Chinese Boss vs. Foreign Boss

Modern-day after work is a popular and marketable US custom. While most of the anglosphere and Europe say "let's get a drink after work," Americans have skillfully marketed it as an alcohol-infused Happy Meal on steroids.

China, no slouch when it comes to social alcohol consumption, has swiftly adopted the American custom of "after work:ing," but with some particularly Chinese twists.

You've had an after work if you've ever worked, regardless of nation or industry. If not, you're lying or can't recall. No offense to blackouts (or two). After works are an element of the work culture in the Western hemisphere and China.

Working in China is a difficulty, as numerous articles and books have shown. Far less has been written about after working in China, particularly when comparing a Chinese boss to a foreign boss, even if both are in China.

After work: Chinese plotting

Foreign boss

At 4 p.m., your manager will send a DingTalk message to your team's group chat. "Today at 6! Attend or get fired" Any stragglers and no-shows will be humiliated all night in the group chat.

Chinese boss

Assuming your supervisor is willing to mingle with you, schedule it a week in advance. By a boss-appointed party planner. Expect to be expected to go, however no one can stop you from not going because you're a foreigner.

Chinese after-parties: pre-party or none

Foreign boss

Some (foreign) CEOs have trouble staying sober for eight hours. It's not uncommon to find a bottle of whiskey or six beer cans in a foreign manager's drawer or rucksack.

This is helpful. Chugging booze while strolling to a bar is more of a sport than an art. Because as soon as the drink numbs, everyone can forget about unpaid overtime, poor KPIs, and approaching disaster.

Chinese boss

If cheap booze is a Western boss's lifeblood in a Chinese workplace, then a Chinese boss's lifeblood is 15 minutes in the bathroom, two smokes, and TikTok movies on full blast. After this rite, the boss leaves the temporary smoking room to find the crew waiting for the formal "".

The party coordinator will guide guests to the restaurant. After-work-friendly Chinese restaurants have circular tables with lazy Susans and drinks. Expect more smoking whether on foot or by DiDi. We won't drink alcohol. Not until the meal is served.

Chinese workers arrive

Foreign boss

Since the after-work gathering was unplanned and no calls were made, expect to wait for a table. If a supermarket or convenience shop is close, more alcohol will be bought and drunk.

The restaurant's seating is chaotic. The first beer shattered office hierarchies. Covertly arranging the seats so the two (badly) hidden workplace lovebirds sit close to one other is excellent manners.

Chinese boss

Restaurant arrival is straightforward. Your Chinese coworkers and restaurant personnel will know. You and your foreign coworkers (if any) must play along and not break anything, which should be easy given your sad, sober mood.

Seating may be tougher. The boss (or "person who pays") traditionally sat facing the entrance in case a fighting clan crashed the festivities. Important people should sit on the right. Do not sit to the right of your Chinese employer unless ordered to do so. Even the most extroverted Westerners are surprised to see concealed lovers humiliated and teased.

Chinese afterworks

Foreign boss

As the night fades, you'll realize no subject is too vulgar or indecent to talk with a foreign employer. Your hollow-eyed Oklahoma colleague will confess to yellow fever. The blue-haired Danish woman wearing a XXL Doctor Who T-shirt admits she prefers tall men with distinct jawlines.

Given the Western-style after-work lifestyle, your Chinese coworkers may say things they would never publicly divulge, such as preferring Sailor Moon to the Calabash Brothers. Moreover.

Do your best to divert the talk away from politics, for both your own and your Chinese colleagues' sakes. That's a needless risk.

Chinese boss

Your coworkers keep going even though they've been drinking Yanjing beer for hours. Best mooncake, Weibo celebrity gossip, and workplace gossip may be discussed. If enough bespectacled young Chinese men in sweatpants are present, discussions may veer into foreign movies and the Marvel world.

Rebellious idiots who laced their own drinks with baijiu may attempt to discuss more risqué issues, but they will likely be dismissed or forced to leave. If enough foreigners attend the after work, you will all sit together and re-enact the after work you secretly wished you had attended.

Your Chinese employer may be elusive. You'll listen if they speak. Will everyone? Chinese bosses shouldn't be interrupted. Expect toasting. Never sit with an empty glass.

Personal member service
Click for details
Corporate member service
Click for details