We here at The Great Big Jump would like to welcome back author Marie Claire Lim Moore, who was featured not too long ago for Don’t Forget The Soap. (That book got an A review from me–go grab it, if you haven’t already!) Now she’s back with another round of heart-warming stories about the international experience in Don’t Forget the Parsley.
Marie Claire Lim Moore builds on her first memoir, Don’t Forget the Soap, offering more entertaining stories about her family in this follow up. Like her first book, Don’t Forget the Parsley is a collection of anecdotes from different points in Claire’s life: stories from her second-generation immigrant childhood in Vancouver and New York City mix with recent expat experiences in Singapore and Hong Kong where she balances multiple roles as wife and mother, corporate executive and author. Her positively Filipino parents continue to have a big influence on her whether it comes to managing family and career, meeting heads of state and world leaders or simply making new friends.
From stray observations (everything is funnier at church) and midnight anxieties (if Jessica Simpson gets to go to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, why shouldn’t I?) to life mantras (don’t let perfection hold you back) and litmus tests (would you serve drinks at my mother’s art show?), Claire’s warm and honest storytelling will resonate with readers and leave them smiling.
“Do what you love” (DWYL) has become the unofficial work mantra for our time. It has been considered the opposite of the monotonous corporate job. Between Steve Jobs, Oprah, and every speaker who delivers a commencement speech, doing what you love is the only way to live.
Most people who DWYL have an integrated life. They don’t consider work to be work because they love what they do. What they do professionally is what they care about personally. Most people who DWYL also tend to have a little extra money. They’re not necessarily multi-millionaires but their lifestyle may be partly subsidized by a trust fund, their spouse may earn enough so they can pursue their passion, or they may know that one day they’ll inherit a $3 million dollar apartment that their parents bought for a fraction of that amount decades ago.
There was a wonderfully provoking piece about DWYL written by Miya Tokumitsu for Slate. In the article, she submits the “Do what you love” mantra that elites embrace actually devalues work and hurts workers. In doing so, she underlines the idea that DWYL is for the privileged few with wealth, social status, education, and political clout. Tokumitsu writes, “DWYL is a secret handshake of the privileged and a worldview that disguises its elitism as noble self-betterment.”
While DWYL is a lovely idea, it’s just not something most people have the luxury to do. But alas, instead of finding a job you love, you can learn to find meaning and success in the job you have. I want to share a few attitudinal tips that have helped me find my balance and DWYL in spite of (and sometimes even because of) my corporate job.
Live a Life of Purpose
One of the first things that struck me about Alex was that he was the first person I knew (aside from my very practical parents) who didn’t buy into DWYL. “No, you don’t need to do what you love; you just need to have a purpose,” I remember him arguing over caipirinhas at Posto Seis, one of our favorite restaurants in Sao Paulo.
Alex grew up in a small town in upstate New York. To paint the picture of just how tiny of a town, he often tells the story about how his zip code changed after their postman retired. He and his three siblings could run around acres of land, they recognized every car that passed them by, and they were on a first name basis with everyone at the grocery store. While it was a wonderful place to grow up, he was always looking forward to moving to the city when he got older. He aspired to one day work on Wall Street, build a successful career, and have a big family. No one he knew from back home took this path so he never had one to follow.
When he visited the West Point Military Academy, however, he saw how much it had to offer by way of exposure and access. He made it a personal goal to get accepted to the prestigious academy and he achieved it. Anyone who knows my husband well knows that he would be an unlikely fit at West Point. He never liked being told what to do, he would often challenge authority, and he was not exactly clean cut. But my husband can do anything when he knows it’s for a greater purpose.
Today, Alex is the regional treasurer of Citi’s broker dealer business in Asia. He’s great at his job but I don’t know if he would classify it as doing what he loves. At least for him, equally important as loving your job is loving the impact your job has on others. This can mean the internal clients who benefit from the work his team is doing or it can refer to the family he is able to help support.
My parents have a similar point of view. As new immigrants, they weren’t necessarily doing what they loved but they were doing great work and living a meaningful life. Their jobs supported our family, allowing us to spend time together and providing us with opportunities to give back to the community.
Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do. My kids have to perform for guests, my husband has to go to church, and I have to wake up in the wee hours. A little sacrifice makes you a better person. Chances are you’ll never love 100 percent of your job. Even when I speak to people who are DWYL they still confess there’s a portion of what they do that they don’t enjoy in the least. Tracie Pang, who runs Singapore’s Pangdemonium Theater, doesn’t like fundraising. I haven’t met her but I’m sure Kristen Stewart hates doing interviews. I don’t love the evening calls associated with my job. Even if you can get to the point where you love 60 percent of what you do and find purpose in the other 40 percent, then you’re golden.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-Canadian-American working mother and author of Don’t Forget the Soap. After spending the early part of her childhood in Vancouver, Claire moved to New York City and attended the United Nations International School. She went on to study at Yale, climb the corporate ladder at Citi and travel around the world. She met her husband, Alex, while working in Sao Paulo, Brazil and they married in Manila, Philippines shortly before moving to Singapore. Now Mom to Carlos, Isabel, and Sofia, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citi in Asia.
Claire is regularly ranked among leaders in the Asian-American professional community and her experiences have been written about in The New York Times, USA Today, Smart Parenting, Good Housekeeping and People Asia. She enjoys juggling her thriving career and growing family, fundraising for Filipino community events and promoting work-family balance for women through her talks as well as her writing. Previous speaking engagements have been hosted by Standard Chartered Bank, The Financial Women’s Association of Singapore, and MasterCard Asia.
In 2014, Claire received the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World Award™ (Global FWN100™) that recognizes Filipina women who are influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace, having reached status for outstanding work in their respective fields, and who are recognized for their leadership, achievement and contributions to society, female mentorship and legacy. Claire is also featured in women’s empowerment expert Claudia Chan’s Remarkable Women Series along with female role models Arianna Huffington, Tory Burch and Zainab Salbi.
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