Fighting on Two Fronts

The skills you need to leave the working poor are not the same skills you need to succeed in the middle class.


Working class children that have successfully made something out of themselves often have some common traits. They are intelligent, rebellious, do not mind working against the grain, and often have a very cynical outlook on life. They learn early that in order to go to college they need to be prepared to lose family, friends, and home. Many kids from a working class are in a constant fight to explain to their family and peers why they think they are better than them, why they are betraying their upbringing, why they are so ambitious, and why they are so egoistic.

In order to succeed without the support from your surrounding you have to fend for yourself, are often lonely, and require a lot of persistence and also stubbornness.  Most kids at one point or the other have to fight against the authority usually in form of their parents.

When you then have it made and are leaving college with best grades and best intentions, you often are less successful than you thought you would be.

Being a rebel, being different than others, being a loner, and cynical might have worked in your favor to leave the old life behind, but those character traits will not help you succeed in business when you are working for the man.

All over sudden you will have to learn to listen, to follow, to network, to make friends, how to be well liked with a proper set of manners following an etiquette that no one ever taught you. People might call you quirky or rude, or they simply know you do not belong. Your rough edges might get ignored initially, however, when it comes to promotions you easily get overlooked and traded in for someone with a more smooth upbringing. You are competing against those kids who have been introduced to the higher society at an early age. Who learned to say yes and thank you. Who have benefited from their parents connections and tested the waters in some cool internships. Who have been tutored, mentored, and received support all their life. You need to play catch up and that is rough.

Essentially you will learn that all your intelligence and persistence counts for nothing if you do not know how to connect with people.

Catching up with privilege is not easy.



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