Jing's Blog

Solo Traveler / Self-Improvement/ jing.liu@hey.com

(From my old blog, originally posted on Mar 8th, 2018) 在亚马逊工作一直都觉得是一件价值观非常契合的事情,原来在其他公司见了太多形式性的事,不管你做没做事,如果会展现你就不会混的差(而这项能力我真的欠缺,需要学习),可能一年半载可以跳个槽, 再或者上下都是一起混大家睁一只眼闭一只眼即可。而在这里有没有本事生存,三个月最多半年高下立见。太多人在三五个月的时候没法适应而离开,我自己也曾行走在其边缘。

今天想说的是关于亚马逊的员工反馈体系,记得曾经有媒体在公开批评过员工之间如何通过评价系统来表达对其他同事的不满甚至使用其为手段来排除异己,不能否认有人会这样做,就想你无法否认再法治社会、道德高尚、福利完善的国家依旧会有人犯法一般。我非常喜欢亚马逊的反馈文化,记得刚入职不久在和我老板的某次单独谈话中,她主动询问我对她工作上的评价,除了有点吃惊以外我也非常单纯直接的讲述了我的看法,她对于我评价的认可和感激让我非常诧异,因为首先从来没有人这么直接明白的来询问我,也没有人会这么真诚的去表达对别人的反馈的感谢。 之后发现并不是只有她而是在所有常规的单独谈话中大家都会很主动的询问我的看法,逐渐我也开始模仿,这样做的好处在接下来的两三年里帮助了我太多,及时的反馈能够让你在很多事初调整方向,更加可以给你信心。说起来可能有点矛盾,但是就我个人而言在得到他人反馈前我经常觉得计划完美无懈可击,同时却隐隐不安,因为在你不知道哪里会出问题前你会更加惶恐,而及时的反馈能让我认识到事情的不足,这反让我更加勇敢往前。很神奇。

想说这个,因为今天做了我工作的年终总结,觉得值得记录一下。

像我说的我知道我自己在很多方面做的挺好,可偏偏就是哪些地方不好是我一直纠结的。比如每件事我都想要做到完美,刨根问底完美计划反复确认生怕有缺失。。。每次都要把自己的理解完整重复再重复,也会用最简单的语言表达按照这个计划每个人应该做什么(大部分情况下这已经在别人职责之内的事),生怕有些事情不受掌控,导致我自己非常辛苦也会让一起工作的伙伴觉得不被信任。我自己很多时候会感觉怪怪的但是又说不上来哪里不对,知道今天看到同事的反馈(25+人的反馈超开心 ~_~)才觉得石头落地,默念:原来那样做会让别人觉得这样。

我并不在意别人怎么说,但是当我得到非常客观的反馈时我会如获珍宝,打心眼里感谢别人这样直接的表达出来。不管在职场或者生活中,给与你的队友信任才能一起走更远,毕竟一个人不会完成天下事,别给自己那么大压力,别去越界别人的生活和职责。

目前的状态是,非常非常打心眼里感谢别人的反馈,我也愿意真诚的给别人反馈。实话会让人觉得不适,但是接受这点起初的不适让我能够尽早的调整自己的心态和方式。对待家人朋友和同事,予人信任,退一步能让紧绷的神经放松,会是让人更加舒适的相处方式

“Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns”

You have a big house, a nice car, leather sofa, latest electronics, a Rolex watch, dressing at fashion trend... And you want more, wish to upgrade your house, your car, your taste of clothes, that new cutting-edge electronic product released last week from CES... You probably still need another wardrobe, bigger TV, that end table, the new rocking chair, that red pair of heels, do not forget that new season handbag from Gucci...

Look at you, life is so successful. You have everything everyone wants.

Above are all the things I went through in my recent years of life, always think there are better things out there. Now, I am living in this capitalism country, I earn enough and I can buy almost everything I want. But still, I kept feeling meaningless in my life, and I keep trying to find sth new to make me feel great. Every time I am into a thing that I really really want, I buy it, the excitement lasts minutes, or maybe few days, then it's gone.

I realized it cannot bring me continuous satisfaction. Owning those things are basically living a life based on how this society want you to be. Imagine all the videos, marketing events, magazines, billboard, influencers... They are all trying to define what a “good” life look like, and sell them to you. I read this today and it explains it well: https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/gains/

The big lie that I trusted for a long time is “ YOU DESERVE THIS!” It captured everyone's mind, the underlying message is: you have been working hard, you went through a lot, you are better than you thought you are, you really deserve this (this means consuming your money).

We are so addicted to this eagerness of consuming things.

We think we are in control of our lives by owning more, but we are actually losing the control of our lives by letting this ego consume us. We are not any more trying to find the meaning of our lives, but the one who want to own more to show people how good we are.

Find peace in my mind. Take control of my life. I am committed.

SLU, Seattle, WA

Since 8 years ago, I have developed this habit of plan my financial flow for next 18 months. As I had quite some debt accumulated due to family reason, my focus was more on cash flow: how can I pay all bills and loans next month or next three months. Doing monthly finance planning gave me a relatively calm mind from my life mess. I am really glad that I did this, even though it was more because I didn't really have a choice, it was painful but definitely pushed me to learn how important it is to organize my financials by myself.

As of Sep 1st. I officially became debt free. Since then, I kept thinking about when I will have “Okay-ish” money to start my business, without selling my long term investment or selling my apartment.

Then when I re-plan with a new goal, I realized there are so many weekly/monthly bills I need to manage both in China and United States. It consumes a lot of my mental energy, and I had no time/energy to manage it before, I was focusing on making sure next bill is covered from my crazy travel/working schedules.

Again, thanks to Pandemic when I finally have some time to get myself organized. Similar to how I cut down my physical ownings (refer to “What I really need” post), do I really need to manage this many bills?

To start with, I listed out every single inflow and outflow accounts I have. From Credit/Checking/Savings and Investment account, to all online digital banks, then to all monthly and annually bills.

I LOVE this exercise. When I listed out all of those, I realized so many things are just “nice to have”.

Here are things I decided to cut out – Deactivated my Chinese credit card, US credit card, EU credit card (since I was living in all those countries and used them for a while). – Deactivated all digital banks credit/loan account. Including Alipay Huabei, Jiebei, Paypal. – Removed all other banks account I have been using for years in China due to different purposes, housing fund, pension, medical care, investment, payroll... – Deactivated my Morgan Stanley investment account, merged it with my 401K plan account.

Now I have 5 financial accounts worldwide: one traveling credit card for credit building purpose (US...), one payroll/savings account, one apartment mortgage (in China), one 401K account which also for investment purpose, plus one Venmo account for social financials.

Here are things I changed impacting financials – Record every expense everyday helps me to cut out unnecessary spent. – Unsubscribing some memberships like Spotify/Amazon Unlimited Music that I use less than once a month. – Change monthly membership to annual membership for programs I know I will need all the time. Like Prime/ Audible. Saving $100+ yearly. – Switch all bills to email, easily I can get 5-10 dollars monthly credit. – Replenish things as I need. Do not stock-up for Toilet paper, garbage bags, tampons, sunscreens(!!!) Those are often ended up as trash when they expire – Less deliveries, more pick ups from restaurants and supermarkets. – Last and the most exiting one. Switching to a new apartment that will reduce 35% of monthly rent I am paying today! I also captured the trend when SLU rental market drop, negotiated down price from original 26% reduction to 35%.

Bill wise, I have 9 monthly bills and 7 annual bills. Those are all things I really need. Tested for 3 weeks now, and would like to continue maintain this till I have a car (then I will add monthly insurance and parking).

I want to keep financial planning as easy as possible, own as less bills/accounts as possible, but as much as I really need. The beauty of this is not to save the money, it is about how I gain the control of my life including finance.

SLU, Seattle, WA

This is sth I learnt over the years, but I know I am still bad about it.

My boyfriend was very excited to show me sth he built over past few days, and I was very excited, too. I have been thinking that I should learn more about his life and what he is doing, since our relationship has been going really well (I think).

When I jumped into the call, he showed me the product and pitched his ideas. I quickly switched myself into the review mode, asking questions about product concept, direction, goal and customer stickiness...

I thought I was trying to be patient, hear out the ideas, and asking open questions...mentioned that I was just trying to help him to refine the idea... blah blah blah...

You can imagine, it destroyed all the excitement and that was not what the other person needs!

The call disconnected due to poor internet. During that break, I realized that I have to detach my work life from my personal life. I decided to start this relationship, not to be business partner with him, I cannot talk to him as if I am talking to my stakeholders or reviewing their product road-maps. He wanted to talk to me about his ideas and didn't expect me to be an investor who challenges his business ideas. He wants to share the excitement with someone he cares.

Then why this is happening? I think the answer is: Sometimes, I still expect my partner to be the way I expected to be based on my own value. The second layer of this answer is: I am not inner-secured enough to accept whomever I am dating.

I believe everyone should make independent conscious decisions on what they want. If I want to change the person I chose, then I'd better to learn how to choose the person in the first place.

SLU, Seattle, WA

I woke up 5 seconds before my alarm rings at 6:30 am Looking out from the window, it's pretty dark, not sure its like this last week Then I saw a message from a friend who just settled down in Stockholm, who supposed to join me in Seattle in March, 2020. Pandemic changed his plan. He said I have a home in Sweden if I ever be able to travel to EU again.

Life started to get into a new routine: – Hand making my own coffee, Storyville whole coffee beans from Bainbridge – Toasted whole wheat bread, a slice of smoked salmon, half sliced avocado – Listening to an Audible book on my Echo. [The Goal] by Eliyahu M. Goldratt – Stretch, Sit, Check my emails – New day started

I would never imagined this could be me 6 months ago. Happy new life times

SLU, Seattle, WA

I am 30, earn well, moved around, live in evergreen state in U.S.

Pandemic gave me more alone time, more opportunities to slow down in life And I want to share one topic that has been constantly bothering me along my journey, especially since I moved to U.S. by myself during Pandemic.

What do I really need? – It's different with what I want – It's different with what I have – It's very different with what I think I need – It's absolutely different with what others think I would need

I love to ask this question, it keeps me honest and keeps exploring myself

Over the years, I went through cycles and cycles of these questions, it is across my book selections, music, clothes, furniture, electronics, career, friendship, financials, relationships, family, life goals, where do I want to travel next...and I am sure it will continue in rest of my life

It's not an easy question to answer. Sitting at my SLU apartment, thinking of how to get rid of a lot of furniture I bought 3 months ago when I moved into this place, after weeks of thoughts when I finally realized that I need to move to a smaller apartment with very limited things with me.

When I decided to take the current apartment, I was so excited. This place has everything I wanted: big windows, access of private patio, ground floor that I do not need to wait for the elevators, modern design, new full kitchen, very close to my office means I can walk there everyday, and it has enough nice space for me to host house parties as I usually do. I bought outdoor dinning tables, benches, rocking chairs, decorated with nice grass wall and lighting bulbs, not to mention how many new cookwares and hosting stuff I bought for potential house gathering events, so on and so on...

I had all the reasons I thought I need this apartment, regardless that I need to pay 3K dollars each month for it. I planned financials, I planned how to arrange furniture inside of the place, lighting, music, projectors, wine glasses... Everything sounds perfect. And it was, when I got everything setup, it looks as perfect as I expected, I was happy and satisfied, just cannot wait to announce to the world about the amazing place I have.

But, there is the problem. No one wants to have any group gathering in a new comer's home during Pandemic.

1 month, 2 months later. I start to realize that all the things I have around me are not utilized as I expected, I enjoyed them for a while, then I cannot get continuous satisfaction from them.

I was trying to ask why to myself? Then I realize I was working backwards from what others might need, what I might need, instead what I really need.

I do not think this is sth I did wrong, but it's certainly something I learnt that I am really glad. I thought doing sth others need would make me feel great, and this drove me making those purchasing decisions. And it indeed happened many times in my life, that I gained tons of satisfactions from those house events, home gathering, dinners, coffee afternoons and romantic nights when I know others liked it. I am sure it is still a great thing to do if we are not in a Pandemic, but now reality is I need to deal with a new situation and organize my life differently.

If I may narrow down on one specific areas: physical things I need.

Over past few weeks, I was asking myself everyday: what do I (only I) really need now? I kept putting things I do not need away in storage area: – I donated 95% of my apparels. Shoes, Clothes, Socks, Bags.. – I giveaway all my books to neighbors. – I sold all my electronics products that I haven't use for over 3 months. – I donated/threw away all decorative things in my home. – I limit cosmetics and make-ups to one small bag.

Eventually, I was able to fit all things into one carry on luggage and one backpack. I felt so stress free since then, I can always close my luggage, grab my backpack and go anywhere. I have my life with me.

Home? What furniture do I absolutely need to live in this apartment today. – Bed set, plus 2 sets of bedding sheets. – Sofa – Dining table and 2 chairs – Small standing table for projector – Office table and office chair (may be eliminate later if not WFH) – Stand lamp (I hate installed light in bedroom) – Mirror

That's it. 7 things I need to worry about for now. So I decided to sell all the rest . If I need it later? I can buy one if I really need to then.

The lesson I learnt: stop buying things you might need more than 2 weeks ahead. I still imagine what I want and what I would need, but I do not buy it unless I absolutely need it now. We are living in an extreme convenient society, where a house could be built in days, I really do not need to plan more than 2 weeks ahead.

Now I feel so good. At any time I know I have 2 luggage and 7 furniture I need to worry about. I cannot promise that this will never change, but I am really glad I learnt this, and I know a light life is something I really need now.

Seattle, WA

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