Sunday, November 9, 2008

SHERRY ZHANG: Travel, Work and Politics

1. Can you describe a favorite travel memory? It doesn’t have to be extraordinary - simple is good, too – but what is a memory of some travel experience that you treasure?

The question recalls my memory of a trip to India with my friend Jennifer five years ago. We spent a few days in Delhi and visited Taj Mahal. Both Jennifer and I dressed look like the local women. When we were in the rickshaw and went through the market of Old Delhi, local people put friendly attention and greeted us, elephant and cows passed by… Even today, the smell of flavor, the color of people’s dress and houses, and the sunshine still feel so vivid – it’s an exotic experience!

The Taj Mahal is just a miracle, with a sad love story. I had the best tasted curry chicken there.

The recent trip to Yosemite and Camel-by-the-Sea at California was also wonderful. I felt my heart and mind was washed clearly by the broader and beautiful view.

Another trip that stayed in my memory as the sweetest one was the trip to Southern China with my parents back to 7 years ago… It was the first time that my mom swam – in the pool and the sea! I can’t forget the smile in her face – that’s the smile I never saw from her, she was just like a little girl!

2. What is something you’ve learned from traveling - a lesson that you’ve tried to carry with you in the rest of your life?

I travelled a lot due to work, but I found the memorable traveling are those with people I cherish… I once tried travel alone at Australia, but found it’s hard for me to enjoy such trip. The lesson I gave to myself was not to travel alone – I might be too narrow and dependent, it’s still hard for me to enjoy a real trip alone.

3. I’ve been doing a bit of reading about work and careers lately, and came across this quote: “Jump, and a net will appear.” What does that say to you, if anything, and does it apply in any way to your own life?

I believe the saying, and wonder if I’m following it… I once was asked if I’m not aggressive enough to try new things when I was interviewed for the existing role (which I’ve been in three years) as I stayed with my last employer for over seven years. The reason I found was that my roles had been changed almost every other year and I moved to three places in the last job, so there was always enough challenges. But now, three years has passed and there were not so much significant changes happened in my role except my team and I had run many of programs… It’s just recently I found it’s a bit boring that the team is still using the framework and methodology that I developed three years ago on a program. I have the urge to make change but it seems drive the team a bit crazy.

So far in my life, I experienced living in 5 cities other than my hometown. All seems happened naturally without strong intention, purpose or plan. It just happened due to work change.

So in short, I think my way of handling life and work may not to make significant change decision but there got to be something new from time to time. And I follow my heart. When the time is right, I see the change happens naturally.

4. Here is another quote about work and life choices that I recently discovered: “I must simplify my life, and whittle down what I do to the things that I am absolutely the most passionate about, or else I risk being stuck in mediocrity.” Similarly, what does that say to you, if anything, and does it apply to your own life?

I always feel shame when I saw this kind of quote – I feel that I’m a mediocrity that lives in a life with daily trifles… I often admire those who could be very successful on their professional life, yet also colorful in their personal life – they sing, dance, write, paint and design… and they’re really good at everything!

I am not. I could get excuses of being exhausted on work; not talented enough, no light in my life or no time…

I’m still on the way to explore things that I am absolutely passionate about in my life… And I know I would agree to the quote by then. For now, I have to be a mediocrity to enjoy the little joy of trifles in life.

5. The U.S presidential election is on Tuesday. By the time you have to answer this question, we’ll know the outcome of the vote. How do you think the result of this election affects how the world views the U.S.? (Or, if you prefer, how you personally view the U.S., or how the U.S. might view itself?)

This is absolutely some things exciting! My husband once bet with me that he believed most of Americans would change their mind and still give the vote to McCain at the last minute. I disagreed and won the bet. I see the need of change though as a foreigner, I may not have so much insight as you all have.

I personally heard so much about diversity by working in American companies so far. And I often doubted that people said so it’s just because the US government has requirements to companies in this area, and it’s just because they said there would be labor shortage in the future 20 years if the company does not consider diversity in their employment…etc. – it’s just because that often in the working environment, what I saw is not what I heard.

The election result created a record in US history, and I believe it would prove to the world what diversity really mean in US.

I did not spend time to study Obama’s political viewpoints and his speech, but I just dislike Bush, and don’t believe people at McCain’s age with same party of Bush would make any positive and new change to this country.

I just wish that all what Obama said is not just for the election and I believe the world is waiting for changes of the U.S.

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