Category Archives: Teaching

Life Lessons #001: Peers around me care only about celebrities

Well, I’m going to try and write down my thoughts and life lessons learned through interactions with those around me.

In the city where I currently live, the sports radio market has taken a hit over the past few years. It really doesn’t and shouldn’t come as a surprise if you consider how the radio industry has gone — in fact, when I interviewed a radio veteran from Southern California back in 2019, he said the radio market, regardless of what city you’re in, is on the downside and has been for a while. He should know. And I do believe what he said.

Now, when the local sports radio market made massive changes over the past couple of years, radio veterans in the city and listeners all seem to be caught off guard. Well, I don’t think it should come as a surprise if you stop and think about the trends. But I digress. My point is fans were outraged and attacked the corporations which made the decisions — without realizing these types of firings occur in other industries without much fanfare. Without people caring.

Back in 2016, I was teaching mainly in the late afternoons and evenings so that I would have time to write during the daytime. One day, an acquaintance told me that a school downtown was hiring for substitutes and encouraged me to contact the director, Simon. I did. Long story short, Simon hired me that March to be a regular instructor. One month later, he pulled a dick move by hiring a friend’s friend and told me he was firing me, effective that afternoon. It was a Friday afternoon.

I was stunned. Simon then threw in the kicker: Another teacher was taking two weeks off in May and Simon wanted me to cover those two weeks as a substitute. Talk about a dick move. He hired a friend’s friend to take over my position, and then had the audacity to ask me to be a substitute for two weeks for another teacher. Being a gentleman, I accepted (not that I needed that job, but I was being professional and kind).

When I told peers that I had gotten fired, all of my peers virtually acted like they didn’t care. It was all, “Uhm, thanks for sharing that, but I’m actually busy and can’t listen to this story” or “Okay, I’ve heard enough and I know where this story is going…” That’s how peers reacted. What, just because I’m not a radio person with a cool job that people think it’s not outrageous how I was treated? Is it like, say, a radio personality’s job is way more important than a teacher’s?

I soon realized why Simon did this. I was called in virtually every week after those two weeks filling in. One Thursday it would be a different teacher having a dentist appointment and I would be called in. The next Monday it was someone else who had a doctor’s appointment. The next Wednesday it was something else. I literally filled in every week from May to the end of August.

So that’s why Simon fired me — he knew I didn’t need the job and that I would be reliable to come in as a substitute on short notice. But I wasn’t prepared for the next incident.

He called me into his office on one of the days I was substituting. He said they were having a TYCP course starting the next month, and he needed me. I made the arrangements to have time off and be ready for that course. All along, he assured me the class was happening. Then, the Friday before the class was to begin, he texted me to say the class was cancelled. They originally had four students signed up, according to Simon, but now it was zero because everyone dropped out.

No big deal. The funny thing was that the following Tuesday, another teacher was sick and I was asked to fill in. I came in and looked at the noticeboard. I was filling in for Riley’s class. Then my eyes suddenly noticed a TYCP course on the noticeboard, with the names of four students and the assigned teacher, Monica, someone they had just hired. (Obviously, having been there every week as a substitute, I knew everyone there, and when I saw this new face, I went up to introduce myself — and Monica acknowledged she’d just been hired.)

So, Simon was a liar. That’s, again, something I would tell my peers … but then again, since I’m no radio personality or famous person, my peers wouldn’t care. So I didn’t bother sharing this incident with them.

But c’mon. What kind of boss does that? If he had been man enough to say, “Okay, I actually decided to hire someone else to take that class, so, sorry I have to say I can’t use you,” then it would have been fine. But to lie to me and say there was suddenly zero enrollment. What a gutless dick.

I would think these things happen in other industries. They happen without much fanfare. And, of course, if I discuss this, peers would think I’m bitter (I’m not). Or that I’m disgruntled, etc. etc. Of course, when these things happen in the radio industry, people are ready to attack those corporations.

Go figure. Lesson here? People around me — my peers, that is — don’t care about me. They care about celebrities and others in high-profile occupations. My job, in their eyes, is nothing. My story, for them, is not worth hearing about.

I get it. And I accept it.

So they say, “Go Google that #@!”

In the latest episode of the podcast, I shared with the guest host a story about the time when I interviewed a former athlete who told me to “go Google that @#!#” in response to a question about a game in which his team won.

This reminds me of a recent incident when I expressed frustration in using a new system to a colleague. This was a fellow whom I respected — and, in fact, I had written two glowing recommendation letters for him for professional reference purposes recently — but what did he do?* No, he didn’t say “go Google that @#!#!”

He came close, though. He essentially told me off — in a condescending manner — commenting that the system was “pretty easy.” But the tone was definitely condescending. I was disappointed that he would react that way, especially since I had just written those letters for him. I guess you just never know.

*I even personally spoke to the two places about him, giving glowing verbal recommendations. Both places were extremely interested in his services, but he decided to brush them off — despite the fact he had asked me to get in touch with them in the first place. I’d even shared teaching resources with him umpteen times. Never again. But come to think of it, I should have known better. When I told him a couple of times about my podcast, he didn’t show any interest or give any words of congratulations or encouragement. His only response was succinct: “I only listen to Tim and Sid.” Okay, whatever.

The K.P. Wee Podcast, Episode 6: Profusa CEO Ben Hwang

The K.P. Wee Podcast, Episode 6: Profusa CEO Ben Hwang

Ben Hwang is a former Los Angeles Dodger batboy and for the past nine years has been the Chairman and CEO of Profusa, a biotech company based in Northern California.

His career in the science and technology space spans over 15 years, and has served a number of leadership positions such as Head of qPCR Platform and President of Asia Pacific at Life Technologies, and Vice President and General Manager of the Asia Pacific Region at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

From 1984 to 1990, he was the Marketing and Promotions Manager for the Dodgers.

Ben discusses his time in baseball and shares the lessons that he learned while in the Dodger organization as well as tips for those who would like to get into the game. He also discusses how the lessons learned in baseball are applicable to life outside of sport.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • [2:10] An introduction to Ben Hwang
  • [6:28] Ben’s experience working for the Dodgers
  • [11:53] Profusa’s mission
  • [16:14] Three key lessons Ben learned in baseball that are applicable to life in general
  • [22:07] Ben explains his motto: “Don’t be afraid to put your name in the hat.”
  • [26:04] Ben on his attempted bid to purchase the Dodgers in 2012

Key Quotes by Ben:

  • “Those years were so much fun that my biggest fear in my teens and late 20s was that my life would have peaked by then. How much greater could your life be as a baseball fan to actually be on the field playing catch with your heroes and putting on a Dodgers uniform?”
  • “We are the sum of all our experiences, and I don’t think a day goes by without me being grateful for the experience that I had in baseball and at Dodger Stadium.”
  • “Professional sports creates a work ethic that is second to none.”
  • “The advice I would give to anybody who is considering a career in any industry, or any discipline, quite frankly, is: Don’t be afraid to raise your hand. The worst thing that could happen is that they say ‘no’. The best thing that could happen is that you get the chance to prove yourself. The most likely thing that would happen is, you just earned the opportunity to articulate your passion and your ambition to somebody who may not be able to help you immediately, but may help you in the future. So, yep, throw your name in the hat every chance you get.”

For more information about Profusa, please check out the company’s website: https://profusa.com/

If you enjoyed the intro music, please follow Roger Chong on Twitter/Instagram: @chongrong 

For the book referenced in the podcast, Tim Madigan and Fred Claire’s “Extra Innings,” please visit https://www.tinyurl.com/FredClaireExtraInnings

The K.P. Wee Podcast, Episode 7: Former Dodger General Manager Fred Claire

The K.P. Wee Podcast, Episode 7: Former Dodger General Manager Fred Claire

Fred Claire is a former General Manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a role he held for 29 years from 1969 to 1998.

Following his time working in professional baseball, he started his own business management consultancy for professional sports and entertainment.

He is a founding partner at Scoutables.com, which offers daily scouting reports on every player in Major League Baseball based on recent performance.

Fred shares memories from his Dodger days and offers advice to students and other young people who want to get into sports.

He also talks mentorship and discusses his new book with Tim Madigan (which was released in July 2020) titled Extra Innings: Fred Claire’s Journey to City of Hope and Finding a World Championship Team.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • [2:52] Fred on his passion for mentorship
  • [4:10] Getting started in the sports industry
  • [6:58] Practical steps young people can take to find a mentor in the sports world
  • [9:02] Fred’s encounter with a young Tony Robbins and his brother
  • [13:44] Trading players as a General Manager
  • [21:44] Fred on the Dodgers’ incredible attention to detail in every aspect of training
  • [25:44] How Fred figured that the Dodgers would win the 1988 championship
  • [28:10] Fred’s cancer journey at City of Hope—the story behind the book Extra Innings
  • [34:35] Parting advice to students and other young people on chasing your dreams

Key Quotes by Fred:

  • “Whatever I can do to help others, guide others, educate others, and inspire others—whatever it is—I get great satisfaction from that.”
  • “I’ve always been struck by people, including professional baseball players, who simply had a determination that they were going to reach their goals, and may or may not reach it, but at the end of the day knew that they did the best that they could.”
  • “Words themselves carry great meaning. It doesn’t have to be receiving something in return, because what I found in life is that, many times, those things come later.”
  • “I think it’s a fair statement that the Dodgers have invested more money and more people in analytics than any team in baseball.”
  • “Never, ever be afraid to get a second opinion. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to help a number of people get a second opinion at City of Hope. I just think that’s so important because one’s life can be at stake.”

Follow Fred Claire on Twitter @Fred_Claire / Connect with Fred on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/fred-claire-1605a01

For more information about the book Extra Innings, please visit https://www.tinyurl.com/FredClaireExtraInnings

If you enjoyed the intro music, please follow Roger Chong on Twitter/Instagram: @chongroger

Podcast episode #18: Baseball Hall of Fame discussion with Jason Takefman

As mentioned in the episode, I very rarely discuss sports with others because they simply don’t want to hear anything other than their own opinions. So, it was a good chance to talk about them with Jason Takefman. It is, after all, my own platform to voice my opinions.