do what you have to do to
support your family. There's no shame in doing any work, the trick is to take pride in what you do and do it to the best of your ability; whether it's
raking leaves or cleaning toilets. If you aren't getting paid much you should at least get the satisfaction of knowing you did your work well.
This is the way I have always seen things too. I recently have had to face a totally different mindset, which really blew me away.
It's still on the subject of poverty, abundance, and our mindsets which keep us in one or another state,
though going into a different branch of that subject that I just have the need to write out (and it's my thread, I'll do what I want to...
A few years ago, I took a job working as a cook in a hospital kitchen. Now, in France, the meals are of higher quality in such environments like
hospitals and schools, food is sacred here, so no jello making- we do things by hand, we make our own pastries, spend the day making a sauce from
scratch...just to be clear. But still, it is manual work and as such, considered a lower class activity. Most of my colleagues stopped formal
education at 15 and were, for the most part, illiterate. Many had to ask me to do things like write and post the daily menu (and I'm the
When a physical problem made me unable to continue the work, and the doctor advised the hospital to move me into a post in administration, I was
surprised at the way people responded to me. It was constantly assumed that I wouldn't be capable of doing anything of that sort- and wouldn't
I couldn't understand this assumption! I have been a bilingual secretary, I have managed a business for someone else, I have had my own enterprise (in
which I did my own accounting, thank you very much). They didn't know this, and when the director of human resources took a look into my file and
background, he suddenly changed his whole demeanor towards me, and expressed surprise at my previous experiences (and gave me a job in admin.)
But the repeated assumptions and comments that I must be a "manual" type person and hate having to do anything "intellectual" really stirred my
Their culture is different than ours! Here, instead of guiding young people in the educative and career path they want, it is determined what they are
naturally good at and they are pushed in that direction. There is no concept of "self development" and working on oneself to overcome weaknesses or
flaws- you are what you are, and you accept that. You are a product of your genetics, and the environment you grew up in. It is the wider social and
familial context that they turn to for a sense of self.
So, no one steps out of their pre-ordained slot in life! You wouldn't see a person step down to taking a less lucrative or socially valued job in
between projects. If you're a "brain" as they say here, you are incapable of being a "hand" and vice versa. People in positions of responsibility do
not have experience in the areas of those their inferiors do- they went into higher education (without working while in school, that isn't done here)
and then directly into their higher positions.
In a sense, what I realized is that it was sort of a mistake to have ever taken this job- it has drastically effected my ability to get other jobs
that are not "manual". Luckily for me, I am more concerned about my spiritual and individual development and experience than my social status in the
community; but I am lucid about the fact that this has and will cause me moments of discomfort.
But seeing this way people can be programmed to limit their perception of what is possible, and what they are.... keeping themselves in the same box
for a lifetime, (their children as well!) really gave me some contrast to consider my own mental limits in a different way. Hell, in contrast, I've
not been hindered by poverty mentality at all.
When my kids were younger, and I talked a lot with other parents about our kids, I wondered why everyone around here just about took it for granted
that their child would not have the baccalaurat (like high school diploma, just harder to achieve). Especially when I knew some of these kids were
very bright and certainly capable! But they did all get steered out of school around 15 anyway.
I think now, the ONLY reason I saw poverty- instilled habits of behavior and thought as a "problem" or obstacle, is precisely because I saw the
possibility of change. Some people don't have that dawn on them, and in fact, live within their self imposed limits quite comfortably. They might not
have certain comforts and luxuries, but they live without putting pressure on themselves either.
I still take off on a shopping spree, with the strange knowledge that I can spend as much as I want today, and intending to do so. Did that two days
ago. Gave myself a self imposed limit of 300 euros. Spent 60 euros by the end of the day.
So I'm still acting under invisible limits, but at least, I am thinking, it could be worse. Everything is relative.