I’m thinking about a trait I admire in many immigrants: scrappiness.
It is by no means a rule of all immigrants and is not exclusive to immigrants, but it seems to me there is a disproportionate number of them who never-say-die.
Two years ago, a consultant who worked for us needed to reach me for a reasonably important item to him, but honestly the issue could wait a few hours and I was heads down on something important for my own job; still, he called me and left me a voice mail early in the morning, sent me an email at lunch then got in his car and drove to the office in the afternoon to track me down, and honestly he was so polite and friendly about it that it was hard to be annoyed that he wasn’t giving me a few hours to respond and I took care of what he needed right then. And instead of throwing up his hands and complaining I wasn’t responding right away, he did what it took to get done what needed to get done. I feel like there are a large number of immigrants I’ve worked with who are that way, in fact a disproportionate number.
I think if you live in a place where nothing is handed to you, and you also have enough energy to pick up and move to a new country, you probably have to have some scrappiness. And I like having scrappiness in our country – it is when we ship jobs overseas or companies insource (i.e. cart large numbers of indentured servants over to the US) or we complain about a minimum wage over 8 bucks an hour where I have issues.
Polite persistence is very important in my career. And the many times when someone owes me something but doesn’t respond, I remember that example from two years ago and use it to inspire me.
And I’m thinking about this this morning as I try to track down a manager who has not been responsive as she should be, and with all the immigration fires in the news.