Regardless of Language, Belonging is Belonging

There are so many ‘first times’ in life that we will never forget. I certainly have experienced my fair share at HORNE and they have positively guided me to beBetter. I can remember my first complicated project and how it made me doubt myself; the first time I received good feedback from the team for hard work and good performance; the first challenge that I had to face as a foreigner and English being my second language; and the first time I was exposed to the client.

Sometimes I look back and think about how much I struggled when I tried to overcome those difficulties. I grew up with 10 of my cousins, even though I’m an only child. Most of my cousins prefer to stay closer to our big family where they have more help. They tried to persuade me to stay when I made my decision to study abroad but I had always wanted to try something different. I chose to broaden my horizon and take on new challenges to see how far I could go without any help from my family. Then I came to the United States to pursue further education and I was ready for any big challenges in life. As a straight A student and graduate from one of the top five business schools in China, I was always optimistic about my future and career. However, that confidence was shaken after I made my decision to experience a different culture in the western world.

At first, I did not realize that it was going to be a long and challenging journey but I learned to accept these challenges. I had little accounting experience before I joined HORNE. The first challenge was language. When I first started, I could not fully understand general conversations. There was a lot of slang which I had never heard before, and a ton of professional terminology, so I struggled for a while. Some of the words were totally different from their original meaning and, to be honest, Google translate wasn’t always helpful. I had to reach out to my team for more explanation and I read the contents back and forth for better understanding. There were times when I doubted myself. I felt lost, frustrated and vulnerable. I couldn’t help but wonder: How could I complete my work on time and create value for the team? How could I gain the trust from other people if I have language barrier?

Luckily, there are so many great people supporting me such as team members, my supervisor and my performance advisor. They answered my concerns patiently and recommended lots of useful resources for me to grow. My journey was full of learning opportunities—both failures and ultimately successes—each bringing new insights and growth. No matter how hard it was, I was always encouraged by the team that I can overcome my challenges and beBetter. As I continued to grow, I got more exposure to new responsibilities. I frequently collaborated with new team members, shared my technical experiences and knowledge, and continued to add more value to the team. Finally, I am filled with positive energy and I feel rejuvenated.

Now, I have a stronger sense of belonging because my team members took the time to invest in me. What are you doing today, that will improve someone’s sense of belonging tomorrow? I got love, value and hope from my team. I know I can #beEvenBetter if I continue to grow and be positive. Our Wise Firm culture gives each of us the opportunity to define what beBetter means to us individually. It might be easy to stay in our comfort zone and be scared about the unknown future. But, no matter how hard it is, we should never stop reaching for our full potential and to #beEvenBetter!

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Topics: Building a Wise Firm, Belonging, Sense of Belonging

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