What has been your experience as a foreigner working in China?

I work for a Chinese Company that is in a third tier city. Some observations after working here for 3 years.

They have a policy and procedure for everything. Clocking into work and clocking out is closely monitored. Including clocking in and out for lunch. Want to leave early or come in late one day? There are forms to be filled out and generally 4 or 5 people that need to sign the forms to allow this. I was eventually exempted from all of this, but it was a hassle.

They have a paper trail for everything they do in business, hiring, purchasing, processing, shipping etc. Although they have databases, hard copies are kept for everything. SO there are mounds of carefully kept records stored away. Its kind of like doing business back in the 70s.

The company provided meals as part of employment, generally lunch and dinner .

The company provides a dorm room for employees. For the most part only the single people will use a dorm room. They are pretty nice too.

They dont heat the office area. Though we have heat, most of the workers prefer not to use it. Very uncomfortable for a westerner.

When I first started working here the one thing I did not think about was the language. I know, how could I miss that! I guess I just assumed that the software and database systems would be multilingual. Nope! Even the PC I was given was in Chinese. I had to have IT set up a computer in English with apps I was familiar with so I could use it. Very limiting.

Everything is in Chinese, Procedure manuals, paperwork, manuals, books, everything. Of course, I am in China, but again I just never thought about this.

Only a few people that work here speak English and my Chinese is very bad. So I dont get any of the gossip or inside news about what is going on in the office. This is both good and bad. You donโ€™t get caught up in the distractions. I also donโ€™t hear much personal news about my coworkers. Again this is both good and bad.

They tend to have more people than are needed. A person has a job, that is their job and they only do that job even though they have a lot of time to do other jobs. For example, our logistics person may only have 2 hours of work per day so she could easily also do some Sales administration to reduce head count. But no that is not done. Jobs are more compartmentalized. This is the case on the production floor as well. So I get the feeling that there is a lot of efficiency that can be improved in China should they need to decrease costs.

I have learned that many of my colleagues have some kind of side business going on. Anything to make money. And sometimes their side business may conflict with the interests of the company. But this seems to be tolerated.

Workers seem to be well treated. If overtime is needed it is double time. If they work a holiday they get triple time pay.

(Source Quora, by Carl Johnson)

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