One of my girlfriends is visiting NY for meetings and she asked me to help her to pick up her wedding gown from Vera Wang the day before. I am so happy for her. You know there are times when you say “good for you” you actually feel “gosh it’s so unfair I cannot believe she is getting this while I didn’t!” But that kind of feeling is not in my dictionary anymore. I am lucky to be surrounded by both guys and girls who are as ambitious, capable, observant, insightful and FUN as myself (sorry I’m complimenting myself again), if not more, and they complement me as a human being, and they inspire me every day to give back more with passion and love.
Ultimately it’s not about a competition after all. It’s about inviting someone to join the life journey with you, to learn, to share, to enjoy; or sometimes, just to sit quietly together while looking out of the window, and maybe laugh, and sing.
Treat people right, any people
When I was in Hong Kong I went to this Portuguese restaurant once and ordered some baked pork and rice dish. I asked the waiter some standard question on what kind of sauce he recommends, how long it will take, and how big the portion is etc. Apparently he was relatively new and he couldn’t answer half of the questions. I got very impatient. I unintentionally raised my voice and I was at the edge of asking to be served by another waiter. He was embarrassed obviously, and my friend who went with me gave me a very disturbed stare, which I couldn’t quite figure out why at the moment. Read more…
I know I have been away for a while. I have been traveling for business (and leisure) in Asia for the past 4 months. I was in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Macau, and multiple places in Mainland China. I met many interesting people, faced many challenging situations, and there are things that I like and not like about this whole experience, which I will gradually share with you later on. I am also in the process of building a brand new website that will EXPAND the topics of my writing, the bandwidth of knowledge that I am sharing, the broader audience I can reach out to, and the ways how I can communicate to each one of you. I look to launch my new website in the near future by which time my wordpress articles will be migrated. So please stay tuned and I would love to celebrate together with you when that becomes official.
But one thing that has been on my mind for the longest time is: Why am I not relocating back to Asia? I had multiple conversations with senior managers from different teams in our Asian offices, and one of the really senior guys gave me this look when I told him I was born and raised up in China, went to college in the US and have been working in NY ever since, and he almost started yelling at me:
What the hell are you still doing in New York?!
It was a little bit sad looking out of the window from my seat on the 24th floor in the Park Avenue Plaza building. It was raining badly in the morning when I came in; it was almost freezing when I went to lunch with my lovely Chinese colleagues; yet 5 seconds ago, it suddenly cleared up and it was all sunny. The windows almost felt like non-existent.
But it was sad because I am leaving NY, though only for 3 months. Yes I am going to Hong Kong for a short-term assignment which is a great opportunity and I look forward to the new adventures, discoveries, and I am excited about what else about people, culture, business and life I may be able to share with you. The past few weeks have been hectic with all the logistics and responsibility transfers, and of course, a lot of late night calls with Asia. But at this point, I felt calm. A little bit sad, yet calm.
I am not sure how frequent I will be able to write while I am working out of Hong Kong. I am under the impression that I will be working crazy hours given that’s the only reason they want me there. But before I embark on my new journey I want to leave with you a few stories which I have experienced recently. I thought about naming these under “self-improvement” or “peace of mind” or even “pursuit of happiness in life”, but when I started writing I realized it all comes down to — knowing yourself better, and especially your attitude when you respond to unexpected things in life.
It’s challenging, but it’s not that hard.
Do one thing that scares you every day
It was a Wednesday and I just came back from Delaware with our clients for a day trip to our data center. I have 2 hours to kill before Mary Poppins, so I marched into Borders trying to finish Liar’s Poker, and then another book caught my eyes: The 4-hour Work Week. I heard a lot about this book from my friends and I used the next hour flipping through the pages and I’m pretty happy with what I am reading, and I think Tim Ferriss does offer people a sweet DEAL (Definition, Elimination, Automation & Liberation).
Okay, hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! I had a great dinner at Koi with M the birthday girl and one of the guys was gentleman enough to bring a rose to each of the girls, very nice gesture I have to say! And then we went out to drinks at Stone Rose at the Time Warner Building. Again another cool spot in NY, you have to check it out next time you want a romantic yet low-key spot, with a lot of space, unique drinks and a great view!
Anyway, I have to admit that originally I plan to write on “What has Yale taught me about sex”! But I realized I am yet to be that aggressive and I don’t want to scare away some of my younger readers and I am pretty sure I’m not an expert on that subject anyway! But if that’s something you’re interested in reading please give me a shout in the comment or something.
So let me get back to what I actually want to talk about today: What I learned about relationships at Yale and in the US?
1. Be an independent person first
It took me a long time to realize how much truth lies in this simple idea: If you are not a happy person single, you will not be a happy person in a relationship. I’m not sure about you but I was raised up in an environment with this whole idea of “we are born to be incomplete and we spend our whole life trying to find someone to complete and to heal us”. After I came to Yale and the US, I realized it was a lie. Why? Because this idea leads us to the trap of being too demanding.
- I would love to go to your event, but I already made dinner plans.
- You did a great job with your interview, but we extended the offer to someone who did better.
- I think you are a great person, but I am not attracted to you in that way
- I really enjoyed the time being with you, but I made the decision to leave you.
These are the common situations we have to deal with day-to-day, and it can be awkward, difficult, nerve-racking, embarrassing, and you might feel guilty, uncomfortable, or even ashamed to have to put someone else in that situation. And you are also afraid of BEING PUT in such situations, and many times you wonder, “Is there a but, again?” even though the other person talks all positives.
But you have to deal with it, and the first thing you need to do is to be CERTAIN that this is something you want to do (rejecting). And then it’s about the techniques on how to be articulate about it, and here goes the formula:
Multiple “and” phrases
+ Addresses feelings
+ Suggest alternatives
= EASIER NO
Now let me give you a few examples:
So this is bonus season again and despite how much you DON’T want to hear discussions about it, people talk about what they are getting, people express feelings of dissatisfaction or content, and people start thinking about other options.
Especially for young professionals who just entered the workplace in the past one or two years, this is a crucial question you might want to ask yourself: should I stay? Or should I go for another firm?
Wait ~~~7 Key Reasons to hold off jumping to somewhere else!
1. You have been there for no more than 6 months
You typically need 6-8 months to get used to a new job anyway. It is hardly a smart decision to leave already before you give yourself enough time to get comfortable with the day-to-day work.
Apparently I was randomly selected from my college to participate in the 2010 National Survey of Recent College Graduates conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and in the email it specifies that they cannot substitute another person for me given the process. I was also told that this important national study is the only source of data on the post graduation plans and experiences of recent graduates with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, and health fields.
All sounds very interesting. But I want to direct your attention to one of the questions they asked me during the survey:
How much are you satisfied with your current job in the following respective aspects? And also, with a scale of 1-5, how would you rate the importance of each aspect to you?
In case you are one of those debating over several options, I want to list the 9 aspects below and my personal takeaways for each aspect, and to give you an idea of what questions you should ask yourself and your potential future colleagues, before making a decision on joining the firm/or switching to something else.
- An entry level base of 65,000 vs. 70,000 may not be a big difference, but a base of 45,000 vs. 70,000 would much likely raise a bigger question mark.
- How much is the rough increase every year?
- What is the industry-level pay for this type of position? Is the pay scale above or below average? How about bonus level?