It’s a new year and a new economy. Believe it or not, things are getting better. The Seattle Times reported that December was the first time in 25 months (since September 2008) that Washington state saw a net gain in jobs (about 8,000) over the same period 12 months earlier.
Though it may be a few more years until we fully recover, the news is heartening. With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, we’d like to remind those who have been unemployed that things may be looking up and to keep being proactive as jobs become available.
Many big corporations and banks have seen an increase in profits, but are still tentative about hiring. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on these local companies. Additionally, be creative and specific in defining your skill set. With so many other job seekers out there, it’s important to define what sets you apart from everyone else.
Perhaps the first and hardest step for Asian Americans — especially Asian American women — is believing that they are truly qualified. Asian Americans have a tough time selling themselves because they are taught to be modest.
By now, you have probably heard of Amy Chua’s book, “Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom.” An excerpt from the book was printed in the Wall Street Journal and detailed an incident where Chua forced her daughter to learn a difficult piece on the piano through threats and insults. In the end, Chua’s daughter learned the piece and both were proud of the achievement. Chua described her methods as the Chinese way, which she says has been somewhat effective. However, she has said that she doesn’t believe it is the superior way. She also admitted that her younger daughter ended up teaching her that her methods were too harsh.
One side effect of being raised the “Chinese” way — though for the purposes of this editorial, we mean the Asian way — is that it teaches Asian American children to be self-deprecating. Because they are rarely praised, even when they perform at a high level, they tend to downplay their achievements as adults.
Therefore, as Asian Americans, as we go on job interviews and meet potential employers, we must remember to practice talking ourselves up. We need to practice articulating our strengths and learn to see those strengths clearly. Push the weaknesses away. It’s never a bad idea to give yourself a pep talk in front of the mirror.
In the year of the rabbit, having confidence is just as important as getting good grades. We need to look at ourselves as successful human beings. This year, go after your goals and dreams. The economy is coming around. ♦