Magic of Health and Happiness by Chi-Jung Lin

Magic of Health and Happiness 

Interviewing Six Engineers at Silicon Valley



Silicon Valley, packed with high technology companies that lead the global pulsation, attracts top engineers from all over the world. The words that best describe these engineers are innovative, creative, and of global influence. Engineering jobs in Silicon Valley are dream careers for many people of young generations. The writer interviewed six Silicon Valley engineers who are also brothers and sisters of Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy (TJM).  Let’s probe different aspects of the profession of engineering through their sharings and reflections.  What’s an engineer’s typical life like? What qualities and abilities do engineers need to have? How stressful is it at work for engineers and how do they release the pressure? How does Tai Ji Men qigong help them remain happy and healthy? Let’s listen to what they have to say.



Wan-Ting Huang: MS in Graduate Institute of Communication Engineering from National Taiwan University; 9 years of working experience as an engineer; 23 years of qigong practice within TJM

Justin Chen:BS in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley; 4 years of experience in the engineering profession; 3 years of TJM qigong practice 

Jeff Chen: MS in Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon University; 2 years of working experience as an engineer; 22 years of qigong practice in TJM

Kent Wu:MS in Computer Science from University of California, Riverside; 4 years of working experience as an engineer; 17 years of qigong practice in TJM

Hung-Wen Hung: MS in Electrical Engineer from University of Southern California; 16 years of experience in the engineering profession; 12 years of qigong practice in TJM

Jason Lu: MS in Institute of Computer Science and Information Engineering from National Chiao Tung University;16 years of engineering experience; 21 years of qigong practice in TJM


Q: What’s an engineer’s typical life like at work?

Wan-Ting: I spend most of my time in front of a computer at work.

Justin: The working hours are flexible because you get to choose what time you want to come to work. You can also work from home, as long as you finish the work by the deadline. The companies usually treat their employees really well with good perks and benefits.

Jeff:  The industry changes very rapidly. There are constantly new ideas and technologies. You’ll fall behind if you don’t try to keep up. Besides interacting with my coworkers, I interact even more with the machines.

Hung-Wen: An engineer's life is filled with endless projects. Every project has to be on schedule and meet the deadline.

Jason: Engineers face competition from all over the world. Resourcing could shift from place to place; some under-developed countries with cheaper labor are of high preference. When services can be delivered from any corner of the world through the internet, the whereabouts of the company is no longer important. What’s scary is that whenever the company wants to cut cost, a layoff could wipe out a whole department.


Q: What qualities and abilities are required for an engineer?

Justin: You need to have good time management skills. Since the working hours are very flexible, it’s easy to put off some steps along the progress.  If you cannot manage your time well, you will get very stressed when you have a deadline that you can't meet.

Kent: Since there are usually a lot of projects going on at the same time, you not only need to manage your time well but also know to prioritize, so you can tackle the problem one by one. Being able to come up with a good plan at the beginning of the project will certainly help to meet the deadlines.

Hung-Wen: it's very important to maintain good relationships with your coworkers. To complete a project successfully often involves teamwork especially people of different expertise. Having a good relationship with your co-workers guarantees helpful resources when you need them.  And a good communicating skill is key to earning friendships at work.

Jeff:  This industry requires you to learn new technologies and up-to-date knowledge constantly. It takes great patience when an engineer tries different techniques to solve complicated technical issues.  An engineer also needs to be resourceful in order to find solutions.


Q: How stressful could it get at work and how do you release the pressure?

Kent:  I usually feel stressed when I am assigned a big project, especially when I haven’t figured out how and where to start. Over the years, I have developed the skill to prioritize jobs. I would set smaller and easier goals and complete them one by one. Once I reach the goal, I would relax a little and do something non-work related such as going to the gym, reading comic books, or hanging out with friends. I also participate in varieties of volunteering activities to set my mind off work.

Justin: I feel pressured when I am not able to come up with solutions. This is an industry where new stuffs are constantly popping up. You need to stay up with the trend and learn new technologies frequently or else you will be left behind. Whenever I feel stressed I would go to the gym at work to release some pressure. I would also try to think differently. This helps me to come up with different solutions to solving the problem. Moreover, I would remind myself to focus on something other than work after working hours.

Jeff:  My work is to maintain the financial currency exchange trading system for the company. If the system goes down, our customers would not be able to trade and it could cause a monetary loss for them. We need to make sure the system always stays online and provides uninterrupted trading for our clients.  When I feel that I need to release the pressure, I would remind myself to review work carefully and make sure the system doesn’t go wrong. Sometimes I play the basketball with my colleagues or go swimming in the company gym.

Hung-Wen: There’s always another project await when a current one just got finished, making me feel like I could never finish my work. I also feel stressed when the deadline is fast approaching and my manager is watching over my shoulders for the progress.  To release the pressure, I would remind myself to keep my mind relaxed; nothing at work will ever be finished; everything is endless. It’ll never happen if I ever decided to wait until the job’s finished then go on a long vacation. 

Jason: A lot of the pressure comes from the fear for a possible lay-off at work. Being a new immigrant to the country, I feel anxious being in the new environment; new culture, new job, and especially the language barrier. Losing the job will not only affect me personally, my children’s future will be affected as well. But I know that I can’t live in fear all the time.  Whenever I noticed my negative thoughts, I would remind myself to slowly adjust my mind. The environment won’t change itself, but I can adjust my mind and attitude toward it. 


 Q: How does practicing qigong in Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy help you remain happy and healthy?

Wan-Ting: My shifu told us to work as if we were playing a game. I followed his direction, and I imagine every task at work as a game. When I get a difficult task, I would face it without thinking it’s difficult. If I think it as difficult, I would set too many restrictions on myself. Instead I would see it as a learning opportunity and consult my colleagues. This helps me get the job done more easily. On the other hand, Shifu told us not to pursue power, fame, or wealth. I followed his direction again, I focus on getting the job done at work without purposefully pursuing power, fame, or wealth. And because of that, I get along with my colleagues pretty well as they all like my positive attitude. This helps relax my mind and enhance my working performance.

Justin: Ever since I started practicing Tai Ji Men qigong, I don’t get sick as easily as before, not even a cold. When I do get sick, I would recover much sooner because of TJM qigong. I used to sleep a lot and wake up  still feel tired. Practicing Tai Ji Men qigong helps me get good sleep quality so I feel more energetic for sleeping less. Everyday I wake up feeling fully charged. This helps me become more efficient at work. Also, our shifu taught us the wisdom of thinking differently. Thinking differently not only helps me at work, but also helps me to live a more simply life.  It also helps reduce the conflicts that I have with my friends, colleagues, and family. Thinking differently also helps me think positively whenever I face a difficulty.

Jeff:  Practicing Tai Ji Man qigong helps me learn to be patient to tackle the problem at work step by step. Whenever I was assigned blocker tasks, I have to calm myself down or otherwise it will be hard to figure out what to do first or where to focus. Through practicing Tai Ji Men qigong, it helps release my inner burden and make myself stay in a peaceful and harmonious state. While adjusting myself by focusing on the breathing and meditation, I am able to focus.

Kent: While working under stress and there’s not much time to release the pressure by going to the gym, practicing Tai Ji Men qigong is a very easy way to increase my efficiency at work. I meditate to calm myself down which helps me figure out how to accomplish the tasks one by one. I remember that one time, we needed to run a series of tests on the project before the deadline. Each test could take a half of a day to generate the output that involved lots of manual steps. If a test failed, we would need to restart from the beginning. I had to check the result late in the night at home and woke up really early in the morning to discuss the procedures and the outputs with the folks in India. I wouldn’t have been able to remain positive throughout the whole process if not for the practice of TJM qigong.

Hung-Wen: Practicing Tai Ji Men qigong not only helps me relax but also increase my perseverance when facing difficulties. Our shifu always teaches us to think things in a different way such as “to play at work” which means to make work more fun; or the wisdom “to give 80% of yourself to work and keep the other 20% for yourself”. His words always remind me not to take anything too seriously. 

Jason: There are brothers and sisters at TJM who are engineers with more seniority that I can consult with.  Once I shared with them about the anxiety of getting unemployed, in return they shared words of comfort. “ There are always more jobs than you could apply as long as you are willing to do it”.  I also remember that Shifu said to look into myself for strengths as if those strengths were the items in a messy drawer.  Once we organized the drawer, it becomes clear what abilities we possess. So I came up with a checklist with all the things that I am able to do at work, it made me feel more confident afterwards. Tai Ji Men has become a part of my life, practicing TJM qigong daily is a habit. I especially want to go to the academy whenever I feel exhausted or low in spirit. It always helps me reverse negative thoughts into optimistic ones.


 Q: What benefits you by practicing Tai Ji Men qigong while regular exercises can’t? 

Justin: I usually go to the gym for cardio or weight lift workouts as a way to staying fit and building muscles. However, practicing Tai Ji Men qigong can help me stay healthy from inside the body.  I can totally feel physically and psychologically healthy by practicing TJM qigong.

Jeff :  Tai Ji Men qigong emphasizes on the harmony of breathing, physical movement and mind; while regular exercises don’t. That is how it helps me concentrate at work.  

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