04.11.2013 - 04.12.2013 60 °F
Today's blog is going to be all about employment in China. As a soon to be graduate (wooohoooo!!!!!!) talking about job searches and future careers makes one a little stressed out. (Ahhhhh!!!)
SO when i found out the topics for our Chinese classes this week, "employment after graduation" and "we are finally getting married" my stress level skyrocketed. Thank God i am only a soon to be grad and not a soon to be bride as well or else I would probably need to seek therapy. On the bright side I now know how to say "only pick the best" and "part time employee."
Employment was also my contemporary Chinese culture class topic, in which I was responsible for leading discussion. It was just hitting me from all angles this week. Last Tuesday I had asked my aunty if she could help me find a job. She responded pretty enthusiastically and from what I got out of the conversation her husbands little sisters friends...cousin(?) works at a very big business and makes a lot of money. She kept saying it was a big international business and that I could probably get a job there because of my English. Later we looked up the name on my iPad. It was Ikea. Worst comes to worst I can always have a nice furnished apartment.
The interesting thing that I would like to share with you today is the idea of employment in China and how one goes about finding employment. I recently learned that it would be fair to say that high school in China is equivalent to College in the United States and College in the United States is equivalent to Chinese high schools. The idea behind this, is that in China it is hard to get into a good college but relatively easy to graduate from one. Chinese students begin getting tested from elementary school. They test to see which middle school they can go to, which high school they can get into and finally they take the college entrance exam. This is similar to the SAT, but you only get one shot, and in a place where receiving a higher education is a very crucial part of life, it causes an immense amount of stress on the students to do well. To sum it up, from what i have heard is that If you don't go to a good college you don't get a good job. Also, like the United States, there is the problem of whether or not a graduate should attend graduate school.
Today we had the pleasure of speaking with four students who are about to graduate. Their punctuality on job searching is something I am very envious of. The first girl, she gave herself the english name flora and she was absolutely adorable. She had curled her hair and had the whitest skin I have seen in China so far, other then my own. For someone who hadn't learned english as her second language she spoke with great confidence and her thought process was very fluid and structured. She was a journalism major and she was just accepted into a graduate school in the UK. She began explaining to us her experience from middle to high school. She was from a very poor village in the Sichuan province (she was very happy to hear we had just returned from that province) and was enrolled in a boarding school. She said that she felt as though she lost part of her freedom when she was sent to this school. It was also designed as a military academy. The rules and regulations she had to follow were numerous. They weren't allowed to have mobile phones, or use the Internet. They were allowed out of the school for only three days a month, and the only source of entertainment they had was a small kiosk that sold newspapers and a few magazines. She said she felt like she was in jail. However, she expressed immense joy upon arriving at Nanjing University, but honestly who wouldn't?
One of the other speakers was also from Sichuan province (actually Chengdu, which is where the Pandas live). He chose the courageous English name of Rafael and was graduating with a major of teaching Chinese as a second language. However, he kept referring to it as a majority and it took us a while to figure out his actual meaning. He explained to us that he felt it was more important to find a job after graduation rather then go to graduate school. He was already offered three jobs. The lead sales consultant at IBM, a marketing job at CCTV ( the main Chinese tv station) or a job at at a bank. You should have seen the looks on our faces and how fast our jaws dropped when he told us he was picking the bank. He said to an outsider, having a job at IBM or CCTV would look very shiny ( we think he meant prestigious) but in reality the bank would pay more money. He said it boiled down to the fact that he needed to give money to his family and although he heard that working in a bank is very boring, it is a place that will pay quite a bit. Also, he said that the idea of housing would be very difficult, as the other jobs are located in Beijing. This was something when brought to my attention is very obvious, but I had never given it a thought. In the states if you want to move somewhere, you are almost guaranteed that there will be an apartment somewhere in your price range. In China this is not the case, and it is rare to rent an apartment for anything less then 70years.
The other speaker was a girl who couldn't speak English. She was majoring in chemistry and law. She didn't say much other then she wanted to work on public housing laws and that her grades were not that good which makes finding a job difficult. Lastly she said she wants to move back to her hometown because at this point she feels family is more important.
Lastly we heard from Raj. He is one of the Chinese roommates who has a french name, of one of korean classmates in my Chinese class. wow that's a little confusing, haha. He is planning on finding a job after graduation as well. Currently he is looking to move to Taiwan. He described high school and middle school in china "as a battlefield in which your parents are cooperating with your teachers." He spoke with great confidence as well and had the best English by far.
Needless to say after this short little presentation I was feeling pretty down about not having a job, or a job prospect. I decided it was time to visit ammity international again, the local non profit. I couldn't remember the name of the lady I had spoken with before, nor did I have any idea where I was going. I just wandered into their office and knocked on the first door I came too. Turns out it was their financial department. They were a little confused when I tried to explain I wanted to volunteer for them. They got on the phone and asked a coworker what to do. I was described as "美女，很高，非常白的礼服＂pretty girl, very tall, with very white skin. This description must have worked because I was told to wait outside, and that someone would be with me shortly. 5 minutes passed and I saw people come and go, but no one stopped to talk. Finally I spotted the original lady I had come here to find. I approached her and we started to discuss volunteer opportunities. She said because my Chinese was not that good there is maybe not that many things for me to do. All they have is English editing work (perfect that is what I wanted to do!). I start on Monday at 1:30 and they have a desk set up for me already. While I was on the job searching role I got back in contact with the bilingual magazine from last month. I will meet them tomorrow to discuss my hours and starting pay as their part time English editor! It's no IBM, but hey it's experience right?