One of the questions Latinos face in our time is the pursuit of higher education. The only reason this is an issue is due to the high cost of obtaining a degree and the prospects of finding employment with it. The high unemployment and underemployment scale has many re-evaluating conventional wisdom.
The definitive answer on this one is, “it depends.” Recently on a long and exhausting business trip I looked at a middle aged flight attendant, and I said to myself, “I would not want to have your job.” Somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind a voice asked, “Ok so what job would you want to have? The pilot, I answered.” I thought long and hard during the trip about my answer.
Years ago I heard an anthropologist in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico give a lecture to a group of business people about a new management course developed at the college of business at the University of Juarez. The curriculum was based on the Aztec empire. It turns out that, this ancient culture was more advanced than what is commonly taught in history classes.
The Aztecs had a highly structured society and school started at age four. In these early formative years, children were carefully observed for their natural predilection. In this society, you could only be one of the following professions.
Under this culture, one was given the specialized education and training to fulfill their individual purpose in service of the empire. There was no social welfare system. Every single person was a productive and contributing member to their family and the nation. Once in a while some subject was not sure what occupation they wanted to fulfill. So they got to try all of them to see which one suited him for life. If at the end of going through all the different options, they still didn’t know, they had one ultimate purpose. Becoming a sacrifice, to please the gods, and to avoid creating a slothful worthless person.
During the course of my life, I have been blessed to try out all of the aforementioned professions. No, I would not want to be a pilot. I am most happy being a teacher/businessman. However, I see far too many Latinos in low paying service jobs. We want to encourage every single young mind to aspire to their hearts’ predilection. In my experience, there is no greater happiness than having more than enough in the service of one’s fellow man. Does this require higher education? Absolutely! In my next post, I will share with you what they don’t teach you in school that you need to know.
[Photo by Victor Escalante]
I took this picture at a corporate Christmas party of mostly white people. All the service staff were Latinos.