I started my new job on Monday with only 3 hours of sleep the night before (yes, jetlag). It was a rough day but I made through it. My boss is based in a different state. He is traveling for business this week and so I haven’t been able to talk to him. I’ve spent the last few days submitting paperwork and signing up for benefits. I went to the gym twice already on the floor above me. It was quite nice. Today I met with my direct reports individually. They appeared to be competent and conscientious, which was very encouraging. My job is to keep them motivated, help them grow and advance on their career path. Next week, my boss will be in Chicago and we’ll get to meet in person for the first time since he only interviewed me on the phone.

Changes are hard, even good changes. After 3 days, I am slowly but surely getting used to my new life working in downtown Chicago. Since I am the first one hopping on the bus in the morning, I’ve picked my very own seat. I’ve figured out that it takes me 8 minutes to walk from my office to the train station. Two days in a row I’ve been sitting on the same train and same seat. Looking around, it seemed that I was surrounded by almost the same faces from the day before. In the office, my former colleague who helped me land this job sat a few cubicles in front of me. He’s doing everything to make me feel right at home. Everyone on the floor is nice and helpful. So this transition is going as smoothly as it possibly can be.

I came back from China finding my daughters in crisis. Jane is depressed because she hadn’t got an internship offer yet. She has applied for numerous openings and gone on quite a few interviews. Rejection is always difficult to take especially for a 20-year-old young girl. “YOUR DAUGHTER IS A FAILDURE! I HAVE ZERO CONFIDENCE LEFT!” She wrote to me.

It’s amazing how easily we allow perceived failures to get to our self-worth, self-esteem and confidence. I reminded Jane that failures are prerequisite to success. The way to deal with temporary failure is to seek within each setback for the valuable lesson that it contains. I told her she was special, smart and hardworking. What it’d take was patience and perseverance. It didn’t matter how many times she got rejected because all she needed was one success. I advised her to talk to her friends who had already received job offers and find out if she needed to make any adjustments to her search efforts and interview techniques. Of course, talks are cheap. So I promised I’d make it my mission to help her find a job and I am working on it.

Michelle’s escalated stress comes from taking the lead in the fund raising drive for AK Psi that she is a member of. “Nobody listens to me, mom!” Her team needs to raise $3,750 by November 10th and they are nowhere near that goal. So I spent last night soliciting support from all over the world. This morning I sent Michelle a message advising her to assign each team member a targeted amount so that she wouldn’t have to pull the full weight. A great leader is the one who knows how to delegate.

Michelle responded, “I’ll work on it. Also I just want to say thank you for everything and paying for my education because my best friend here has to work 8 hour shifts twice a week to pay for her tuition.”

The heart-felt appreciation from my little girl brought tears to my eyes. All the hard work Joe and I have done raising them, supporting them and the pain we had to endure throughout their adolescent years seemed trivial. Michelle made my day as I was trying to find my way in a new and unfamiliar environment.

Life is constantly changing and unpredictable with many glitches and stressful situations along the way. Those who have clear goals and stick with them will prevail in the end.

If you want to help Michelle’s fund raising for AK psi, please go to http://my.fundraising.com/grouppage.aspx?touch_id=19025688
Click on “Choose a member you wish to support” and select Michelle Xu (on the second page). Then you can purchase whatever is appealing to you. Forty cents of every dollar spent will go to AK psi.