Monday, June 30, 2008

You mean I get to sleep and watch TV at work?

Many people say that Americans are overworked in their lives and jobs. This internship in China has me thinking that this is true! I though that working in China would be filled with long stressful days and demanding schedules. This has been the exact opposite!
People without and education in China may have long hours but so far the office workers I talk to have about the same schedule.

People at my office work 9 am to 6 pm with a 1.5 hour lunch break! They also don’t show up early for work. I have come to work at 8:30-8:45 because of the bus schedule and often I am the first one to show up in my department. People say “Oh you are so early!”

One cool thing about H&T’s office is that they play a short song to begin work, end work, and for your lunch break times. The song in the morning almost motivates you to work and the song at the end of the day sounds light and joyous because you are done with work! There however is no music that is playing throughout the day like in some offices in America.

At noon all of the workers start their lunch breaks. They commonly bring noodles and rice from home and eat it at their desks. Then nap time comes! From about 12:45 to 1:30 almost all of the workers take out a small pillow and put their head on their desks! They even turn off the lights! This nap is part of Chinese culture and you can see people everywhere taking naps. I have seen people in clothing stores, restaurants, and on the street getting a nice afternoon nap. One day the guy next to me was in such a deep sleep that he didn’t wake up to the music so one of the supervisors had to come and tap him on the shoulder!

When 1:30 rolls around the “lunch is over” song plays over the speakers and it is back to work! The Chinese respect their break times more that Americans do also. I think if Americans are really busy they would work right through lunch, but I don’t think this is true here. My manager says that she is really busy but I still see her watching videos online during her break. She is not lazy it is just the culture here that you get a definite break/nap time that is not to be interfered with.

Many of the workers who speak English will watch American TV shows on their break. My department, which is all female, likes Desperate Housewives and I Prison Break.

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