Around the Blawgosphere: Lawyer's Story of Proud Americans--Who Waited 54 Years for Citizenship

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Believing in America

On July 4, “Ken” shared at Popehat a story (which he confesses he has posted before) of an Independence Day in the early 1990s in which he was a summer extern for Ronald S.W. Lew, the first Chinese-American district court judge in the continental United States.

Lew took Ken and the other externs to a large VFW post in Los Angeles, where dressed-up families were gathered. Each family, it turned out, was there for a different Philippines-born man who served in the U.S. military during World War II. On July 26, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an executive order promising citizenship and veterans benefits to some 200,000 Filipinos who fought for the U.S., but Congress backed out on that promise with the Rescission Act of 1946. A measure within the Immigration Act of 1990 at last granted them citizenship. Lew was at the VFW hall that day to administer the naturalization oath to eight elderly men.

“They smiled, grasped his hand, spoke the oath as loudly as they could with evident pride,” Ken wrote. “Some wept. I may have as well. One said, not with anger but with the tone of a dream finally realized, ‘We’ve waited so long for this.’ … I did not hear bitterness on this day. These men and their children had good cause to be bitter, and perhaps on other days they indulged in it. On this day they were proud to be Americans at last. Without forgetting the wrongs that had been done to them, they believed in an America that was more than the sum of its wrongs.”

Succeeding in America

This week, a New York Times column asked whether Americans have too narrow of a definition of success. Corporate leadership consultant Jeff Snipes told the Times that much of the general public defines success only in terms of making a lot of money or having athletic accomplishments. “That’s a very, very narrow definition,” he says. “What about being compassionate or living a life of integrity?”

And this week at Attorney at Work, Phoenix solo Ruth Carter reflected on how her vision of success compares what the ideal of the “stereotypical successful lawyer”—with a first-rate car, home and personal technology—that she feels a lot of students are fed in law school.

“Our society encourages us to associate buying things with success, but that’s not the only measure of success, Carter wrote. “You can reject others’ definitions of success and create your own measure.”

Her own measure? She wants enough freedom in her career to be able to travel when she can take time off, and have her basset hound at her feet while she is at work. “Your measure of success may have something to do with crazy childhood dreams—like seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert 52 times or playing a round of golf in all 50 states,” Carter wrote. “Whatever your dreams are, embrace them. Let being able to fulfill them be your measure of success.”

Freeing Yourself of a Bad Boss

Both the Harvard Business Review and Corporette this week tackled the topic of coping with bad bosses. John Beeson, author of The Unwritten Rules: The Six Skills You Need to Get Promoted to the Executive Level, told HBR that workers should figure out their bosses’ goals and communication styles, and let their bosses know that they want to learn from them.

Meanwhile at Corporette, Kat Griffin took a question from a reader asking about dealing with a specific kind of bad boss: an incompetent one who “actually does some level of harm whenever she is involved in a meeting, on a project, etc.”

Griffin suggests, among other things, that you figure out what you need from your boss and how to communicate it to him or her. Griffin noted how she once had trouble with a boss who “who wasn’t great at telling me what she thought were my job priorities—I would spend weeks on a project to find out that she had thought something else was higher priority.” What helped her was scheduling a monthly meeting with her boss to make sure they were on the same page.

Another suggestion? Keep a log of what actions you take, what actions your boss and other co-workers take, and the result. “This way, if your own work is ever called into question, you can easily defend yourself.”

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