When I coach non-Americans, especially Asians, to interview effectively for a US job, I emphasize the need to express their “passion” for their work or their “deep interest” for a potential job. Nine times out of ten, when I ask about this passion, I see Asian students searching my face, seeking clues to provide the right answer.
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to support many professionals and students as they embark and improve on their professional networking. It’s the one thing we know we “should” do but it’s one of the most challenging things to actually do. Trust me. I know. I still have to work at it. I still have to “psych” myself to engage in it. On a few occasions, I’ve skipped the “networking” part of a conference, because I just wasn’t up to being “on” that day. So, I am a practitioner, still practicing.
Whenever we arrive at a new opportunity, whether it’s a new job, a new school or a new life situation, we all hope for the best in our new chapter. Yet, at the very same time, we feel understandable anxiety in this place of the unknown. We have leapt, but how will we land? This dance to maneuver between hopefulness and doubt, elation and terror is the necessary path through any new experience.
As I’ve been touring the historical sites of Beijing (the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven) and driving through the streets of today’s Beijing, I have seen first hand how our cultural history affects how we think, feel and act today. My work allows me the privilege to help international students acculturate to the US culture as well as assist Asian-Americans in developing visibility in their professions. I’ve always known that culture deeply influences how we are. But this trip has viscerally underscored how pivotal culture is. Culture is like the air we breathe. It’s in our cells. It occupies us.
As I teach many talented international individuals about American job search networking — what it is and how it works — most quickly understand why they need to do it. But doing it? Going out and doing it? It just feels wrong to be so direct and aggressive. The answer to reaching out? Understand that in the American culture, such interactions are expected. So, give yourself permission to go out there and and do the ask.
Some have asked me how I do such different kinds of coaching, from job search, to life transition, to executive coaching, expecting they are so different. Yet for me, there is a strong link. That commonality is in defining and owning our story. It’s usually right there in front of us, but it can be very elusive for us to capture…
The Dragon is the most powerful of all the Chinese zodiac animals, a mythical symbol of power, leadership and actualization. In this year of the Dragon, you are invited to unleash the Dragon that resides within you. (This is an audio/visual blog post)
…I don’t think heroines choose to be one, they become one. For my Chinese mother, her heroism grew from her wanting to count as someone, in part because it’s who she is, in part because she’s come from a line of strong women who were so constrained by the limits set by their culture…
Recently I came across a situation that “woke” me up from my cultural assumptions as an American. I was purchasing an item at a convenience store where the person behind the counter was of South Asian descent. It was just the two of us, a slow pace in the store. As I was putting my change away, he sneezed. Without pause, I said “God bless you”. And without pause, he continued attending to his business…
There’s something magical about sharing the contours of our deepest thoughts, hopes and fears with lifelong friends; friends whom you trust, with whom you share similar core values.