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Old 10-12-06, 08:44 AM   #1
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A work dilemma

So some of you may have been following the not-particularly-interesting melodrama that has been my search for an apartment (successful), and my search for a job that is fulfilling and allows me to feed myself (see below).

A quick update: I'm currently working for about US$75 a month at a job (internship) three days a week, and am happy there. My co-workers are a lot of fun and the work is generally interesting, with some opportunities for really cool projects over the next few months. I work on a variety of projects across different industries, which keeps my interest up. I signed a 6-month contract that is essentially non-binding -- I can give them a week's notice and leave with no penalty. I have been given very good feedback on my work, and have been told in casual conversations that I would be welcome to join the company full time if such a position were to come up.

Today, I received a phone call from another company -- I'll call it Company 2. I had been to an interview with a while back, but they didn't have any positions to offer me. Now, they have a position -- a full time job for a decent salary. The company is much more China-focused than the place I'm working at now, so I would have to use my Chinese a lot more; in my current job, I need Chinese only occasionally on the phone or to double-check a translation. Being forced to use my Chinese daily would improve my language skills hugely, but it would also mean a very steep learning curve for the first few months. I would be assigned to a position on a team working with a particular (US-based) company in China, and so would not encounter the same sort of variety I'm seeing in my current job.

I'm not sure what to do. I'm really enjoying my current job, and see it as providing me with more interesting work than Company 2, at least for the next year or so. One problem is money: if this were just about a raise, I would be more willing to stay where I am -- but this is the difference between being able to fully support myself (and buy bike parts!), and not being able to do so at all. Another issue is the Chinese: I am in China, and learning Chinese was one of the main reasons I came here. Company 2 would improve my Chinese immensely, since I would have to use it a lot every day.

Basically, staying where I am is fun and interesting, but doesn't pay or give me much Chinese practice. It's comfortable. Moving would help my Chinese, and give me a salary I could live on, but will be more stressful and difficult, at least in the short term (because of the language). The basic job is essentially the same in both places: editing and researching.

It's not the worst situation to be in, so I'm not looking for pity/sympathy . But if any of you Foosters have sage advice, I'd like to hear it!

Sorry for the long and rambling message.
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Old 10-12-06, 08:51 AM   #2
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When your current situtation doesn't pay the bills, you gotta follow the money.
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Old 10-12-06, 08:55 AM   #3
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Take the job offer. Yes it will be diffcult to adjust to the language issue but you are already half-way there. Also it sounds like its that time to move on especially cause of the money part. Its a door opening so I say walk thru it!!!
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Old 10-12-06, 09:00 AM   #4
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"Another issue is the Chinese: I am in China, and learning Chinese was one of the main reasons I came here. Company 2 would improve my Chinese immensely, since I would have to use it a lot every day."


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Old 10-12-06, 09:00 AM   #5
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If you're on contract for 6 months and have the possibility of a full-time position afterwards w/ an increase in pay and the work you're doing now is interesting and rewarding, I'd say stick it out, live thrifty and take the F/T position afterwards. A good job that you enjoy is hard to find.
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Old 10-12-06, 09:03 AM   #6
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Yeah, I was sort of afraid people were going to say that I should take it . It is the more responsible thing to do, but it's tough since I'm really enjoying where I am now. However, I'm not sure that it's fair to say that it's "time to move on", since I've only been working at my current job for about 3 weeks.

I've decided that I'm going to tell my boss tomorrow that I've been offered a paying job and see if he can give me a competing offer. We'll see what happens.
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Old 10-12-06, 09:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyossarian
If you're on contract for 6 months and have the possibility of a full-time position afterwards w/ an increase in pay and the work you're doing now is interesting and rewarding, I'd say stick it out, live thrifty and take the F/T position afterwards. A good job that you enjoy is hard to find.

I would agree with this as well but he said it was only brought up in "casual" conversation and also IF the position came up. Many places will tell someone this if they are impressed with your work. It is not a promise as of yet, right? If they told you this in an evaluation/promotional meeting and there WAS an opening, then I would stay.

Another thing to consider: What happens after the six months when the contract expires? Why was it only for six months? Is this a probationary period?
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Old 10-12-06, 09:08 AM   #8
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I've decided that I'm going to tell my boss tomorrow that I've been offered a paying job and see if he can give me a competing offer.
That's a good strategy.

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Old 10-12-06, 09:10 AM   #9
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Hmmm... lots to think about, but it's really time for bed now. Thanks for the wise words! I'll keep you all posted. Good night!
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Old 10-12-06, 09:32 AM   #10
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If you do talk to your current boss, keep it brief and factual. There's nothing worse than an employee who tries to get two perspective employers in a bidding war, it's a surefire way to burn bridges.

I like what jyo said, though. If you like where you are now, by all means try to stay there.
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Old 10-12-06, 10:27 AM   #11
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I think you really answered your own question in the post. Go with what your heart tells you.
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Old 10-12-06, 01:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb
I've decided that I'm going to tell my boss tomorrow that I've been offered a paying job and see if he can give me a competing offer. We'll see what happens.

Good strategy. You've nothing to lose by giving your current employer a chance to match the offer (or at least make one that's vaguely competitive). Just don't let them drag their feet on it. If they want to keep you, make sure they know they have to do it soon.

One thing I've re-learned the hard way in recent months is that good jobs, even ones with people you like and work you find interesting, don't always last. They can dry up very quickly. Good luck with this and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 10-12-06, 04:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb
So some of you may have been following the not-particularly-interesting melodrama that has been my search for an apartment (successful), and my search for a job that is fulfilling and allows me to feed myself (see below).

A quick update: I'm currently working for about US$75 a month at a job (internship) three days a week, and am happy there. My co-workers are a lot of fun and the work is generally interesting, with some opportunities for really cool projects over the next few months. I work on a variety of projects across different industries, which keeps my interest up. I signed a 6-month contract that is essentially non-binding -- I can give them a week's notice and leave with no penalty. I have been given very good feedback on my work, and have been told in casual conversations that I would be welcome to join the company full time if such a position were to come up.

Today, I received a phone call from another company -- I'll call it Company 2. I had been to an interview with a while back, but they didn't have any positions to offer me. Now, they have a position -- a full time job for a decent salary. The company is much more China-focused than the place I'm working at now, so I would have to use my Chinese a lot more; in my current job, I need Chinese only occasionally on the phone or to double-check a translation. Being forced to use my Chinese daily would improve my language skills hugely, but it would also mean a very steep learning curve for the first few months. I would be assigned to a position on a team working with a particular (US-based) company in China, and so would not encounter the same sort of variety I'm seeing in my current job.

I'm not sure what to do. I'm really enjoying my current job, and see it as providing me with more interesting work than Company 2, at least for the next year or so. One problem is money: if this were just about a raise, I would be more willing to stay where I am -- but this is the difference between being able to fully support myself (and buy bike parts!), and not being able to do so at all. Another issue is the Chinese: I am in China, and learning Chinese was one of the main reasons I came here. Company 2 would improve my Chinese immensely, since I would have to use it a lot every day.

Basically, staying where I am is fun and interesting, but doesn't pay or give me much Chinese practice. It's comfortable. Moving would help my Chinese, and give me a salary I could live on, but will be more stressful and difficult, at least in the short term (because of the language). The basic job is essentially the same in both places: editing and researching.

It's not the worst situation to be in, so I'm not looking for pity/sympathy . But if any of you Foosters have sage advice, I'd like to hear it!

Sorry for the long and rambling message.
What a long post, i'm telling ya you should write a novel/book man .
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Old 10-12-06, 05:26 PM   #14
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Let me be the diseinter here.

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That when you were walking forward
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But things ain't quite that simple.
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Old 10-12-06, 05:39 PM   #15
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Before doing anything, including talking to your boss be sure just what that contract being non-binding really means. I'm not talking legally, I mean cultural expectations. IF you are breaking the unwritten rules and the industry you are involved in is one where everyone knows everyone else it spell real trouble if that is what you want to do long term. If you plan to be over there for a year or two the risk is far less.

I'm not saying what to do other than to be aware that the cultural expectations may be far differetn from what anyone on this board (my self included) is used to.
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Old 10-12-06, 06:41 PM   #16
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That's a good point, Keith99, but my current place of work (and boss) are both American -- so not much to worry about in that sense. Off to work in a few minutes!

Thanks again for all your comments.
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Old 10-12-06, 06:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb
So some of you may have been following the not-particularly-interesting melodrama that has been my search for an apartment (successful), and my search for a job that is fulfilling and allows me to feed myself (see below).

A quick update: I'm currently working for about US$75 a month at a job (internship) three days a week, and am happy there. My co-workers are a lot of fun and the work is generally interesting, with some opportunities for really cool projects over the next few months. I work on a variety of projects across different industries, which keeps my interest up. I signed a 6-month contract that is essentially non-binding -- I can give them a week's notice and leave with no penalty. I have been given very good feedback on my work, and have been told in casual conversations that I would be welcome to join the company full time if such a position were to come up.

Today, I received a phone call from another company -- I'll call it Company 2. I had been to an interview with a while back, but they didn't have any positions to offer me. Now, they have a position -- a full time job for a decent salary. The company is much more China-focused than the place I'm working at now, so I would have to use my Chinese a lot more; in my current job, I need Chinese only occasionally on the phone or to double-check a translation. Being forced to use my Chinese daily would improve my language skills hugely, but it would also mean a very steep learning curve for the first few months. I would be assigned to a position on a team working with a particular (US-based) company in China, and so would not encounter the same sort of variety I'm seeing in my current job.

I'm not sure what to do. I'm really enjoying my current job, and see it as providing me with more interesting work than Company 2, at least for the next year or so. One problem is money: if this were just about a raise, I would be more willing to stay where I am -- but this is the difference between being able to fully support myself (and buy bike parts!), and not being able to do so at all. Another issue is the Chinese: I am in China, and learning Chinese was one of the main reasons I came here. Company 2 would improve my Chinese immensely, since I would have to use it a lot every day.

Basically, staying where I am is fun and interesting, but doesn't pay or give me much Chinese practice. It's comfortable. Moving would help my Chinese, and give me a salary I could live on, but will be more stressful and difficult, at least in the short term (because of the language). The basic job is essentially the same in both places: editing and researching.

It's not the worst situation to be in, so I'm not looking for pity/sympathy . But if any of you Foosters have sage advice, I'd like to hear it!

Sorry for the long and rambling message.
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Old 10-12-06, 07:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind
"Another issue is the Chinese: I am in China, and learning Chinese was one of the main reasons I came here. Company 2 would improve my Chinese immensely, since I would have to use it a lot every day."


Listen to yourself Goobers. The answer is in your goal.
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Old 10-12-06, 08:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb
I've decided that I'm going to tell my boss tomorrow that I've been offered a paying job and see if he can give me a competing offer. We'll see what happens.

This is what I would have done. It is amazing what can happen when the employer realizes they may lose you.
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Old 10-12-06, 09:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I've decided that I'm going to tell my boss tomorrow that I've been offered a paying job and see if he can give me a competing offer. We'll see what happens.
What if they match the offer?

Still doesn't address the language issue.
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Old 10-12-06, 09:33 PM   #21
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Old 10-12-06, 10:56 PM   #22
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Why is it that this thread has prompted half of us to talk like the blind dude from "Kung Fu"?
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Old 10-13-06, 05:41 AM   #23
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Why is it that this thread has prompted half of us to talk like the blind dude from "Kung Fu"?


All right, it was a really weird day. I had a meeting with my boss who said he totally understood my situation, and that he'd love for me to stay in the Beijing office if they had a position to offer me -- but they don't. I thought that was that, but then he said, "But we do have a position that you might want to look into... in Shanghai. They have some candidates, but haven't really found anyone yet, and I think you would be a great fit for the job". So now I'm thinking about whether I would like to move to Shanghai, for a much more senior job than I would have at the aforementioned Company 2, not to mention nearly double the salary. I love living in Beijing, but Shanghai is a fascinating place, too -- and would be good for my Chinese since I would get used to hearing something other than the Beijing accent.

Anyway, we're going to talk more about it next week, so I have the weekend to think about it. But my head's kind of spinning right now. Mostly in a good way .
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Old 10-13-06, 06:00 AM   #24
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Shanghai for the win.

Just an opinion.

Sleep on it.

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Old 10-13-06, 07:53 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb


All right, it was a really weird day. I had a meeting with my boss who said he totally understood my situation, and that he'd love for me to stay in the Beijing office if they had a position to offer me -- but they don't. I thought that was that, but then he said, "But we do have a position that you might want to look into... in Shanghai. They have some candidates, but haven't really found anyone yet, and I think you would be a great fit for the job". So now I'm thinking about whether I would like to move to Shanghai, for a much more senior job than I would have at the aforementioned Company 2, not to mention nearly double the salary. I love living in Beijing, but Shanghai is a fascinating place, too -- and would be good for my Chinese since I would get used to hearing something other than the Beijing accent.

Anyway, we're going to talk more about it next week, so I have the weekend to think about it. But my head's kind of spinning right now. Mostly in a good way .
This is a very good thing! You've obviously impressed some folks, so good job! It's also nice that your current boss recognizes that there is a qualitative difference between what you've got right now and what Company 2 has offered you. See if he's willing to recommend you for the Shanhai post--not just tell you that you'd be great for it, but tell someone who's making the hiring decision. Congratulations! It looks like you've got several good opportunities here.
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