Dear Younger Me - by EVP/Head of Integrated Operations, CRAFT, Shay Fu
Dear Younger Me,
It’s 1980 and you just landed in America with your dad and older sister. You didn’t realize this visit to see your aunt in New York City was going to change your life forever.
It’s okay that you don’t know any English yet, but you’re going to have the adventure of a lifetime! Go ahead, put on that Walkman and dance to Olivia Newton-John’s “Magic” (you have no idea what she’s saying but she looks great!). Enjoy the launch of Pac-Man, don’t watch “The Shining” (it will give you nightmares for months) but do watch “Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back”…you will become a forever fan.
Here are some of the lessons you’ll learn:
From age 8 to 14, life will test your strength. Your father will have to return to China in 1981 to complete the immigration process for your mother and siblings, so you will have to live with your aunt and cousins for the next seven years. You will go through times of loneliness but this period will train you to become independent and strong by fending for yourself in a house full of boys.
Immigrant with no money? No problem - go find a job! Your parents and brothers will arrive in New York by the time you turn 14 years old. You will move into a 1-bedroom apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and sleep in the living room with your two brothers. You’ll get your first job at the local Chinese garment factory with Mom and earn 2 cents for every cloth you iron. After a few months, you’ll figure out the local Italian produce store will pay $4 per hour! That’s your first salary negotiation… yeah baby, that’s a game changer!
Don’t be afraid to abandon finance for art. Yes, you heard me — you will abandon Wall Street after your high school junior year internship. Your art teacher will convince you to go into “advertising” at the School of Visual Arts. You get in, but you have to fight your way into the Computer Art department to learn coding for the “World Wide Web” and motion graphics. This decision helps fund your final two years of school with a working scholarship and, gets you a career in advertising!
Follow your instincts. You will decline jobs and promotions so you can travel and explore the world – do it; it will make you a richer person. You will not know the meaning of soulmate until you meet your husband. You will unite with your favorite work friends and boss at McCann/Craft.
Connect the dots… “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking back. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever…” – Steve Jobs
Remember that and go have a blast!
Your Future Self,