Jun 27, 2008

I love Monster.com’s motto, “Never Settle.” The career website’s mission is to help individuals find jobs they will be passionate about. Their motto reflects the belief that people have a right to expect the best out of their careers and life in general.

One would hope that the “never settle” motto would be ingrained in young African-Americans’ and other minorities’ psyches by society, as we are said to have more opportunities than ever before. Yet, the majority of us seem to be encouraged to settle for less than what we desire and deserve. We are told in myriad ways by the media, educators, employers, and our family and friends that we are “lucky” just to have graduated from high school or college, and that aspiring to have anything beyond a job that pays our bills is wishful thinking. Instead of being encouraged and aided to follow our dreams, well-meaning but harmful people instill a fear in us that our ethnicity will be a huge barrier to our achievement, certain careers are too hard to succeed in, and that the further we seek to go in our careers the more we are at risk of failing.

In fact, many minorities are taught to settle throughout their lives. Parents can be heard telling their children they “better finish high school,” instead of taking it for granted that they will and focusing on how they will succeed in college. When in college, minority students are often told to major in a field they aren’t excited about or one that will supposedly guarantee them a job, instead of studying something more suited to their interests and strengths.

Fueling complacency in this way results in people having mediocre careers and mediocre lives. Ultimately, they will feel as if they missed out on something and did not realize their full potential—in which case they’d be right. Throughout history we have seen that the people who had the most rewarding careers and are remembered as leaders in their field, are those that knew their worth and refused to be happy with what others said should make them content.

So why should we have to take jobs that don’t excite us, utilize our skills, and help us grow? Why should we feel overjoyed to receive a paycheck every two weeks regardless of who it’s from? Why should we put our dreams on the backburner?

We can’t afford to lower our expectations and let others dictate what we’re worthy of having. We do ourselves, our ancestors, and future generations a disservice by striving for anything less than excellence and the realization of our goals. Robert Williams, a writer, once said, “It is impossible for a people to rise above their aspirations. If we think we cannot, we most certainly cannot. Our greatest enemy is our own defeatist attitude.” This is the mentality we need to have and nurture in others. Never let anyone tell you that something cannot be done or you’re not the person to do it. Never let anyone tell you that there is a limit to how much you can accomplish and that you should be satisfied to have made it as far as you have. Go further savvy sistas, and never settle.

2 comments:

  1. Amen Sista!!!! Amen!!! I have always believed this. I am very fortunate to have a mother that told me I could be anything I wanted to be. Although I have a degree in chemical engineering, i know it's not my bliss. This field gives me no joy, but when I writing and talking to others about what's going on in the world now that's when my juices get to flowing. I don't think people tell us to "settle" because they don't love us but moreso that they are afraid for us. Every parent wants to see their succeed, and so watching your child falter is very difficult for one to take. A lot of parents set expectations based on the expectations that was set for them. We have to break out of this mindset. It's not going to be easy, but nothing worth having ever is.

    Thank you Chaz for sharing your inate wisdom with the site. I do hope you'll come back in the future and share some more with us.

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  2. As white male that was raised in suburbia,with no concept of racism in any fashion introduced into my life until I was over eighteen, (even then, it was shown to me from a lot of different directions, but I never bought in to it.) I'll say this,Our opportunities and barriers in this country are greater and less than (respective order) any other country in the world, no matter the race and while that was not always true, It was the plan and hope of its founders, and it's becoming more so every generation. I was reading your post and I realized one could simply put "ciizens" or "youth", without putting color or race in as a qualifier, throughout the entire thought.
    While I was given many chances that others were'nt as i came into adult hood, (my father passed away when I was 15 and left me quite a sum of money) I had no idea what to do , or more precisely, how to do what I was supposed to do, with that money. In short I squandered the majority of it. The following 7 years of adulthood I spent as a typical high-school drop out dreamer with the attitude that some thing was gonna fall in my lap because I was somehow destined to be better than my surroundings. Suffice to say, I lived on the streets and other peoples couches for the majority of that period. I was shunned by restaraunt employees and harrassed by the police. Obviously not because of my color but because of my car, clothes, hair, money(lack thereof) and the company and hours I kept. I really have, in my youth been pulled over because "I looked like I needed to be checked out" and have had mothers pull children away from my direction in the grocery store, and have been followed by security in the mall. These events are not exclusive to the minority races in this country. They are natural reaction to appearance. I looked like a hoodlum so I would be left alone by hoodlums, but to my chagrin at also made me be rebuked by responsible society. I got tired of that started to gain a work ethic and slowly but surely got my sh*t together and am now a family man with a house and kids and dogs and a wonderful wife.
    I never had a right to these things, I have always had a right to persue them. There are people of all colors in this country that have had it far worse than I, and far better and have gained more and ended up with far less. Life is what you make of it. No one owes you anything you didn't earn. And life happens to all of us. Good and bad.
    I love your stuff here I'll be back and I'm posting a link to it on my Facebook.
    I am a Libertarian, NOT a republican or a democrat. I believe in limited government, self reliance, and freedom of religion. I believe that strong government is an answer to very few of our societies woes, and a creator of many more.
    It's worth saying it twice I like reading your page and I 'll be back :)
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=146596282734&ref=mf

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