Monday, December 13, 2010

Snake in my boot.

Someb’dy poisn’d the Waterhoale - Thars a snaeke in mai booot!

Any of you conservative types that think shopping is a worthless activity can grab yourself a beverage of choice, popcorn (salty American, or sweet Chinese {kettle corn}).

Keep in mind that a lot of this current blog is my rant/ processing the event - so I use “you” a lot in a very direct sense. Keep in mind I’m not talking about YOU... but actually “them”, and that should hopefully become clear in the course of this blog.

I like to shop - I think that skeleton in the closet has totally reanimated and come out dancin’. I also love to haggle, depending on the environment. If you’ll recall from my trip to Beijing, I can haggle like a mad beast - and those skills are now being put to use in a high-caliber business setting where I am {re}negotiating my contract terms.

And everything was going so well. I finally got all of the paperwork signed and I have everything stamped and I no longer have affiliation with the previous company. I got the severance fee reduced, and new company paid it. I had to pay my visa transfer fee... but I guess I can handle that (sniff sniff - offended ^_^).

AND now... with ten days left until my visa expires - I need to have something new lined up.

So yesterday after classes I am told the awesome HR (human resources) person is coming to talk to me about “something.” The rumor mill had gotten to me and I heard I might (quite probably) have to go to Hong Kong (technically out of the country) before the new visa can be processed.

She shows up and we start looking at {da duh duH!!!} the contract - so she can get moving on the next step of getting my visa switched over quickly.

Well this is where it gets interesting. Keep in mind that when I was headhunted - my general compensation as promised by the owner of the three companies was ¥10,000 and they wanted flash my pasty white self on T.V. and have me be the {figure}head of the VIP center with significant sales bonuses if certain tuition goals were met for my center.

The HR Lady, and my headhunter, and I sequester ourselves in the board room and begin the process...

Checkin out the contract and the first thing I notice is that the compensation is ¥6,000. Hmmm... Excuse me... 这是SHAAA?!(dialect for WHAT!?) I actually asked that in a much more reserved and polite way. Anyhow - evidently they cant take the original copy to the foreign bureau saying that they are paying me much more than my first company because it would look like they are headhunting people... like hill-folk... and we wouldn’t want to appear that way of course. Understandable - not a problem. Im not signing it.

Everything I was ever told by my parents - both Marines, and captains at that - always get it {promises} in writing, or don’t believe them.

So that is just what I did.

Directly to the HR woman who speaks next to no English - “不好意思 但是 我不会 签证 着个 合同。 我的父母都是军人, 然后 这么 办法 - 我 不能做。 Im sorry but I cant sign this contract. My parents are both military people, so I can’t sign a contract this way.

他们 好多次 告诉我, 如果 你的 合同 不同意 跟 谁的说话, 别签证。
They have told me many times (growing up), If your contract isn’t the same as what you were told... dont sign.

Once again I apologized for the inconvenience, but stated firmly that I was unable to proceed with signing until I had some alternative that showed what I was entitled to. This wasnt about money for me - it was about having the alternatives recognized by the appropriate people.

I told them: If I am to sign something that says ¥6,000 blah blah blah and it does not get adjusted - I need you to recognize what significance that will have for our interaction. If I get stiffed, I’ll jump ship and you’ll never hear from me again. Its that serious.

So we wrote up another contract - the same thing, but a copy for me. and.... it still said ¥6,000 and their answer to that (the copy the foreign bureau would never see) is that if we sign on an alternative copy that says a higher amount of money, we would also need to go ahead and resolve all of the responsibilities/ time off agreements etc. I am fine with that.... HR lady wasn’t pleased.

Evidently she needs to have this done tonight or she doesn’t get to sleep. If we doesn’t take care of it tonight and go to the foreign bureau straight away in the morning, it is possible that I could be barred from working in China. . . I dont see how that makes sense considering all the work we went through getting the release from previous employment paperwork... but whatever - moving on.

I am not going to be cornered and forced to sign a contract that is significantly different without having something in my corner that acknowledges what I was promised.

So she scowls and goes off to adjust the standard contract appendix to acknowledge the pay difference and all the extra stuff.

Finally she finishes - and my dinner date for sushi with the VIP teachers was being seriously encroached upon. I had several phone calls to the Spanish teacher of the group that consisted of severely uncontrolled switching between Spanish and Chinese on my part. I blew some minds in that office :D.

Form editing ComPLETE!!

Back in the boardroom, we go over the appendix piece by piece. The pay has been changed to ¥8,000 - still 2,000 short of what I was promised. Interesting. Looking through the rest of the appendix - there is no mention of the sales bonus for tuition levels. There is no mention of under what conditions I would be put on TV or if that would happen at all - and no mention of what compensation I would receive.

I brought up the pay again... and they pull out a graduated pay scale for the specific school I was working at for the largest portion... and sure enough - I dont have 2-3 years of experience and the IELTS background to justify the pay. I recognize that - no problem.

Its not about money - its about having promises be kept. When a company is changing directions as constantly as this one, and has fired to foreigners within the past month and a half - i’d say I have the right to be a bit twitchy. Especially if you are going to ask me to leave another company and come to yours, you and had better honor your promises or we’re going to have some serious issues.

They tried to justify the lowering of the salary by showing me the pay scale and by bringing up my resume... which they had only just in the past week or so asked for. We’ve had dealings for the past month and a half. Not once was I questioned about my past or was my resume asked for.

We didn’t know before hand, so we needed to change the amount to be fair to the other teachers. Maybe in the near future you will be qualified for the amount of money that we had previously talked about. {paraphrase}

Im sorry... how do you as the executives try and feign being the victims of circumstance. You stand to win big in business - it is your responsibility to also make sure that things run smoothly. It is your responsibility to be well informed. I will not sacrifice MY position because of YOUR ignorance. Not fly.

It smells a lot like me becoming just a normal teacher, but instead of having the comforts of a normal teacher, I am still shuffled between two schools (one of which is the kids school - which I don’t really want to do anyways) do demonstration classes, and am expected to be at work 5 days a week even if I dont have class (in other companies you can go home if you dont have class). No thank you.

You’re haggling now my precious. If you want to change the offer, you have to expect counter offer. I will not be backed into the corner and terrified into saying yes to a much lesser deal.

If you want me to be a normal teacher, we need to revisit the deal - and I want the owner back at the table.

Once again.... I have a box of cash and endless opportunity. If I get boxed out of working in China for a year or whatever - I can live with that. I’ll go somewhere else they speak mandarin... and there are several ^_^

If you do want to revisit the deal - then talk with me... face to face... and lets do this correctly please.


I am not worried - heck I might even be home for Christmas.

I think it is terribly fascinating how fast these things can change. Things develop and degrade SO fast here.

So much is paid to the face of things - dont worry, dont worry - trust us - but there is no follow up or communication. Nothing on the middle... like Chinese bread.

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