Name:Jason Location: California, United States Birthday:12/27/1980 Gender:Male
Interests:sleeping, eating, serving God through church activities, going to Thailand for short-term or mid-term missions Expertise:math (haha...yeah, right...) Occupation:R&D for Kumon Industry:Education/Research
I know, I know...long time no xanga. I know, I'm sorry.
Sorry...I really need to vent. Forgive me if it's all over the place, but I don't want to be too specific because I don't know who still reads my xanga (although I'm thinking that it's drastically less since I haven't updated in months. heheheh...)
Tonight was a tough night. Things ended up the way that I was hoping it wouldn't turn out. It bummed me out that within minutes, prayer meeting turned into nothing more than a back-and-forth debate. It was almost like an argument, but it really wasn't; it was just two sides going back and forth, back and forth on the same issue...
...for 2 freaking hours.
Gosh, and Prayer Meeting of all times and places...that was definitely not where I was hoping it was going to happen. I was sure that after I sent out my e-mail on Monday, it was going to result in controversy, but I never thought that it would be brought up during what was to have been a time of prayer. Otherwise, I would have sent my e-mail after tonight's prayer meeting.
I'm not angry; I'm not frustrated. Ever since I drafted the e-mail a month ago, I've been at peace with the e-mail as well as with my decision. I've sought to honor God; I don't have any bitterness or anger towards anyone. Maybe it's more like I've detached myself from the whole situation; I don't know. Sure, I understand that my point of view and my conclusion can cause confusion and disagreement from others; I totally understand and sympathize with that.
But it's not easy to get me to start raising my voice out of frustration.
Especially at church.
And I started getting frustrated because the whole 2 hour discussion just went back to circling the same topic over and over and over. It's simply something that I don't agree with, and it's something that's significant and important enough to me that I would conclude the way I did. And because it's something that's very significant to me, I don't think I can support it, as being part of our congregation's leadership team. It doesn't mean that the other side is sinful or heretical or anything like that; they're definitely not. It's simply a disagreement. But it's on a topic that for me is a non-negotiable.
My mind thinks back to Billy Graham. Do I think that he was a faithful Christian? Yes. Do I think that God used him? Yes. Do I think that he was godly? Heck yeah.
But near the end of his ministry, I started becoming aware of some of the stuff that I wasn't too comfortable with.
Like everybody knows, one of his most well-known qualities is his huge evangelistic crusades. And I myself have fond memories of them. I remember growing up and seeing them on TV; my mom raised me from a little kid listening to cassette tapes of George Beverly Shea. I think that Billy Graham was an awesome Christian.
You know when he does the altar call at the end of his service and he invites people to come down from their seats and go to the middle of the stadium, where you can pray with one of the hundreds of volunteer pastors or people like that? Well, I found out that among those people that would pray with you, he included Catholic nuns and priests.
As a conservative Protestant, that bothers me. I don't think that Catholics are evil or that Protestants need to keep pointing out the errors of Catholic doctrine or bash them over the head about it. But I do disagree with Catholic theology and wouldn't agree with inviting Catholic nuns or priests to help preside over it. Let's say that I was on the committee of one of those Crusades that it was announced as a change. Honestly, I would probably resign after a few days or weeks. I wouldn't holler and yell and tell the other committee members that they're heretics or sinful or anything like that. I simply wouldn't agree, state my reasons, and happily go on my way. God uses Billy Graham and God uses those Crusades; I myself simply couldn't support it.
Now, don't be making comparisons or anything like that. Our church is definitely not about to hire Catholic priests or anything like that. Hehehehe...
But for me, it's just one of those issues that I don't think I'm able to support. It's not an issue that revolves around the core Gospel or anything like that, so it's not an issue of heresy. And it's obviously not a sin issue, either. It's just one of those "other" kind of issues. Sure, I'll point out the points that I think that the other side is dead wrong, but it's not personal; it's just my own personal conviction before God.
So, here I am, about 1 1/2 months being unemployed.
I've been doing pretty well, actually. I've been studying for my actuary exam. There's a series of 4 levels to the actuary exam. And then if you get an actuary career, there's about a bajillion more, depending on the specialization/industry of the actuary job that you're looking into. But usually companies start looking at your resumé once you've passed 1 - 2 tests. So I'm cramming for the January test.
I gotta say, statistics is absolute craziness. There are binomial distributions, Poisson distributions, negative binomial distributions, geometric distributions, hypergeometric distributions, blahblahblah...
It's enough to drive a math major like me crazy! And I'm only around 55% done with the study material. heh.
I dunno, though. I've never been the type that's easily ruffled by things. If you know me, you'll know that I'm pretty laid-back to the point where it even looks like I don't care sometimes. heh. Okay, sure...I'll get all excited and hyper about things, but things don't really shake me to the core. But with studying and the job hunt, I've had a few times where my heart will start pounding and I'll start worrying about if I can support myself or things like that. I'll start worrying that I won't be able to memorize or comprehend all of these statistics concepts (now I totally feel that stats and math are two completely different things!!), or that I won't be able to find a decent job where I can support myself or things like that.
But it's interesting. Usually if I stop worrying about that and just look back on the past and remind myself on how God's brought me through things, I'm usually able to calm down within a few moments.
It's definitely been a humbling few weeks, though.
On the job side, I told myself that Sylvan or Mathnasium would jump at the chance to hire me, since I worked for Kumon's curriculum development department. But interestingly, neither of them have. Mathnasium never had any job postings, so it was understandable. But apparently Sylvan had TEN openings for curriculum developers, and I didn't qualify!! I mean, come on...TEN!!! And I didn't even get a call!!!!!
Of course, it was sorta weird, too. Instead of looking at your resumé and them calling you for an interview, Sylvan has you actually complete a sample curriculum problem and submit it. Which makes me wonder if they just do that and then they get sample problems from allllllll the applicants. I mean, then you wouldn't need to do any curriculum development, you know?
But it was definitely very humbling. I thought to myself that surely I would be a shoo-in for the position...but I guess not. So it's been very humbling.
But on the other hand, being humbled isn't a bad thing at all. I'm learning to depend on God and not my own abilities. I'm realizing that I'm not extremely highly demanded in my field of expertise (curriculum developer), and my knowledge of subjects isn't the best (math vs. stats), and that I really don't have as much control over my life as I have always simply assumed I have. It's been humbling, but it's been good.
On the bright side: I've had a LOT of time to read my Bible and pray each day. Those have been really enjoyable. And since I don't go out to eat lunch with coworkers anymore, not only has my budget suddenly drastically dropped, but I think I've lost 10 - 15 pounds within the last 4 weeks, simply by watching what I eat!
(Of course, the negative side to that is: Previously, no matter if it was freezing or raining, I was never cold. I could wear shorts and a T-shirt. Now I'm shivering my butt off in this 48F/9C temperature in LA. Seriously, I'm actually SHIVERING in my apartment. =P Of course, it doesn't help that my apartment doesn't have heat or A/C, but who would think you would need heat in LA?!?! hehe...
So, it's been an interesting month. Not always fun, but it's been always good for me.
And to close it all, here's "Be My 1004". It's about a year old, but it's still pretty darn catchy.
Oh, and yeah, in Korean, the word "angel" is pronounced "chunsah". Which is the same way that you would pronounce the number "1004". For us Chinese people, it's understandable because angel is: 天使 (tiānshǐ / tin1 si3) and 1004 would be read as: 千四 (qiānsì / cin1 sei3), which is pretty close.
The music video makes absolutely no sense at all, and I can totally see why the group must not have done well, to the point that they had to change their name. But it's still a pretty catchy tune if you closed your eyes and just listened to it. hehehe...
iM (renamed as "Happyface"해피페이스) ft. Narcia - Be My 1004
Yeah, I know...I'm sorry. I haven't really made it all that public yet that I'm now unemployed. So for most people, it'll come as a bombshell. Yes, Kumon had a round of layoffs 2 weeks yesterday, and my department got hit pretty bad, and I was one of them. I didn't really tell a lot of people. Within the first 2 days, I only told 3 people from church, as well as my family. And I didn't tell other people at church or even my youth group until a few days ago.
A lot of people have been asking how I've been doing. And honestly, I'm doing really quite well. Almost happiness-like. And here's the reason: I simply have way too many good memories and responses to over-ride that 1 bad memory (getting laid off).
I've had different staff people send really nice and touching e-mails to me, expressing how much they miss me. I even had one staff person end up crying to me because I was going. I've had different staff people and Kumon teachers contact me and curse like crazy over the phone over the fact that I had been laid off.
Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not trying to be vengeful in the above statements or anything like that.
It's simply just touching to have people respond that way. I never would have thought that I would end up having staff people crying over the fact that I was leaving the company.
And that's what has really left me speechless as well as totally touched and moved. And I can't help but to feel grateful to the Company for all the joys that it's given me throughout the years. I've made so many friends with different staff and Instructors all over the US & Canada. Multiple Instructors have even asked me to consider moving from LA and working at their centers! hehe...
So, it's been a blessing in disguise. I've had a lot of joy these past 2 weeks. Yes, I'm bummed that I get to no longer work for Kumon. Yes, it was a dream that I would always be at Kumon. (And trust me...I stayed at Kumon because of my love for Kumon...not because of my salary of $46,500. [yippee...I can finally declare it, after all of these years! hehehehe...] ). I still really love Kumon. When I get married and have kids, they'll still be forced to go to Kumon. And be program completers. Because they'll do the problems that I wrote. hahahahahaah. Assuming that they're still there, 20 years from now...LOL
I think that my response to my being laid off has been an interesting one. And I think it's because I always had the feeling that me getting hired at Kumon wasn't because of anything special that I did. Honestly, I'm not that amazing nor talented. I'm a little slow at things, I'm stubborn, I'm a little goofy and smile and laugh all the time. I'm not that special. Ever since the first day that I was hired 6 years ago, my time at Kumon was always on "borrowed time."
You see, I knew from Day 1 that God gave me my job at Kumon. I didn't do anything to deserve it. And yes, yes...it's something that I'm supposed to say as a youth leader, right? But honestly...it is. You just don't know what happened during my UCLA years. heh. Actually, probably only a handful of people know about this.
In 1998, I moved to LA because UCLA took me. By then, I was a full-blown snotty teenager in complete teenage rebellion to my parents, always arguing with them and being a crappy son. And I hated my major, too. I could do the engineering classes, but I had no interest in doing engineering. I just applied for it, because I (stupidly) thought that all Asians should do engineering if they're not sure.
So by the middle of my freshman year, I got put on Academic Probation. And then my spring quarter, I pulled 2 D's and 1 F. And so, I was kicked out of UCLA.
So I moved back to San Jose. But needless to say, being a snotty teenager, I fought with my dad, and he kicked me out of the house.
And so, I went to community college for that one year. Ended up renting a room from this old Chinese lady. Worked as a dishwasher in a Korean sushi restaurant to support myself. Hated that job because I was the only non-Korean person in that restaurant, so I got treated differently.
Soon after, one of our family friends said, "Hey, there's a Kumon around the corner. Why don't you go apply to work there?" And there...I met Mrs. Itoh. Cranky Kumon Instructor on the outside; heart of gold on the inside. She wasn't always the most sweet and kind person to deal with, but she had really great intent and love for her students. And quickly, I became her head assistant. And soon after that, she said, "Since you stopped Kumon in high school, why don't you continue to do Kumon? I'll ask the Company to give you a partial tuition, since you're a low income person," and she did. Under her guidance, I finished all the Kumon math worksheets. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I think I was her first program completer (I could be wrong about that, though).
Fast-forward 4 years: (Yes, I got back into UCLA 9 months later. heh.) When I applied for a job at Kumon, I think that these two things helped me. I mean, sure...there are tens of thousands of people who did Kumon at a time in their life. But it suddenly drops to a low percentage when you try to find out how many people ended up being Head Assistants at a center. And then it suddenly drops to an infinitely small number of people when you tack on the fact that they finished the Kumon program.
Who would have thought that in the middle of the chaos of being kicked out of UCLA, and then being kicked out of my home, and needing to support myself...that it all would have built up to be reasons why I was later hired at Kumon to work for the Company, developing the math problems?
And now...you know why I was always grateful to Kumon and why I loved my job there. And even though I no longer work there, I'm not upset or angry about it at all. Six years is a long time for a blessing. God blessed me with finding a job that I loved to do and blessed me with awesome coworkers. He placed me in a team that I loved every day to be a part of, and he gave me a manager that was the best I could ever wish for (how she managed to not want to kill me is just a testament to her awesome patience... )
10 days into Unemployement. 10 days of Happiness and Joy. 10 days of seeing the next step that God's preparing me for.
One of our company VP's cornered me and dragged me (seriously...he took me by the hand and pulled me into a corner) and brought me to where my former boss and her boss were sitting. He sits me down and was like, "We REALLY want you to move here to the headquarters."
<sigh> I learned a long time ago to never say an outright No to anything, because who knows what will open up.
At the same time, the manager of our SF office has been asking me to move to their office and join their team and change roles, so that I'm overseeing about 15 - 20 Kumon centers in the San Jose/Milpitas/Cupertino/South Bay area.
I dunno. If my parents weren't in Cali, I wouldn't mind relocating here to New Jersey. Or if I wasn't serving at GAP at church, I wouldn't mind moving back to the Bay Area.
But they are. And I am. And I like it.
But how many other times like this will there be, career-wise? And would I be a fool for passing up an opportunity like this?
hehehe...haven't touched xanga for 3 months. Sorry about that y'all.
I just haven't blogged a lot recently. Not that there's nothing on my mind. It's more like there's SOOOO much on my mind that I don't even know where to start. Job-wise, the SF office is pleading for me to move there, as well as my old boss who relocated to our headquarters in New Jersey. Church-wise, there's so many changes going on in our church that I don't even know where to start. Ministry-wise, I'm losing a really dear fellows ministry leader, since he'll be moving out of town because of his job.
On the up-side, I'm traveling a lot recently. Went to Chicago last week.
And I touched down in New Jersey about 6 hours ago! Hm, maybe I should go into the city tomorrow night. I've never actually gone into NYC before...
Going back home to SJ for a business trip next week.
Flying back and then flying up to SF the week after.
Okay, it's about 12:30AM right now. I should go to sleep so that I can wake up and still do my devotions and get up in time for work tomorrow at 8:30AM...which is 5:30AM Cali time...