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Gorick_Ng388 karma

This one's tough because bias and discrimination are real. There are plenty of studies that have shown that there is serious bias against people with non-native English accents. It doesn't help that American professional work culture has a certain indirect communication style with tons of jargon (e.g., "let's tough base," "wanted to check in on X,").

A few quick tips:

1) See if you are a better reader or a better speaker—and try to be a bit more engaged in that medium so you don't become invisible (though you will need both over time to get ahead)

2) Closely observe the writing and speaking styles of the most respected people around you and see if you can emulate them (another option is to watch business TV like CNBC or Bloomberg, or listen to business podcasts to see how professionals speak); pay attention to their grammar, vocabulary, intonation, and pace.

3) Keep a personal Google Doc of workplace vocabulary words that you keep coming across (it's still a work in progress, but I've started building a workplace jargon dictionary if you go on https://gorick.com/, click "free stuff," and scroll to the bottom)

4) Try writing out what you want to say before meetings, rehearse a little, and bring your notes to meetings (with remote work, it's easier than ever to keep your notes up during meetings and refer back to them)

5) Find a buddy at work who can record you and/or give you feedback

Gave you more than 3 :) happy to keep brainstorming!

Gorick_Ng228 karma

Did you stalk me? Haha, I say this because I actually did want to become an astronaut. Actually, if I could go into space, I'd do it in a heartbeat (though going into space is more appealing if I know I'm helping push the frontiers of human exploration; going into space just so I can humblebrag on Instagram is less cool imo). I also wanted to be a doctor (my goal was actually to be a doctor, then shoot my shot at becoming an astronaut).

A few factors ended up steering me off this path. First, I realized after going to a math and science high school that I wasn't good or passionate enough about either subject to endure 4 years of undergrad + however many years of grad school. I was excited by the ends, but not the means. Second, I wanted to become a doctor and astronaut because I wanted to help people. But I soon realized that there are many ways to help people—and it doesn't just have to be as a doctor by a patient's bedside. There are so many ways to contribute at a systems level that can improve healthcare outcomes. And so much of space exploration is still a function of government policy. We all may celebrate the individuals who are suited up and blasting off, but there's an entire relay race of people who make that space mission possible. I wanted to find the portion of the relay race of helping people where I'd be best positioned to contribute. I guess in the case of my book, I'd love to help more people who have the heart, talent, and drive to ascend to positions of leadership. Hopefully that can grow the pie.

Gorick_Ng197 karma

Oh wow: this is some serious introspection on your end! I'd say you're already on your way because you acknowledge the obstacle—and acknowledging the obstacle is the first step to address the obstacle.

I'm a big compartmentalizer. There are a few things I really care about (where I'm a maximizer)—and a whole lot of things I don't really care about (where I'm a satisficer). When I feel a lack of discipline, I often find that it stems from me not having enough things (or anything) in the "care about" category. So, what do you care about?

To answer this question, I've personally found it helpful to ask myself 4 questions:

1) What problems piss me off?

2) Whose life do I want to improve?

3) What do I want written in my memoir / eulogy?

4) Who do I look up to and want to become?

You can answer these questions by paying attention to your daily habits. What gets you fired up? What can you not shut up about? Who do you look up to?

Reflections aside, I've noticed that a lot of my more privileged peers feel a great deal of pressure to outgrow their parents' shadows. I.e., "My mom and dad are so successful... how can I prove that I'm capable of being my own person—and aren't just mooching off what's been handed down to me?" To what extent have you had this feeling cross your mind?

Gorick_Ng136 karma

It's hard to be helpful without knowing the full context, but here's my quick reaction:

Picture a Venn diagram with two circles: One circle is "what you want." The other circle is "where you have the best shot." Your goal is to get to the intersection of the two circles. What's in that intersection?

Let’s start with the left-hand-side circle:

Firstly, you will have the best chance at getting a job that resembles some job you’ve held in the past, whether in terms of industry (retail, outdoor education, construction, etc.) or function (your department, e.g., sales, teaching, marketing, etc.). It’s generally harder to move both industry and function at the same time; it’s often easier to move just one of the two (and it’s easiest to stay within the same industry and function).

Secondly, it’s going to be easier to get a job where you already know someone—or can get introduced to someone.

Lastly, it’s easier to get a job at an organizing that’s growing (and therefore hiring like crazy)—and harder (if not impossible) to get a job at a company that’s laying people off or that has a hiring freeze.

Next, let’s look at the right-hand-side:

Where do you ideally want to be? You may not be able to get there immediately, but you can pick up a job that can serve as a stepping stone to where you want to be.

So, ideally, we’d want to find a role that satisfies as many of the following five criteria as possible:

  1. Is in an industry and/or function you’ve worked in before

  2. Is at an organization where you know someone or can get introduced to someone

  3. Is growing and hiring

  4. Is in an organization or in a field that you're interested in

I know you probably wanted tangible stuff like "apply to this job" and "say these things," but I really do think a bit of self reflection can make the rest of the process easier.

Let me know your thoughts!

Gorick_Ng116 karma

Ugh. If only "insiders" were more forgiving of and inviting to "outsiders." This is why we have societal divisions :(