“It’s all about class.”
I knew that the class system exists, at least from a business standpoint. You have the lower class (low margin, high volume), middle working class (general regular products at comfortable pricing) and upper class (high margin, luxury, things money cannot buy). It is only a month ago, where I really learnt about class from a society’s standpoint.
To me, it’s never about class. It’s more about your family structure (loving parents, parents still together, healthy childhood) and leveraging opportunities given to you. I come from a very regular 100% normal middle class with working parents and regular school. Everything I did was an accumulation of hard work, leveraging the opportunities and going out of my comfort zone to explore. And luck.
But as I have more conversations with friends, getting confused at people’s arguments online and not relating to many things people say, I started to look at class. Mainly because Steve said “it’s all about class”.
We had a conversation one day and I was saying something like it’s not about race. My friends come from all sorts of backgrounds — Asian, Western, Arabic, Black, Latino, and more. They live all over the globe and are very successful in their education and careers. It’s not about race. I did attribute part of it to a good stable family.
Then Steve said, it’s not race, it’s class.
What in the world is class?
So I started to search “middle class vs upper class”. Turns out, class is a lot more than I realised!
Lower class — lower middle class — middle class — upper middle class — upper class
I just thought it’s lower class (rest of the world), middle working class (80% of everyone) and upper class (nobles, royalties, 3-comma club). The difference is how they think, how they behave, how they spend their time.
I learnt a few things:
- Moving within the class segment (middle to upper-middle) is easy. Moving up the class segment is hard (upper-middle to upper). ← An economics research study we did in uni was to measure social mobility!
- Parenting styles are quite different for the class segments.
- Some ladies’ goal is to marry into upper class. It’s basically their career. They focus all their energy into that. ← This opened my eye. As in this is so huge that there is an industry around it.
Maybe it’s the value I am brought up with — hard work and education makes a whole lot of difference. It takes you anywhere. Of course, there’s also working smart, producing value the market appreciates and luck. But social mobility was never a thing I thought about. We are all equal, and if you work hard, you can get to anywhere you want. The world is within us, our actions and behaviours.
One experience I had recently was to deal with my relatives, of whom I actively avoid. As mentioned, I have no patience for things and people that do not add value to my life. So when I had to deal with these relatives, I felt extremely confused and uncomfortable with their actions.
After a weekend of reflection and literally typing “how to deal with stupid people”, I learnt to build empathy for these types of relatives. I began to empathise with why they do what they do. To me, some things don’t matter because I have it. But to others, it might mean the entire world to them.
Always be kind. And when something is confusing and uncomfortable, it’s because I simply don’t know better. It’s not about class.