How to Lose Your Chinese Colleagues in 7 Days

How to Lose Your Chinese Colleagues in 7 Days
Jul 27, 2015 By Malgorzata Modlinska ,

In the last few years, China has attracted more and more foreigners from all over the world. Although we are all different, have various jobs. and are spread all over the Mainland, there are two things that we have in common. First, at some point we have all had rocky points in our relationships with our local colleagues. Secondly, most of us just love reveling in never-ending complaints about it. Therefore, for those naysayers, who are keen on basking in sheer negativity (especially here online) here is a useful guide on how to lose your Chinese colleagues in just seven days!

Day One: Be Over-Confident and Bossy

So you just arrived in China or changed your job and are surrounded with new local staff. On your first day of work, make sure you enter the office like you own the place, giving off an air of over-confidence.

Do your best to let them realize how thankful they should be for having such an invaluable laowai like you on the team and have the opportunity to breathe the same air. As soon as you get your desk or office space, don’t forget to give bossy orders to everyone, treating them like they're your ayi. Demand office supplies, complain about the speed of the Internet, and roll your eyes and curse because you are not getting what you want immediately!

Day Two: Demand a VPN

Don’t lose the attitude from your first day, and continue your first week by start asking your workmates why the company doesn’t provide each and every single computer with a VPN.

If some of them don’t know what a VPN is, make a ‘duh?!’ face and proceed to inquire how they use Google, Facebook and everything else?! For bonus points, start a loud debate about Chinese history and politics and dig deep- don't let anyone in the office avoid answering your little quiz.

Day Three: Blame Your Colleagues for the Pollution

This part is really crucial and effective – look out of the window and start a monologue on how dirty China is, how unacceptable all the spitting is, and demand that Chinese people do something with about the annoying pollution! Remember to give your colleagues priceless pieces of advice like, “stop being so greedy,” and “get rid of all of the factories.” Don’t let it go until they admit that you are right!

Day Four: Alienate All Your Colleagues

Start paying close attention to how your colleagues are rendering their own tasks. Don’t second guess yourself, just approach them if you think they could do better. Without asking if they are busy, bluntly point out all the mistakes they are making. It is important that everyone else in the office hears you giving this precious feedback to your Chinese colleague. At the same time, teach them to forget about the “losing face” thing. Thanks to you bringing it up, everyone else can learn a lesson too!

Throughout the day, monitor your colleagues to make sure they are implementing your guidelines. If they fail, start another loud talk with your other foreign colleagues about how China will never improve because local people are unwilling to learn from the developed Westerners!

Then, start bothering your Chinese colleagues to help you buy 10 different things on Taobao, because instead of using normal alphabet system as the rest of the world, stubborn Chinese people stick to their insane characters and you don’t have time to learn all of them!

Day Five: Rant About Disorganization

Sooner or later you will have to deal with an unexpected situation – maybe you will be suddenly asked to substitute for your Chinese colleague or take over her tasks during her absence. Make it clear to everyone how unprofessional it is to be absent and rant about how disorganized everyone in China is. Tell your colleagues that in any developed Western country there are clear rules and strict order, and anything else is just beyond contempt!

Day Six: Brag About Your Awesome Single Life

Don’t delay talking about your private life anymore! Boast about how many parties you went to last weekend and how drunk you got. Challenge your Chinese colleagues on why they got married so early, and explain to them on how much they are missing out by starting a family at such young age! Tell them to follow your example- you don’t care at all what your parents think even though you are in your thirties and still single!

Day Seven: Complain About Everything to Everyone

Bring all your complaints to the table: say how frustrated you are that there are too many people on the subway, how nobody cares about your right to space, how bad the street food smells, and how your ayi didn’t follow your directions to clean the floor the way you like it! Stress the fact that you are here just because: your spouse was sent here/your company sent you here/you're here strictly for your high laowai salary, but in fact you can’t wait to go back to a civilized country where you will be finally understood!


If after the seventh day, your Chinese colleagues still don’t call a special meeting, then you must be very pretty or handsome with blonde hair and blue eyes, and they like looking at you. However, in most cases, if you diligently employ these strategies, you can be sure that although you will have many other issues in your miserable life, a good relationship with your Chinese workmates won’t be one!

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Keywords: How to lose your Chinese colleagues Relationship with Chinese colleagues


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Hahaha, great article! Brings a few ex-coworkers to mind immediately. :D I totally agree, some people just give all foreign people a bad name! My current employer was totally amazed at first about "how intelligent I was regarding Chinese etiquette". I told him that it's not me who is special; it's just that there's a lot of garbage dumped to China every year, and these monkeys wouldn't even understand their own western etiquettes, let alone Chinese.

Jul 31, 2015 02:04 Report Abuse



They are transients, the backpackers of fresh graduate type, they stay a year or two then leave. Chinese should not generalize these people's behaviour to every Foreigners. I have met a number of (pick your choice) dumb/racist/xenophobic/self-entitled/arrogant/... Chinese and I don't automatically assume that every Chinese are like that. Maybe I should start doing so, you get the fruits of your own seeds thingy.

Aug 01, 2015 18:57 Report Abuse



hmmmm there's gotta be a faster way

Jul 30, 2015 11:20 Report Abuse



Great! I feel u r a Catholic.

Sep 01, 2015 11:28 Report Abuse



This article is silly. The author has made up a neurotic character in her head and created an article from it. Nobody would ever act like this. About as subtle as a sledgehammer

Jul 29, 2015 06:35 Report Abuse



1. no vpn no work. i use my own all time.... 2. disorganised is a fact.... 3. someone has to be bossy. see above.... 4. add another. no aircon on balls dripping hot days and use as excuse for doing sod all.

Jul 27, 2015 18:07 Report Abuse



I will take this as a satirical piece and leave it at all. Was it funny? Not really, but Malgorzata Modlinska is one hell of a name!

Jul 27, 2015 15:35 Report Abuse



LoL! I didn't notice the name until you brought it up and it made laugh hard.

Jul 27, 2015 16:40 Report Abuse



Foreigners must learn the local ways and culture in order to successfully integrate. Many westerners in particular somehow expect Chinese to fit into some westernised stereotypical office worker. I can't I'm agine a Chinese office worker in England complaining about the chaos and failure of democracy there and then complaining that chinese Internet services like wechat and weibo don't work properly. Respect for your hosts is a golden rule for any expat/immigrant. If you don't learn this rule you will lead an unhappy and unsuccessful life.

Jul 27, 2015 12:16 Report Abuse



I agree we have to respect but some things are just intolerable, disgusting and idiotic - can't respect that!

Jul 27, 2015 20:59 Report Abuse



see even you can't imaging a chinese giving an opinion about democracy. that's the point.

Jul 27, 2015 22:50 Report Abuse



All this "it works both ways" and "foreigners have problems in the office" commentary is mostly nonsense. Working in the same office with Chinese "colleagues" is a nightmare, and no matter what kind of sugar you coat it with, they are simply idiots. I'm talking particularly about assistant teachers in private kindergartens, though I'm sure it applies to more situations than that. How can westerners possibly work together with people who don't understand the purpose of facebook, who so blindly support the communist party, and who so disgustingly disregard even the most basic and obvious courtesies?

Jul 27, 2015 11:16 Report Abuse



Oh so true, I'm so glad I'm not the only one that feels this way.

Jul 27, 2015 20:55 Report Abuse



Back when I was teaching I always refused any TA for that very reason, they can't and don't want to understand the Western mind in schools that pride themselves on their Western teachers offering a "Western style" education. My last TA was a lazy spoiled princess in her 20s who spent more time telling how handsome I am and taking photos of me (without asking) than actually helping me or joining the lessons.

Aug 01, 2015 18:46 Report Abuse



And that's if you are lucky. If you are unlucky, you get the TA who feels that they understand classroom management and teaching SO MUCH BETTER than the stupid foreigner. They then proceed to undermine everything you do in the classroom. You say review vocabulary, they argue with you (in front of the students) that it is reading time. You say that it is time for a bathroom break, they say that you keep the exercise books open for 10 more minutes (and then are astonished when a kid pisses himself). I worked briefly a primary school once--I don't know who was more difficult to handle: the TA or the kids.

Aug 09, 2015 12:16 Report Abuse



Seven ways china mainlanders use to win their global trash title.

Jul 27, 2015 10:52 Report Abuse



it works both ways

Jul 27, 2015 09:47 Report Abuse



I think the article was pretty much tongue-in-cheek. I've witnessed a lot of FOBs with a heightened sense of entitlement so I can understand where the author was coming from.

Jul 27, 2015 08:03 Report Abuse



When my supervisor told me i wasn't allowed to leave the building for my dinner break, i offered to help her keep an eye on the Chinese staff, to make sure no one was leaving to eat. For some reason, she became unhappy about her own rule, andeveryone was free to eat outside again.

Jul 27, 2015 01:16 Report Abuse



My boss still won't allow it, ffs!

Jul 31, 2015 16:40 Report Abuse



WOW!! This is AWESOME. thanks SO much for telling people who have been in China for YEARS how to behave if they want the simplest thing done when it should be done, when it was due, or when completion was promised. Of course I won't tell my colleagues to 'stop being so greedy' when they dive into the candies I brought with me to share and one person takes 50% of them like children. And of course I will happily let them **** me over because i am a spine-less laowei and that is all we deserve. Of course our life experience in things means nothing to the Manager who is only there because of guanxi, and not ability of any sorts, and the fact that they are destroying the business and my job should be left un-remarked on. And i will remember not to cough in the polluted air lest the sensitive locals take this as a personal insult to China. If my colleagues fail to do their work because the are on QQ or WeChat and this impacts on mine, of course I won't say anything to them because it might hurt their feelings. If my colleagues 'forget' to tell me something important for my work, I will remember to thank them for allowing me to be present in their company, and not that they didn't do their job properly. In a professional environment, I expect my colleagues to behave in a professional manner, regardless of their country of origin, as I behave. If you are going to have 'hurt feelings' every time a manager or colleague reminds you of your professional responsibilities, maybe you should be in another business.

Jul 27, 2015 00:39 Report Abuse



thanks Guest 314114 (AKA quyen - great name by the way). my comment is appropriate for the article. And the article is symptomatic of the standard of featured posts that ECC has reached since the start of the year. Keep up the good work ECC.

Jul 27, 2015 22:33 Report Abuse



LOL. China is a Kafkaesque experience. (cough cough)

Jul 30, 2015 21:40 Report Abuse