Must I Speak Spanish To Get A Job?


I am one of many recently unemployed Americans who can’t get a job because I don’t speak Spanish. I was born in this country from American parents who were also born here and have spoken nothing but the English language. I am a US Navy Veteran as well and am proud to fly the American flag. However, because I don’t speak Spanish, I am unable to get work. I live in Texas and am angered that the Mexican flag is flown in many places and not the American flag. I want to know why English is not the official language in this country and why is it that other country’s flags are allowed to fly? If you are in this country, fly our flag, not yours unless you work at an embassy. Also, can one be prevented from getting a job if they are not bilingual? Can I file this as a form of discrimination?


Depressed and Angry


Dear Depressed and Angry:

I’m sorry you are going through such a stressful time! Being unemployed is one of the most frightening situations to ever happen to someone, especially someone who has always prided himself on being productive and self-sufficient. The anger and frustration you feel is a common response. What you do about it will be up to you, but I hope you’ll be able to move forward in a way that is just as productive as you have always been.

We get letters from people who are angry because they can’t get a job without an advanced degree as well as from those who are upset because they can’t get a job without a high school diploma. Some are frustrated because they can’t get a job unless they have expertise with a computer. Others think it is not fair that they can’t get a job unless they are a man–or a woman–or young–or experienced even though they can’t get experience until they get a job!

The truth obviously is that thousands of jobs are available for those people–they just hadn’t found them when they wrote to us, and the ones for which they applied had requirements they didn’t fit.

Your state’s department of labor may have resources that could help you. Consider employment agencies that specialize in temporary work. I’m not referring to day laborers, but rather office, retail or other work that has seasonal or sporadic needs. Those are some of the best ways to get your foot in the door of various jobs. If you are receiving unemployment compensation, check to see what effect a temporary job might have.

If you have trouble developing a resume or job application that fully shows your knowledge and skills, have someone help you with that–a family member or friend, or there may be a community resource. You may find you are needed in jobs that you have not thought about before.

This is the time to work on every aspect of your life that can support good mental and physical health. If you are married, put more effort than ever into having a loving partnership. Your physical well-being is crucial, so this is the time to renew exercise, good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle. Look your best, act your best, be your best. If you have a religious faith, use that to help your heart and mind stay focused on the best things. If not, consider spending some time every day reading or thinking about the good things you have had in your life and how fortunate you were to have them. Many of them were gifts you didn’t expect. Your future can be the same way.

Those aren’t just Pollyanna comments, you know it is good advice. It’s the advice you would have given someone before all of this started getting you down.

You can’t control many of the things you feel negative about, but you can control how much you dwell on them. If you can’t control how much you dwell on them mentally, it’s a sign that you are so emotionally upset right now that you may need help to get better and to move on with your life. Consider getting that assistance if you think you are stuck in a rut of negative thinking about anything or anyone.

Probably you can channel those feelings into something better, but right now it is handy to have something, someone or a group to be angry about. That’s human nature and one you will have to rise above if you want to feel better.

Things change. Our country started changing about the time it got established and its been changing ever since then. Life started changing when we were born and as we age. In both situations some people manage to be happy and successful and some people are not. I wish I knew exactly what makes the difference between those two outcomes, but I can’t tell you precisely. I only know it’s possible and that you can be happy and successful in your life, if you can stay focused only on the things that can help, not the things that just stall you and make you angrier.

Here is one key issue though: It’s right and good for you to want the best for yourself. But when any person puts more effort into tearing down others instead of building themselves, they lose the support of good people and worse yet, they diminish themselves tremendously.

I’m thinking especially of people who become angry over all kinds of things and lash out violently or just with words, and lose any reputation they ever had, as well as causing senseless tragedies. Hopefully, that isn’t the kind of man you ever were or are now or will be in the future. This is the time to show the strength that has made you proud of yourself throughout your life.

I didn’t answer your questions about society or the issues that frustrate you, but I hope I reminded you of some things you know in your heart. If you have the opportunity and wish to do so, let us know what develops. Keep the faith that you will find the right place in which to be your best. Best wishes to you!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.