The age 13 seems to be a monument, or my Quinceañera in the workplace. I followed my dad to the hospital during my 13th summer and developed a keen interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The last week of summer vacation I spent one full week at Mr. Chiang’s shoe factory, where I gained invaluable insight to a business operation that guided me to starting my own medical practice in the U.S.
Mr. Chiang is a good family friend that has known our family since I was born. He runs a very established shoe distribution company and is actively involved in philanthropy. He offered a one week externship where I would experience first-hand what it was like to work in a large non-medical business.
I remembered following the Team Lead to different assembly lines sorting and packing shoes. Then we ate at the cafeteria with everyone else. Though I was only a kid, I worked alongside aunties and uncles and had to keep up with their pace to be part of “a line”. At the end of the day I felt tired but accomplished.
At the conclusion of my week, I received a generous pay of 1300 RMB, a taste of what good work ethic pays off. As soon as I got home, I told my parents that I want to start my own business and grow it to the size of Mr. Chiang’s factory.
Although my only professional interaction with Mr. Chiang was that one short week, our family kept in close contact with each other and I got to know his children closely. As I planned my studies abroad, Mr. Chiang showed support of my education decision through a personal education endowment. This selfless contribution from an individual unrelated by blood serves as a powerful reminder of what the Ding’s legacy is about- providing impartial access to treatment, regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, or financial status.