What got me to be a worker here in China is a long process in the making. What sealed the deal was a professor during graduate school @ the University of Illinois in Chicago. He offered an internship and I got myself a job. The excitement of the job, blinded me from the external factors, as well as the internal factors, the work place. The work place environment in China is just as different as everything else.
Americans are known around the world for our smiles, our friendliness, our ability to make personal connections with others and our ability to adapt. But where we are in the world and who we are at the time will greatly affect ones ability to be ones self. I, perhaps like many others, love to say hi at the beginning of the day and bye at the end. It is the most simplest forms of acknowledgement. It says: I am here with you and you are here with me. It is a fundamental rule of engagement with others. Now I tried to be friendly with my chinese counterparts, I worked at it. But nothing seemed to happen. Many people will tell you that it is because they are shy, they are worried about their english skills. I use to believe such a thing and I still do when it comes to individuals I newly meet.
I talked to one of my coworkers, who will go unnamed, about my feelings. Out of all the people in my office and in the building, she would have been the closest thing to a friend. In talking with her about my feelings, about the fact that there is little communication with the others, she simple replied with a static response: this is just the way things are, you should learn to deal with it. After that I stopped caring, or at least showing that I cared. At times it feels so awkward and other times I hardly notice that I am in a room with 12-15 other people. I have never been in such a situation. I hope to never be in another situation like it. Being blind to ones environment is being blind to ones self. Not caring, is not to be human. Having feelings, is having reactions that allow us to grow. Teaches us how to handle new situation. I care, I care so much it hurts. I cannot help but feel. And until I get them to open up to change, as I am willing to change, I will not be satisfied. I’m going to give it another go. The work place is ones second home. And in China, this feels like my only home. It’s really not even about change, perhaps it is simple about acknowledgement and accommodation. Learning how to accommodated