We went over to IKEA yesterday to get more filing boxes for my new bookshelves, a long over due Christmas present that I desperately need. This was the second time that we made a big purchase at IKEA, and surprisingly, we have been very happy with the quality of their products and service. After the shopping, Da Pong and I had an interesting discussion about a little conversation that we overheard at the checkout line.


At the line-up by the cashier checkpoint, an IKEA cashier loudly bragged to a couple of customers that he finally finished his education a week before Christmas while working full time at IKEA. Da Pong chuckled and muttered to himself that why the young man would consider that as a big deal- a newly graduate with a college degree but still working at IKEA as a cashier. I elbowed him hard (trust me, I have very strong right arm ) to signal him how inappropriate his comment was even though I was the only one who had heard his mumbling voice.


I know Da Pong’s jokes may be truthful but very inappropriate for the time and place. When we came out of the store, I gave him my after-fact complaint (the typical Julia1492’s fume) and told him that it was not very kind to mumble comments like that even though he did not mean to insult the young man. The fact is we do not know the circumstances the young man is in. The young man might be very proud of his achievement because he had worked at IKEA to pay for his schooling. Now, he would have a better opportunity to aim for a better career choice. For all we know, he could be in transition right now for his career.


For some people, it is a REALLY big deal for them to be able to support themselves throughout university with very little means from their family. The only way to reach their goal in life is to work part time or full time to pay for their own education. I know how difficult it could be to go to school while working full time because I did it myself and so did all my siblings. I am pretty sure that many readers here probably had the similar experiences. A college or university degree did not come easily to those who couldn't afford it.


We all came from different backgrounds and circumstances. Although we like to believe that we were all born equal, but the truth is we were not; some might be born with a silver spoon in life but others with destitute. It might not be easy for us to change our family circumstances but it IS feasible to reach a better life through hard work. I often said that I wouldn’t be able to make it this far without my education which is my ticket to a successful career.


Some people may argue, what about Bill Gates who was a university dropout and did not even finish his education? Well, I did not say life is fair, did I? He got a better luck and good for him! Bill Gates might be a dropout, but he did NOT get to where he is today by sitting at home and playing games all day, either. For us, the ordinary Joes, the only way to get somewhere is through our self-motivation, discipline, positive attitude and work ethics. These are some of the quality traits that I hold dear to my heart as my guiding lights in life. I have not reached where I want to be just yet, and I may never get there within my life time. However, I know, at least, I can let out my last breath with content.


I admire young people who are independent and motivated to work hard. The young man we met at IKEA may be one of those young people who have used their hard-earned money to support themselves through the college education. Now he is ready to face the world for his next career move. The fact is we don't really know him well enough to judge him. So, next time, treat those kids who work at the McDonald's or at a local grocery store with some respect. Those kids who are making minimum wage may not work there because they are earning pocket money to spend on their toys and parties. They may be a Bill Gates-in-training, a future CEO in the making for your company.



Note:  snoopers = eavesdroppers


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My Corner for Education

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