I finally started a job on Monday. It’s with New Oriental, the big English training corporation, but the branch I’m with is fairly small and new and does online Chinese teaching aimed at foreigners. It’s supposed to be a new competitor of Chinese Pod, which is well known and seems to make a fairly decent product. See New Oriental’s pitiful efforts at Target Chinese. Note the panda wearing headphones, and of course the obligatory gong sound as you enter the page. Fun fact: not only did the Chinese invent gunpowder and movable type, they also invented stereotypes! Also key are the three sexy babes who really like learning Chinese, and let’s not forget Jack, the awesome black dude who will be teaching live class in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 38 seconds. Better hurry up and subscribe.
I don’t know if the picture quite portrays how small this thing is. I can’t really turn my chair if somebody comes to talk to me, and I have to scoot out the side to get up. And see the tray where the keyboard is supposed to go? I think maybe if they gave me a stool to sit on I could pull it out.
I didn’t see any small cubicles like this when I came into interview; everybody was sitting in pretty reasonable open workspaces, so as you can imagine, I was not happy about my assignment. I was also surprised to discover on my first day that I was only going to earn 80% of my salary during my three month trial period. And to add insult to injury, they told me on my second day that in order to get a work visa, I have to pay for a physical from the government’s exit and entry inspection bureau, which will cost me 650 RMB — more than a tenth of my salary during the trial period.
On Wednesday I stopped the HR guy in the hallway to tell him I quit. He said, “Okay, I’ll get my assistant to help you fill out some forms.” No, please, don’t try and stop me. Really, it’s too much.
Well, I waited around for his assistant to come so I could leave already, and finally my boss came and told me she didn’t want me to go, and asked what they could do to keep me from leaving. I told her they needed to pay me what I was originally promised, get me a human-sized workspace, and pay the costs of my physical. She told me there was nothing she could do herself, but suggested I go talk to the general manager and try to negotiate. I said I didn’t want to bother the manager myself, so my boss went and talked to her for me, and eventually the manager came over all smiles and invited me for a chat, where she agreed to pay me my whole salary, and get me a decent desk by Monday, but wouldn’t budge on the 650 RMB. Fine. Back to work.
The area around my office is really interesting. There’s a big public square with trees and everything, and about half of it is actually built on the tops of a number of commercial buildings, with walkways across the roofs. On one side of the square there’s a sort of garden showcasing big pieces of poo. I don’t know how else to describe it. Here’s some pictures:
I don’t know why there are tarps there. These two chunks must have recently been unveiled.
The red one on the left is apparently post-hot-pot spicy poop. This amuses me to no end during lunchtime.
As to what my job actually involves, it’s nothing really worth mentioning, but you’ll probably see me appear in some of the free lessons on our website soon. They say my voice is “magnetic,” but I think it sounds like I have a cold.