14 Jul Made in China
Prior to my visit to Shanghai, I downloaded a couple iPhone applications that described the Chinese business culture and compared it to America. It’s no wonder why the eastern half of China is politically called “China Proper” because their business etiquette and professional courtesy towards each other is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. However upon my arrival on the first day of work, I discovered the perfect combination of professionalism, creativity, and overall enjoyment. Unlike the American business world I’m used to, my coworkers actually seemed excited to come to work. Don’t get me wrong, naturally in the workplace there are conflicts and speed bumps, yet so far they have all been handled maturely and efficiently. The friendly environment in the office provides the most enjoyable place I’ve ever worked.
I want to call my office a productive workplace, but it feels more appropriate to say it’s a learning environment. Disclaimer: that doesn’t mean it’s not very productive. The professional courtesy amongst each other is vastly apparent, but the office is the most fun and creative atmosphere I’ve ever worked in. The intern workspace consists of 3 tables, 5 swirly chairs, an orange sofa, and a bouncy-ball chair. Yes, a bouncy-ball chair. I was also fortunate enough to be working with awesome coworkers. Ranging from Nigeria, Brazil, Hong Kong, to all over the east coast of the states, working with my colleagues/interns has been an internationally eye-opening experience. It’s amazing how much people care about soccer outside of the United States. It’s even more amazing how blinded Americans (me included) are to such an entertaining sport by big media-concentrated sports like football, hockey, baseball, and basketball. Don’t get me wrong, I have a pile of jerseys sitting in my closet at home. Having these new global connections has opened my American-sheltered eyes to one of the most global-connecting outlets in the world.
Working in the marketing industry is exactly how I expected it to be: a lot of interpersonal and group work in a fast-paced environment. Even though I have no interested in pursuing a degree or profession in marketing, I know the skills I’m developing in the office will benefit me in my path for supply chain management. Needless to say, I’m receiving more information about various cultures than I can retain just by being an intern in Shanghai – one of the most globalized cities on the planet. I also have the daily opportunity to provide basic translation between English and Chinese speaking colleagues. Besides that, I know the abilities I’m gaining designing blueprints and logistics for events and using different Microsoft applications are going to come in handy. Everyone has always told me how the best learning comes from outside the classroom, and now I finally have the credibility to preach with that group.
Something I wasn’t equipped for was the hours in the workplace. My previous job as a salesman was nowhere near as demanding as an 8-hours-a-day office job. On a good week, I could squeeze 20 hours of work for myself out of my managers. With that being said, discipline and patient have been my most tested traits. I was proud of how much I disciplined myself from how hard I had worked to learn Chinese this last year and successfully completing the p90x workout routine. Those were cake-walks compared to the office work. I don’t mean to scare any readers by saying that, simply preparing and reminding everyone to be patient, reflect on all the lessons you’ll learn, and have fun!