4 Reasons Why Breaking a Work Contract in China isn't the End of the World

4 Reasons Why Breaking a Work Contract in China isn't the End of the World
Nov 06, 2018 By Degen Hill , eChinacities.com

Many people often feel “trapped” by their work contract in China, believing that breaking it (leaving early) would be the end of the world. However, I’m here to tell you it’s not. I’m not suggesting you go out of your way to not honor your commitment, but simply hope to shed some light on the facts of the matter and the opportunities that may come with cutting your current responsibilities short.

broken chain
Photo: Aqua Mechanical

New offers won’t wait

“Opportunity doesn’t knock twice,” seems to hold true, especially with job offers in China. If you’ve been thinking about changing jobs for a while, particularly if you’ve been in your current role for a few years, and you get an offer for your dream job, don’t let the remaining time on your contract deter you from snapping it up.

If you get headhunted or receive an offer, it’s usually because that company needs someone now, not in four to six months’ time. There might be other reasons to not take the new job, but, “I still have a few months left on my contract” shouldn’t be one of them.

It pays to be brave

If you’ve been thinking of opening a restaurant, becoming a certified dive instructor or freelancing as a wedding photographer, there’s never been a better time than now. Just because you have seven more months left on your current work contract doesn’t mean you need to put your dreams on hold. 

If pursuing your dreams doesn’t work out, at least you went for it. You’ll pretty much always be able to find another job in China, but waiting until you finish your current work contract to go it alone might just be an excuse to not take a risk. Sometimes, life is about jumping in at the deep end.

The consequences are minimal

Don’t get me wrong, breaking a work contract in China can have some consequences, like seeing your work visa revoked by the company or having to pay a small fine. As long as you plan accordingly, however, neither of these is too serious.

It’s not a criminal offense to end your contract early, and often, if you speak with the HR about why you’re leaving, things can be worked out to ensure a smooth exit. Finishing a work contract looks good on a resume, but if you’ve got other opportunities or strong enough reasons to leave, don’t fear what might happen if you do.

Doing what’s best for your career and/or mental health should come before the minimal backlash you may or may not feel for leaving your work contract early.

Being unhappy sucks

If you’re thinking about breaking your current work contract in China, there’s probably a reason. Even if you don’t have something else lined up, isn’t it better to be happy doing nothing than spending 40 hours a week doing something that makes you miserable?

It’s cliché, but life’s too short to be spending most of your time doing something that isn’t fulfilling. Sure, your job might pay the bills, but if you’re spending at least eight hours a day doing it, shouldn’t it be something you at least enjoy a bit? I suppose it depends entirely on your personal situation, so ultimately only you know what will work for you.

If you’ve broken a work contract in China, let us know how it went and why you decided to leave!

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Keywords: work contract in China


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The article is correct given the author's own experience, so it's only natural that your mileage may vary. I'd say that the most frequent and blatant breaches to labor contracts are done by ESL-training centers.

Nov 08, 2018 14:28 Report Abuse