So, for lack of a better way to illustrate what it’s like to work in the PRC I will lay out a few different situations.
#1 The bucket lids.
Today we roll into a room full of screen print inks. The room is full of buckets full of mixed screen print ink. Now, I’m not sure about all of the aspects that go into screen printing however I do know a few things. I can assume that they have a shelf life, I know how they are applied and used, and I know a few things about printing. But I am not a screen printing expert. So when we walked in something struck me. 90% of the little buckets of ink had lids. This made sense. The ink is wiped in a thin layer onto a material. If the ink had debris, dirt, hair, or dust it would effect the outcome. Also it seemed to me that the ink drys with air. So with ink exposed to air the shelf life could be diminished. I commented about some of the little buckets not having lids, about 10%. One Chinese guy tells that other one that they should have lids. The other Chinese guy then goes off about how the air conditioner throws junk into the air. Nevermind that we are in China and there is junk in the air anyway.
So instead of getting more lids, saying he needed more lids, or agreeing, he goes into a rage about the air conditioner, or at least that’s what I got out of it. My Chinese isn’t that good yet. Do the buckets have lids, no, will they soon, ….. no.
This is an awesome one. I am sitting in a meeting about whatnot and the topic of vacation comes up. They New Year is coming up for China and it’s the biggest holiday of the year. MASSIVE. The world’s biggest migration of people take place. Everyone goes home. So the managers in the meeting along with the guy who runs the factory and owns it start talking about it. The workers want to take three, that’s right, three weeks off. They decided this, not the boss. Boss guy was like, uh, no you have to finish your work before you go, they started complaining. Saying that they needed time to travel home. Boss guy then was like, uh, your all from this city you don’t need time to travel. Boss guy finally put the hammer down and no one gets to leave before all they work is completed.
What will happen is this, massive corner cutting and all kinds of other interesting things. Slowly but surely they will get their way through other means.
A few things. Workers are not one bit shy to argue with the boss about how to do something, what they want and then tell them they don’t want to do it. I find this funny. One thing is this: In the States you can get fired for just anything. In China you can’t, so the workers do whatever they want. Form little unions, strike, tell the bosses when they don’t feel like working. It’s funny. We have so much to get done, so much, so behind, and not one wants to work overtime. So they don’t and junk is late. They don’t care.
Sometimes I would like to be like this. Not worry about anything, just do my work and go home. But I can’t, I’m too much of a perfectionist. I need to do it right and if I have to stay an extra 5 min to do it on my own dime, then I will. A Chinese person, will not, and no he doesn’t care if it’s right or not. He completed the set of steps you gave him. It’s not his fault that it’s not right. Must be your set of steps then.
Things I’ve heard at work.
“I don’t get paid to clean”
“I don’t get paid to move this from here to there. It’s not my job”
“The foreigner signed off on it.” Foreigner “No I didn’t.” Worker “Someone did” Manager “redo it”
“It’s not centered” “Yes it is” “Pretty much” “No way it’s like 1 cm off” “1 cm is pretty much ok”
“This is wrong fix it” “No it’s not” “Yes it is” “ok” (then they don’t fix it and ignore you)
“This is not possible” “Yes it is” “No it’s not” “Okay then watch this” “Ohh.. you’re really smart. I guess it does work”
Anyway more to come as they happen.