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The biz of biz in China (Part 1)

Avoid the fried squid

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'Sharpen your knifes before a fight'

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves in China for the Big End-of-the-Year Biz Rush. From November every year until Chinese New Year in the new year (western or Chinese), the last quarter of a year is likely to be that time of year when jiaban occurs at such frequencies that you're one to concede that this is one real seven-by-seven, 24 by 24 nation.

What happens around this time of the year is there exists a tonload of work. Some people (especially the faithful corporate viewers of many a Taiwanese comedy show) have accumulated more than enough work. Knowing that all of this has to be finished before the year is out (unless being poor or pink [as in "getting the pink slip"] sounds attractive to them), they surrender nights and weekends during this final quarter and work their bottoms off.

Also, most of us like to close out a year on a good note. What about those things we've promised to do, but haven't touched on yet? And finally, what about that last minute partnership agreement that just chimed in? Add all of these together, and the busy final quarter suddenly starts to make some sense.

This strategy, known to many a Chinese as "sharpen your knifes before a fight" (临战磨枪), is also common currency to Chinese university students. Being in essence fed with dozens of pages of notes, those students yell it out at KTV bars (having suffered through five full days of classroom bore) until the looming exams make their mark felt. They then shun the microphones and the beer for the late-night "lightening-speed revision courses" that sees many a university building alive even after sundown, and in a matter of weeks, cram their heads with all that edu info and - hopefully pass the exams.

The fun bit: teamwork

Working in a Chinese company, however, is not all that gloomy. Not all bosses are evil, and not all work is difficult or impossible to complete. And at the end of the day, you get the fun and pleasure of working in a team.

Company hangouts, corporate sing-a-longs, outings, and hiking trips with the boss and your fellow colleagues: these alone make the hard work kind of pay off (in particular in a social factor). You get to meet great people, and you work together as a team to reach common goals - as in, to finish what you've been given with flying colors.

You never know what you get when you're with a team - and this holds true in particular for yours truly. Being a media student at university (for postgraduate studies), he was an intern at the Beijing branch of a Chinese TV station. In one of those company socials, he was suddenly called upon to be the host for a surprise wedding ceremony. No problem: he did what he had to do - right away. A bit of fun - a bit of something unexpected - but the best thing (and the most rewarding thing) was that he got to meet great new people, and have a good time together.

Who said teamwork wasn't fun?

Next week on Mind the Gap Saturday: We continue our look at the biz of biz in China, and share with you some values and good practises that will get you ticking in a Chinese company. See you next Saturday.

Copyright © 2007, Blognation.com.

This article first appeared on Blognation.

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