On Integrity and Buckets

I’ll write a lot around my Korean childhood as I grew up there then immigrated to the US.  I don’t remember too many details now but some gems stick with me even as I’ve had decades to compare them to other proverbs.

One set of grandparents migrated to Manchuria and since they were living under Japan-occupied Korea, they could speak Korean, Japanese, and learned Chinese during their 10+ years in Manchuria and when I lived with them in the US, they were trying to learn English.  I always thought it was odd (but cool, neat) that despite the horrors they must have seen or experienced during colonial Korea, neither ever had bad things to about the colonizing countries nor the times they spent in Manchuria.  On the contrary, when they moved to the US, grandpa would always tune into Chinese and Japanese language TV shows and would laugh at all the jokes, clapping his hands then holding his stomach.  He’d also watch Korean shows, sure.  At times, he would be watching a Chinese language show and comment how cute he remembered the Chinese women to be when they lived in Manchuria.  Loud enough, I’m sure Grandma heard, but I also don’t recall her discussing this embarrassing comment.  Perhaps they had different tolerance levels but even as a 9 year old, I’m pretty sure I got embarrassed. If not then, every time I remember those scenes.  Grandpa did have nasty words for different regions of Korea though.  Not the North vs. South as we’d suspect now but East vs. West.  It was weird but apparently it was a thing.

Grandma had the gems though.  One, she said that we live and die with emotions.  I am still pondering that statement but I tend to agree.  We are emotional creatures.  They cause us to paint pictures, write poetry and songs.  And avoid the jerks.

Grandma’s second gem is the image I have in mind when it comes to integrity.  She used to say that a bucket that leaks inside the house, also leaks outside the house.  In business and finance, we speak of buckets all the time.  But imagine it as your integrity.  If your bucket is leaking when in private then you will most likely be a risk in business.  There was a sales training seminar I had attending years back.  One of the discussion partners was a woman who was going through a divorce.  Her husband was an executive somewhere.  She said everyone loved him.  He wore a great mask.  But at home, he was a monster.  Verbally abusive to her and kids.  Then her fear finally happened. He had struck their son.  She called the police and filed for divorce.  I was really proud of her for standing up for herself and her child.  No one deserves that kind of life.

In business, I am not sure why people reveal these during their conversation with me in private or in a private group setting: their sexist remarks, racist remarks, or how they know that they have to have the guts to cheat once in awhile to get things done.  Dude, I have a mom, a wife, a daughter, and nieces.  As you can see, I’m also a person of color.  You may not know that my son attends a Jewish school and I have tremendous respect for Muslims.  And Arab traders may have started some family lines in Korea.  And I actually believe in what Jesus said.  So thanks for sharing your moronic opinions but I’m not sending you business.  God have mercy on your soul.

Engage with me on twitter @charlesjo.  We are building the best startup community at www.startupstudygroup.com/slack and our members are not leaking buckets — inside the house nor outside the house.