Friday, October 24, 2008

SHERRY ZHANG: Responsibility

1. What is your principle on RESPONSIBILITY? And how does that play out in your life? (Principle defined as: set of beliefs that guide your actions).

My principle on “RESPONSIBILITY” includes the following believes:
• Everyone is responsible for what he/she is doing and should take the sequence of such actions;
• Everyone is also be responsible for others at a certain level given their roles in professional and personal life

Most of the time, I feel pretty ease when I went to bed every night, knowing that I’ve fulfilled my responsibility on personal and professional life that day. I found this belief and feeling makes me strong to ignore negative comments or misunderstanding from people around me. Just on an one on one meeting I had with one of my subordinates yesterday, she hesitantly told me who said what about me… And I found that I was not bothered by such words now, as I know what and why I did so, and I know that I’m responsible for me and for others on doing so.

In my personal life, “responsible to myself” means to follow my heart but it often splits me when I feel the pressure of following my mind to be responsible for others as well. This made my life a bit challenging but also charming.

It’s the 2nd belief on responsibility often creates guilty in my life, and made me to be on the track to take sequence of what is happening in my life. So, the 2nd belief seems more overwhelming than the 1st one and it made me more as an altruist in others’ eyes that are around me.

2. Where does the principle of responsibility come from? Does it come from religious beliefs? As an offshoot from philosophical principles like “the golden rule? Does it rise out of fear? Is it a requirement of being human?

To me, the principle comes out mainly from the people who plays important role in my life when I grow up. My parents are definitely “altruists” – my father brought up two of his younger sisters and one younger brother at his 15 when both of his parents passed away. And he has been taking such responsibility for the whole of his life, sometimes, too much, which hurts himself. Recently, my aunt, the youngest sister of my father, at her early 50s, complained that it took her years to get money from my parents to support her family to buy an apartment. I view that my father took too much responsibility of being parent to his siblings. My mother actually took similar approach as my father on dealing with her siblings. They both were also selfless in their professional work before retirement. I guess this comes out from Chairman Mao’s education. No doubt, I was deeply impacted by them. Of course, their din exhortations into my ears about my responsibility of being the eldest daughter and the sister of 3 younger sisters also made me take it nature responsibility to take care of others.

I did not find school education played important role to me in this part. But there are also few people in my career impacted me a lot on how I see my responsibility to people who are around me. I once had a good conversation with Rick last summer about a closed friend’s marriage. She believes she has the right to pursue the life she expects even the cost is to leave 3 kids to be apart from parents. The insights that Rick shared on one’s responsibility vs. one’s freedom indeed made me to think through the words of “responsibility”.

The family influence somehow made me easy to be angry with others who are irresponsible and not care… I had an experience that when I was at the grade 2 of high school, I was deeply impressed by the teacher’s effort to help each of my classmates to be good at study, therefore we could pass the examination of university. But I saw many students never cared the effort and just ignore the teacher’s effort. So with angry and urge, I wrote a letter “To All Classmate” and attached the letter on the board of the classroom. I can still feel some of those students’ jeer today; I can hear those people saying “what’s hell of her business!”. But that’s me.

3. What is something you learned from being irresponsible?

I have mixed mood of sympathy and angry to those who are unfortunate due to their irresponsible attitude or actions. Lessons learnt for me was that irresponsible would made you miserable and hateful.

I have one case that happened in my family which I don’t know whom to blame… My cousin delivered a baby 5 years ago. The baby came out earlier than maturity for 2 months. The doctor asked for family’s decision of getting the baby out through Caesarean operation or natural birth. The young couple could not make the decision, so they asked my father to make the decision. My father suggested them to give the baby nature birth. After a few hours waiting, the doctor finally took the baby out via Caesarean operation. The baby was proved as a brain-paralysis patient when he was one year old. He could not walk and act like a normal person till now. The doctor could not explain the root cause of such disease as the baby was borne 2 months early. But my parents have been taking the cross for their life. I feel so bad when I heard the whole story, and I feel so bad when I saw the kid… Should this be a lesson learnt that my father took over the responsibility of the parents and the doctor?

4. What is an example in the world today in which you, or someone greater than you needs to take more responsibility?

I definitely think the government needs to take more responsibility to instill the sense of responsibility to the whole nations in China. If there is one thing to make the country collapsed someday, I view it as the creditability of this nation. The creditability of the country is based on the responsibility that each of individual person and organization is taking. The noxious baby formula that happened recently made me really angry and worry. In a country where there is no major religious belief, many people are surviving to have better life without considering more about the sequence of quick success and instant benefit, the government take unshirkable responsibility to educate people, set regulations and compliance to monitor the progress therefore to instill the believes of each one’s responsibility.

5. Is everyone in the world “responsible” for everyone else in the world? Is a country responsible for something greater than their country?

Yes to both questions in my mind. As for individual’s responsibility to others, I view that from the role an individual is playing – as a mother, a son, or a manager, a project leader…, everyone is responsible for others at a certain level via different ways. For the responsibility of a country to another one, I totally agree to many others comments from world peace. I may add a bit more in terms of environment – when one country is consuming more resources of the world, it creates trouble to all countries in the world. From this point of view, one country is definitely responsible for other countries, and for the whole world. In a great harmony world, a world policeman may not be well-accepted by others, but the great harmony is based on each country is responsible for their own and for the benefits of the whole world.

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