What is it really like to live and work in China?
Even though it is one of the world's most active and energetic nations, moving to China as a foreigner might be intimidating. If you're considering relocating to one of the world's most interesting, baffling, and demanding nations, you should be aware of some of the recurring themes that those who have lived and worked in China have encountered.
Getting a Head Start on Your Move to China
Prior to making the move to China for employment, there are several things you should think about before you do. First and foremost, are you more interested in the kind of work you want to undertake or the location in China?
Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou are likely to be your best bets if you want to work in politics, technology, or finance. The contemporary Chinese lifestyle is intriguing and dynamic in many cities, yet the picturesque scenery and distinctive local customs that distinguish most of China are absent.
In order to immerse yourself in Chinese culture, improve your language skills or just live in some of the world's most beautiful landscapes, seek for rural employment options. Teaching English or working for a non-profit organization are the most common options for those from outside the United States.
As a second consideration, you should think about how Chinese workplace culture differs from your own. Because of the widespread use of the messaging software WeChat, coworkers may place little value on their own "personal time," for example. In terms of work-life balance, overtime, and availability, the West has different expectations than the East, according to Simon Frank, English Editor at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. "You may be reached on WeChat 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
A favorable or bad outcome might be expected. The software makes it more likely that a coworker may contact you at 11 p.m. on a Saturday, but it also speeds up office communication. How much of Wild China's business is done through WeChat astonished me," says Katie Cundale, a Beijing-based travel agent (Work). A single system may be used to transmit, book, and approve anything that happens in the office."
In addition, working in China has a slew of additional advantages. Even if you don't plan to establish a company full-time, there are many individuals in China who are doing just that. With less bureaucracy for start-ups and a "can-do" mentality, you may face more fascinating difficulties in a month in China than in a year elsewhere.
China's work environment: what to anticipate
To be honest, it's hard to imagine a more pleasant place to work than China. It's not uncommon for locals to be intrigued by newcomers from other countries, even at firms that are used to hiring people from all over the world
However, extended work days are common in Chinese organizations, and this may lead to frustrations with a lack of productivity. Employees in many workplaces take a 90-minute lunch break and then return to work late in the afternoon to finish up any unfinished business. There is also a tendency in Chinese workplaces to establish rigid, unyielding hierarchies. Employers' willingness and capacity to accommodate international personnel vary greatly, according to Mr Frank's experience working in China. When it comes to my experience at UCCA, I believe having a foreigner as my manager has been quite beneficial.
Moreover, Mr. Frank advised against firms that "drag their feet on visas and other requirements, while pushing foreign personnel to work." Employment opportunities for foreigners in China are dwindling rapidly, thus this might be hazardous. Make sure your prospective employer is familiar with the documentation required to get a work visa in China if you want to work there.
Annual leave rules in China seem especially onerous when compared to those in the West, where most people get more time off. It's very unusual to read about less than five days of yearly vacation for most employees, although there are 10 national holidays each year. If you work for a Chinese corporation, you won't be able to travel home for the holidays since western holidays like Christmas aren't recognized. The probationary period during which you are not entitled to any annual leave may be up to one year in certain firms that provide more generous annual leave policies for international employees.