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Old 01-22-2014, 09:11 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,773,989 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm Retired Now View Post
America in recent years has been flooded with Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants. Many are highly skilled and willing to work hard. They would be excellent employees.

Trouble is many are scared to death to interact with people outside their family and friends. English is a second language to them and they are unfamiliar with how people find a job in America. Their culture does not encourage assertive behavior on the part of women, so they don't sell themselves.

Now days even lower level clerical jobs require intense interviews and conversations with at least five people just to be come a finalist for the job.

But many of these applicants, while well meaning and interested, are just so painfully shy that they really struggle in today's competitive job market.

What can be done so painfully shy but well qualified applicants can get hired?
In my experience, most of this "shyness" is related to lack of confidence and ability in the language (as a result of lack of practice speaking). While they may never be loud and outgoing, most are quite capable of getting hired once they have sufficient English skills to express themselves when they want to. It is necessary to first find non-interview (less intimidating) venues to practice English, such as clubs, activities, churches, and classes. The failure to "sell" oneself seems not to hurt most people once their English is good, because the polite way that many foreigners express themselves is actually pleasing to most people and comes off as humble, but not self-denigrating.

And I second Toastmasters, for those who already have some basic English skill but lack practice.

 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:36 AM
 
4,749 posts, read 3,613,580 times
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I don't think the instructor's a bigot - that's a bit harsh.

I do agree, though, that we need to be careful about stereotyping, based on our own limited experiences. My wife is Asian and I know a lot of other Asians. It's true that they're taught to speak when spoken to in formal situations, but they do actually try to adapt. I think there's a realization rather quickly that what 'worked' at home isn't going to work in their new home, America.

The bigger challenge I see is that during this process, they're trying to calibrate their approach. They know that it's better to be assertive, but what they don't know is when assertive becomes 'aggressive'. They don't know when 'frank' or 'candid' becomes 'blunt' and 'rude'. This is what most immigrants struggle with. They have to learn to promote themselves, which is foreign to people who grew up in cultures where their individual accomplishments aren't as important as simply quietly integrating themselves within a team framework. I've noticed that when non-natives try to promote themselves or talk their accomplishments up a bit, it can sometimes come across as being obnoxious, because they don't know the right words to use to do so obliquely.

Then there's also this thing about networking - they have to learn how to get out and form networks, going beyond those of their own non-native friends. There's the whole business of 'small talk'. In their culture, 'small talk' is extraneous and unimportant; here, it can be the difference between getting a hiring manager to connect with an applicant and getting his resume tossed in the file that will never again see the light of day. Bear in mind, lots of native-born Americans have some of these same issues, so it's not strictly a non-native problem, but that's the cultural disadvantage that they have to deal with.

The challenge immigrants may face is that they might be valued for their technical skills, but because they may to varying degrees struggle to tear down cultural barriers, they may not be considered 'right' for certain positions, so they get pigeonholed.
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:41 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 58,502,407 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babysladkaya View Post
The instructor is not a bigot ...
I understand your point but in this particular instance I have to disagree in context:

Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm Retired Now View Post

The job hunting support group I go to has a large number of women from Asia and the Middle East and the instructor talks often about how women in these countries are socialized to be quiet and shy.
That just rubbed me the wrong way. Add to that how we miraculously segued from "people" being from Asia and the Middle East to "women" from those areas.
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:49 AM
 
2,283 posts, read 3,116,113 times
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Applying a blanket negative statement to a group of people is unfairly prejudicial. Thus, bigoted, IMO.

Take race, sex and immigration status out of the equation and you have a relatively true statement. Painfully shy people struggle job hunting. There's a lot of "putting yourself out there" that goes into networking. If you lack a network of business contacts, that's one less avenue of job leads, which makes the job hunt that much more difficult.
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:58 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,773,989 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadWarrior12 View Post
Your "instructor" is obviously a bigot. The whole premise of this post is just one person's racial bias trying to pass off as fact.

I regularly deal with and hire recent immigrants - just like any other culture, there is a wide range of personalities. All I care about is their performance in the role and with the team as a whole.
You should be more careful with the terms you throw around. It is not bigotry to understand and recognize differences in the cultures of different countries. That is a well-respected and well-established field of study called "anthropology." Calling scholarly study and understanding "bigotry" is a kind of overly politically correct thought policing that leads to ignorance all around.
 
Old 01-22-2014, 10:07 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 58,502,407 times
Reputation: 26532
^^^ I rather doubt that the leader of this support group for unemployed people is an anthropologist. But stranger things have happened!
 
Old 01-22-2014, 10:10 AM
 
3,072 posts, read 4,284,637 times
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I am an immigrant - if any of you have attempted to do a job interview in your second (non-fluent) language, you would understand why it is so hard! LOL! I've never been so terrified in my life, but proud that I did it, even though I didn't get the job. There are plenty of job organizations (non-profit, government) who offer help in this regard to immigrants, and they generally know about it. It seems rather - condescending - to act as if many of them are trained to be shy. The ones who immigrate from Asia and the ME tend to not be the uneducated oppressed ones. Some, sure, but there is money involved for most. It seems this instructor has confused language barriers with shyness. I am not shy, but I may appear that way, if I am struggling to convey my thoughts in my second language. Some people treat me as dumb or deaf when I speak, it's annoying.

Also, as an ESL teacher, I found that in general, students from the ME are hardly shy when it comes to talking - quite the opposite, it is the kind of culture where one uses lots of small talk and family questions before engaging in business. As a co-worker of mine once said - they won't shut up!! Yes, I'm generalizing, I know, but it holds some truth.
 
Old 01-22-2014, 10:15 AM
 
1,480 posts, read 2,307,901 times
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Generalizations in this situation are true most of the time. Quit trying to find exceptions to the rule!
 
Old 01-22-2014, 10:19 AM
 
694 posts, read 952,808 times
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There is an excellent article in the New Yorker about how women in the Saudi Arabia are finally allowed to work in retail stores, read it to understand why it's women in particular who have been oppressed in the Middle East and not the men. This will be an eye opener, and I stick to my point-the instructor is not a bigot. Certain countries/cultures treat women as second class citizens, and certain countries/cultures train their citizens to diminish their individual accomplishments for the greater good of the society (Soviet Union and China are prime examples). If you have not been born/lived a long time abroad, this just does not resonate. Let me ask you if this situation would occur in America and how would American parents react if their child was one of the only 4 people in a room of 300 first-graders to answer questions correctly in a trivia game and collect a prize (a beautifully illustrated book related to the theme covered in the trivia) which immediately upon receiving, she was told to give it up to the class library and had to tearfully beg to at least, bring it home for 1 day to show to her parents? Do you think she has forgotten this experience? It takes time to heal the wounds inflicted by our former countries and to build confidence which so easily and naturally is bestowed upon my American-born children with every academic, athletic, music, art, you name it trophy for each accomplishment no matter how small.
 
Old 01-22-2014, 10:23 AM
 
2,283 posts, read 3,116,113 times
Reputation: 3664
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie5v View Post
You should be more careful with the terms you throw around. It is not bigotry to understand and recognize differences in the cultures of different countries. That is a well-respected and well-established field of study called "anthropology." Calling scholarly study and understanding "bigotry" is a kind of overly politically correct thought policing that leads to ignorance all around.
No.

I find it ignorant to assume a personality type based on cultural background. That's not "overly PC", it's treating each person as an individual.
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