September 25, 2011 § 6 Comments
Okay, so let me start off this rant by stating that I’m in the final stages of the hiring process and will receive my contract of employment next week (pending on the background check…omg I hope they don’t find a reason to retract their offer. that. would. suck and the thought of it is freaking me out so I’m gonna stop thinking about it). This hiring process has been long and arduous and I’m quite pleased and grateful to be so close to official employment.
However, all the happy and nervous giddiness aside, I just spent the last three hours watching a TV show about lawyers and I had a minor freak-out moment that many Asian-Americans may be familiar with:
Shit. I’m going to start working. And I’m not pursuing a PhD or an MD or a JD.
…does that make me stupid? Does that mean my intellect is deteriorating? That my self-worth is somehow is less than those of my peers in graduate programs? Are my parents going to love me less?
Those last statements may or may not sound silly to you, but this is actually a really serious consideration for someone brought up with hardcore Confucian values of academics/education being the foremost determinator of one’s self-worth. Straight A’s mean you’re kind of a human being (A+’s will give you a leg up), B’s mean something is kind of wrong with you, and C’s are just unquestionable death. Not an option. Like, at all. The two letter grades after that do not even exist.
Naturally, from the moment I uttered my ABC’s, my self-worth was intricately tied to my academic records and all the pretty little A’s and ninety-something percents on exams (though, let’s be real now, anything less than a 100 was reason enough to bang your head against a wall and cry yourself to sleep while eating fried chicken alone on your bed with crumbs and ants sprawled all over you. Obviously.).
Despite the high standards and resulting performance anxiety, these grades and percentages are quite comforting really – because during elementary and secondary school, you KNOW when you’re good. You have distinct letters and numbers to clearly define desirability and its opposite – a 4.0+ GPA meant you were succeeding, anything else meant you weren’t.
Okay, obviously I’m exaggerating a bit. A 3.9 GPA was acceptable.
…and the rest of academia is not much different. You KNOW how to measure success: go to a top ten school and restart your strings of letter grades and numbered exams. Maintain a high GPA. And then you can take some tests and get high numbers on those and then you can go to a top-ten law/medical/graduate school with a recognizable name so that finally you can be a successful human being your Asian parents can proudly puff up their chests for or smile about.
But um. Hold up.
What if that’s not you? What if somewhere along the line you realize that maybe that’s not the path for you? What do you do? I mean yeah, you ‘get a job’ or ‘pursue different paths’ or ‘experience different things’ but on a fundamental level, how do you measure success in a professional setting?
When you enter the workforce, how do you gauge that one is on a “good” path? Is it your annual salary? Bonuses? Sales? The car you drive? The purse you carry? …Um, is there anything NOT monetary or materialistic to gauge your level of success in the business sector? Performance reviews maybe!?
I’m really not sure. And it’s freaking me out because well, for one, academics has been my thing for so long. It was something I was good at and I could soundly measure my “success” with visible grades and percentages. But when it comes to the workplace…wtf. I have NO IDEA if I’ll be good at it – actually, given my lack of networking skills and poor team-player mentality I’ll probably suck at it for the first couple of months.
Secondly, with academia, you know what the pinnacle of excellence is – JD from Harvard or Yale, MD from Stanford, publications in Nature, etc etc etc. And without such clear-cut measures…how do I measure my success? How do I “prove” that I’m doing really well? It’s definitely not salary, nor would it be material goods…nor performance reviews really. So wtf is it?? How do you know you are succeeding or on the way to success without institutionalized well-established checkpoints?
WTF MAN. DEAR NON-ACADEMIC WORLD, YOU ARE CONFUSING.
Omg and I have to buy a car under my name and find an apartment and apply for credit cards and make monthly payments so I can build up this imaginary concept called credit and pay attention to utilities and health benefits and retirement plans and mutual or index funds and buying a kitty-cat companion AND not get fired during my first week of work AND make sure I don’t gain a million pounds from stress eating AND make sure my brother stays on track and make sure my mom doesn’t die of stupid lung shit and make sure my dad isn’t lying when he says he has retirement savings and deal with all the other unexpected oddities of life.
Bring it on baby, bring. it. on. I just spent a year soul-searching in five oh-so-exotic-yet-tourist-catered locations and yoga-ing and meditating my brains out and now I’m so zen that I’ll make mountains move with my breath and curve water droplets with the dancerly delicacy of my nimble fingers despite my round-and-heavy-figure and bearlike facade. And yes I’m being sarcastic (but not really) so please do not take anything I say seriously.
And on a side note…sigh, all jokes and exaggerations aside, I really am going to miss academia. I loved theorizing about what it means to be a conscious human being given current research on cognition. I loved writing about the ethical implications of new neuroimaging techniques. Loved giving powerpoint presentations comparing and contrasting research papers on the relationships between neurophysiology and eating behavior. I loved sounding smart and knowledgeable on an exclusive topic. Sorry, I can come off as pompous but it was a serious high – to comprehend something deeply that not many people have access to or would want to. To systematically understand something about being human. And to explain it to others. That was cool. Who knows, maybe it’ll be part of my future. Actually, it’s kind of related to my future job function in a way. That’s actually pretty cool too.
And. Wow. This whole blog post is not too well-organized or well-written.
…SEE?!?!?!? THIS IS PROOF. MY INTELLECT IS ALREADY DYING. I’m gonna go eat some fried chicken by myself and bang my head on something now.
GOOD NIGHT FRIENDS. I DONT KNOW WHY YOU READ THIS BLABBER SOMETIMES BECAUSE THERE ARE SERIOUSLY BETTER THINGS YOU CAN BE DOING WITH YOUR TIME RATHER THAN READING ABOUT SOMEONE’S FIRST-WORLD WOES.
Oh. One last thing. Sorry, this may be too much information but as a reader who consciously chooses to subject yourself to this, I might as well be 100% open and frank. My boobs hurt. I think I’m going to start my period soon. Which is good because I think it’s coming late this time around because of stress. My uterus must be really excited.
That is all.
Bye for reals.
September 21, 2011 § 2 Comments
…I’m afraid that sometimes
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
-Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go
* * * * *
Or, alternatively….get ready for some hilariosity:
This is it! This moment right now is the youngest you’ll be.
For the rest of your life. Just wait and just see!
So maybe step back and take a good look
You’ll be even older when you finish this book.
On this milestone people will tell you you’re great.
All your friends will hear, too, of their wonderful fate.
Max dominates baseball, he might even go pro.
McGill plans to sing songs in a traveling show.
Sally Sue’s got a trust fund, she’s set for life.
Omar wants to make partner at Figgleston-Schlife.
But just for a second
Now how can that be?
Not everyone’s special,
Chances are better,
though you don’t want to believe,
That most of your goals
will not be achieved.
You’ll set out today to follow your dreams,
But you’ll quickly discover that life’s not what it seems.
It’s awkward, it’s lonely, and you’ll have no assurance
That you won’t have to serve coffee just to get health insurance.
It’s not what you hoped for or what you expected,
But it’s just a first job so don’t feel too dejected.
Save those schmoffled-up feelings for next month or next year,
Because you’re just getting older and it gets much worse from here.
You’ll soon sink to a place that you think is a low,
But then it gets lower, you’ll learn how low low things go.
Call up your friend’s parents and your parent’s friends.
All social interaction is now a means to an end.
If a person can’t help you, he’s not worth your time.
Finding a job is the only think on your mind.
You’re focused and driven and determined to succeed,
But you WON’T, my dear child. GIVE UP! CONCEDE!
You thought college would help you find a good job,
But all that it did was turn you into a slob.
Four years of sweatpants and ramen and booze,
You set your sights high, but guess what: YOU LOSE!
You can’t do a damn thing that will help you pay bills,
Because your liberal arts college taught you no applicable skills.
You don’t know how to make spreadsheets or balance accounts.
And in the work force that’s about all that counts.
You can’t get a job and you’re totally broke.
What will you do? Why, you’ll become a big joke!
You’ll call up your buddy, old Billiam Blovel,
And say, “You know, Dude? I’m gonna finish that novel!”
But you won’t finish that novel. It’s not very good.
You wonder why you ever even though that you could.
“A novel? A novel?” You’ll stop and you’ll say
Before stupidly thinking, “Of course, a screenplay!”
You’ll waste a few weeks, a few months, a few years
Until you come to embody all of your fears.
You’ll live with your parents, who love you less and less,
While your life crumbles around you in a big, heaping mess.
But don’t worry, kid. It has to get better.
I mean, RIGHT? It’ll definitely get better.
Just keep waiting around and one day you’ll see
That your life isn’t as bad as it maybe could be.
You probably won’t starve or anything like that.
In fact, in all likelihood, you’re going to get fat.
Sorry to disappoint, but I’m telling the truth.
Your high expectations are a product of youth.
But they’re stupid, cliche, and surely will fall,
‘Cause you’re not smart, or talented or special at all.
But mediocrity is normal. It’s what the word means
So, come on, kid, just give up your dreams.
-Susanna Wolf and Jeff Rubin on this site
uh so…on a side note, i think im hired. no papers are signed yet but its kinda really happening. O.O
September 19, 2011 § 4 Comments
Ever since the big interview last week I’ve been feeling quite anxious. Like something terrible is going to happen.
I’ve been trying desperately to keep my mind off of it by losing myself in fantasy novels, hiking and walking mindlessly and endlessly, doing yoga, daydreaming about a boy, and whatever else to ignore this uncomfortable mental cancer that is growing within me.
But I’m out of books, I’m physically exhausted, my boy-crush is nothing but mere dust in mental space, and there are no more “whatever elses” that I want to occupy my mind with.
Stripped of distractions and busywork, I’m left with this gut-wrenching feeling of unease and anxiety about this looming job search progress.
If I’m being completely honest here, I think my interview went pretty well. Of the nine people I met, my first interviewer (who I think is the most senior) seemed somewhat impressed, my potential immediate supervisor and I connected pretty deeply within a short amount of time, and I got along quite well with the rest of the team.
Objectively speaking, there were no big mishaps and I should be feeling pretty confident. The company and I are actually moving forward to the next step in the hiring process by conducting an extensive background check now. So that’s a pretty good sign.
…But I feel super uneasy.
I know I’m close to the end and now that they’re digging into my past, there are immense waves of self-doubt overwhelming me.
I don’t even know if I have anything to hide. Actually, I don’t have much to hide…I have a clean record and aside from small discrepancies, I should be okay.
But sometimes, on a psychological/metaphysical level, I feel like a giant fraud. I haven’t had this feeling in a long long time thanks to these past couple of years of growth and genuine love and encouragement from those around me, but I can’t help these little inklings of self-doubt and self-disgust that remain somewhere in the hidden corners of my being.
At times I feel like a fraud, like a fake. That one day someone will uncover this mask of bubbly comfort with nice academic records and a polite facade of calm control and expose me for who I really am. Because who I really am will turn out to be a disappointing ball of undesirable goo pierced with calamity and unease.
…And who would want to hire a ball of undesirable goo?
…and beyond that, who would want to date one and be with one for the rest of his life?
I know I’m engaging in quite irrationally expansive and jumpy thinking and in psychological terms I’m kind of “ruminating” which is statistically shown to be quite unhealthy…buuutttt that’s why I’m writing about it. To let it go.
I know I’m not a disappointing piece of goo. I know I can be cool sometimes. But sometimes, it can be quite difficult to relinquish the bounds of childhood insecurity.
Thanks for reading guys. I appreciate your time and attention <3
* * * * *
Update: Hm. Just read over this. Puhahaahahah sorry I sound so emo…guess it was just one of those days :D
September 14, 2011 § 5 Comments
Before I start my rambling, I want to thank you all for taking the time and care to participate in the survey that I previously posted. I actually made use of it during my interview and some of the anonymous comments I received were quite fun and enlightening — I didn’t realize you people thought such things about me! lol.
Anyways, back to the entry…
I feel as if I haven’t been here in a while. As if I’m stepping on freshly foreign territory that in actually I’ve ironically built up myself. Maybe it’s not the territory that has altered – maybe it is I who has been transformed [enter dramatic spacey music here].
Anyways – in all seriousness, my mind’s been in a ruckus for the past couple of days in anticipation for a looming job interview. If you couldn’t tell, refer to the senseless previous entries that no one could respond to.
I don’t know how much I want to reveal about this interview, but I’ll give you some bare bones details. This interview was The Onsite Interview after two phone interviews and an online testing session. The company flew me in on Monday, packed me in a hotel for the night, and commenced the day of interviewing the next morning with a HR representative who drove me to the company headquarters.
The interviewing process lasted a total of six hours and encompassed meeting with nine individuals. Each interviewer had a different flavor because they were pooled from a variety of departments (including senior management, information architecture, content editing, HR, and software development), but it was quite interesting because each of them seemed to encompass a common underlying theme that I cannot verbally pinpoint at this time.
My day was basically a back-to-back marathon of interviews. Interestingly enough, there were many times then these “interviews” actually evolved into mutual conversation rather than a Q&A drilling session. However, there were no real breaks in between each session and interviewer so I was consistently talking or listening or responding or thinking about responding or focusing and overall brain-wired for six straight hours. Even the lunch break seemed like a semi-interview O.o
* * * * *
You know, sometimes I worry about myself because talking is not a great hobby of mine (which is ironic because I do enjoy prepared public speaking) – I listen moreso than talk and sometimes I just prefer to stay silent for fear of saying something stupid. In a society in which networking, meet-and-greets, and your ability to mingle at parties seems quite important for upward mobility, I was quite concerned about my progress within society and how I was going to market myself or make any friends given my lack of verbal self-expression.
…But after talking for hours yesterday, I am SO happy I enjoying listening moreso than talking. By the end of the day, I never ever wanted to use my vocal chords or tongue ever again unless it was to consume food or alcohol – which is exactly what I did once I was dropped off at the airport.
Finally free from the tension of the consistent inkling to impress, all I wanted to do was to surround myself in a blanket of darkness manifest itself as an enclosed and silent cave with a cool breeze passing by. However, as such a location was inaccessible at the time, I holed myself up in a darker corner of the airport bar and got buzzed by myself while munching barbecue potato chips.
I think drinking by yourself is supposed to indicate some sort of super melancholia or clinical depression, but at that moment, I stopped caring and felt waves of relief as I eased myself out of that mental hard-wiring that just happened.
And now I’m back in LA, recovering from that day by taking a daylong vow of silence except to order food :)
* * * * *
…so….what exactly is this post about? An interview? The merits of beer? The merits of being quiet? I’m not quite sure. I’m thinking about how I can wrap this entry up nicely but I’m at a loss for words. If there’s anything you fellow job-seekers are curious about, let me know (minus the name of the company – for potential legal disclosure issues that I’m pretty certain do not exist but am going to use anyways to disguise my self-consciousness ^^ ).
* * * * *
Hmm…in other news, I took a really intense and cramped yoga class today. Everyones’ mats were literally touching one another and at one point I had a man’s butt sticking out three inches from my face. And the class was so dynamic that by the end of class my clothes were soaked with sweat from head to toe and I felt like someone had just beaten me up. Nice.
And in other other news, I’ve really been craving a person to snuggle with these last couple of days. This is really terrible because I have other priorities to focus on -.-;;
Arrite ladies and gents – see ya later!
September 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m procrastinating. Which means I’m in the mood for haiku which are admittedly pretty terrible :)
I like to hike with
boys named Mike who ride on bikes
and who study Psych.
Yoga I practice
Yoda I don’t understand.
Conjoined twins they are.
Sometimes these cells are
Misaligned with the brain and
Pull towards unknown.
Caffeine I consume –
Fa la la la la –
Haiku versus interview.
The day comes to fly –
fall forward and flip over to
Wet moss oblivion.
Hello How are You
is difficult to utter
around you. Dammit.
Hokay I am done
Being a ridiculous.
Prep for life now please.
Last but not least, please help me prepare for my interview by filling out this one-question survey (click for link)! I really appreciate your input :)
September 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
Sometimes I have really low self-confidence.
It’s quite frustrating because extreme self-doubt is fear-inducing and leaves you frozen like deer in headlights, staring blindly at the task ahead and motionless to the steps needed to overcome your obstacles.
That being said, I’ve grown more of a backbone throughout these past two years. Former thoughts of ‘Song-I, you suck at life’ are inching their way towards ‘You’re actually pretty good at things when you practice’…
…’Nobody likes you‘ is becoming ‘Some people like you’…
…’You’re a stupid ugly fat ho’ is becoming ‘Wtf where do you come up with these ridiculous ideas‘…
…’You’ll never be perfect‘ is transforming into ‘There is no such thing as perfect. Get over yourself. Give it your all, prepare well, and make some mistakes on the way. Fall flat. Shed some tears if you must. Then dust off your knees, pick yourself back up, and get on going.’
I’d say that’s a step towards the “right” direction.
But sometimes, your personal reservoir of confidence is inadequate and one needs too call upon greater powers for extra encouragement. For me, these powers manifest themselves in almost comically overconfident yet extremely successful African-American athletes and entertainers. I spent the past hour watching these videos on repeat to regain myself:
I also just ate some delicious comfort food.
I’m feeling much better now :)
I’ll sleep soundly, have a good girlfriend day tomorrow, prepare for this beast of an interview, fly out, talk with a bunch of people for a couple hours, fly back to LA, buy myself a Thai iced tea, go for a run, wait, receive feedback, and then move on with my life. That. is. the. plan.
Except that life usually doesn’t go according to plan so I don’t know why we bother sometimes :)
GOODBYE FRIENDS AND LOVERS!