So Begins the Return to Normal Life

A man can only wander the world with no paying job for so long. I’ve been travelling since August last year, spending most of this time living in Beijing and studying Mandarin, while volunteering part time. It’s been quite an experience, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

As you might expect, before I go home, I’m starting to put feelers out for jobs and contracts. I hope to hit the ground running when I arrive. Since networking is the way we all find jobs, and since nobody knows you’re looking unless you tell them, I’m telling everyone who’s been following my travels for the past few months, that I’m in the market for a job as a software developer. Take a look at my resume (linked above) or my LinkedIn profile, and pass them on to anyone you know might be hiring. Both are current, containing details of all my work experience, including the work I’ve been doing as SEO Project Manager here in Beijing.

In addition to my technical skills, what I’ve learned about SEO through this job, and the fact that I’m an all-round swell guy, here are some other skills I’ve picked up while in China:

  • Mandarin proficiency: Of course, this is why I came here, so I better have something to show for it, right? While I’m by no means fluent, I am conversational and I’m adding new vocabulary and characters to my repertoire every day. I can conduct any everyday business I need to in Mandarin.

  • Negotiating skills: Seems like there’s a lot more negotiating going on in China than anywhere else I’ve ever been. I’ve managed to negotiate better deals for my work & living arrangement, at every step, despite my own bargaining position getting weaker every time. This is still an area where I could grow a lot.

I’m focusing my search on software development jobs, but I’m also keeping my options open. You can see my primary areas of interest listed at the top of my resume, but I’m always eager to try new things. I’m open to full-time work as well as contracts. Right now I’m quite interested in working in Quebec or Taiwan. That probably sounds kind of random, but those are the languages I speak (French & Mandarin) in addition to English. Obviously China is on my radar too. Willing to relocate is the main thing, and I’ll go anywhere there’s an interesting job.

As an aside, I had an interesting dinner meeting last night. I made a contact with a local start-up, working on a Chinese-made version of something like ChromeOS. I was invited out to dinner with a couple of the founders, another potential job candidate, and one of the managers. I’m not entirely sure whether this was an interview, or just a friendly meeting. Nor am I really sure what their intentions are, but it was an interesting experience nevertheless. Guanxi (a kind of networking on steroids that I’m at a loss to explain) is extremely important in Chinese culture. Sometimes I’m not even sure why I wind up at certain dinners (especially when party secretaries are involved) and I’m not sure whether I’m there to meet them, or they’re there to meet me. The relationships (i.e. guanxi) are all very complex.

My travels aren’t over quite yet. I leave Beijing on Sunday, headed for southern China. I haven’t seen as much of the south as I have of the north, and it’s going to be an action-packed three weeks before I get home. First I’m heading to Hangzhou, Huang Shan and that neighbourhood near Shanghai. Then I’ll fly to Guilin and after a few days there head down to Guangzhou. I’ll wind up my trip with a few days in Hong Kong before flying home. I will meet up with some friends and acquaintances along the way. When I travel I love to meet people, so I can get to know the culture and understand a bit of how ordinary people live, and thus see more than just the sights. As usual, stay tuned to this blog for all the details.


2 thoughts on “So Begins the Return to Normal Life

  1. Mary Agnes Kavanagh

    sounds very exciting, and although i wont be much help with networking in taiwan or quebec, ill keep my eyes peeled for interesting jobs


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