Foreigners creating a career in China
央视国际 2004年01月15日 17:20
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Anyone with their eye on China can not help but notice the speed of the nation's economic development, especially after its entry into the WTO. And the Chinese people are not the only to benefit from this, foreigners have also caught on and today we can find plenty that have made a career and a life for themselves here.
Jonathan Zatkin moved to Beijing in 1975 with his family. China felt like home to him, so he settled down and started to learn the language. Now he is married to an artist from Beijing, and has a daughter in grade two.
Jonathan worked in the business world for eight years, but felt all along that it wasn't his niche. A job in education seemed more and more attractive as time went by. He noticed that foreign children had a tough time adjusting to life in China. He wanted to give them the tools they needed to feel at home in Beijing. A school, he thought, shouldn't only teach children Chinese, but give them some background in culture and history as well—this is what makes for a happy and adjusted children.
Jonathon's seven years of work at the school have been rewarding. He can see the difference he has made in the students' lives. He has watched them learn to take care of others, and discover themselves along the way. He says it is by far the greatest thing he has ever done in his life.
Jonathan is a graduate of the NYU film school where he studied acting and film directing. Although he has the language down and works hard, he told me that the competition here is stiff so he is always bent on improving his skills.
I discovered that Jonathon has his own reasons for working in China. He told me that Hollywood is chock full of actors better looking and more skillful than he is, but in china there is still room for actors who can play the foreigner.
Jonathan gave himself the Chinese name caocao—a notorious figure in Chinese history. He read about caocao while he was in college. Although he knew that caocao is usually regarded as bad guy among Chinese, he appreciated caocao's cleverness and . And besides, it was a cool name.
Jonathan and Li met in 1998. Li was 21 at the time and still working hard as a university student. She was struck with his boy next door personality and sense of humor. After four years of dating they decided to make it official, and got married.
She liked Jonathon's way of treating her seriously and giving her respect. Her family also took him in as one of their own.
Six years ago Eric went looking for the ideal place to market his skills outside of France. After a careful search he hit on China as the perfect location to develop the beauty industry, so he set off for Beijing with five other business partners. Today he considers it a choice well-made.
Eric has opened 2 salons in china. And there is one more in Beijing which will start taking customers in November. He hopes to add another in Shanghai before the summer is out.
And in addition to this string of salons, Eric plans to open a school for hair design for Chinese students with teachers imported from France. The way he sees it, this will move his career along even further.
Being professional is the key to being a good hair stylist. All the stylists at Eric's salon have learned to communicate with the customers, and give their advice according to the customer's career and personal needs. The goal is that every customer walk out of the salon with a style that shows off their best features and reflects their personalities.
Johan started out hosting music and interior decorating shows on TV. He found himself using PR companies for help in contacting Chinese media for his work. So it seemed very natural after a while to open a PR company himself.
Johan's company is all about communication and an open office culture. There are no private offices for senior staff. And the employees don't waste time thinking about position or rank. Instead they put their energy into working as a team. Everyone is free to know what their coworkers are doing at any given time.
Four o'clock in the afternoon is tea time. This is when Johan and his employees engage in a straightforward exchange of ideas. Employees are free to express themselves when they feel he is wrong. Johan says it makes them feel that they are in charge in this collaborative and free environment.
Problem solving is a challenge for the individual—usually in looking for a solution to a problem he or she ends up going over the same ground again and again. In order to avoid this waste of time, Johan initiated this unique activity—they have dubbed it the 'tips meeting.'
Johan and Linlin met in 1998. At the time Linlin was anchoring for Heilongjiang province TV and did an interview with Johan. Their relationship took off from the time that they first met.
The two have a lot of interests in common and had a deep effect on each other. But Johan still has his individual interest: writing Chinese. He can write beautiful Chinese characters—back in the days when he had time he would practice 2 hours each day. Lucky for him he has a teacher to give him a hand when he needs it.
Living and working in China has become easier for foreigners as the government enacts policies encouraging their business here. China is turning into a stage for foreigners to act out their career ambitions, a place for them to make their abilities into fortune and realize their dreams.