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Friday, June 12, 2009

Working with Chinese - Advice

I have worked with a number of ethnic Chinese in the US, as well as being married to one for 20 years. A few observations on successfully working with them, as a non-Chinese...


  1. If doing a project, always define and get agreement in writing of what the deliverables will be. This way you avoid doing extra work for free.
  2. Get a 50% deposit. I did not do this on one project and the person stiffed me. Not a Chinese, but still good advice unless you are working with a close friend or family.
  3. Avoid doing projects for family. They will never feel OK about the price unless it's free, and will probably even then complain. Which is why I no longer do home improvements, it's easier to hire a contractor and have them get the blame. I heard for to many years about a marble floor I put in...
  4. If your Father-in-law wants to do something a certain way, even if not the best way, just do it unless it creates problems. There is the right way, wrong way, and your Father-in-laws way.
  5. If your boss... See #4. Very similar to the experience of working with entrepreneurs.
  6. If the person trys to get you to do more work by promising a future promotion, job opportunity, etc. get it in writing. And even if you get it writing you may still not get it. I have seen this where people are hired, but since you don't have experience in this industry we need to start you out at X salary. Then in 6 months when the person knows the industry, there is another reason not to increase the pay (company is doing poorly, we have stopped giving bonuses, it's not fair to other people in the same position, etc.).
  7. If a Chinese customer calls up, have them speak to a non-Chinese to limit the amount of negotiations. Chinese customers have a higher level of expectations they will be able to negotiate with a Chinese speaker, than a non-Chinese speaker.
  8. Be trusting, but always verify :-)



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