5 Quirks of Chinese Colleagues

NiuShi's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,027

Every office has their winners, but here are just a few of the goofy things you might encounter while working with Chinese colleagues. Those with China experience, definitely sound off at the bottom here.

1) Now while I'm sure what I eat in the office gives my colleagues room for pause as well, there are a few things that should never happen. Probably number one on my list thus far is eating hot dogs on a stick and milk for breakfast.

A close second is eating spicy peppers on the hottest days of the summer, both so that they sweat to cool off and also so they breathe more heavily so their mouth cools down too. It's all about balancing their Qi, I am told. Which brings me to number 2.

2) There is no need for a Qi or FengShui App on your smartphone to help you with your work. If you are following your Qi app that is telling you to drink chrysanthemum tea in the late morning because your inner temperature is too cool, I'm going to go ahead and argue that you've got a shedload more to study about this whole Qi thing before you call yourself an expert.

Similarly, stacking all of your papers on the left side of your desk and then arbitrarily moving them to the right side and back again on a two or three day cycle because your FengShui isn't in order...? Come on people. That's just making me doubt the validity of your Ph.D. from Cambridge in chem.

3) Naps. Naps on naps on naps. For all you out there with Chinese colleagues, you may have experienced this before - it's basically a siesta. But... face down on your laptop. Heavy breathing. Drool on mouse pad. Just killin' it.

4) And while they're napping, the chances are quite high they are dreaming of the games they just finished playing during lunch. I wouldn't be caught dead playing World of Warcraft of Minecraft or whatever version it is they're repping (I know, I know, to each his own) but busting out your level 46 mage three minutes after a DD call to blow off some steam doesn't look so professional. Neither does playing a brick-breaker equivalent on your phone, or breaking out the iPad for Angry Birds. Save it for home, buddy.

5) Dress code, or lack thereof. Quite honestly, my colleagues have done a pretty strong job with this one, but I have seen some absurd getups during meetings from those outside the firm but in the industry. Gym pants with words on the backside and leopard tights are not rare sightings in these parts. For the guys out there, don't forget the belts at home. But you can definitely forget the short-sleeve dress shirts. Swap the frequency in which you wear both of those things and we'll be all set.

What are some quirks your colleagues have that drive you bonkers? How do you deal with it and stay focused?

Over the next few weeks I'm going to drop in a few blogs posts about PE in China and the differences between that and elsewhere. Drop me a line here if there's a particular something you would like read about.

Comments (16)

May 23, 2013

I see nothing wrong with tasty food on a stick at a night market... it's the 9 a.m. steaming sausage and washing it down with warm milk that puts me off... :)

May 22, 2013

+1 on the naps. When I was growing up we took naps everyday through elementary school. Embrace it!!!

I've also worked with girls that bring "purifier" to their cubicles...because supposedly it makes their skins look better. LOLPollution

May 22, 2013

Definitely +1 on the naps. Had a Chinese friend in B-school in our group for a case study & presentation. He literally would take naps sitting up, on top of tables. No joke. 10 mins just sitting there, but definitely out.

We tested this because we threw things at him and he didn't move. These things hurt when someone throws them at you.

May 22, 2013

Spicy stinky tofu lunches in the hot, sweaty summer. Nuff said.

May 22, 2013

I work with chinese colleagues and none of them do any of that. Except maybe no. 5

I have walked through a local PE firm's office though and seen 20 analysts side by side with headphones on playing CS during lunch hour though

May 24, 2013

No offense but only taking naps seems coherent...worked in china for nearly 5 years and this was 10 years ago in some quite remote areas...the rest of the stuff is not very relevant in my view. I think the number one danger in China is eating with colleagues, primarily because some of their food is just unusual for us or some of the way they eat is really funny, borderline disgusting (e.g. eating the full shrimp and later spitting out the shell on the table...ahahah)

May 27, 2013

Hey man, people eat that stuff cause it tastes delicious. Never heard of the shrimp thing before...Ew.

May 22, 2013

The naps include Japanese co-workers. Its considered an honor to nap on the job b/c that means you have been working hard and staying up late. I once had my boss presenting in front of a board room and 4 senior members of their team were asleep before the presentation started (which was 11am). Its crazy but no one cared and just went with it.

May 22, 2013

Watched a guy crank out a 20 minute workout in business casual at his desk. Including squats while reading research.

May 22, 2013
The Greater Fool:

Watched a guy crank out a 20 minute workout in business casual at his desk. Including squats while reading research.

I have seen that before. It is a bit unsettling at first but you get used to it. Kind of like when your boss gets drunk at 11 AM and comes over to babble to you for no particular reason. What I can't stand is the eating nosily in inappropriate moments. I swear to god, nothings worse than hearing someone slurping garlicky food during our annual financial review.

Morpheus: Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

May 23, 2013
The Greater Fool:

Watched a guy crank out a 20 minute workout in business casual at his desk. Including squats while reading research.

A slightly less aggressive but equally bizarre 'workout at the desk' story. A Chinese colleague of mine was shifting back and forth in her chair repeatedly - for about half an hour. I asked her if something was wrong, and she replied that she was strengthening her butt muscles because she was going out to a club this weekend.

Dedication.

    • 1
May 23, 2013
NiuShi:
The Greater Fool:

Watched a guy crank out a 20 minute workout in business casual at his desk. Including squats while reading research.

A slightly less aggressive but equally bizarre 'workout at the desk' story. A Chinese colleague of mine was shifting back and forth in her chair repeatedly - for about half an hour. I asked her if something was wrong, and she replied that she was strengthening her butt muscles because she was going out to a club this weekend.

Dedication.

Level: Asian.

May 22, 2013

hahahah, this is some funny shit. The worst is when they bust out salted fish fry rice or in SG and Malay they have durian parties.

I guess, I am not Chinese enough to appreciate those as some of my colleagues would say.

May 23, 2013

this is some hilarious shit!

May 23, 2013

The slurping of noodles always throws me off my game.

Must have >50 photos from inside the office and they've never been taken off my my phone b/c after I tell someone about the latest happening, their response is always "pictures of it didn't happen." What an entertaining bunch.

May 23, 2013
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