Startupfilter: I'm a 2ndgen hire at a startup (non-computer) in Beijing, and I want promotionZ. HOW DO I GET THEM??? Because I was promised them. The "more inside" is long...
posted by saysthis to human relations (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Grammar mistakes are intentional.
Here's my situation: I, the stereotypical Non-Conformist freelance worker in a city full of people trying to get ahead by Any Means Necessary, was roped into a company by a friend of mine by very informal means. She is the manager of this new startup, a former consultant and freelancer like I was (and still am on weekends), and basically chased me down and told me that I MUST work for this company, because she needs (here come the caps again) Good People. And I was told, at the outset, that I'm one of the most promotable people in this company by the very person who manages promotions.
Now, normally I wouldn't do this AT ALL. I am vehemently anti- 9-5 and took pride in not being a part of office culture. I've never done it before, and was perfectly content not to. But, the truth is, my youthful idealism (I'm 24) isn't edible and doesn't convince other people to work with me, and over time it became pretty obvious that I'd need to do some time in an office and nail down all of what goes into being a 9-5 monkey (no disrespect intended) before people would respect me enough as a freelancer to give me money without questioning my capacity to understand what an office needs. When this opportunity came along, I figured it may as well be for a friend, who won't subject me to the usual manager/coworker/TPS-reports grind.
I've been in the office two weeks now, and I understand completely why I needed this. I need this experience, and I need it to be GOOD. This company is a visa agent for a specialized training program for a very specific skillset in demand both in England and vastly in need of reform in China. My job is to help with applications and train those who need to go for an interview how to interview. This company is very ethical, they won't EVER teach an applicant to lie or exaggerate, the owner is a man who isn't shy with bonuses and takes suggestions well, and they're as multicultural a team as you'll find anywhere, with staff that I can count from 8 countries (my bosses, in descending order, are Singaporean, American, and Chinese, with a primary secretary from the Philippines who makes more than I do), pay scales are equal, there's no exploiting the locals here, or aggrandizing the Anglosphere, or duping the furriners. They're small, roughly 15 people in-office, with a few in the field, and they're well-connected, and through those connections our client base has exploded 2000% in a year, I shit you not. That's why they hired me. I've found my coworkers knowledgeable and worth the time in the office, the work is satisfying and interesting and just crammed with resume fodder...basically it's ideal. The pay? Well, that's what I'm worried about.
Currently I make about twice what qualifies as standard 9-5 fare for Beijing (for what I do), and as expat wages go, it's on the low end. I could be making twice this by staying freelance (well, in a good month). And I don't need the money. I don't pay rent, I own, I have a decent car (in Beijing that's status symbol #1), and I don't have any dependents, but I do have a girlfriend I'm devoted to, who is in the process of starting her own company, which basically secures me for a visa if I need it. Now, the owner of the company is Singaporean, and because he pays twice the normal office wage, he expects a Singaporean work ethic. The thing about this company is, most of the employees are imports from either foreign countries who are glad for the China experience or imports from outside of Beijing who are glad for the wage differential. I'm competing, and working, mostly with economic migrants. He DOES promote. More hires will be coming soon, I expect. And what he expects is devotion, utter, total devotion. Which I can give, but which I don't know how long or how hard I'll have to give. I'm okay with it, but I need some pointers before I dive in.
The clincher in all this is, I signed on not just because of the promotions promised and the requisite benefits (which, really, do outstrip anything I could make as a freelance translator in Beijing in the next few years), but because I want to learn how to run and grow a company. It's a small office, and the various departments have privately expressed interest in my experience. I'm the only non-Chinese on-staff who speaks, reads, and writes Mandarin, and I do have substantial teaching and marketing experience, which are the two departments I don't work in.
And (if you're not annoyed by the tone and claims already) I can tell you, coming from the freelance world, I've rubbed some people the wrong way. I got a call from that friend, 2nd in charge at the company, telling me she was getting some bad feedback about me, most of it having to do with me being a little too carefree with my words and behavior, none with the quality of my work, which I was praised by coworkers for. I think I was a bit too boisterous my first day, but I've reined that in and not sensed any bad karma from my coworkers since. But...who knows.
What I need, simply, is advice. If I'm to accomplish what I set out to do in this company, which is learn by practice how to grow and market a startup, I need some mental guidelines to go by. If you were me, what would you do? If you've had this kind of experience, how did you finagle your way into the upper echelons while making sure everything you did was for the good of all? I don't want to step on anyone's toes, and I don't want to piss anyone off. I just want to prove that I'm worth the responsibilities (and promotionZ) I was told I'd be right for. I've just completed my first major independent contribution to the team according to the standards set by the department I'm working for (though by my own standards with a little weekend overtime I could double what I've done), and crunch time for that 2000% expansion is coming...next week. What if I put in that overtime? Would that offend the rest of the team or would it help my case with the boss (which inevitably will go through the boss of our team)? I'm confused, and if you've got some advice for a situation like this, I could definitely use it. And just general advice for a company like this. I'm more than a n00b, I'm a freelancer, and I need help!