Monday, January 13, 2014

Your Definition of Success

by Cindy

How do you define success?  It's an interesting question and it's definitely dependent on your culture.

Recently SAP published 99 Facts on the Future of Business and since we use SAP in one of my classes, I ran through a few of the slides with my class.  Some made me feel old, some were surprising - Typical mobile phone users check their phone 150 times a day - I am definitely NOT typical!  Many of my students agreed and said it is actually a number much larger than 150.  The one that we discussed the most though was this one - Only 11% (of Gen Y) define having a lot of money as a definition of success.  Admittedly, I don't know anything about the gentleman who is the source of this quote but the quote was very interesting.

I started the discussion with my very general, high level thoughts on the US.  First, I think Americans are defined by what we do for a living.  I illustrated the point by explaining when you are introduced to someone you get their name and then the next question is always, "what do you do?"  The other measure of success is the house you live in, in particular, the size and location of the house in which you live.  The size and location is of course based on the amount of money you make so I said, in general, most Americans my age or older would say that money is a definition of success.

My students, who are Gen Y, and from all different cultures had some interesting answers on whether their culture believes that having a lot of money is a definition of success.

For many in the Middle East, you are defined by your family name.  And if they know you well enough, they will even clarify how close you are to the patriarch of the family.  "She's the daughter!" or "yea but she's only a cousin of..."

For my students from the sub-continent, they are successful based on how many family members they are supporting.  If you support your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. then you are considered successful.  The more people = the more successful.

For my European students, it is about the job you have - for whom do you work and how long you have worked for them (representing loyalty). do you (really) define success?...

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Most Appropriate Way for a Woman to Cover

by Cindy

When we are in America, one of the most common subjects I am asked about is about women covering.  The questions vary from whether or not I cover, what it's like to teach women/students who cover, how many women cover, etc.  Today CNN International had a nice article on covering in the Middle East.  You'll see from the article that there are many varying views on covering.  It is certainly not a case of "one cover fits all."

As for my experience - there are certain places in town you can go where more women will be covered or even more people in local dress.  In the classroom, I rarely have a class where no female is covered but the ratio of covered to not covered can vary.  And certainly way the women cover varies quite a bit.  Some only cover when they are in the Middle East (they view it more as cultural than religious) while some cover no matter what.

What I can say for sure:

  • Not all Muslim women cover
  • Those that do cover have different reasons for covering
  • They cover in different ways
  • Covering in no way correlates to how religious a woman is
Hopefully you find the article interesting and enlightening!