Saturday, 1 March 2014

A Guide To Working In China: Top 3 Customs

Tim Neesham, who's spent the last 2 years living and working in Shanghai, reveals his top five customs to learn ahead of emigrating to the next world superpower.
As more and more western-educated Chinese return to the motherland, the opportunities for expats considering a move to the Far East are changing. Rumour has it that so-called 'expat packages' are on the way out as the newly-developed China focuses more on employing from within.
So what could this mean for westerners looking to relocate to the world's most populous nation? Could the influx of Chinese employees in western companies lead to more western employees in Chinese companies? Here are a few customs to become familiar with should that be the case:
1. Guanxi
Probably the most difficult Chinese custom for westerners to understand, guanxi, literally translated, refers to a person's relationships, both personal and professional. However, as a concept guanxi is perhaps best translated as 'saving face'. It's decided by things such as age and rank and is the notion of maintaining the view by which others see and judge you; it forms a significant part in many aspects of Chinese culture.
There exists a very strict chain of command in the Chinese workplace and any attempt to circumvent the chain and talk directly to a boss or senior staff member, thus ignoring guanxi, is not only viewed as gross misconduct, but also a blatant show of disrespect to your superiors and can be punishable by termination of contract.
It can be particularly frustrating when, as a subordinate employee, you are made to take the fall for something that was quite obviously not your fault in order that the senior staff are not seen to lose face.
2. Communication
Communication in a Chinese company is a totally different animal to that in the west and often ties in with guanxi, as both are largely to do with how colleagues interact among themselves.
For example, the western cliché of the chat by the water cooler doesn't really apply; in fact office banter in general is more or less non-existent and any attempt to initiate it is often greeted with furrowed brows. It is also not uncommon for colleagues sitting side by side to communicate with each other on a computer - normally via an IM service - rather than actually talking.
In cases of communication, being the foreigner has its advantages as we are more or less left alone to do whatever it is our colleagues think we do. However, this causes a lack of direction, constructive criticism, praise or advice which can sometimes leave you feeling a little isolated.
3. Medical
For many of us the idea of undergoing a medical before starting an office job seems a trifle excessive, but in China you don't get a choice. Essentially the employer is simply looking for any infectious diseases and the like, which I suppose is fair enough.
But this medical reminded me more of something between an Easter egg hunt and one of those adventure puzzle books for kids, except in this case all the explorers were confused-looking foreigners wandering around desperately trying to understand what was going on. Solve the riddle, go to room 205; don't solve the riddle, go back to room 201 - but instead of Easter eggs it was needles, weird looking X-rays and an ultrasound!
The Chinese often claim to have invented things long before western nations. To us, the X-ray machine was pioneered by Wilhelm Rontgen in the late 19th century; judging by the looks of the medical centre's radiology department however, the Chinese may actually have a point.

By Charlie H Stanfords

Post Title

A Guide To Working In China: Top 3 Customs

Post URL

Visit book Education And Ssociety for more Ideas about Apartments Design, Architecture Design, Bedroom Design, Furniture Design, Kitchen Design, Living Room Design, Bathroom Design


Post a Comment