T Nation

Books for Asian American Woes


Hi, please help me help my mother. She has trouble at work that I do not understand, and I would like to find a book for her. She is culturally & ethnically Asian and I suspect part of her problem lies in her cultural differences. She is kind but underappreciated.

She has been criticized for not being a â??team player,â?? for being unenthusiastic, and for poor communication. However, her scores belie her behavior. She feels bound by her sense of ethics to help others in her workplace and several times has steered her less-experienced boss away from decisions that would make him appear foolish and that could have deleterious effects on his tenure; however, she feels underappreciated by this boss and is certain that if there were someone who could fill her workload that she would be fired.

This past week she has worked 76 hours at her corporate job. By herself she has brought the company up to 100% in the area which she specializes in. During her tenure is the first time the company has ever been this way and she has achieved this with no staff or assistance.

Essentially, she does the job of several people by filling the man-hours herself. Yet, she is treated poorly by her co-workers and boss and meagerly remunerated. Help!


Typically people that work productive 80 hour weeks, hit the maximum goals on their benchmarks and are flat-out superstars aren't at risk of getting fired.

There's more context to this story, either that you're omitting or that your mother omitted when talking to you.

Even the worst employee has a story about "saving the boss's ass" that they use to justify their employment. We all see our own work through rose-colored glasses.


I suspect the missing part is in her communication. She is not at risk of being fired, because of how productive she is; that example is only relevant as an illustration of how unwelcome she feels in her work place.

The point is that she isn't a superstar. She may do the work of one; her performance is excellent, but she is perceived negatively by her coworkers because of something/things that she does or does not do. As I said, I think this may have to do with cultural differences; a theoretical example: I think she would let her boss take credit for some of her work rather than decry him and lower herself by fighting over credit.

I am looking for a book/advice that will help her understand that in corporate America it is necessary to proclaim yourself as the doer of your good deeds.


ramen soup for the asian soul.