Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So for the entire week I've been mulling over my offer from Group C. (You know, the long term assignment where I'd probably be placed in China for years?) Anyway, outta nowhere Group B has re-entered the picture. Suddenly things have gotten even more complicated.

Today I had my second round interview with one of the Senior Directors of Group B. From my research, the guy has had a very distinctive career in sales for the electronics industry. At the young age of 37, he won a top sales achievement award while working for HP! Anyway, to make a long story short:
  • I'm probably going to get the offer. They can't guarantee it, but he said it was very likely. Decisions will be finalized in a few weeks.
  • The interview was mostly conducted in Chinese. Geez, that was tough. By US interview standards, I did pretty horribly. I'm still not sure why he said it was likely that I'd recieve an offer.
  • This group manufactures flexible printed circuit boards and interconnectors for mobile and computer applications. I have some fabrication lab experience but I don't know much about PCB manufacturing. It was still pretty cool though.
  • Their factory is also located in Shenzhen, but further inland. We're talking about ~50 km away from downtown. (As opposed to where I live now, where it's only ~20 km away from downtown.) Their factory is basically in the middle of nowhere.
  • The plan for me would be work for about 3 more months in China. I would learn about the technology and develop my business, sales, and account management skills. After that I would return to the US and work as a FAE (field applications engineer) for a few years before transferring to sales or account management.
Anyway, the final offer won't be made for a few weeks. That puts me in a awkard situation because I'm supposed to head back to the US on April 30th. I was hoping to have this all finalized before then, but it looks like I don't really have a choice.

My current plan is to:
- Continue working in China until April 30th
- Take off about a week to visit Shanghai and Beijing
- Return to the US
- Finalize my decision for my next assignment
- Return to China for work

Dates obviously still need to be nailed down.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Today, I realized that I've been in this country for way too long:

"I see that you've been studying Chinese people."

"Hmm? I get it..." (Did I hear that right? Man, I really need to work on my Mandarin.)

"Oh, never mind."

"Okay..." (Unless he meant...oh shit.)

Without even realizing it, I had just spit right in the middle of the street. I'm turning into a local.

I'm not sure if I've written about it before, but people here spit anywhere, anytime. My favorite example would have to be at the last year's annual end of the year banquet. People were spitting on the restaurant floor. That's just dirty. 

Spitting is a disgusting habit and I remember how much it grossed me out when I first got here. So I'm kind of sad that I've picked it up. I'd hadn't really realized how natural it had become until my coworker pointed it out. I really need to break this habit before I get back to the US.

Although, at least I'm not peeing/pooping in public. 

*4/20 8:44 P.M. - Post now updated with picture!*

Yesterday I got home from work early, but I left my messenger bag at work. So without my keys, I was forced to sit in outside in the courtyard and wait for my apartment-mate to come home. Now I had about an hour or so to kill before my coworkers would come back. I decided to sit on a bench just people-watch the housewives and their children walking around.

I'm sitting and I notice this cute little boy hobbling down the path. I look down at his pants...

"Is that...a crotch hole? What the hell!?"

There was a big hole in the crotch of his pants. We're talking full frontal nudity here. [I'm dead serious.]

I quickly diverted my eyes away and noticed a mother and child squatting awkardly. The mother was squatting over a drain and the child was sitting on her lap. I'm staring at them trying to figure out what's going on. And right then a golden stream gushes out into the drain.

The crotch hole allows kids to easily pee in public.

Now obviously we're talking about really young kids. Still slightly distrubing though. There aren't a lot of public restrooms here, so I guess when young children gotta go, they just go.

That's not even the craziest thing I've seen. During my first month in China, I saw a mother helping her child take a shit ... in public ... in the street. And then after he finished, she wiped for him. Now that was mind blowing.

And in case you don't believe me, here's the picture proof. I caught this yesterday at Guangzhou as I was coming out of a metro station: