Sunday, January 30, 2011

The preparations begin...

Accomplishments for today: laundry, graded some homeworks, read books, looked at PE prep books (they are expensive!), scanned some stuff, and rewrote notes for a class.

I need to start thinking about which PE prep books I might want to buy to bring with me to HK. If I were to work in the US, I would ask all my coworkers to borrow their study material. I'm sure I would come away with a good collection. The test is open book so it's to your advantage to bring as many books as you can carry! Actually there might be a limit but still. The Stanford Engineering Library has a pretty good collection of PE prep books. I can't scan all of them but it would be nice to see how useful they are before buying them. Books will definitely make my suitcases heavy. I can charge an extra piece of luggage to the company but that's still not a lot. I should make a packing list. I need to pack strategically so that I bring the stuff that are not on that the approved furniture list.

I checked out a bunch of books about the business and working culture in China. I had wanted to find things about Hong Kong but there doesn't seem to be very many. Maybe I'm just not looking at the right places (or in the right language!). There are plenty of stuff saying things like, "name cards should be printed both English and Chinese. They should be handed out with both hands." Okay, that's a cute little fact.

The other day, I found this column in the NY Times called the Corner Office. It consists of interviews of people in high level management who talk about their experiences, what it takes to get to where they are, what they expect out of people they work with, etc. It's really interesting. I read a few and generally agree with what they have to say (actually doing what they say is another story). But I noticed that what they valued seemed very American. I think the American workplace has a defined culture. It's different in different industries and settings, of course. But I think I have a general understanding of what is the norm, what is expected, and how to position myself for advancement. I don't think I can say the same about Hong Kong.

That's why I've been trying to find some books or articles about the business culture in HK. Instead, I found a lot of books about China. Now I know that they are not the same (China and HK). HK is more westernized but Chinese values are still there. So I figure if I can keep some of these Chinese business culture tips in mind, they would help me understand HK culture as well. Not sure if this is a good assumption to make or not. We'll see, I guess.

I finished reading China CEO. It's a pretty good read. I think the authors did a good job in selecting people from a variety of industries and synthesizing the information together. I had to read it fast because someone else put a hold on the book. The interviewees in the book is all upper level management and the book is definitely geared towards people/corporations who are interested in expanding their operations in China. One of the first things that the book talks about is the quality of the expat who will be successful in leading a big corporation in China. The one thing they found to be universal is that for China cannot be an upper-level manager's first expat assignment. All of the interviewees agreed that to be successful as a leader in China, you have to have previous overseas assignment, preferably in Asia, and especially in Hong Kong and Taiwan. So this got me thinking... Now that I am going to be an expat in HK, this would position me extremely well in the future for leadership/management positions in China. I would love the opportunity to start a team/office somewhere and be in charge of building up that team/office. Anyway, this might all be fantasy thinking. Can't think too much ahead of myself. Haven't graduated yet!


Y said...

Mike read a post by an Australian working in New York City - he said that it was such a surprise to him that in America, you are lucky if you get 3 weeks off, and many people get 2 or even 1 (their first year, or temp). Then he said - no wonder Americans are not known as travelers.. I thought that was a really astute acknowledgment: I'd always assumed that Americans didn't care much for traveling or exploration, but it got me thinking that if you (being a middle-aged American with children) only have 3 weeks off, you're more likely to spend 1 week off at home, 1 week for the holidays, and probably 1 week going somewhere close and domestic! After all America is pretty large and has a lot of cool, closer places...

So, hopefully you'll be able to take advantage of a different lifestyle over there!

docey101 said...

hey, how about watching some tvb hk dramas.. perhaps they will give you some insights. or other dramatizations of work culture (ie the office hk edition) or satire on youtube.
well.. if you're in the upper echelons and stressed..and i'm unemployed, you can hire me as comic relief.