Good days in the office mean I find the frustrations and difficulties in the office an amazing learning experience. Bad days in the office mean I get totally wound up by being subjected to ‘The Taiwanese Way.’ I think it is important to remain philosphical and remain in the former camp.
This week has been very interesting. I developed some designs for a set of cell phones. This project was very conservative but it allowed me to develop a design that was more like a fashion item rather than an item that was designed for the user with a rigorous approach. This was more like graphics design, and in fact I really enjoyed it – my Art School tutors I think would spin on their chairs to hear this though!
Firstly, I have realiased that the efficiency of working out here is incredibly low. In Europe, people come in at 9:00 and work hard and intensively with the aim of leaving on time at 5:00. Meetings are as quick as possible and generally people get on with the work. Here is different. We start at 9:30, and it is not unusual for people to still be in the office at 11:00pm at night. I usually stay to 9:00pm myself. I can certainly say that I do not get any more work done in this time. Because everyone stays so late, almost as a duty, you also feel duty-bound to also stay. What this means is that instead of leaving when the work is done, you stay, maybe surf the web for 20 minutes, check your e-mail, do some low intensity work, and then it is suddenly 10:00 at night. The locals in fact usually have a sleep in the afternoon for half and hour, sometimes play a computer game or watch a DVD. This makes me mad, but I understand that if you live with your family (as most do) it is not such a bad idea to make your living room your desk. From now on, I am concentrating on working hard, fast and leaving early, and grabbing some of my lufe back in the evenings.
The second interesting thing this week was the review of my phones. We went to see one of the most senior guys in the company and everyone is absolutely petrified of him. Our managers (also directors) quake in their boots and if he comes to the office everyone runs to their desks like rabbits running back into their holes. Meeting him was therefore a small event for me. However, although he is certainly serious and business like and very concerned with details he did not seem so intimidating to me. I can only conclude that the relative respect in heirachy compared with the UK is the major reason for this strange behaviour. It is something I will keep an eye on, but until my Chinese improves there is not much I can do about it.
Speaking of which, Chinese is very enjoyable at the moment. The first sparks of the language igniting are occuring… but there is plenty of work still to go until I get rolling.
Right. Some more photo – based posts on their way. But I am also trying to put down more words as my Dad wanted some more descriptive comment and analysis.