The Halfpat Life: Jon

Friday, April 13, 2007 2:17

Moving to Beijing almost 10 years ago, Jon came over with a corporate parachute to assist a Fortune 100 consumer electronics company on a project. Now, he is cofounder and managing partner of an industrial design firm in Shanghai.

To help folks get ready he has no recommendations at all… just do it

Language Background:
On a scale from 1 to 10, what level is your Mandarin?8
How often do you use Mandarin in general? Hourly
How often do you use Chinese language skills at work? 75% +

Even with a histroy of speaking the language, he studied the lanugage prior to his arrival, and wishes he had studied more.

Living in Shanghai:

Top 5 things about living in Shanghai
1) massages
2) business opportunities
3) good Chinese food
4) did I mention the massages yet?
5) Ayi

Bottom 5 things about living in Shanghai
1) air pollution
2) too crowded
3) huge tax on imported items
4) workers with smelly feet
5) long flight home

Living in an apartment, his employer (himself) does not provide any benefits (other than sweat equity and long nights)

A recent day in Shanghai for Jon was seeing:

I look out the window and there is a worker threatening to jump off a building because his boss hasn’t paid him… I pass by a street filled with fire trucks and see an apartment on the 20th floor burning, upon further investigation, I find a box of fireworks on the street under scrutiny since it is believed to have set off the fire… I get a set of stickers back from the printer only to find that what I ordered was reinterpreted by the printer because he thought it looked better that way… I sure ain’t in Kansas any more Toto!

Career path:

Unlike most halfpats, Jon is NOT concerned about what career opportunities exist for him if and when he leaves (he has no plans to leave, and it is still unclear if his current shop would lead him abroad… although after 18 months of work, it is definately starting to look like there will be plenty to do in China.

Do you have a business plan on the shelves? Yes
Have you ever carried 2 cards? yes…. currently does

While in China he has pickied up skills in defensive and offensive driving, how to make soy sauce from human hair

Hindsight being 20/20 … jon would do it all over again, but says it would depend on the experiences of others before he would recommend them making the jump.

What keeps him in China?

Business opportunities and the massages… he new wine store (Just Grapes) is next to 4 massage parlors

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