Living in my shoes on a work day is kind of crazy! Every morning I wake up at 7 and get ready and go to work by Subway to get to work before 9. I leave early even though it only takes half an hour to get to work because by 8:30 the subway is CRAZY FULL. If I get on the subway at that time, usually I have to wait for the second or third train to even fit on! And when I say fit, I mean the way a sardine fits in a can-squished into all the other sardines. I don’t mind arriving early though because it gives me some time to grab a coffee from Starbucks and some Chinese breakfast from the street vendors. If I eat breakfast at a vendor it only costs me 3RMB, which is about AU$0.60. The best part is that everything is new there and so I get to try lots of different stuff!
I work as a researcher and so spend my day searching for new candidates for positions that our clients have allocated us. We work in a number of different industries and a range of occupations, which has really helped me develop my understanding of those industries and roles that we fill. I have to understand our clients’ needs, understand the industry, position, and what makes a great candidate. My boss and co-workers are also very supportive, always there to answer my stupid questions and pretend they weren’t stupid and always willing to give me the time of day or a smile when I need it. The office is really nice too, the space is quite open and all the desks are facing each other to make it easy to talk to each other about things during the day without leaving the comfort of you desk.
In reality, my work isn’t really much different from people back home in Australia, because I am used to mixing with people of different nationalities and it’s fun learning from each other. I work mainly with Europeans and so it’s great talking about what it is like back home and how it is different here. My boss even brought back a Danish advent calendar for us so we could have a taste of home everyday. One woman even knew what Vegemite was even though she is from Europe! On the other hand it’s great talking to the locals and finding out where the best place to shop is, or what is normal conduct in certain situations. I guess that’s the great thing about working with a mix of expats and locals – you really do get the best of both worlds! I have learned a lot at this job already, and I like that a lot. One of the members at my organization sends out weekly newsletters that she has subscribed to, so I never run out of new interesting things to learn about the business world, trends and particular companies or consumers. Outside of work I have learned a lot too. I have learned that Chinese noodles are amazing and addictive, that catching a cab at 6:30pm is a horrendous activity and that the Chinese like their bread sweet and their cakes not so much as Australia. The chocolate here just isn’t the same quality as at home, and the prices of imported products are crazy high in comparison to the local products. Therefore, I have learned to do as the locals do, eat where the locals do (9RMB for a huge bowl of noodles in soup = approximately AU$1.80), and buy where the locals do.