Business (or life) Tips.

Dear Olivia,

Business is mom and dad’s game.  Mom is a little more wild, a little less organized.  Dad is very structured; creative but structured.  That’s a rather peculiar dynamic given Mom is a CPA in Finance and Dad is in Marketing.  Nevertheless here are some thoughts I’d like to impart you with as you grow.  I don’t believe these snippets of advice are limited to the traditional business world; they’re applicable and hold merit to nearly any situation at any age in any industry.

  1. Be you; do you.  First and foremost remember to always be proud of who you are.  Recognize who you are, embrace it, and let the natural goodness shine.  This is much easier said than done, especially in this new world of social media (and who can imagine how bad it’ll be when you’re older!).  Nevertheless, I could only wish for you to remember this.  Remember this as you go through your awkward middle school years as you start to find and define your identity.  As you go through your high school and college years when you continue to explore who you are.. And particularly as you enter your late 20s and early 30s.  Why is that?  Because there are so many gosh darn self help books out there!  They’ll tell you to do this, say that, think that, meditate this, in order to be the best. Your dad loves these books.  Your mom, not so much.  Those are all great and well… if they prescribe to who you are!  If you cannot do it genuinely, if this is not aligned with the core of who you are, it’s pointless.  You’ll never fully embrace it then and it’ll never be real.  Take what you want, leave the rest.  Make it your own.  Just be you, do you. Let your natural greatness shine.
  2. Help others first.  And expect nothing in return.  I hope you grow to be someone who wants to help others.  I’ll do my best to instill this in you… particularly in helping those who need it most, those who cannot help themselves (this will be a separate post as it’s more than just ‘business’).  Help others especially before you need help.  Be kind.  Help others achieve greatness. Get them jobs.  Offer feedback when requested (yeah cause sometimes unsolicited feedback is annoying =). Think about what they’re thinking (which is, ‘What’s in it for me?’).  Be reliable.  When you help others first and you’re reliable about it, don’t worry – it will come back to you in due time.  It really will.  I promise.
  3. Need no resume. My goal for you, if you feel that it’s what you want, is to teach you, show you, that a resume is a useless piece of paper necessary only to fulfill  whatever corporate HR policy is out there.  When I was an undergrad, I met someone who told me that he never had to use a resume in his life to get a job.  The resume was NOT what it was that got him a job. I thought that was pretty damn rad so I took that advice and said I’m gonna do that too.  And you know what, Little Bean?  That’s been the case.  Every single job I’ve gotten from my junior year internship to my current role at a Fortune 50 has always been because of my network. It’s not the paper.  It’s who you are, what you bring to the table.. And for better or worse, who you know. 
  4. Get a good manager and be loyal (as appropriate).  I had to caveat it because who knows what crazy shit is out there. 🙂 You need to be legal too, my babe.  Anyway, loyalty runs deep in mom’s veins and maybe it will in yours too.  A good manager will make or break your career.  Whether you ask for it, whether you know about it, whatever.  He or she will decide that.  Be loyal, thankful, full of gratitude for those who help you.
  5. Help the next generation that follows.  You know from a strictly Machiavellian (I cant believe I spelled that correctly on the first try) perspective, how else are you going to grow your army and move up the ranks?  Seriously.  You can’t grow and be a leader if there’s no followers.  You can’t be a manager if there’s no one to manage.  Grow the organization, invest your time in the people that come after you (or said “below you”.. ugh to that! ha).
  6. If you’re not having fun, just leave. << Point blank.
  7. But don’t be an entitled idiot. Work hard.  Really hard.  Put in your time.
  8. Do it for the learning and nothing else.  If you’re an asshole that just wants the title or the dollar signs, I know I’ve failed.  If I’m able to instill curiosity in you, a passion to understand, and a desire to be a lifelong learner, I know I’ve succeeded.  Your mom’s rarely ever (if ever) had a plan – she just went with the flow.  That works for some, not all.  Most will dissuade you from following that path.  But I’ll tell you what…If you constantly learn and you make the most of every situation, it doesn’t matter what your path is.. If you go off your course, you’ll find a way back on it.. Because you’re prepared, you’re experienced.  This also goes hand in hand with loyalty and helping others.  I’ve found managers and leaders to be more willing to help those who genuinely want to be there to do good work and help the team… not the ones who are there for all the wrong reasons.

Bean, I write this to you as a daughter of an immigrant.  I’m the second gen Asian American – the first one to be born in the US. Your parents didn’t have the whole “let my parents get me an internship” and neither did your grandparents.  There was no silver spoon.  I won’t go into the details but just know your grandparents came to this country with nothing and they built upward and onward.  Your parents believed that if their parents can do it there’s no reason they couldn’t.  I have much more to write in this arena but for now will take a break.  Gotta go pick up your grandparents soon from the nasty-traffic airport! =)


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