Read Part I of the story here
It has almost been a year since my last update. A lot of things have happened in the past year, and I decided to pick this blog up and keep on writing.
Sarah’s Back, and Worse then Ever
People come and go in one’s life and even memories don’t last forever. Sarah, Andy and all the other people are already history and will eventually be forgotten, but the past year has taught me so much that I feel those experiences could be shared with more people. And there’s something really dark in this story that I will reveal as you read.
We had another TA called C. She’s one year younger than Sarah and has a totally different personality. She doesn’t hide many secrets in her heart; sometimes she would say honest things very bluntly. This in itself wasn’t a big issue. Unfortunately, Sarah was too smart to not to use it for her own profit.
One afternoon, Sarah patted me on my shoulder with a disgusted facial expression, pointing at C with the corner of her eyes and whispered to me, “She’s so annoying. Look, when the timetabling assistant asked her what subject she can teach, she first chose reading and writing after she thought for a long time, then she changed her mind and picked speaking and listening, now she’s not happy with the time and changed again!” I asked Sarah what subject she wanted to teach, “I don’t mind, she said, I am OK with whatever, I am just feeling sorry for the timetabling person.” The timetabling assistant was sitting just the opposite of Sarah’s desk; she was loud enough to make sure our convocation could be heard. The next thing I knew, C never got any classes anymore, and Sarah had countless classes throughout the week. And if you know about TA salary structure, you’ll know more classes means more money.
But that was only the beginning, Sarah was not content with all those TA classes she got, so she went to talk to the boss, she said she could do with a bit of teaching, even if it was not paid. Soon she got 30 extra classes, and C refused to do it for free and I’m not surprised, I wouldn’t do it for free. But I felt this was tricky, Sarah was not qualified to be a teacher yet, and she knew no more of the subjects than the students.
C You Later!
And soon, by the end of the month, Sarah went to talk to the boss, she said, look, I taught 30 classes this month for free and it’s not like an hour or two and it’s just unfair, you should pay me by hour, unless you want me to stop teaching those students, you don’t have enough teachers anyways and I am still a cheaper labor than the experienced teachers. She also went to negotiate the teaching hours and told the boss the ones she taught after normal working hours should be changed into her leaves. By the end of the day, she also got 15 days off signed by the boss.
And a week later, Sarah’s picture was on the company’s official site as a famous teacher, but C’s pic was not on. Sarah boasted about it. I kinda felt funny about it because C was the only TA whose picture was on the site. And not just that, other people were all dressing formal or smart, but Sarah was dressed inappropriately in her pink down coat in the picture. She looked like a vegetable seller in the street.
I felt sorry for C, and one day, I asked C how work was going. She said she got very few classes and her picture was not on the site, so she was sad. I told her to talk to the timetabling assistant. And C told me the timetabling girl told her the classes were equally given to both of the TAs and her picture was not on coz she never submitted pictures. But C told me she did. So she did it again, and she submitted 2 pictures, one was showing her face clearly, the other one was not so good. And the timetabling girl submitted the not good one to the tech team, the tech guy then talked to C about the pic she submitted was not clear enough. And by then C realized the timetabling assistant hated her, and she did all those on purpose. But what C did not know was how Sarah brainwashed the timetabling assistant by playing the victim card in the beginning and won this game completely. By then there was nothing much that C could do so she wanted to quit. Sarah the ultimate winner eventually took over all C’s classes.
But don’t think Sarah will to be content with that. Sarah now sat between me and an experienced teacher named Y with about 10 years teaching experience. Most of the time Sarah would talk to me and ignore Y, and even when she talked to me, she would wave her hand and told me to come closer to her instead of leaning toward me. Later, I realized this was very bad- if the boss ever saw me leaning on her desk and talking, he would think that I initiated the chat and was disturbing the other colleagues. So despite that fact that I let her gift me “a limited edition” e-dictionary (which you could get on Baidu for free), I grew more aware of her traps. But nothing in the world is free, even the free dictionary she gifted to me.
Sarah Tries to Scam Me (Again)
Soon Sarah told me she felt she was too poor and her students were asking for her private tutoring in her home and were willing to give her 150 RMB per hour, she needed that money but she could not decide whether she should do it. This already felt very tricky, she’s trying to steal the company’s resources but she’s asking me for advice? I did not want to get myself into trouble, so I told her it was up to her but to be aware of the consequences. But obviously, I was wrong about her intentions. If she was so innocent to just want to steal some students herself, she would not tell me this and would just do it secretly. Then she continued, “I know a smart way and no one can trace it back to me. I will first add all my students on my WeChat, and then I’ll make them follow me on my Baidu forum. And if I get caught, I will tell the company those were my own fans, not the company resources.” I was surprised she would be so sneaky, but that was not even her real intention.
Then she asked me, why don’t you do any part time jobs? I told her I was not like her- I was a bit lazy and I had no resources. She then said, so you would teach part-time if you had students? I told her maybe. She then asked me, “if I could find many students, and I share half of them with you and they’ll all give you 150 RMB per hour, will you teach them?” I did not answer her as I knew this didn’t feel right. Then she continued. She told me she could let the students follow her on the Baidu forum but she had no good content to share with them as she was no expert in the subjects, but I was. So she wondered if I could steal some company resources and content and share them with her so she could put them up online to keep the followers. Then she also felt she was not famous enough, so she wondered if she could use the link of my pictures from my company website to attract the students, “They’ll be your students and pay you once they follow.”
By then I realized what her business really was and it really wasn’t about making me rich, it could instead put me into great trouble. If the students ever let me teach them and pay me 150 RMB per hour, Sarah could be charging them a lot more, but I would be doing all the hard work. And not just that, since she would be putting my pictures and the contents only I could get access to on her forum, students would think it was me. If the company ever discovered those students were company resources too, they’d think I stole them. So I refused her.
Then she stopped talking to me and started to gift Y the same free e-dictionary and was really close to her for the following days. And of course, everyone thought Sarah was really nice, thoughtful and generous until she showed her true colors…
And meanwhile something really unexpected and dark was going on in other corners of the office…which I will continue next time.
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Keywords: Office life in China Chinese offices
lol Songebob is a very good at writting. I enjoy her writting. Maybe she should negotiate with ecc for being their part time writer to keep the forum alive. Fact is she has been a great recourse of entertainment on ecc forum after me.
The reality in life is the race is not to the swift. That is why many brilliant people are poor and are not CEOs. This Sarah may be seen as sneaky and she is but she has displayed business savvy that most of us do not have. Business techniques are kinda like that LOL. She knows how to negotiate but before negotiating she builds on something so she negotiates from a position of strength and not weakness. We can learn something from her, actually. We don't need to be as sneaky but it does pay to show some team spirit by volunteering at first before demanding something or gifting people once in a while or being more cooperative and less focused on monetary concerns initially. Knowing how to deal with people is really important to get ahead in life because EQ goes a long way compared to IQ.
Sarah is the typical manipulator you find everywhere in China, where using backdoors and building dishonest guanxi network is a norm. Rats love to operate in the dark. It is their nature. Trump nailed it when he said China has a deceitful culture.
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