The Assistant vs. The Director

A job announcement recently popped up in my inbox.

Job Announcement

I skimmed through the email and mentally checked off all of my qualifications. I felt I was reasonably qualified for the job, but didn’t want to give up my cushy position as a Program Director to be someone else’s assistant. I get first dibs on left-overs at community events, set my own hours, supervise and mentor staff, and am the envy of the entire office with my premiere street-side parking spot. Life is pretty good indeed.

Salary: $58,000 – $67,500.00 Annually


I immediately stepped out from my cubicle and announced that I was quitting our organization and applying for the position with the City.

“Oh yeah?” my boss, Huy, replied in his usual smug voice. “Whatcha gonna do?”

“I’m gonna be a Legislative Assistant. It pays $58,000 starting.”

“$58,000!? I’ll apply for that job too! Thanks.” He stood up and wished me the best of luck.

Huy has actually been offered some fairly lucrative positions to work for the City. Many of these paid more than twice what he is making now. He passed on all of them. “This work is about passion, not money,” he told me. Huy’s parents would be ashamed.

It’s well known that Asians are predisposed to become doctors, dentists, or engineers. Our civilization perfected acupuncture; our small hands are great for sticking precision tools into people’s mouths; and do I really need to explain what we can do with our math skills? These careers are in our DNA, along with soy sauce and squatting. Any deviations from these professions is a clear sign of genetic mutation.

If Asian-Americans decided to take on jobs in local City politics, it could be disastrous for society as a whole. Who would be left to clean everyone’s teeth? Fortunately, our community doesn’t breed many leaders. Only a miniscule percentage in fact (whew!). In 2012, only 99 out of 5,028 APIs served as corporate executives in the Fortune 500. Of those, two are Vietnamese, much like Huy. This leads me to one simple conclusion: Huy is a mutant. What kind of Asian wants to be an executive? Freaks!

Huy continued to lecture me on all the reasons why people should be motivated by passion and not money. “Obviously a small Asian non-profit can’t compete with the City. blah blah happiness blah money blah blah blah blah.”

“I understand what you’re saying saying and I agree,” I replied. “But I wasn’t complaining about my salary.” Like Huy, my passion lies in youth and community development and I am quite happy with my standard of living. “All I want is for the assistant to make less than me! Is that so much to ask for?”

Passion. Leadership. These traits are so stereotypically un-Asian, it’s admirable. I am happy to know we have freaks like Huy–with aberrations in their social and cultural DNA–that can help our community survive, multiply, and pass on the leadership gene. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Huy is about to be a father.


Coming soon: Asian-American hybrids–all of the strengths, none of the weaknesses. Find one at an Uwajimaya near you!


2 thoughts on “The Assistant vs. The Director”

  1. I would still love to hear about the Asian-American hybrid you brought up at the end! It seems like a really interesting topic that I'd like to hear your thoughts on.


  2. Thanks An. That line was more of a joke because Huy's son is of mixed race (Asian, Black and White, predominantly). But you're right, it would be a fun line to explore in a future blog. I suggest you check back every hour to know when I've actually written it. Or, you just subscribe to my blog 🙂


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