Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Tag Archives: Politics

My Views and Values, Told Through Famous Quotes

For a time I maintained this blog the way I thought any professional (e.g., dentist, accountant, etc.) would by keeping the content restricted to my trade and professional interests. Along the way, however, I woke up about something I’d been blissfully unaware of before (thanks partly to the fact that my own cultural subgroup still doesn’t practice this). I discovered that other people (perhaps the majority) in modern western cultures, for example in the U.S., deliberately try to ensure that new friends and businesses they frequent match their values in much the same way they match their socks. If this comparison sounds strange, it’s because this whole social practice of introducing your values to new acquaintances to see if both parties agree on them is alien to me.

I won’t perpetuate this practice within my own inner circle because we’re all fine with not knowing each other’s political values. There are so many other topics to connect on! However, I’m broadcasting this for the sake of voluntary association decisions where they concern me because I’ve observed a general decline in tolerance towards those holding different values (as people often eventually find out if you match them or not), which makes working together difficult for those who’re wildly different. Borrowing from my Quora answer, What are the wisest quotes you’ve ever heard or read? by Lynn Patra, I wrote:

I can’t imagine these quotes will appeal to everyone but, then again, few things have universal appeal. For me, personally, the following quotes contribute some counter-cultural wisdom relevant to the times and the dominant mindset in my region.

On geniuses and experts:

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A More Pleasant Breakdown of the Gender “Pay Gap” [Infographic]

Many have viewed, or heard of, that viral “car crash” of an interview between the now very famous Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson and Cathy Newman, English journalist and presenter for Channel 4 News. If you haven’t viewed it however, here it is:

Without delving into the entire back-and-forth, like Peterson, I too mentioned the different, naturally occurring rate in which the personality trait agreeableness/disagreeableness appears between men and women, collectively, as one factor contributing to the alleged pay gap. (See this Wiki article on agreeableness for more detailed explanation.) This section of What do you think about the recent Jordan Peterson interview? by Lynn Patra clarifies that this is a proportional, rather than an absolute, difference of a tendency between men and women:

When talking about personality differences between men and women collectively, [Cathy Newman] also displayed a frustratingly common misunderstanding that these are absolute differences instead of differences in proportion (i.e., the frequency) of an observed trait or tendency.

If I’d been in Peterson’s place, I think I would’ve slowed wayyy down and tried to illustrate what proportional differences between groups look like, for example (and this is a hypothetical example because I don’t know if a consensus exists with regard to the specific proportions of agreeableness/disagreeableness between groups – where A = agreeable and D = disagreeable):

Men: D, D, D, D, D, A, A, A, A, A

Women: D, D, D, A, A, A, A, A, A, A

For awhile, it seemed like Peterson and Newman were going around in circles about this. And I know a person doesn’t get it when I hear, “But women aren’t all the same!” or “But there are some women who aren’t like that!” as Newman expressed.

Of course, the “pay gap” results from a complex mixture of numerous factors. This interview inspired me to find an infographic that displays the multi-faceted reasons for the “pay gap.”  Some may find the following infographic, which was first published in 2016, to be provocative but it’s one of the better ones I could find. It certainly gives you plenty to chew on.


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My Review & Passages from Steve Siebold’s “How Rich People Think”

Recently, I finished How Rich People Think by Steve Siebold and wish to share its high points. In doing so, I’ll share what this book meant to me as well as passages I enjoyed. By the way, it’s not challenging to read at all, which means it’s quite accessible to young people who can benefit from thinking about money and financial independence.

In a review, I wrote:

Siebold delightfully summarizes every preemptive money-shaming, crab mentality-inspired verbal exhortation (e.g., “Money is evil!”, “Nobody should be a millionaire!”) ever uttered by those with an unhealthy, inappropriate interest in what another’s attitude about, or relationship with, money might be. This has been especially problematic in today’s preachy, politically charged times. If there were one value that’s long overdue for a comeback in modern U.S. culture, it’s the value of minding one’s own business. But oh well. I’ve sifted every person who imposed the slightest money shame or crab mentality-inspired drivel out of my life. I appreciate this book for providing a look back at these folks and describing the basic psychological underpinnings behind this insanity.

Siebold’s observations about society: Read more of this post


When Political Proselytization and Multiculturalism Collide in Workplaces (and Elsewhere) & Related Thoughts – Part 2

Part 2 of 3: Online Etiquette & a Reminder, Multiculturalism’s Downside, and a Preview of Part 3

THIS (the messy enormity of this series) is one reason I hesitate to share my political views. More importantly though, there are professional risks. Potential backlash for unpopular views is why one shouldn’t incessantly try to elicit peoples’ opinions online, chase and put others on the spot, and put them at risk if they’re disinclined to volunteer information. Sure, they can avoid you but, the worst case scenario is, you’ll look like a jerk and make some enemies. As for why I’m sharing some views, I’m trying to prevent others from “barking up the wrong tree” because, per Part 1, there are movements and company cultures I’m incompatible with. That said, I’m content with obscurity. I’m not seeking to become a political thought leader or fame in general, so opponents can take heart that I won’t flood this blog with political posts.

Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a subset of older liberal folks (while taking notice of older liberals who don’t do this but, whenever this happens, it’s curiously never someone of any other political persuasion and this is not due to a lack of knowing older folks of other political inclinations) who try to get me to espouse or live up to their values and, in doing so, (1.) mistakenly assume I’m inclined to think as they do and (2.) are unaware that people my age have more to lose (than they do) as we’re in the midst of raising children or caring for aging parents and especially dependent on having work. Yes, it’s human to make mistakes.

More troubling, however, is that they care more about promoting their ideology and adding another warm body to their movement than they care about you, the individual, and whether you want to join their movement or not. These folks should also beware, if they aren’t already, that the consequences of publicizing political opinions are potentially harsher than before the Internet age.

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When Political Proselytization and Multiculturalism Collide in Workplaces (and Elsewhere) & Related Thoughts – Part 1

Part 1 of 3

It’s been awhile since I posted “An OBVIOUS warning to political ideologues,” but I’ve decided to explain some of my views and experiences. My timing is terrible given the degenerating political discourse in the U.S., and I might be crazy to tarnish my clean “no politics” online image, but here we go. First, a story explaining my family’s culture of origin (Thai-Chinese):

One day I brought food from a new Thai restaurant I discovered near Sacramento, California for my mom to try. I’m not great at distinguishing the regional differences in Thai cuisine, but the food tasted “off” to my mom. She asked if the restaurant owner, whom I chatted with a few times by now, advertised which region of Thailand she was from. I responded, “No, but I can ask her next time.”

“No! Don’t!,” my mom yelled in alarm.

“Why not?,” I asked.

“That’s personal information,” my mom explained, “In Thai culture, you don’t ask this question of people you just met.” Further conversation with my mom revealed that asking where people lived and worked (though I already knew where the restaurant owner worked in this case) is off limits. Politics is also off limits. These are topics that are currently allowable in casual conversation for the average American (though past social norms dictated that politics and religion were off limits). A problem crops up when the average American doesn’t notice, or tries to change, the preferences of those who’re more culturally East Asian. Read more of this post


An OBVIOUS warning to political ideologues [Stickied Post]

UPDATE Sept 30, 2017: There will be an extra blog administrator to help me run a tight ship in response to OFF-TOPIC blog comments (particularly of the political nature).

My readership is politically diverse and blog topics largely appeal to people no matter their location on the political spectrum. As such, this blog has been a change of pace for those taking a break from the yelling and screaming that is found everywhere else on the Internet.

You won’t find me taking snarky digs and getting in-your-face politically on other bloggers’ sites as I recognize another person’s right to a different opinion. I recognize another person’s personal boundaries better than some (evidently). So, I ask my readers to demonstrate the same respect I’ve demonstrated on their blogs. And since this is MY professional blog (as I’m the one paying for it the last time I checked), I’ve made my stance clear on attempts to bug me incessantly and the reasons why this blog is largely apolitical: Read more of this post


A Personal Note & Sober View of Online Business Headaches: Reputation Management & Cybersecurity

The benefits of online businesses have always been clear to me (e.g., the freedom and flexibility, the broad reach to potential faraway customers, etc.). However, recently I noted some massive issues online business owners face – reputation management and cybersecurity.

Internet mobs can destroy someone’s livelihood for years, and an unpopular or misconstrued Tweet (along with bad luck perhaps) can spark their wrath. Such missteps are related to innumerable topics – too many to list. So, I’ll visit the issue of bringing up politics in professional communications for business owners (but much applies to job seekers and employees alike) as I’ve previously discussed it from another angle.

Reputation management: Politics

Business owners must be wary of expressing political views in ways that don’t mesh with their customer base. I don’t know how often cases like this happen but one of my survey respondents wrote that merely unveiling your political affiliation can alienate customers: Read more of this post


Political Discussions in Work Settings – My Pilot Study: Thoughts on Design & Results

I’ve returned with a couple of surprise posts for today. I’ve been tinkering with a survey I designed, and it turns out I’m insane enough to fund my own pilot study. Not cheap! I took a chance on myself though, to see if I’d asked interesting new questions as I can’t find my main question of interest, or related discussions, represented anywhere on the Internet. These questions relate to what OTHER social interaction patterns might coincide with increasing political polarization and Balkanization that’s reportedly been happening.

Political discussions in work settings can pose problems because participants are obligated to continue interacting unless someone is transferred to another position, finds another job, just quits, or is laid off. It’s more difficult to walk away from others than it is in the purely social realm. Thus, people are generally expected to exercise more restraint over potentially touchy subjects and avoid disruptive, emotional outbursts that impact others. Read more of this post


My Return to Blogging and Resolve to Use Time and Social Media Efficiently

During my hiatus, I reassessed my endeavors. One of the joys of maturing involves reconciling lofty dreams that drive you with life’s realities. Dreams keep life from seeming bleak and boring though awareness of time passing by compels you to estimate your chances of achieving them. For instance, I too wish to discover some way, within my own capabilities, to avoid trading time for money. However, realizing I might be wasting time thinking about this, I settled on hope that perhaps someday I’ll have an epiphany (and then I’d share it with you).

However, there are practical steps I can take to decrease wasted time. I thought about what good, realistically, could come of efforts to present myself as a professional online. Like many issues in life, potential results depend on many variables. Some tips follow. Read more of this post


Mozilla, Brendan Eich, Diversity, and the First Amendment

For those tuning in late to news of Brendan Eich’s resignation as CEO at Mozilla, Sara Ricker provides an excellent synopsis of this event. For those who’ve already heard but have yet to delve into complex issues this event brings up, consider the critical questions Sara presents. Also, check out other questions raised in Ex-Mozilla CEO wins support from unexpected liberal factions.

Sara Rickover, Behind the Corporate Veil

Brendan Eich, Mozilla Foundation official photograph, from Wikipedia Brendan Eich, Mozilla Foundation official photograph, from Wikipedia

The separation of Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla, from his position just ten days after he was named to it, is a situation where all involved did what they were legally entitled to do, yet the result causes reasonable people some discomfort.

  1. The CEO made a legal donation, in support of a position with which more than half of California voters agreed at the time.

In 2008, Mr. Eich donated $1,000 to support passage of California Proposition 8, which reserved marriage for a man and a woman. Proposition 8 passed that year, with the support of 52% of California voters. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton stated they were against gay marriage.

Mr. Eich had every right to contribute to any ballot initiative he wanted to support, as do we all. Nevertheless, he recently resigned from…

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