September 26th, 2011 §
My office was in a frantic today. A massive frantic frenzy of confusion and not knowing if the world was going to end. All because the internet is down. It’s actually quite wonderful to watch. I have the internet because I tethered to my iPhone. No one else really has the internet. Therefore they were in a mass state of unity trying to get it on and figure out the problem. I wish they only took that drive and actually applied it to their actual work.
I saw most of the office girls leave.They are probably too bored to work. Barely anyone here uses email. And the one girl that actually need to use qq for business left this morning because she needs the internet. But everyone else doesn’t really need it.But they can’t chat, steal plants, or browse the latest Taobao offerings. I suppose that was too much not to have so they left.
This is China. A place where most everyone tries their hardest not to work. They mask it by saying they are super busy. Then the internet goes down and they have nothing to do but work. They then might do something for an hour or two but then ultimately leave and go home. No wonder if everyone had 1/10 of my productivity we would have the greatest factory in China. But no one does, so…. uh.. yeah.
September 25th, 2011 §
I’ve thought about this in the past and just got reminded of it again today. I thought I would share some thoughts on it.
I was looking at jobs today in the creative field. Mostly for sh*ts and giggles but you never know. Anyhow I like how these employers write these requirements. They read like they are looking for superman. Disclaimer: I have not lived in one of the three major cities in China. Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou. I’ve lived close to Guangzhou but not actually in it. So I really don’t know if what I am about to say is true. However, I can speculate a little from what I do know and what I have personally seen.
Take for instance this job titled: Gallery Manager.
So the requirements:
- Must sell art, follow up, and maintain relationships with collectors around the world
- Always available to travel around the world
- Will be required to handle extremely tough negotiations with suppliers, shippers, and temporary services in the Shanghai economy.
- Well-studied in Chinese art history and Chinese art techniques
- Can write fluidly about contemporary and traditional art
- The applicant should be Singaporean. Mandarin should be the mother-tongue and English should be fluent
- Takes care in physical appearances
- 3 years minimum experience in the art field
- Strong leadership; Electric social skills; Very detailed
- Polished, polite, and quick
So not bad right. You are a sales person and are required to act as such. But you also have to negotiate. Fine. Sounds good.
But really. They need a Singaporean that speaks mandarin, and is fluent in English. Has studied Chinese art history and techniques. Also has already had three years experience, and is willing to travel around the world and can write about art with no problem.
Wow. I don’t know how many people fit this. There are about 100,000 foreigners in Shanghai that are not American, Taiwanese, or Japanese. So, uh, out of say 100,000 people you need one that fits above. And then that person has to be Singaporean. I do realize that if a person read this job add they could move from say Beijing to Shanghai, but that doesn’t always happen. So really, personally, it’s going to be slim pickings for this company. But really, I don’t know. I could be totally wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.
How about this one: Graphic and web Designer.
______ seek a Graphic & Web Designer to join their Shanghai team. The successful candidate will work across the three companies three brands: design and architectural branch, _____; sport and fashion/ product design company Nautisail; and Beyond Water, a well established design company with strong expertise in waterfront developments. Responsibilities will include:
- Design web and print material which are effectively in tune with brand identity, both internally and externally and including the production of pamphlets, brochures, newsletters, stands, websites, e-mail marketing campaigns and other online vehicles as assigned such as blogs and social media tools
- Contribute to the development of storyboards and prototypes for planned site enhancements, new site development and special projects related to _____’s web presence and propose solutions to enhance the user experience in different languages and technologies for improved site development productivity and/or presentation
- Coordinate with suppliers to concept, design and define code enhancements for improved site development productivity and/or presentation
- Manage design changes to the websites and design elements with development projects for web media
- Identify and troubleshoot Search Engine Optimization issues with Content Management Systems (CMS) and other dynamically generated websites
- Support web analytics and search marketing reporting
- Work closely with marketing and communications manage
- PC experience preferred
- Bachelor or Master Degree in graphic design and/or web development or related field
- Chinese native speakers are strongly preferred
- Able to communicate in office working language of English
(both written and oral skills are demanded)
Alright let’s break this down. They need a web designer for, what I am guessing is foreign products. You have to design all the things listed. Then you have to be in touch with suppliers to design etc for site development. SEO related items, which I must say are mostly in English. Work with marketing and communications departments. Work on PC. have a BA or Masters. Have to read and write English.
Ok really? You have to be Chinese. Have a Masters or BA in design and read and write English. Now, again I admit I don’t really know but to me that seems a little out there. I personally have not met any creative Chinese people. Well, one maybe. I’ve met awesome Koreans and Japanese but no native Chinese creatives that were actually creative. Again, I don’t get out much soo… Not to mention that if they are designing for a foreign market, well, that seems a little illogical doesn’t it.
Maybe there are people out there right now that fit this bill. BUT then why the hell did you post this on an English job site. Really. For real. This job site is entirely in English and as far as I know does not take job posting from other places. You actually have to go here and fill in the information. I bet the company doesn’t know where to find a Chinese job site to post this on. Maybe they do and just thought that they would post it on an English on for good measure. Beats me. I find it interesting. Maybe they are just aiming high. Probably.
And the last one I randomly chose to post here and comment on.
Chinese Mandarin – 中文 – Basic
English – 英文 – Fluent
- Provide creative design solutions in conceptual design stage.- Able to use sketch or CAD to fully express design ideas.
- Good communication skills.
- Profound knowledge on construction of projects.
- Able to work independently.
- Design team leading ability is preferred.
Degree above on Architect、Inner Design、environment art design, or related major. 建筑、室内、环境艺术设计或其他相关专业本科及以上学历。
Minimum 7 years experience in design. 主创设计师至少7年的设计经验。
Creative design solutions. 极富创意的设计方案。
Rich project design experience, good communication skills. 丰富的项目经验，良好的沟通技巧
At least 3 years’ experience in China Architect、Inner Architect design or inner design project is a must. Familiar with China local planning codes / Design market will be priority. 至少拥有三年的中国国内建筑设计、室内设计项目的经验，熟悉中国当地规划模式，了解中国当地设计市场者优先。
Fluent English is preferred. 英语流利者。
So your going to be a design director that is fluent in English and has basic mandarin. But then you have to have at least 3yrs experience in China Architect, ok, then have to know China local planning codes. Ok narrowing it down a lot here.. Next, an art or design degree. Ok.. But then you have to have 7 yrs experience already… Let’s look at that. 22 graduate. 7 yrs. 29, three have to be in China, so, 26 move to China then 29 you have your experience. Ok.. Very narrow here.. And be design lead and have knowledge there. So how the hell is anyone supposed to apply to this job. It’s on an English site. But yeah, they probably took it from a Chinese site.. Anyway, I suppose it’s possible. Oh forgot to mention the Career Level was:University Student. Yep that seals the deal. It’s some Chinese place looking for someone and thought they would post on a English site for whatever reason..
All and all I don’t understand why employers post on English sites looking for Native Chinese people with basic English skills. Makes no sense to me. Maybe they think that these basic English skills people are reading these sites. They sure as hell are not looking for foreigners. They pay way to little and want way too much. They could be aimed at other countries that don’t expect that much in the way of pay. India for example.
If I ever have to start the job hunt, I might be in trouble.
September 18th, 2011 §
If there is one thing that most fresh off the boat foreigners don’t get and often don’t understand is the fact that, if it doesn’t happen right away, it ain’t never going to happen.
There are a few points to this. First let me give you an example.
We do specific widget tests there at my wonderful place of employment. But they are not very, how do you say scientific. So they put me in charge of it. First thing I needed was a measuring device that would measure pulling strength. Cost 700RMB. The stand 1500RMB. An attachment 50RMB, shipping 100RMB. Total cost there abouts: 2350RMB. For a company that does millions in business each year this little purchase is nothing. The money is not an issue. So I told the purchasing girl to buy this. The foreigner partner in the factory wants to buy this also. The purchase comes down to the Chinese partner and the factory manager.
So I told them weeks ago. Why haven’t they bought it yet? Well I’ll tell you.
First, let me reiterate. If it doesn’t happen right away it’s not going to happen. If there was not problem with buying this testing machine they would of bought it that day. The money is not an issue. The know how is not an issue. So what’s that issue. Well, I’ll tell you right now the factory is not going to buy it. It’s been months that we have talked about getting one, and it’s been weeks since I gave them a report and how to purchase it.
The problem is this. If we buy this machine it will create a lot of extra work. You see, we have some ink that we use to paint the widgets. We have a lot of it. A LOT. The problem is that the ink has an expiration date. And the majority of it has passed the date by years. Why does this place have so much, I don’t know. Some smart Chinese person ordered too much a while back. Probably to get a kickback or something. Either way using this outdated material is risky. So you should test it. If it passes then you can use the outdated material saving money and time. If it doesn’t pass, you lost a ton of money and have to spend even more buying new ink.
This is going to get confusing so bear with me. Foreign partner guy wants to check the ink. He’s smart enough to know that it is risky and doesn’t want to offer his customers bad product. Chinese partner guy, I’m speculating here, doesn’t want to test it because if it’s bad he has to replace it all. And we’re talking thousand of dollars.
The workers don’t want the testing machine because if we have it, we have to use it testing all the bad ink. So they would need to work more and test more things. So, now, don’t do much, no testing machine, can’t test. But if we have a testing machine we then can test and therefor the workers have to work more and not get anymore money. Also, whoever tests the ink is responsible for basically all the widgets that will use the ink. If he says that it’s good and they churn out a thousand widgets and they all have problems because of the ink, well… That’s a problem. Chinese people do not like responsibility when things are uncertain. They sure as hell don’t want to be responsible. If there is a testing machine they will be held to a higher standard and therefor more responsibility without any more money… Again.. This is why things never happen and always fail here.
Now you see why things get road blocked all the time in China. ALL THE TIME. Comes down to one thing. MONEY. I do my work. You add more work but don’t add money, I will do anything in my power to stall, road block, eff up, and cause you to forget or get so frustrated that you give up on your little project. Therefor putting me right back to barely working and getting paid.
Either we will forget about the testing machine which is what the workers want or we will find a way to buy it. In which case there is a good chance that the machine will be broke the first day someone uses it. If it’s broke we can’t test and we are back to square one.
You would be surprised how many issues daily have the same format as above. Well I suppose that it’s par for the course.
I almost forgot. This can also be applied to girls and anything else. A very wise man once told me that if a Chinese girl doesn’t make out with you in the first week or two, it’s not going to happen. Like I said, if it doesn’t happen right away it’s never going to. You may never know why, but trust me, it’s true.
September 13th, 2011 §
Ok, so I really sound like I am China bashing but no. I want people to know what it is really like living here. And besides, I’m sure that my parents get a kick out of it anyway.
So I posted earlier today about a certain level of competence. A level of smartness to get things done. I just was reminded of this a few minutes ago.
Case in point: I had three widgets that needed to have a number stamped on them. So, I told the boss of the number stamping people to get to it. He himmed and hawwed because he was off in 15 minutes. Jesus H. Christ, really. He tried to get me to let him do it tomorrow but I needed it done tonight. He reluctantly started moving.
He grabbed the three widgets and went to the number machine. He tested it on a different widget. Good. But what he failed to realize is that the actual widget that I needed the numbers on was a different material, so his test was moot. He knows this. He has to. He deals with this BS everyday. But why he didn’t grab a test widget with the same material, I probably will never know.
Ok fine. He starts going at it and the first one is ok. The second one, well, he forgets to change the number from a “1″ to a “2.” Then he changes it and stamps it again. So.. now there is a 2 ontop of a 1. Awesome. If that crap didn’t happen all the time I might of not even wrote this post. But really this type of mistake happens so often that it can not be something that is just forgotten. How can you forget something you do or are involved with everyday.
The third was bunk. Total rubbish. The machine melted the widget and didn’t leave a number. “Oh well” he says, “it’s the material, the material is not good. It’s bad.” Oh sorry mister number boss guy. Next time we buy millions of dollars of material to make widgets, that our customers like and are happy with, I will most for sure take into consideration the fact that the little number machine doesn’t work very well. Instead of you fixing the machine, the factory will tailor the entire manufacturing process around your tiny ass little matter you got going on, possibly costing millions of dollars.
“Wow, that number really doesn’t look good,” To which he replies, “没办法.” (There is nothing that can be done)
Jesus. Quality problems. And you wonder why McDonald’s drinking glasses had lead. Or why some product made in China broke or sucks. Because there are hundreds of millions of workers just like this guy that really doesn’t give a rats ass. The ONLY thing he cares about is that pay check at the end of the month.
I apologize for the language, but you know.. It’s par for the course.
September 7th, 2011 §
Here is how a store is opened.
With 5 minutes of fireworks, blackcats and mortar shells. Doesn’t the US seem boring now?
April 21st, 2011 §
First, credit for the phrase “everyone is a lawyer” goes to a friend of mine. You know who you are. Second, in China, everyone is a lawyer, professionally debater, and self preservationist all in one.
Let me explain.
I give my workers work all the time and without fail the fight it all the time. The differences about working in America and working in China and the way that a boss is treated.
Boss in America. You don’t talk back to them, you do what they say, and hey, you are buddy, buddy.
In China. You debate everything that is told to you, say you can’t do it, and it’s more of a slave type relationship. No buddy buddy, and all work.
Today for example: We had an issue with a finished widget. This was a big issue because the parts to all the widgets are made. So if we put one together and this widget is wrong, we got issues because that would mean that the parts were wrong and we would have to make them over again. To combat this we had to go re examine some parts. These parts were already looked at and QC’d. But again, we and to look at them again to double check. So, I get my part QC girl and we roll over to the part area. I then tell her that we have to look at a random selection of 5%.
In America; Ok, boss no problem, I understand that I have to randomly select 5% and reexamine them to make sure that they were correctly made. 30 sec later. Uh, ok, good deal. I’ll make It happen.
In China; why do I have to do this? I already did this? Why do I have to do this again. I already did this. I don’t have enough time. I can’t do this. I got other widgets to look at. I’m so tired. I can’t do this. 5 minutes later. Uh, ok. I’ll do it.
This is just the way it is. So you deal with it. I fact I have become a pretty good debater. But you can’t just go willy hilly with humiliating workers. You have to finesse them. For instance, hand out new pens and markers and then ask for whatever you need done. Haha. Classic
There are other things that happen like you need a new widget designed and it’s the workers first time doing it. They will without fail say no. I can’t do it. They will not tell you that it’s their first time. Basically “I can’t do it” is more like code for, uh, this is my first time and I got no idea what the hell I am doing. You get used to this and learn to work with it and ask the right questions. For instance you start asking why can’t they do it and then offer ways to do it. You give them outs and ways that they can achieve the output that you want. Maybe a little debating and a little, why can’t you make this when yesterday you made one almost identical. That usually works. All without making them lose face.
Such is life.
February 9th, 2011 §
I read a couple blogs from varies sources on China. Some news, some just people on the ground floor. This fine gentleman, from, uh, well, I don’t know. If I remember correctly he had mentioned Flint a few times. So, uh, the bowels of America perhaps? Anyway, he is from, what I can tell, the ground floor. Much like myself, although he and his 22,000,000 friends are up in Beijing while I am in a more docile city of 3-4,000,000. Anywho he posted a blog which you can read below about Chinese trusting Chinese. I would like to share it and add a few comments. For the entire post please by all means visit his blog here.
“My good friend has a business in China, she does weddings, sings and acts as the MC. Saturday she was jacked as she scored a good paying gig for a local wedding. Being the honest sort, she met with honorable owner and shook on a fair price for the work. Spending nearly 24 hours in a row preparing and then taking part in the event she then left.The problem is that this is China and as anyone who works in China will tell you, Chinese have no morals and definitely dont pay their bills. After doing the work required her, my friend tried to claim her pay ,but the owner, being a typical Chinese said she would only pay her half of the agreed upon amount. Before you jump on your ‘dont bash china bandwagon’ and tell me how one time “Billy Joe Hunsacker got screwed out of a weeks wages down at the local washeteria on Main and vine”, because you need stifle yourself and take notes. The reality is that Chinese dont trust Chinese and now I dont either. Sadly enough the Chinese see us as fools as we enter into ‘handshake agreements’ or ‘gentleman’s agreements’.”
So the concept of trust within businesses. Well, you would think that since the Chinese have been doing business as long as us, nonasian folk have, and have been doing it mostly within their own country, you would think that they would trust each other. You would think that since us Westerns have been trading for however long in the international community, and even way back when sailing big ass boats places and trading that we would not trust people as much. Wrong.
The Chinese, and I just state these things, I don’t make them up, like to fuck each other. Hey sorry it’s true. I think there are a few reasons for this.
1. Their Values
2. Their G0verment
3. Rapid Growth
Ok I must admit I am no expert in these affairs so take them with a gain of salt. Ok here goes.
1. Their values. I was taught by my lovely grandmother to do unto others as I would like then to do unto me. Or something like that. Probably stems from her being a devote Catholic. Ok, I get this. Makes since and makes a civil society, I believe. I don’t want people to shoot me in the jugular so I try to refrain from shoot others in their main arteries. This seems to be the thinking in the West so for business, or at least small business anyway, yeah, cool, I don’t want you to F me so, I won’t F you.
In China, yeah, not going to happen. China is very selfish, they don’t really care what happens to the people around them. They watch people die in the street. Well, there is a little more to that but by and large because of their values. At least I think. Hell really I don’t know. Maybe it’s a multitude of poverty, values, parents, and a bunch of other whatnots. But for a business aspect, yeah, they sure as hell don’t care about your business and whether or not they rip you off.
Now yes I realize that this happens everywhere in the world. But I’m talking about China. Oh, one more point, if you were in business with a friend, then you could be handshake deals. Once you are in the “inner circle” your all good. Nothing to worry about. But if you are not in the “circle” watch your ass.
2. Their G0verment. In America you get effed by someone you can take them to court, but in China it’s not that easy. You can take them to court but I believe that it’s only for the big issues. But for the small things, small claims, not going to happen. It’s going to be between the people. Much like the wild west. It’s almost self policing, I have to find a way to eff you back or eff someone to get my money back. The G0V won’t help me. I have to settle this myself or call Vinny if you know what I am saying. The more powerful of the parties will or can take advantage of the lower party. Thus like above. What’s this girl going to do to someone who owns a big business or even a man in general. She has no g0verment help, she will have to go slash tires, or something to get her retribution. Either that or she needed to get an upper hand before the even to get paid. Somehow.
So it goes.
3. Rapid Growth. The gold rush. It’s on. Imagine the gold rush in Cali, and think about what people were doing then. Grabbing whatever they can, doing work. Whatever it takes. Same here in China. They are just getting what they can. If they step on toes, and or eff people, then ok.
So really who knows that the hell is going on. All I know is that everytime I take a taxi, buy something or anything here I got to watch my back. Yes I am foreign but more importantly I am in China and in China even Chinese watch their backs.
November 30th, 2010 §
So here we are making samples of widgets to give to potential customers. The last two times we made some widgets as samples the manager that was in charge of the process was at the doctor or something. Which made for some really hard times. Today is another day for making these beloved widget to give to a new client. Guess what happens. Yeah that’s right, homeboy in charge isn’t here again.
Is this just a cowinkidink or rather a scheme that he cooked up for some reason or another. He isn’t too happy with the factory manager right now. So is this his plan to do a crappy job, not show up, and hope the widgets come out like crap, at late, etc so that we lose potential business. Maybe.
It wouldn’t be the most outlandish thing to happen here.
Oh I forgot to mention that when we make these widgets we make more than one. So if we need 11 total we make 22 just to make sure that we make the best possibly ones. If one gets damaged and or something happens then we have a back up.
They only made enough components to complete 11.
November 29th, 2010 §
Tales from the manufacturing floor so to speak. Well today I heard something interesting that a buddy of mine had happen. He had told the Engineering dept/one dude, that he needed to revise some drawings for a widget. This widget was costing too much to make and needed to have a couple things removed. Now, he told this engineering guy to take out four holes from the center of the hole pattern. There are 16 holes total in two places. 8 on each side. So he told the guy to take two from each side, from the inside of the widget. So the middle four, two from each side, where removed.
He checked the drawings today and low and behold, the outside four where gone. Two from each side. The exact opposite of what was instructed.
People, this is a true story.
At least they didn’t start manufacturing with the new CAD drawing and was at least caught before they wasted a bunch of widget material and thousands of dollars. Some revisions and problems aren’t so lucky.
November 26th, 2010 §
Let me explain. When in America, you need to buy some sort of part, no problem, you go to a hardware store or somewhere and purchase said part.
Machine breaks. Needs a part. It’s a taper lock bushing. A semi common part. Dodge transmissions contain them, and also various other machines. In the States, it would take me probably an hour to locate one, if that. I could just go pick it up or order it online and have in within a day.
First of all China contains tons of factories, some make this part so you would think that this would be an easy thing to find and get. Ha, no. I found 5 manufacturers that make this part. This exact part. Also found some online retailers. All and I mean all didn’t have any or said that they would have to make them and there would be an minimum order. I can see this if I needed a ton of something. But I only need one part. I should also mention that the factory had been looking for almost a week and hadn’t got the job done. I help and in and less than an hour have the problem all but solved. Found manufacturers and retailers that didn’t have any. Again, someone probably didn’t want the machine fixed for some reason, oh wait, money.
So you can’t just go to a NAPA and pick up some parts. NAPA doesn’t exist, nor do parts stores. You might find a store that has a bunch of random parts but nothing like JC Whitney, Grainger, or another heavy equipment deal.
I’m not sure why it’s like this. All I can think of is a monopoly. I buy a machine or anything for that matter. It breaks down and now there is only one person that I can call. The person that sold me that machine. I could fix it myself but there is only one person that has the parts I need, yep that’s right, the guy who sold me the machine. They make more money. People in China are driven only be one thing. That is money. It’s all about money, and a lot less about doing the right thing and obeying the laws. Actually there aren’t really any laws. If there are laws they sure don’t follow them nor are they enforced.
So, right now we are looking for some parts for a machine. And rather then order the real thing we would like to get it cheaper in China. The problem is that even though they can and are made in China, I bet no one will have them. If we want them we will have to place an order to have some made. No one keeps stock. It might be a law or something. But here in China, you can’t just buy one, where’s the money in that.
The real money comes from making you place an order, and then raising the price, then delaying it, then having a problem, then finally shipping it to you. It’s about the money you know.