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S1: E1 Top 10 Symptoms of the Bamboo Ceiling
Episode 127th August 2023 • Asians Breaking Ceilings • Jeanny Chai
00:00:00 00:29:31

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Do you want to know what thousands of AAPI women in corporate America are really experiencing? In this eye-opening episode, Jeanny reveals the Top 10 trends mid-career professionals are experiencing. Spoiler: it's not pretty.

Can you relate? You are not alone. We are in this together.

Jeanny Chai Bio here

*Take the FREE ASSESSMENT My Personal Roadblock to Success

[00:00] Teaser

[00:57] Episode 1 Trailer

[02:20] Bad Ass Immigrants Sacrifice Too Much

[04:33] Trend 10. AAPI woman is sole breadwinner

[05:20] Trend 9. AAPI woman does the work of 3 people

[05:55] Trend 8. No time for herself

[06:46] Trend 7. Underpaid by $30-40K

[07:19] Trend 6. Feels Unfulfilled

[07:45] Trend 5. Tolerates a Toxic Environment

[09:08] Trend 4. Exhausted

[09:44] Trend 3. Physically Ill

[11:46] Trend 2. Constantly Proving Herself

[13:33] Trend 1. Not Getting Promoted

[14:19] It's not your fault.

[14:38] We need to address clash of cultural norms.

[15:52] There is HOPE.

Take the "My Personal Roadblock to Success" Assessment here:

https://asiansbreakingceilings.com/assessment

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[17:03] Data from ASCEND report, executive parity lowest for AAPI women

[19:43] Three Biggest Asian Cultural Ceilings to Reframe

[20:56] First Ceiling: Self-Criticism

[22:28] Second Ceiling: Emotional Restraint

[24:21] Third Ceiling: Filial Piety

[28:02] Goal of Asians Breaking Ceilings

[28:33] Episode 2 Preview

Take the "My Personal Roadblock to Success" Assessment here:

https://asiansbreakingceilings.com/assessment

Theme Song: Imagine by Zoo

Mid-roll and Post-roll Song: Clarity by Zoo

Ascend Report: The Diversity Equity Gap in the Fortune 500:

Mentioned in this episode:

Outtro

Transcripts

Episode 1. Full

[:

[00:00:17] I will find a way to make it work." And that is a strength. However, when it's a situation in which other people are not setting you up for success,

[:

[00:00:46] Another year. Another five years. And that's not okay. That's not loyalty that's benefiting you. It's actually hurting you.

[:

[00:01:17] In episode one, we're going to launch into what are the trends that AAPI female professionals are experiencing right now. We're known as the model minority. We look like we're successful yet many of us are experiencing the bamboo ceiling and those of us who are non Asian don't even realize there's a problem.

[:

[00:01:50] in corporate America take the quiz right now at Asiansbreakingceilings.com. You can also leave a written review for me at podchaser.com to spread the word about this podcast, and I would be so grateful. So let's jump into today's show so that we can help you achieve authentic success without the stress.

[:

[00:02:36] I've worked with hundreds of you to improve your self confidence, to help you overcome imposter syndrome. So I have some specific insights I want to share with you as what I see the landscape is right now in 2023 and what people are sacrificing, When you talk about Asian heritage and women in particular, there's this whole concept of sacrifice that we can't get past.

[:

[00:03:22] But the reality is you are such a badass. You know, I never did that voluntarily. I came to this country, United States, when I was four. And it wasn't my choice. The times I have left my own country, I visited pre COVID. I went to Hungary. I've been to Europe a couple times. I was scared to death.

[:

[00:03:57] That is a badass thing to do. And I believe that is a huge risk taking move that requires a ton of confidence. However, once we get here, many of our other norms, the ways that we do life, get in the way and create stress and become roadblocks to us where now we're trying to navigate really tough things. And I believe one of those reasons is that sacrifice is such an ingrained concept. So I'm going to share with you what I notice women right now in 2023– women of color, Asian, South Asian descent are experiencing.

[:

[00:04:47] They have a partner or a spouse who's not working or making very little income, which creates a lot of stress for her. So what she's sacrificing is a lot of, maybe mental wellbeing from being the sole earner.

[:

[00:05:11] because my family needs health insurance. And so instead of leaving toxic situations, or even if she's totally exhausted, there's a feeling that I have to keep going and so that's one trend I see. And that's number 10.

[:

[00:05:45] If you were to leave your job, they'd have to hire three people to fill your shoes. And I know you are not getting paid the salary of three people. So you're either contributing three times too much time, or you're getting paid a third of what you deserve.

[:

[00:06:24] And now that we're going back to work, it's even harder because we have to commute. And many of us expressed to me that I don't have time for me. There is no time for me. I'm very low on the totem pole. And the reason I'm saying all this is these are all areas that we're sacrificing that, that are too much.

[:

[00:06:58] I think because most of us do not, naturally (as much as men) ask for a higher salary when we change jobs. Many of us do not, fight for it because we're more accepting. We don't have that habit. We think it's selfish and we're grateful.

[:

[00:07:27] Not only are we underpaid, but the work that we are doing is not exactly fulfilling. And so what happens is many of us are heading up other organizations, volunteering within the company, and we have an outlet because our job isn't utilizing all our talents, our skills, our creativity especially. And so the job itself isn't even that fulfilling.

[:

I will find a way to make it work." And that is a strength. And you probably got that from your family. However, when it's a situation in which other people are not setting you up for success, in which there is, lack of support, some political stuff going on where they're not setting you up for success.

[:

[00:08:50] Another year. Another five years. And we have numbed out at the end of that time. It's so exhausting and painful that we don't even remember who we are. And I see that for a lot of women who are in their mid career, uh, 40s and 50s. And that's not okay. That's not loyalty that's benefiting you. It's actually hurting you.

[:

[00:09:45] And so we've done it for years. And that breaks my heart. Number three. And this one I didn't know before I came into the industry. When I became a coach, I didn't know I would discover this, but as you'll learn later, I got very ill right around age 40. And I'm noticing for some time now this is a trend. If you are a hard working ambitious woman who is used to stress ,you're motivated by criticism and you work harder than everybody else –right around age 40 your body gives out. I don't want that to be true but I've heard it so often that this is something I need to report. And the kind of illnesses we have are random headaches, backaches, joint pain, IBS, Hashimoto's, which is an autoimmune disease.

[:

[00:10:52] It's not being built up. It's not being taken care of. It's the flight or flight, right? So you are busy fighting the stress and there's not enough energy to be boosting your immune system. So whatever germs and issues are going on, you're susceptible to that and you can't fight it. And so I've noticed a huge drop in health right around age 40.

[:

[00:11:45] I'm going. No, no, no. Your life is at stake we don't even think about ourselves when we're physically sick. So trend number two.

[:

[00:12:36] The stakes are higher. And so the anxiety, the stress increases, that's not what we want. And so what we think is going to make us happy and finally bring us peace and security when we break through the bamboo ceiling, actually Is a fallacy and we end up continuing the practice of sacrifice, giving too much, never being able to turn off, not being able to relax, and none of you wants to hear this, right?

[:

[00:13:20] What's going on? Let's, let's address this. All the first nine things, maybe, maybe is tolerable, probably not. Being the breadwinner, doing the work of three people, having no time to yourself, being underpaid, not fulfilled in a toxic environment, feeling exhausted, now physically ill with no cure, and proving ourselves.

[:

[00:14:07] This is not a fun journey. When you're the breadwinner doing the work of three people, you have no time for yourself, you're underpaid, not fulfilled, toxic environment, exhausted, physically ill, and proving yourself, and not getting promoted. That is not fun! Right? You're not doing this for enjoyment. You're doing this because you think there's going to be a payoff.

[:

[00:14:43] And I just thought maybe it was my upbringing. Maybe it's me. I don't know what it is. And I never talked about it because there was a huge sense of shame. And if you love Brene Brown, as I do, she says, the way to get rid of shame is to bring it into the light and to talk about it in public, which is what I'm doing, though, I'm scared to death because I know I'm breaking all kinds of taboos.

[:

[00:15:20] So embark with me on season one. We're going to get real on self-awareness. We're going to talk about cultural norms. If you don't have someone who understands your culture, who's been through what you've been through, there's a total disconnect, right? They just say, well, why don't you stop working so hard? Why don't you stop guilting yourself?

[:

[00:15:57] There is hope because again, I'm the coach that has helped over 300 women and men to overcome their lifelong anxiety to finally understand themselves again and create a life that they love by deciding, creating and asking for what you want. And that all happens when we stop sacrificing so much.

[:

[00:16:29] Before we start the second half of this episode, if you're of Asian descent and you want to discover what your personal biggest roadblock is to success, go ahead and take the free quiz at asiansbreakingceilings.com. If you're liking this podcast, be sure to leave a review for me at Podchaser.com, and then follow me on Instagram @JeannyChai so you can be notified whenever a new episode drops.

[:

[00:17:03] Okay, so I've got some data for you. For those of you who like to see the actual numbers, the well known group Ascend, led by Anna Mok, in February 2023, put together a report, I think it was Denise Peck and Buck Gee, that there was a inequality in terms of the percentage of representation at the entry level versus at the executive level.

[:

[00:17:57] We're called the overrepresented minority, and yet there's some real hidden problems, which is that the ceiling that you feel, the bamboo ceiling or the glass ceiling you feel, is not just happening to you, it is happening to everyone who looks like us, who's East Asian and South Asian. There's... definitely an understanding that some groups have been systemically underrepresented, and there is actual work being done in most corporations to elevate those. But for the, the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, the Indian Americans, there is actually the opposite interpretation that there is no such thing as the bamboo ceiling, which is why I call it a myth.

[:

[00:19:21] So we don't have to fix all of systemic issues and all of racism in order for us to thrive, right? This is an amazing time to be Asian American. If you watch the Academy Awards, that just happened a few months ago. For the first time, we have people like Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan winning the top awards and recognized for their work. And decades ago, this wasn't a possibility. Let's go back to the idea of many of us who come from an Asian heritage having had to deal with ceilings year after year after year ever since we were young children. What am I talking about?

[:

[00:20:23] Because there, your cultural norms and the environment in which you are working are aligned. But, if you have Asian heritage, South Asian heritage, and you're working in America or Canada, somewhere in the European countries, there's going to be a clash of cultures. And over and over again, I have seen three areas in which Asian Americans, because I deal mostly with those of us in the United States, Asian Americans' strengths and their priorities when they were growing up is no longer getting them to the next step. And what I'm talking about is three things. Number one, Is the ability to be extremely humble and self critical that on one hand is excellent because very few of us are arrogant. However, when we turn that on ourselves, the level of self doubt, self criticism is so great.

[:

[00:21:28] The second ceiling that I often see that we come across is this whole idea of, I don't know what I want. Many of us know exactly what our bosses want, what we're going to do for our children, what our spouses need. But when it comes to directly answering the question, what do you want in your career?

[:

[00:22:11] However, at this stage in our career, mid-career and above, you need to know where you're going to go next. Many of us, as I shared in the first part of this episode, don't have career fulfillment. We feel overworked and under recognized. And part of that is we may not be working in an area in which we love and we feel alignment, but in terms of pivoting, we have no idea what that area might be.

[:

[00:22:57] And academics. And so we've lost that ability to have compassion. We've lost the ability to have the decision-making ability to know what it is that we really want. And so a great part of this podcast is going to be addressing this concern of how do we bring back our empathy for ourselves so that we can finally feel fulfillment? That we can finally know when something is not working so we can stop that, say no to that and pivot? So what many of us are doing because we've shut off a lot of our emotional sensors is we are settling, we're settling. A common phrase I use is “escaping one kidnapper to go to a better one.”

[:

[00:24:00] And so we need to bring that back, that ability to determine, is this a “hell, yes”? Is this something I love? And if it is, then I will say “yes” to it. And if there are red flags and there's things I see now that look sus, excuse me– I shouldn’t borrow language from my kids–that look suspiciously, unfulfilling or even toxic, I need to give that a second thought and learn to say “no”.

And then finally, the ceiling that I see many. ambitious, wonderful, intelligent professionals come across is this whole deference, right? In, in the Asian heritage, even if your brother or sister is born just one minute before you, they are your elder and there's this element of respect.

[:

[00:25:18] And so it's more likely that you're ending up with a boss who is not supportive, who's not setting you up for success, who may even be toxic and rude and cruel and actually using you for their own growth. What if that's the case? And you remain loyal and you think it's your fault that they're disappointed. If that's the case, you're going to spin in circles and circles and keep asking yourself, what am I doing wrong? How am I supposed to get promoted? How do, what do I finally need to do to satisfy this boss? And the answer might be nothing because this boss is toxic. And so I see this situation a lot over and over again, where we are so loyal.

[:

[00:26:19] That is noble. That is commendable. But on the other hand, you're really frustrated that you're going nowhere in your job. And that again is when we hit the bamboo ceiling when we hit that career ceiling because a lot of our norms are in conflict with the kind of norms that are necessary for career advancement in North America.

[:

[00:27:00] That doesn't get you to the same place in the United States. Oftentimes what I hear is the people who work the hardest, their only reward is more work. And there isn't this progression, this unstopped progression of advancement like you would see in an overseas company. And so again, this is not your fault.

[:

[00:27:37] It's not that reason. It's usually because there are cultural misalignments between the way you were brought up and what's valued at your current company. And so that's the problem you need to solve, not to work harder, not to beat yourself up, not to keep asking, what do I need to do? But actually fix those norms that are in conflict and are constantly battling each other.

[:

[00:28:23] So that we can finally experience authentic success, whether it's a career or a side hustle or your own business, and that we can succeed without the stress.

[:

[00:29:04] And I want to share with you in this podcast. All the findings, all my secrets that I finally learned of how to transform from someone who looked like she was successful on the outside but felt so much like a fraud inside, like an imposter. How I finally transformed to become finally who I really was meant to be and to have confidence, to finally manage self-doubt.

[: