For years, my parents wanted me to work for Boeing. We’re a big Boeing family. My father has worked there for over 30 years, my mother for about ten. My uncle and numerous family friends also clock-in at the Everett plant. Work and income stability was the name of the game and I think for my parents, they also wanted to continue a family tradition. It’s like brand loyalty for you marketing folks. But it wasn’t in the cards for my two older brothers and I. We struck out on our own, earning college degrees and working as day-traders and an editor. But it’s never too late! To this day, when I visit home, my mother will say, “You’re a bad daughter! Did you apply to Boeing?”—in that order. Then she’ll hit me with the shower cap she wears while cooking. Boeing, despite its periodic lay-offs, is still considered the holy grail of companies in the Ly household. (My mom’s shower cap wearing habit started after my brothers and I complained as children we kept finding hair in our food. Why the shower cap was her first solution, I’ll never know.)
It’s tough to follow in a parent’s footsteps (or worse yet, showercap). Once they come of age, young people like to strike out on their own, having a hand in shaping their identities and career paths.
For others, their parent’s work isn’t with a multi-billion-dollar aerospace giant. It’s a small, family-run restaurant or shop. For some of these children or “second-generations,” they feel a personal investment in the family business they grew up in and its continuation in their hands is deeply significant to them. In this issue, we cover Kau Kau BBQ Market, Phnom Penh Noodle House, and New An Dong Market, sharing how its second-generation of business owners are making it work in complex times. What they do will have an impact on the neighborhoods they’re a part of and shed light on the direction the community is going.
Other news of where our community could be headed is a piece on the recent merger between two local non-profits: the International District Housing Alliance (IDHA) and InterIm Community Development Association. It could be a sign of the times, but insiders say it can serve as a model for other agencies looking to strengthen and sustain their operations and meet the evolving needs of its clients.
Stereotypes is something we have covered for years. Decades. Same goes for the unique health concerns of the API community. Combine them and you get our article on a new study released by Texas A&M suggesting stereotypes have a measurable impact on mental health.
To honor Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11), we profile a Filipino American Vietnam vet who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for years without knowing it and how he has found strength through an understated city program. Also finding empowerment through a program is Tu Vo, a recent immigrant from Vietnam, who is learning English and career skills at an organization better known for donated clothes—Seattle Goodwill.
So whether you’re embracing and improving the legacy of a family business or combining organizational powers in complex times—or empowering yourself—we’re still made up of trail-blazers, who never did follow the safe route. No offence to Boeing.