Thursday, September 13, 2007

immigrants = success?

An interesting article by MSN about the success of immigrants as business owners. A lot has to do with taking risks, working hard, and living simply.

I have meet some very interesting people online who feel that immigrants have taken their jobs away from them. That these people work much too hard and for too little money which makes it difficult for them to compete.

But I question, wasn't everyone an immigrant at one point in time? Also why are people so upset over immigrants taking their jobs if they aren't working hard enough? I say this honestly because I married someone whose and immigrant, have immigrant parents, immigrant in-laws, and immigrant family and we've honestly hit the American Dream.

My kids will have a lot because DH and I were provided so much by our parents. They worked typically 3 jobs in college, and not fun or easy jobs. Our parents in their 50s (boomers), worked as a taxi cab driver, barber, maid, dishwasher to survive when they came over. They paid for college themselves and helped their parents.

And yet all are easily able to send their kids to college, travel every year, and retire at 55 without breaking a sweat. So how were they able to make it just working 9-5 jobs, raising children, coming with nothing, and still manage to be successful?

I think it's the attitude. The entitlement many Americans feel about what they are owed. How they expect to live at 28. I know this because a few of our friends who are Americans complain about not being able to buy a house where we live (very common). Yet not one other person/couple made the sacrifice DH and I made to buy a 1 bedroom condo and live there for a few years to build equity. Now we own a townhouse, none of our coworkers are willing to buy a townhouse, they want a Single Family Home. Again we sacrificed and made a choice for what we could afford.

This entitlement extends farther, we drive decent, older cars. Not fancy, but not junkers. But many of DH's coworkers/classmates drive cars worth at least 2-3x what we drive and yet they feel it's not enough. Many wonder how broke we are that we both drive compact cars. But it's a choice we're making to be flexible in our financial decisions. I would love to drive a Lexus, to vacation for a week in the caribbean, but we can't afford everything we want (well without charging it). Hence we aren't entitled to it just because we work hard. This entitlement might also stem from Generation X being spoiled by their Boomer Parents. We bought our cars, our home without a penny of help. We're the only couple we know who did so, most people had Down Payments or a car bought in full by their parents. We had to take out loans for everything.

Right now I could quit, have a baby, and stay at home without changing our lifestyle much. We can afford our house, our cars, and retirement maxed out without my income. My income is gravy, it mostly pays our taxes. Yet, we are still trying to save money so we can increase our lifestyle on one income.

People who blame immigrants for all their problems need to examine their own lives. They need to question why they spend time looking at others when they should be working on improving themselves.


Anonymous said...

Are we talking legal, or illegal immigrants here? There's a HUGE difference.

I have NOTHING against legal immigrants coming to the US and doing whatever work they want to do. They're contributing to society. However, illegal immigrants are sucking our society dry by using up classroom seats, medical resources, and yes, jobs, they they have not rights to.

As to your comment about everyone being immigrants, my father's "family" came over from England before there ever was a "united states" and my mother's family is American Indian.


Anonymous said...

No, we're not all immigrants. Although some of my grandparents came to the U.S. from Europe in the early 1900s, some came over even earlier. As a second or third-generation American, I'm not an "immigrant." I understand what you meant to say, however.


Living Almost Large said...

My mom's family was also native hawaiian so I think we've been here as long terri. But she was born abroad during their travels for work.

Work ethic is very different for immigrants.

Anonymous said...

We cannot generalize about work ethic based on someone's birthplace. I don't think anyone worked harder or longer hours than my dad trying to provide for his family.

In addition, not all immigrant groups share the same values. I say this after having edited a series of books on American immigration ("Irish Americans," "German Americans," "Cuban Americans, etc.).


Living Almost Large said...

I wonder though if people as stated in the article who are immigrants are not more self-motivated than the average population? Hence they are amibitious to leave their situations behind and search for a "better life".

I think it takes a lot of spirit to leave everything you know, and are familiar with. It might contribute to their willingness to work hard even compared to their fellow countrymen.