I finally received the mark-up of the proposal language I submitted last week for my first official project, and it was replete with deletions/additions/moved sentences and comments. Forreal, it looked like a crayon box exploded on the page. The major comment was that I had done great work and that the quality of my writing did not need to be edited in any way; nonetheless, there appear to be quite a few changes. I was super grateful for the feedback, and it brought to mind a recent conversation that my boss and I had about critique.
I happened to mention one of the “funny” things my mom had said to me recently, and my boss asked me if it hurt my feelings. I told him that it didn’t, and that her comment wasn’t an indictment on my character; she was just giving me information, like “the sky is blue.” I imagine this is a cultural thing – and perhaps generational – because ever since I was a kid, my Asian Tiger Mom has been very frank with me. As a child, I remember she pulled me out of ballet after only a few classes and said “you have no talent.” Is this mean? I dunno. I went on to play piano and soccer where I actually did have some skill, so to me she just did a proper assessment and didn’t want to waste hard-earned money on something I didn’t particularly enjoy and wasn’t good at.
So this, um, training has resulted in me being an adult who can handle bluntness and constructive criticism well. However, the topic of critique came up because my boss’s college-aged daughter was just given the attached book by her employer at her internship (it was handed out to all the interns). Turns out that we have an entire generation entering the workforce that was raised on positive reinforcement, “everyone gets a trophy,” and never having been the recipient of criticism because the people around them did not want to hurt their feelings. Apparently the problem has become significant enough that not only was it necessary for a book to be written about it, but employers now feel the need to distribute said book on how to receive feedback to their incoming interns.
I know, I know, I’m not a parent blah blah blah, and believe me, I know there are some flaws in the Asian parenting style, but in terms of my doing well in the professional world and being able to receive blunt assessment and constructive criticism, my mom’s candor has definitely been an asset. At the very least, I found it an interesting commentary on the incoming workforce. Anyway, off to dig into this mark-up — can’t wait to see how I can improve!
(BTW, I went on to take ballet classes as an adult – and my mom was right: I have no talent. Ha.)