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Social climbing - first generation?

(213 Posts)
user1465284888 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:06:06


Please note that I am very embarrassed writing this thread, but I need to know whether I am being unreasonable.

I am a second genereation "immigrant", born and raised in London to a mother who is a cleaner and a father who is a cab driver. Through their hard work and sweat, plus my own - I have finished completed my education to a masters degree at a world-renowned institution (Top 5, in the world).

Of course, being a "working class" girl I noticed very quickly that people throughout my education lived very different lives to me. I somewhat admired how they would complain about M&S not having their milk, Harrods running out of their Skiing gear and I wanted that for myself and children. So, I have worked hard and I am about to start work in the city on a very decent salary (just under £50k including bonus).

But, I am worried. I am that I will forever be working class and my children too. A Russian gf of mine told me to mingle well in the city, marry well and send the children to boarding school. However, I am told that the rich can smell a social climber, not even the "middle-class handbook" can save you and that they are not very receptive to "foreigners".

So, my question is - as a first generation, non-white, young lady who genuinely wants the best for herself and children how can I move up a social class and "polish myself"?
I have seen other people from afar do it and after months of lurking, I know there are a few posh mothers who can give me some pointers.

Please help and go easy on me. I am by no means a "gold digger" or "opportunist" as I have worked hard to have my own. I just know what poverty looks like and I do not want that for myself and children. Plus now I am in my early 20's I think I can move up the ladder, surely?

Floggingmolly Tue 07-Jun-16 09:13:11

The rich can smell a social climber?? You're not rich, for a start... confused

EatShitDerek Tue 07-Jun-16 09:14:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotSure202 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:14:57

I agree that the rich can indeed spot a social climber a mile away. I disagree that being foreign is a problem though.

I would just get involved in the things you are interested in and like to do, and let life take its course. Be natural though, and be yourself because being a phony is no way to live your life. You also have nothing to apologise for - you come from a great family and have done great things. Be proud of that and who you are.

BillSykesDog Tue 07-Jun-16 09:15:01


But just on the off chance you're not, just don't try. Be yourself.

timelytess Tue 07-Jun-16 09:15:44

Optimist1 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:16:00

You want to pretend to be of a higher social class than you are? You're focussing on the wrong "ladder" here - you're aleady a couple of rungs up the one called Achievement by virtue of your education and your parents' sacrifices. But if you want to focus on hoodwinking new friends and potential husband (and insult your parents into the bargain) go right ahead.

Gruach Tue 07-Jun-16 09:17:32


londonmummy1966 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:17:50

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Hoppinggreen Tue 07-Jun-16 09:19:56

Caring about class so much very lower middle class so not giving a crap would be your first step.

MarchEliza Tue 07-Jun-16 09:20:37

Is Femail planning on an article about social climbing immigrants??

They come over here, stealing all our degrees wink etc. Etc.

DoesAnyoneReadTheseThings Tue 07-Jun-16 09:22:14

Make sure you're regularly eating Pom bears around the right kind of people. Pom bears are vair classy. Ensure you eat them with a flourish so they notice you and your Pom bears.

unlimiteddilutingjuice Tue 07-Jun-16 09:25:25

I think what your trying to do is unnecessary.
You already have an education and a good job.
You can already give your kids more opportunities than your parents were able to give you.
You are probably not going to slip down the ladder. Although anxiety about doing just that is typically middle class so, in that sense, you fit in perfectly!
The kind of cultural distinction you are talking about it really a way for the established middle and upper class to desperately try and hang on to their privilege and exclusivity. Buts its a desperate gambit and its never been completely successful for them! Plenty of now middle class people used to be working class. Go back another generation and its almost all of them!
Also- please try not to value the attributes your background and culture has given you. Your perspective is valuable and unique exactly how it is.

user1465284888 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:28:52

@londonmummy1966 Sorry, English is my third language!

jay55 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:29:06

Use Carol Middleton as a role model and marry your child to a prince.
Your blatant gold digging will put most men off unless you're very attractive.

user1465284888 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:32:43

@jay55 I am not interested in "gold digging" at all. That is why I have worked really hard to land a good job! It was a suggestion made by a friend.

YourPerception Tue 07-Jun-16 09:38:18

Don't call them posh to start with. grin

You need to change your vocabulary. Loo instead of toilet. Chin instead of friend or mate.

Really £50k isn't that huge an income in London to the upper class.

There is also nothing wrong with you. You really don't need to change your class.

icanteven Tue 07-Jun-16 09:40:38

In the event that this is real, I suggest that when you have a couple of years on your CV at the fantastic job you have just landed (well done!) you should move to Ireland or the US. The UK concept of class is alive and well, and is deeply mysterious to those of us brought up in countries without as rigid a class system. If you want to live in the UK, then you need to ignore/rise about the class nonsense, but if it gets under your skin, then there are lots of great jobs in your likely field in Dublin (Accenture, Google etc. all have HQ's there) and we don't worry about class anything like as much. And the US, of course, but poss. more challenging to get permission to work there etc.

Anyway, if you went to a top 5 uni, you'll find that your background doesn't matter as much as you think. The "polish" you talk about was probably picked up unconsciously while you were at uni, unless you lived under a rock the whole time.

YourPerception Tue 07-Jun-16 09:41:00

Chum instead of friend

Enb76 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:43:09

Actually, by having a good job you're a foot up that ladder already. Though to be honest 50k is not all that much. The direction you look to be heading means that you won't ever be in a situation that your parents were in but never think less of your parents because the work it took to get you here is something you should be really proud of them for. Just be you. What people can smell a mile off is insecurity and they'll laugh at you for wanting to be what you're not. You can meet the right people without having to be them and the fact that you're 'foreign' is a bonus not a detraction. Being foreign forgives you all sorts of idiosyncrasies that the British use as class distinctions. Just be you and the rest will fall into place.

user1465284888 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:44:55

Thank you so much for all your responses. I believe my OP was rooted in self-improvement and making sure my family's hard work and sacrifices do not go in vain.
I have much to learn!

user1465284888 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:46:16

@Enb76 That is a lovely message! Thank you so much.

yorkshapudding Tue 07-Jun-16 09:46:41

There is a difference between wanting to make a comfortable living in order to give your children a good start in life and being a social climber. I understand the former completely but not the latter. You can be successful, give your children a very comfortable life and still be proud of your working class roots. The fact that your parents weren't born wealthy and so they worked hard and made sacrifices for your education is not something to be ashamed of. It is the very opposite.

My parents both grew up poor. They worked extremely hard to give me a good start in life because they wanted me to have options that they didn't have, not so I could re-write history or pretend to be something I'm not.

user1465284888 Tue 07-Jun-16 09:47:58

I think £50k is a respectable income considering I am under 24. It is by far not enough, I am aiming got £100k+ by the age of £28-30!

Whynotnowbaby Tue 07-Jun-16 09:48:08

Trying too hard will not help you, relax, and enjoy being with people you like and who like you. They may not be the upper classes (and frankly with 50k a year you won't keep up with them) but you will feel comfortable and make good friends to help you through hard times and share the fun when you're happy. People from every social group will dislike someone who pretends to be something they are not and you won't enjoy trying to remember your fake persona all the time.

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