For these past years I have been going nowhere fast. For example let’s take the average university in Shanghai that as of 2013 still only offers around 6-8000 Yuan a month; not enough for the average foreigner coming from one of the top 5 English speaking countries. These schools like to diversify rather frequently. You will hardly ever see a Chinese university with the same foreign teacher 3 years in a row. In this aspect your fate is totally in the hands of students and the administration. This is a good way to cut cost because the school never really has to extend your raise beyond 2-3 years. So the next year you try another school and your salary basically starts from the beginning.
Private schools almost strictly work off a teacher’s outer appearance. Many of these schools have grueling schedules with no hope for future advancement. Anyone who has worked at Disney English, New Oriental, or English First knows what I am talking about. If I were to come back every 3 years I would be hard pressed to recognize any foreign faces every 3 years.
To cut it short I knew the writing on the wall my third year here, and by the time I hit Shanghai I was determined to change my career path. The teaching experience offered me the ability to be able to present anything at any time with confidence. I wasn’t making enough money teaching to get a Master’s degree; but I felt teaching offered me a stepping stone to other careers.
For example I am a decent writer. I have been writing since I was 10 years old. Half of my experience in China has been as a writing teacher. For six years I had been biding my time waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump. It finally came at my current employment.
This job combined my experience as an orator and my skills as a writer. My job title was basically language localization and communication specialist. I felt that I deserved this title due to my experience. The employer and I clicked perfectly because it was something I wanted to do and my colleagues saw the passion and commitment I took in my work. In addition; because this was the IT field, I was learning how to be a technical writer. If I ever was to move back to America I would have experience that was worth something under my belt.
Everything was falling into place until it came time to extend my working visa. I went through all the procedures and had my ducks in a row, and then came what every foreigner working in China fears; my visa request was rejected.
The reason you may ask? On my resume I had no IT working experience; even though the job required no previous IT working experience. My job consisted of receiving dozens of emails a day to be proof read and corrected so that they could be published on an online message board. Basically I was proofreading the IT help desk. My other duties included giving lectures on soft skills. I had experience in both of these fields because…
- I have been an oral and writing English teacher for 8 years
- I am quite handy with the computer and am very familiar with the product.
- Basically I was teaching Western etiquette to Chinese along the lines of “the customer is always right”
- Overseeing PPT presentations was easy because of my experience
These people were outsourced Chinese IT professionals who did not have a healthy command of written English. These professionals were also newly hired university graduates and admitted that none had any strong IT experience in the past. They basically searched the internet for parts of answers and received instructions on how to answer properly. I taught them how to put these ideas together and make them work in a coherent sentence and manner.
When my employer implored further they were told by 1500 Mingsheng lu…
“Why can’t you get a local Chinese to do this job?”
How can one justify such a stupid question with a logical answer?
I mean what right does anybody have to tell me that I can’t work in an IT company because I don’t have an IT degree? Add to the fact that the company and people I have instructed are happy with what I have contributed to them. To me, this is ludicrous. It’s feudalism with Chinese characteristics.
Who writes these rules?
My employer fought for me but with to no avail. So now I am basically up shit’s creek without a paddle, because if I work on an “L” visa it’s illegal.
So it’s either the “L” visa, go home, or go back to stating my case with racist private schools and universities.
I have already tasted the honey of minor success.
I’m going home.
This is one reason why China will stay in a developing state, because I bet if I was Li Tian….and my parents were government officials this definitely would not be a problem. 1500 Mingsheng Lu should marinate on that.
I keep hearing about a Chinese dream. I am an American that dreamed that he was an American working in China for a Chinese company that outsourced to America; attempting to realize the American dream through China; but woke up and realized that he is an American in China, and not Chinese, but American.
There are other worlds better than this.