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.