Blighted Dreams or is it Something Else?

This quote from a previous conversation with the online person came up in my mind this morning as I woke up and was preparing for the day.  “…the inability to open up to hope is what blocks trust, and blocked trust is the reason for blighted dreams…”

I was still mulling over the talk that I had with my youngest son, he’s 16, the previous night about the potential part-time job situation.  He voiced his opinion that he really didn’t want me going back to the previous job I had as a cashier working the drive-thru at a fast food place.  He said that wasn’t for me, they treated me badly and I needed something better.

After much debate and thought, I realized he was right.  I was looking for an easy way to get income generated through a job I knew to be not that difficult, easy to get but time consuming in the end.  I had overlooked my previous experience with them.

When I worked as a part-timer the store location took advantage of the fact that they could schedule workers up to 35 hours a week which would put a worker in their part time category as long as it didn’t hit or exceed 35 hours in which case the worker would automatically be considered a full timer entitled to benefits. I was consistently scheduled 34.5 hours a week while I worked there.

I was good worker, showed up early, stayed late, trained others and did everything I was supposed to do sometimes more but would never make more than $9.50 an hour unless I was made a supervisor which paid $11 to $13 per hour.

I was way over qualified for the position, I knew this and so did they.  I had the supervisory experience, 15 years as a military training manager & supervisor, and the education, 3 associates degrees and more than 120 hours toward a bachelors but was never considered for a supervisor position.

My work as a part of the morning crew got the store manager and district manager the numbers they needed every week to meet their corporate goals. They didn’t want to move me and gave all kinds of reasons why I couldn’t be a supervisor.  So I left.  There is only so much a person can take from others before they have say so long, been nice knowing you.

So this morning I woke up feeling kind of dispirited.  Thoughts of where do I fit in all of this?  How much more patient do I need to be? When will things start to change in my life? Have I been wasting my time with all of this?  Where do I need to go with all of this?

I stopped, took a deep breath in, focused and decided to do what I do best, research.  Research to validate why I’m doing the things I do.  Finding that supporting evidence of why I still maintain “Hope” for a better life not only for myself and children but for others.  Finding the reasons again of why I pursue this “Dream”.

Here are the facts and studies:

Why I am still pursuing a bachelor’s then master’s degree in business?

My grandmother always stressed to me the importance of gaining knowledge to make you a better person overall.  She was one of only a handful of Native Americans that went to college during her time, the early 20’s.  She never completed a degree in child psychology because, well, she met and fell in love with my grandpa. 😀 They were married over 50 years and raised 10 children together.  I don’t think she needed a degree in child psychology, she gained lots of hands on experience, lol.

If you look at the world population as a whole, approximately 7 billion people, according to a Huffington Post article dated 5/25/11  6.7% Of World Has College Degree “…According to a new study from Harvard and the Asian Development Bank, 6.7 percent of the world’s population are college degree-holders…”  That’s not a lot of people out there who pursued or may have had access to higher education.  This pursuit has been my dream since I was a little kid and I’m not going to give up now when I’m so close.

The odds of me completing a degree have not been in my favor based solely on my ethnicity and background.  Native Americans – Education and College Degrees Education World Article – 4/19/17Reporters’ Notebook: Native Americans Struggle, Build Pride “…the national economic profile of Native Americans, according to the 1990 census data. Native Americans generally are poor: about one-third live in poverty compared with 13 percent of the U.S. population. Native Americans’ per capita income is $8,232 compared with the average U.S. per capita income of $14,420. Their unemployment rate of 14.4 percent is significantly higher than the national rate of 6.3 percent…” there was also this “…Native Americans also have a lower overall high school graduation rate: about 65 percent earn a high school diploma compared with 75.2 percent of the U.S. population. Their college graduation rate is also much lower, with 9.3 percent earning a college degree compared with the national average of 20.3 percent…”  Now granted, those statistics were from over 25 years ago but everything I read from more recent studies didn’t show much more progress maybe a few percentage points higher but that was all.

The norm among my culture, well within my own family,  growing up was that we live in a “white man’s world” and if you act like them then your no longer Native add to that a home life filled with trauma and abuse. That’s a pretty harsh thing to grow up with and counteract. It’s hard to find positive influence due to the way the people in your life think.

So what did I do?  I didn’t give up and totally went against the grain or what was expected of me by not only graduating high school but I joined the United States military and recently retired to show that it can be done.  You have to decide what you want from your life because no one else can live it for you.  I set a path for the younger generation in my family to follow and some have gone that same route.  We didn’t forget where we came from and who we are.  I want to change that way of thinking for not only my family but for other Native Americans.  That we can learn from the so called “White Man” and make things better for all us but we have to be willing to try.

Why would I choose a business degree and not something else?

I know my limitations.  I’m okay in math and science but do much better in other subjects.  Then why didn’t I choose, psychology, sociology or education?  I like helping people but not so much directly face to face. I like being that person in the background making changes so I can see overall the fruits of my labor.  Also, the income that can be generated through obtaining a position based on this degree plan has a better chance of providing more than a paycheck.  If I pursue and obtain what I’m seeking in the long run I can be in a better position to “give back” greater than I could with just having a job.

This article I found on income and women particularly applies to me at this time. It is on the National Women’s Law Center website – 09/15/15Chartbook: The Women in the Low-Wage Workforce May Not Be Who You Think “…Two-thirds of low-wage workers, who work in jobs that typically pay $10.50 per hour or less, are women…vast majority are neither high school dropouts nor teenagers…Most don’t have a spouse’s income to rely on…Many are supporting children—and their family incomes are low…Nearly half are women of color.”

Then there is also this article which made me feel hopeful. Time Magazine Article – 10/17/15 Women Are Now More Likely to Have College Degree than Men “…29.9% of men had a bachelor’s degree, while 30.2% of women did, the bureau reports. A decade prior, in 2005, 28.5% of men had bachelor’s degree, while only 26% of women did.”

Then there is this data from Payscale.com about salaries based on the degree program I am currently pursuing.  This of course is subject to other requirements of the company and location where I will be working.

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Degree Average Salary (4/15/17)
National Salary Data
Human Resources (HR) Manager $42,923 – $87,345
Operations Manager $41,077 – $92,285
Senior Accountant $50,874 – $79,572
Financial Controller $53,937 – $118,694

These articles and the data within it made me realize that this is why pushing through with obtaining a degree is what I need to do otherwise I will end up like my mother and her husband or others in my family that struggle.

I no longer have any communication with my mother and her husband. The last time I talked to them; they are in their late-60’s, in poor health, financially unstable with limited means and will have to work for the rest of their lives because they never went beyond a high school education nor did they ever think about retirement or savings.

That’s no way to live. There are too many people out there like that.  I don’t want that for my children or future family generations either. That is why I pushed them toward college for the chance at a better life.  A college degree is no guarantee for success.  It does give them the opportunity they wouldn’t have had otherwise but they will still have to work hard to get what they want out of life.

I want to own a business one day.

I know that a lot of small businesses fail within the first 5 years of their start up.  If you approach it and work smartly then the chance for success is slightly better.  Having a business plan and knowing the basic ins and out of running a business such as accounting, budgeting, hiring, inventory control, marketing and sales gives you a better foot in the door. Then you have to work hard at it every day to not only maintain or sustain but to also grow it.

I found this article encouraging.  The Atlantic – 4/17/15 Women Are Owning More and More Small Businesses“…A report from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows that…in the world of small-business ownership. About 29 percent of America’s business owners are women…up from 26 percent in 1997…And minorities now make up one in three female-owned businesses, up from only one in six less than two decades ago…”

My mind is an obstacle.

All the things I learn about major depressive disorder as I go along is helping to make me feel more comfortable, courageous and vulnerable about myself. These are some of the things I need in order to grow both emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Vulnerability being the one thing that I’ve learned is important.  This opens you up to accepting change as a positive and not the negative I thought it was before.

I’ve always been this stubborn woman that was determined that “No man or no one is going to change me”.  This way of thinking closed me off to everyone I met and meet.  It still occasionally comes up but now I’m learning how to set those boundaries, state how I feel and stand firm & not waiver.  Things I’ve never done before or never learned growing up.

I would always back down or be passive aggressive which most women in my family generally were, it was the norm.  I didn’t realize until about 3 years ago that this not the norm for most people and there are better ways to deal with the issues. I’m not done growing, not even close yet.  Learning to be patient, how to ground myself and becoming better at effective communication are where I am at now.  These will aid me in achieving my goals.

In studies done on Native Americans and mental health shows that prevalence of these issues is greater in this ethnic group than any other group in the United States. The American Psychological Association Fact Sheet from 2010Mental health and American Indian/Alaskan Natives (AI/ANs):

  • AI/ANs experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population.
  • The most significant mental health concerns today are the high prevalence of depression, substance use disorders, suicide, and anxiety (including PTSD).
  • AI/ANs experience PTSD more than twice as often as the general population.  Although overall suicide rates among AI/ANs are similar to whites, there are significant differences among certain age groups.  Suicide is the leading cause of death among 10‐34 year olds. In contrast, the suicide rate among AI/ANs more than 75 years old is only one-third of the general population.

After reading through the material I realized it is a cultural norm issue among Native American tribes.  We don’t normally talk about our feelings, have a general mistrust of outside influence and seek help from other sources not necessarily medical sources.  Hopefully the on-going initiatives to combat this will be successful in bringing more awareness to the issue.

Trust is the beginning of peace, serenity and happiness.

Will all of these pursuits bring me what I want?  Maybe.  Then again maybe not but that is where the trust comes in. Trusting my instincts, relying on my knowledge and building my skills.  These are the things that I am focused on right now.

Instinct tells me I’m heading in the right direction and that being more patient will get me there because through past experience, impatience has only slowed me down or made me falter.

Knowledge is a powerful thing.  There is so much out there that can be learned the only problem is we don’t have enough time on this earth to learn everything.  So I will focus on what I need and where I need to go in my pursuit of knowledge.

Skills are what I know I have and building them up to be better is the goal.  These skills will aid in reaching some of my aspirations. The rest is up to me and how much drive & determination I want to expend on reaching my goals. Hopefully I will remember these again the next time I feel like my dreams are being blighted or I have a sense of despair.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great rest of the week!

Suzanne

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