analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Jan-Apr 2001 Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

3 April 2001 Tuesday





Today I let go of what wasn't mine in the first place. I had simply empowered myself and took over what I thought was necessary for the good of the company. I took the holistic and long term view. But it wasn't appreciated.

Growing up Chinese in a Western world is like living ying in yang. The ying part is feminine, cooperative, holistic, long term and patient. The yang part is masculine, competitive, symptom-driven, short term, and impatient. I learned in school to be competitive, but at home to be cooperative. At some point these values would be in conflict.

More and more, however, I learned that "all that glitters is not gold" and patience has a virtue. Without benefit of experience and wisdom, I had chosen my initial career path on two criteria: pay and prestige. It sounded good to be a management consultant. It sounded good to work for an investment bank. And what sounded good paid well, too.

As I grew older, I learned that other things mattered, too. And eventually, these things took precedence. Building long lasting and comfortable working relationships had not been a priority when I just wanted to try my hand at different things. Stability and security were of no interest to a variety and thrill seeker. Comfort could be compromised if I could rack up the airmiles.

I met someone once who, after meeting me for two evenings, said, "I'm in it for the long haul." I had no idea whether he meant he wanted a relationship or a friendship. It was the first time anyone had declared such an intention upfront.

Now I am "in it for the long haul." And I must pace myself. The holistic approach is good, but not everyone can or want to see it from multiple perspectives. Not everyone has the long term view. After learning all these Western traits, I come back to square one: in the East, time is measured by generations not minutes. "Be patient, and pace yourself."