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View Full Version : OK, so maybe working in China isn't so bad


nikkibong
07-20-2009, 11:35 AM
Everytime I feel the need to complain about being shipped off to Shanghai for work . . . I should remember that it has its perks (http://www.newser.com/story/64821/in-china-binge-drinking-is-all-in-a-days-work.html).

Lyle
07-20-2009, 02:58 PM
Yep, they love their drinking contests. A guy I was traveling with engaged in one with a businessman from another table who was that table's "champion". The "champion" was already blitzed and he ended up being dragged out of the restaurant when all was said and done.

Good times.

TwinSwords
07-20-2009, 06:45 PM
Everytime I feel the need to complain about being shipped off to Shanghai for work . . . I should remember that it has its perks (http://www.newser.com/story/64821/in-china-binge-drinking-is-all-in-a-days-work.html).

About ten years ago, the Fortune 50 company I work for started outsourcing massive numbers of good, American jobs to China. Typically we can hire 40 or 50 Chinese for the price of a single American engineer. We have emptied out whole office buildings full of engineers and replaced them with Chinese -- mostly in Shanghai (mostly in Aurora Plaza (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora_Plaza)).

Dumb, snobbish Americans love to tell themselves that it is only the jobs of the unskilled and uneducated (read: undeserving, worthless) that get outsourced to China, or other 3rd world hell holes. No. The most skilled technical jobs we have are being outsourced to the totalitarian police state cum Most Favored trading partner that is China.

My company's relationship with China has been interesting, to say the least. During the election last year, it was not at all uncommon for Chinese to log onto the company blog and tell everyone how democracy is overrated, and that there are real advantages to authoritarian despotism.

Apparently, from what I am told, the Chinese we hire are the children of the elite, part of the privileged top 1%. They tend to be very arrogant, and they don't like anyone telling them what to do. The Americans I know who have spent time in Shanghai managing operations tell me that it is COMMON for these Chinese engineers to sleep at their desks. We're not talking ONE person falling asleep once in a while, and then feeling bad about it when he gets caught. We're talking about several people sleeping at the same time, day in and day out. (I cannot personally vouch for this, but would be interested to hear if this corresponds to anything you have heard.)

Evidently, our American managers gave up trying to fight the problem and have now set up a whole room where people can go to sleep when they feel like it.

Hell, even if they sleep four hours out of eight, they are still a much better bargain for the corporate bottom line that selfish, greedy Americans who want to live a middle class existence.

I was recently told that our company's relationship with China is being re-evaluated. The language barrier (severe), the 12 hour difference, and other problems apparently have management looking for other 3rd world hell holes to move our operations. We've got thousands in India (mostly Mumbai), and used to have thousands in the Philippines before we started up in China.

Some people were momentarily excited when they heard the China deal was being reevaluated -- as if the jobs might come back to America. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. As if that will ever happen. Jobs won't come back to America until Americans learn to get over their fetish for owning a fancy 2 story home and their own automobile. Once our expectations have been realigned so we're thankful to own a pair of shoes and only have nine people living in a room, we might be able to get American capitalism creating jobs for Americans again.

claymisher
07-20-2009, 07:15 PM
The Americans I know who have spent time in Shanghai managing operations tell me that it is COMMON for these Chinese engineers to sleep at their desks. We're not talking ONE person falling asleep once in a while, and then feeling bad about it when he gets caught. We're talking about several people sleeping at the same time, day in and day out. (I cannot personally vouch for this, but would be interested to hear if this corresponds to anything you have heard.)


I always wondered how Japanese white collar workers could drink so much every night with their coworkers and still function during the day. Turns out that sleeping at your desk is pretty common in Japan too.

pampl
07-20-2009, 07:34 PM
Jobs won't come back to America until Americans learn to get over their fetish for owning a fancy 2 story home and their own automobile. Once our expectations have been realigned so we're thankful to own a pair of shoes and only have nine people living in a room, we might be able to get American capitalism creating jobs for Americans again.
The data suggest this is false.
http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos027.htm
"Overall engineering employment is expected to grow by 11 percent over the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations."

TwinSwords
07-20-2009, 11:42 PM
The data suggest this is false.
http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos027.htm
"Overall engineering employment is expected to grow by 11 percent over the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations."

Thanks for the link. The news is heartening. But, still, our major corporations are outsourcing lots and lots of non-menial jobs to China, India, and elsewhere. Relentlessly, year after year, we (the company I work for) spin off another few hundred or few thousand jobs to wage slaves living in the 3rd world.

My company even brought in an Indian entreprenuer to talk at the company auditorium recently. He bragged and bragged about how the India of today is kind of like America was when America was still great -- really, that was his message, that American innovation has been bogged down because of all the regulation and red tape and high taxes and the unreasonable middle class standard of living. 95% of the people in the audience walked out shaking their heads wondering why the United States could not return to the equivilent of the 1890s, when workers and consumers had no rights, children worked in factories free of any safety or work rules, etc.

The left won a lot of battles in the decades of and following the New Deal, and those gains are rapidly eroding in today's global economy. Instead of bringing the rest of the world up to our standards, we are being pulled down to the level of the 3rd world.

claymisher
07-20-2009, 11:59 PM
I remember reading a few years ago that tech wages in India were rapidly increasing. Let's hope when we have wage parity (and we will) it's high-wage and not low-wage.

TwinSwords
07-21-2009, 12:09 AM
I guess that's what we have to ultimately hope for.

There was a video going around where I work recently that made the rather chilling observation that if you take only the top 15% of the IQ bell curve, there are more exceptional Chinese and Indians than there are TOTAL Americans. I've also heard that China and India together graduate about one million new engineers per year, compared to a few tens of thousands in the United States. In the global economy where American engineers are competing directly with India and China for jobs, I don't see how we can keep up.

Sometimes I wonder if the solution is (a) open the borders and expand our population significantly, and (b) offer (like China and India) free higher education so we can start cranking out more high skilled workers.

Starwatcher162536
07-21-2009, 01:56 AM
I guess that's what we have to ultimately hope for.

There was a video going around where I work recently that made the rather chilling observation that if you take only the top 15% of the IQ bell curve, there are more exceptional Chinese and Indians than there are TOTAL Americans. I've also heard that China and India together graduate about one million new engineers per year, compared to a few tens of thousands in the United States. In the global economy where American engineers are competing directly with India and China for jobs, I don't see how we can keep up.

Sometimes I wonder if the solution is (a) open the borders and expand our population significantly, and (b) offer (like China and India) free higher education so we can start cranking out more high skilled workers.

You have to be careful about that. Engineer seems to be defined a little differently over there, I am told things like auto mechanics and various technicians are included in that number.

Also, and this may simply be nationalism talking, I am told the average performance of the engineers they train over there are very much lackluster compared to the US. I know the very best university they have in India, is supposedly only comparable to A&M, which isn't a top 10 school.