Today I want to tell you about one of my many experiences with entitlement.
I graduated in 2010 with a B.A of Arts in Liberal Studies. Top professors, top grades...
Because of my own merits, those of my family, my skin color, decendense, education, understanding of the culture etc...
I had all the opportunities anyone could've dreamed of after graduating.
family members and friends already had jobs lined up for me. But I had never taken a job that way.
The first job I applied for, I got it. As the research assistant to the head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
There wasn't even an application. My thesis tutor was a well known politician and academic. His name on my paper was solid gold.
I made a phone call to the foundation, told them my grades. Met the guy the next day and had an offer after 5 minutes.
Compare that to the 250 job applications I sent during my first two years in Berlin which got me one single response that said: "No, thank you."
And they were not BS applications. I researched the companies; talked to the head of HR, I studied BOOKs on how to apply in Germany...
I learned inDesign to create my own CVs and had a professional photographer take my headshots. But the economy was not good in 2010 ...I was not good enough.
Back home I could have build my own business, on which I had been working for years. Instead, I packed a bag and flew to Berlin.
I was not delusional when I arrived in Berlin. I knew I was going to work as a waiter or something similar, until I found a proper job.
I also had to wait one year for my degree, because there were a couple of credits I was missing.
When you do not know the culture, the language, you don't have contacts and so on...you are NO ONE.
Back home I always felt "special". I was also very grateful, as much as I could be, but it was impossible to know how much I was really worth.
If you live in your own country, you don't have enough contrast to understand how many advantages you have. The problem with not having that knowledge is very simple:
That lack of perspective will make it easy for you to focus on the wrong things and feel miserable and victimised.
Absolutely nothing can prepare you for an experience like that. Moving to a different country with no money, no job and no home...
This is part of the reason I left all that "opportunity" behind and went there.
I wanted to grow, learn different things, not get comfy.
Let me tell you about my first job there:
My first job was a dish-washer at the national radio station. I was the guy that cleaned the entire cooking equipment that the kitchen that fed 500 employees.
Including, of course, all the plates and silverware.
I won't lie to you. The first day I was shocked...I had been told that I would always be with a team of other people.
(Right, I forgot. My first job was with an agency that booked me to other companies to do jobs like that.)
So, there I was, in a 26 sqm room, all by myself, filled with machines that I had never seen. And 5 hours into the job, the dirty stuff kept coming and coming...
And then the real fun began. The guests came, and for the next 6 hours, I did dishes and dishes and dishes...and when I thought I was done...I wasn't
Because it was time to clean all of the machines, the floor and the walls for the next day.
Oh and I did not mention the fact that I spent two weeks prior hunting all of the necessary paperwork to even have the right to wash dishes.
Honestly, the job was great, But what messed me up that time were my expectations.
I was mad. I was upset. I was scared. I did not understand the language at all. I didn't know anybody there, I had no friends in Berlin.
It took my a while to realise how LITTLE anyone cared.
Some guy that can not speak the language might be feeling confused? hah....
Now, I see it everyday...and you would think I care...but I don't give a fuck either.
The reason is simple: When you live in a first world country, such as Germany, even if you are homeless, the state will make sure you are taken care of.
In most of this countries, nothing bad can really happen to you. And we forget it. We take it for granted how protected and spoiled we all are.
Back home, we had to continually keep track of the 4 cars driving behind us because being kidnapped while entering your house was a VERY real problem.
In Europe people take for granted the fact that walking down the street is safe. There is a reason why it is that way and it could very well not be.
When I realised I was at the bottom of the hierarchy. My knowledge, my past, my culture, my skin color, what my parents had done, what I had done...it meant:
It was a shock because the way things had played out in my country, anyone with fair skin was at least middle class and would never be seen tending behind a a McDonalds register.
In Germany, those things made absolute no difference. And for the first time in my life I realised that, back home, I had unconsciously assumed that my life had no ceiling and my low floor was pretty high.
Back home, I had a safety net. Not so much here. I joke about it, but there was a time I called up a friend and asked him if I could take his empty beer bottles to buy food.
And there are people reading here who have had way worst experiences. But those things can be very helpful because they give you perspective.
What scared me was the realisation that if I did not watch out, I was going to end up stuck in one of those jobs forever. That scared me to death.
I think the word entitlement get's a lot of bad rep. It's a stigma for most people, I get that.
But "entitlement" is simply the natural result of having prosperity, growth, health peace etc...
The problem with not realising it is that we can't feel experience gratitude unless we become aware of it.
Not feeling grateful will contribute to feeling like a victim, because the weight of unfairness and oppression becomes more apparent.
Some people like to say: "No one cares about you" to sell the idea that this is a dog eats dog world. That is a LOAD of BS
The way to stop feeling entitled and like a victim is to ask yourself: "How can I help that other person?" At least one.
That shifts the way you feel, it gives you more resources to play with. Of course people care, but you can not EXPECT them too.