Work It

Angry Asian Man went on vacation, and I took over!

I wish. Phil asked me to write a guest post while he’s out, so here it is.

- Lisa

Being asked to guest blog for this site is no joke. The invite was an honor, so I decided to procrastinate until the very last minute to see what I could possibly offer up in this space. Because you know, that’s what feels truthful. 

Jokes aside, I spent some time mulling over the words that you’re about to read. I thought about doing a reflection on what Thick Dumpling Skin has taught me in the last two plus years, what it means to be an activist (if I can even call myself that) in corporate America, or the clichéd “Asian Americans past, present, and future!”

What I’ve decided, is to talk about the three rules that I’ve (tried) to live by these last few years. They may not be “Asian American” specific, so to say. However, I’ve found these golden nuggets to be exactly what I needed to help me curb what I think are learned behaviors, as an Asian woman, that have held me back from achieving my full potential.

Say Yes

Fresh out of college and away from my usual Asian American student organizations, I decided to volunteer with a magazine called Hyphen. I had just started to work at what I thought was a big corporate company called Facebook (little did I know what was in store for me), and I missed that political and creative aspect of my life.

Joining Hyphen was one of the best things that happened to me. I met a group of fantastic individuals who were all kinds of Asian American savvy, and I soaked it right up. I started getting my hands dirty by first doing what I knew best, outreach. Nine months in, I was asked to become the publisher of Hyphen.

At that time, I had no idea what a publisher did. In fact, up until that point I had never even heard of the role “publisher” because I was not familiar with the publishing world. I did not consider myself a writer or even a businesswoman. I was simply told that a publisher would act as the “glue” to the organization, and I thought to myself, “I can do that.”

So, I said yes.

Thinking back, I was probably scared shitless. I was not quite used to being a “visible” leader back then. I remembered always opting for the “secretary” role rather than the “president” role in school. I did not know this fact back then, but studies have shown that women, especially women of color, tend to feel the need to know as much as possible before they speak and draw attention to themselves. Somehow, I decided that I was tired of always being behind the scenes and letting other people take credit for my work. I decided that it was time I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. So with one simple word, I became the publisher of Hyphen at the age of 24.

There have been many more examples like this since then where my world was changed thanks to this one little word. So I am passing it onto you. Use it accordingly.

Read the entire post on how to work it here