SUMMARY of the Last Email:
Last month, we discussed how AsAms tended to use a
RELATIVE Standard, R.S., comparing our career achievement against
those of our friends/relatives, mostly fellow Asian Americans. Such a
system generates jealousy, hinters networking, lets others decide how
you want to apply yourself, and results in a splintered AsAm
To switch to an ABSOLUTE STANDARD, A.S., we need to:
1. Set an absolute goal, but be flexible about the timeline to achieve the
goal. The higher the goal, the more you'll realize that you'll need help
to achieve it. Hence, the more you'll network; and admire the skills of
your friends/relatives rather than being jealous.
2. Tell your goal to at least one person e.g. your spouse or a parent, if you
mean it. President Clinton told his wife about becoming the President
years before he ran.
3. Help others whenever you can. The more you help others, the more
you'll receive help from others to achieve your career goal.
4. Be subtle and patient in relating your goal to others in your network.
Don't let people think that you are rash or not realistic, or boasting.
Once you practice steps 1 to 3, you may feel like a different person.
You'll be confident, full of positive outlook towards the people around
you. Needless to say, an A.S. doesn't guarantee success. It does, however,
eliminate many self-imposed harmful baggage like jealousy and letting
others decide how you'll apply yourself.
Here are 3 examples showing the many differences between persons/orgs
practicing R.S. versus R.S..:
I) For an entry level professional in a company or university:
R.S. He is contemptuous of an AsAm Senior Scientist or Chaired Professor
in his workplace, considering him/her as an "operator" with less
technical skills than he has. The senior AsAm senses it.
A.S. He cultivates this senior AsAm professional and gets him/her to be
his mentor. After one year, he shares one or more of the following career
goals with the mentor:
No. of years spent in academia before getting tenure
No. of years spent in academia to become a Department Head
Salary received vs. average regional salary received by peers
II) For the president of an AsAm civic organization or company:
R.S. He wants to prove that he is better than the last AsAm president. So
he badmouths her and changes things for changing's sake.
A.S. He declares to accomplish one or more of the following goals upon
taking the office:
Set a record for higher earning or membership for the next year
Get a top rating in a survey of "Customers/Membership Satisfaction"
Declare to achieve a big goal that most thought to be impossible.
Having declare his goal and knowing how difficult it will be, he courts the
past president and presidents of sister organizations/companies to get
them to help him achieve the declared goal.
III) For An AsAm elected official:
R.S. She wants to show that she is the most popular and influential AsAm
official in her County. So she badmouths and fights with almost all the
other AsAm elected officials in the county, while getting little done for
the AsAms in her election district.
A.S. She wants to be an US Senator in 15 years. Knowing that it'll take
help from AsAms nationwide, especially in fundraising, she goes out of her
way to help other AsAms, forge unity for the entire AsAm community,
and serves its critical needs to establish a good track record. She of course
also networks with non-AsAm politicians as much as she can.
You be the judge. Which achievement standard is better for you?
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S. B. Woo
President, 80-20 Educational Foundation, Inc.