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The Rabbit has Three Feet!
    Photo of Don Sutaria
July/August 2012   
My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

Greetings once again! We hope you are having a good summer.

Thank you for your good feedback on the June 2012 newsletter which had the theme How to Integrate International Professionals Into the Work Life of America.

In this issue we present another article along similar lines, Proverbs and Maxims: Through the Looking Glass into Other Cultures.

Food For The Soul has two little quips, one by Charles Swindoll and another by Don Sutaria.

Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions
"Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions" appears as a regular feature in the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) - New Jersey Chapter newsletters. Visit to read more.

Articles on
Several of our articles will continue to appear on the website The mission of this website is to "Help Garden State Business Grow."

CareerQuest's Blog
If you have not checked out our revamped blog recently, please do so. We have some interesting things to share with you, several times a week. You can find it at Your feedback is always appreciated.

Book Endorsements
We at CareerQuest published a book titled Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career Is A Pathway To Your Soul!). There was no comparable book in the market. This book contains a series of thought-provoking essays and musings. Without encouragement and nudging from you, dear readers, this venture would not have been possible. Our sincerest thanks to all of you. This book can be ordered from Amazon, iUniverse, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookseller. You can peek inside the book at Amazon. You may even find your name in the Special Acknowledgements section, since I have given credit to almost three hundred of you! Check it out! It is also available as an e-book from iUniverse.

  Career and Life Counseling From the Heart book cover
Our book, Career and Life Counseling From the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), has received many excellent reviews. Eleven reviews gave the book a 5-star rating, and four have a 4-star rating.

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? says:
  "Don Sutaria is one of the career counselors I most admire in the U.S. He talks about things other career counselors don't, like "your soul." Now he has written a book I like a lot, with brilliant short chapters you can digest day by day. I recommend it unreservedly to everyone."  
We are deeply grateful for his endorsement.

Andrea R. Nierenberg, President of The Nierenberg Group and known as the "Queen of Networking," has reviewed our book. Nierenberg calls it: "An excellent book....Chicken Soup for Your Career!" Thank you, Andrea.

Columbia Career Coaches Network
CareerQuest is proud to announce that Don Sutaria has been accepted as one of the career coaches for Columbia alumni. Designed to give coaching advice to alumni by alumni at discounted rates, the Columbia Career Coaches Network is an invaluable tool to assist alumni in moving within your industry or to strike out in a completely new direction.

The services of these career experts are available to people who are not graduates of Columbia but the discount is not available. Explore

Business Networking International (BNI)
CareerQuest is now a member of BNI, Right Track, Millburn, New Jersey Chapter. BNI's mission is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive, and professional word-of-mouth program that enables them to develop long-term meaningful relationships with quality business professionals. BNI's philosophy is: "Givers Gain." The uniqueness of BNI is that only one person from each profession classification is permitted to join a chapter of BNI. All of your teammates serve as informal salespeople for your products and services. Statistics prove that this methodology is highly effective.

Phone, Email, and Face-to-Face Counseling
Many of you have asked us if we provide counseling over the telephone and through email, as well as face-to-face counseling. The answer is 'yes' to both questions. Pre-paying with credit cards is very easy. Just a simple click on the Services page of our website. You can also view past issues of this newsletter on the Archives page.

Screenshot of the new CareeQuest Central website     CareerQuest's New Website
Please visit our new website at and send us your optinions which we value. It was completely redesigned by Kim Casault of Cruxwire Web.

Enjoy the balance of the summer and keep your feedback coming.

Until we meet again through the magic of e-mail...

Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach

  Do Personal Marketing Letters Work?  
  The Latest from the CareerQuest Blog

Do you want to be distinctive and stand out from the rest of the herd?

The answer to both these questions is an unequivocal 'yes'!

The person who advertised an open position has probably received hundreds of resumes and cover letters. That person is bleary eyed just looking at them. Now up pops a one-page, personalized letter, addressed to him/her by name. Intrigued, because this sender thought outside the box, the hiring person reads on...

  Proverbs and Maxims: Through the Looking Glass into Other Cultures  
  by Don Sutaria

"I Spy" for Coaching
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Other Cultures
but Were Afraid to Ask Your Mother!

The genius, wit and spirit of a nation are discovered in its proverbs.
- Sir Francis Bacon

It makes very little difference whether the penguins of Antarctica know anything about the squirrels of Rock Creek Park. But it makes all the difference in the world whether we understand the crowded millions who inhabit the world. The world's very survival may depend on such an understanding on our part.
- Carlos P. Romulo

When I was very young, my mother once looked at me and said, "The rabbit has three feet." I took that literally and from that point on for several months, carefully observed rabbits and noticed that all of them had four feet. I could not find a rabbit with three feet! I finally went to my mother and told her my dilemma. She explained to me that it was not meant to be taken literally, but it was only a saying, implying that "A person is embarrassed". Try to guess where this took place! (Answer #1 at the end of this article.) This is just a humorous illustration to show you that a child's brain, even within its own culture, may not be able to grasp the impact of a proverb, maxim or saying. As adults, especially in a multicultural, multiethnic society, in our counseling practice, we may not be able to grasp the subtleties of cultures and sub-cultures of our clients. The more we understand other cultures, the greater will be our effectiveness in coaching diverse clients.

Webster's dictionary defines a proverb or a maxim as "a popular saying, expressing a truth or a common fact." A culture's values, beliefs and experiences are encapsulated in proverbs and maxims and are passed on from one generation to another. They influence attitudes and behaviors. These bits of folk wisdom, truths and myths are absorbed at a very early age, and believe it or not, are also taken for granted.

Proverb or Maxim: A popular saying
expressing a truth or a common fact.
Here is a mini-quiz! Guess where this saying originated: When an old man or woman dies, the village loses a library, because of the wealth of knowledge and information that they were able to share. The true meaning here is respect for older people, lack of age discrimination, and recognition of the fact that older people have a lot of knowledge to share with the younger generation. (Answer #2 will be found at the end of this article.)

Anthropologist Edward T. Hall has done phenomenal pioneering work in cross-cultural understanding. In his book, The Silent Language, he has analyzed the many ways in which people in various cultures "talk" to one another without the use of words. The Dance of Life is an important anthropological treatise on the cultural nature of time and a moving commentary on the problems contemporary America is causing itself. The Hidden Dimension speaks of different cultures' concepts of space.

Gary Wederspahn, an inter-cultural trainer, speaker and writer has written an interesting book, Intercultural Services, which provides many insights.

American Proverbs, Maxims and Sayings

Fast-paced Americans simply cannot understand why in many cultures the pace is more slow and leisurely. One just needs to take a frantic vacation to a neighboring country like Mexico to realize what I am saying. It is quintessentially American to say:

  "Time and tide wait for no man"
"Delay is dangerous"
"What's your point"
"Just do it" (...I thought it was philosopher Nike who said it!...)
"Get to the point!"
"Toot your own horn"
"Don't beat around the bush"
"If you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself"
"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong"
and last but not least,
"God helps those who help themselves."

Here is a sampling of proverbs and maxims from other parts of the world:

Time and Patience
(The tyranny of the urgent)

  "He who rushes, arrives first at the grave." (Spain)
"When in a hurry, take the roundabout route." (Japan)
"The more haste, the less speed." (Japan)
"Haste is the devil's work and patience is from the Merciful (Allah)." (Arabia)
"Drips of water wear through stone." (China)
"Feather by feather the goose is plucked." (China)
"Little by little one walks far." (Ecuador)
"The peanuts don't grow until the rains come." (Zaire)
"If you wait long enough, even an egg will walk (the chicken will hatch)." (Ethiopia)
"Time is free." (India)

Fatalism and Pessimism
(Prevalent in all cultures and an expression about our human condition)

  "The hidden stone finds the plow." (Estonia)
"The best cloth is always the one that gets a spot on it." (Spain)
"Darkness lies one inch ahead." (Japan)
"The bread never lands but on the buttered side." (Britain)

(Calling attention to people's problems indirectly)

  "Flies do not enter a closed mouth." (Colombia)
"Those who keep on smiling seldom lose their teeth." (China)
"Ceremony is the smoke of friendship." (China)
"He who speaks first loses." (India)
"The truth is one, though the wise state it in many ways." (India)
"Whoever goes softly, goes far." (France)
"To speak well and be agreeable costs little and achieves a lot." (Mexico)
"Only little children and drunks always tell the truth." (Mexico)
"If I have regretted my silence once, I have regretted my chatter many times." (Arabia)
"The mouth is the cause of calamity." (Japan)
"There are formalities between the closest of friends." (Japan)

(True value and worth being noticed without self-promotion)

  "A sharp sword will penetrate its cover and eventually shine openly." (China)
"The nail that sticks up is the one that gets pounded down." (Japan)
"A hollow drum makes the most noise." (Japan)
"A red lacquer needs no decoration." (Japan)
"The old mare has a new red bridle." (India)
"A barking dog is never a good hunter." (Korea)
"The immature rice stalk stands erect, while the mature stalk, heavy with grain, bends over." (Cambodia)

Group Identity and Loyalty
(Promotion of group effort instead of rugged individualism)

  "Both a light burden and a heavy burden should be carried together." (Indonesia)
"My brother and I against my cousin. My cousin and I against the stranger." (Arabia)
"Stay with your old cronies even if your new friends enrich you." (Arabia)
"Children even share the head of a locust (the last bit of food even during a famine.)" (Africa)
"Man is a man through other people." (Africa)
"Posts support a yurt and friends support a man in difficulties." (Mongolia)
"A family must first overthrow itself before others overthrow it." (China)

Youth and Inexperience
(Reverential respect for age)

  "The elders of a community are the voice of God." (Africa)
"Children tie parents to the past, present and future." (Japan)
"Paradise is located under your mother's feet." (Indonesia)
"Beauty passes but wisdom remains." (Turkey)
"To succeed, consult three old people." (China)
"A youth that does not cultivate friendship with the elderly is like a tree without roots." (Africa)
"The youth walks faster than the elderly but the old person knows the road." (Africa)
"He is my Prince of Wales (eldest son)." (India)

Power and Hierarchy
(All cultures do not believe that people are equal)

  "Not even the five fingers of our hand are alike." (Afghanistan)
"When you are an anvil, hold still; when you are a hammer, strike at will." (China)
"Whoever wants to climb a ladder must start on the lowest rung." (Germany)
"Equality is not easy, but superiority is painful." (Africa)
"Even if thin, the elephant remains the king of the forest." (Africa)
"There is no good accord where every man would be a lord." (Romania)

Destiny and Fate
(The struggle of self-determination versus fate)

  "Man proposes, God disposes." (South America)
"What will be, will be." (Que Sera Sera)(South America)
"Man does not attain everything he desires; the winds don't always blow as the vessels wish." (Arabia)
"A wise person adapts to circumstances as water conforms to the jar that contains it." (China)
"Life is but a candle before the wind." (Japan)
"One does not make the wind blow but is blown by it." (India)

Entrepreneurship and Risk Taking
(Care in not over-extending oneself)

  "When you stretch up to reach higher things, you drop what you have under your arms." (Ethiopia)
"One bird in your hand is better than a hundred flying." (Mexico)
"Only a fool tests the depth of water with both feet." (Arabia)
"When a squirrel wants to die, it goes to the Towers of Silence." (death wish)(India)
"It is hopeless to try to embrace a mountain because your arms are too short." (Indonesia)
"Add caution to caution." (Japan)
"You don't hit a man on the head when you have your fingers between his teeth." (Africa)
"Even monkeys fall from trees." (Japan)
"Even if it is a stone bridge, make sure it is safe." (Korea)



Career counselors and coaches can gain tremendous insights into the cultural baggage of their clients who were raised in cultures outside the United States, by exploring and understanding the proverbs, maxims and sayings of international cultures. This may help explain their traditional values with respect to time, fate, diplomacy, modesty, group identity, age, power, gender, risk taking, money and willingness to change.

  For as one comes to understand people who live by institutions and values different from one's own, at the same time one comes to see that these people are, nevertheless, at bottom quite like one's own people. The alien culture at first appears to us as a mask, enigmatic and repugnant. On closer acquaintance we see it as a garment for the spirit; we understand its harmonies and appreciate them. Finally, as acquaintance goes deeper still, we do not see, or for a time, forget the culture, and look only to the common humanity of the men and women beneath.
- Robert Redfield


(Answers: #1 India, #2 Africa)

  Food for the Soul  
  We are often so caught up in our activities that we tend to worship our work, work at our play and play at our worship.
- Charles Swindoll

  Did you ever notice that some of us could be starving in the middle of a feast? This is also called "The Alaskan Bear Cub Fish Syndrome". It is a term used by scientists to describe the cubs who despite wading in the water for many hours, filled with salmons swimming by, go hungry because they are indecisive and cannot pick one fish. That is, they cannot focus on their target of choice and thereby die unless their mother feeds them.

Does that describe the state of some of our clients and their career choices? Then it is up to us as career management professionals to gently empower them to break this deadlock and move forward.

-Don Sutaria


Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).

Find me on LinkedIn Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
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